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

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Old 11-03-2013, 06:33 PM   #1
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Default Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

The Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity had a brief biography of Watchman Nee (Ni) by G. Wright Doyle.

Here are a few excerpts pertinent to the events being discussed on the forum ...

For a variety of reasons, including the anti-Western movement of the 1920s, many Chinese Christian leaders were seeking ways to form indigenous churches that would be free from Western missionary control. Having moved to the International Settlement in Shanghai in 1926, Ni constituted in 1932 a group of “apostolic” co-workers that would lead what became the Little Flock Movement: Wang Peizhen (Peace Wang) and Li Yuanru (Ruth Lee), with Ni himself as supreme. They soon grew from a small household gathering to a network of local churches.

When he married Zhang Pinhui in 1934, there was an expose in the media about his alleged romantic involvement with other women, which damaged his reputation, so he stepped down as leader of the movement, handing it over to elders whom he had previously appointed. He resumed his position the next year.

1942, Ni was expelled from leadership for several reasons: His increasing, and finally full-time, work with his brother’s pharmaceutical company; multiple instances of shady business practices; and the exposure of ongoing sexual immorality with female co-workers and other women, including prostitutes.

After the war, Ni published several books on ecclesiology, including The Orthodoxy of the Church, Authority and Obedience, and On Church Affairs, which stated the “Jerusalem Principle,” according to which the authority of elders in local assemblies was restricted and the entire movement came under direct central control. These works represented a major change in emphasis, from the spiritual life of the individual and the local church to the authority of “apostles,” of whom Ni was pre-eminent, to direct the entire organization and its work.

A campaign of “handing over” possessions to the local church was promoted in 1947, ostensibly to fund evangelistic migration of believers. At the same time, Ni was preaching absolute, even unthinking, submission to church leaders, especially himself. Only those who had been trained by Ni and Li could become leaders in the local churches. Believers were fired with zeal to give all they had to the work of the Lord, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were contributed. Some of the money went toward the construction of a very large meeting place for the Shanghai assembly, whose numbers had reached 1,700.

Ni was arrested in Manchuria in April, 1952 on charges of tax evasion and corrupt business practices. Four years later, in a public trial in Shanghai, he was found guilty on political grounds and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. His followers were devastated by revelations of his dishonesty both in business and in church dealings, and even more by his sexual transgressions, which started in the 1920s and continued into the 1950s. Disbelief turned into grief as the evidence (including photographs, Ni’s signed confession, and admission of guilt by at least one female co-worker) became conclusive. At the same time, Ni’s ten-year absence from the Lord’s Table was explained by his admission that he had had a guilty conscience. He died of natural causes in prison in 1972.

Several commendatory biographies of Watchman Ni have added to the enormous influence of his writings. He is remembered mostly for his early emphases: life centered upon God; devotion to Christ; reliance on the Holy Spirit; the centrality of the church; memorization of, and meditation upon, Scripture; and the indigenous nature of the Local Church. Among those who knew of Ni’s serious faults and failings, there is an awareness that no mere man should be looked to as a teacher of truth or a paragon of virtue. Others see the dangers of concentrating power in the hands of a single person or small group of elite leaders.
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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Several commendatory biographies of Watchman Ni have added to the enormous influence of his writings. He is remembered mostly for his early emphases: life centered upon God; devotion to Christ; reliance on the Holy Spirit; the centrality of the church; memorization of, and meditation upon, Scripture; and the indigenous nature of the Local Church. Among those who knew of Ni’s serious faults and failings, there is an awareness that no mere man should be looked to as a teacher of truth or a paragon of virtue. Others see the dangers of concentrating power in the hands of a single person or small group of elite leaders.
This is the healthy take away which the Recovery in the US never received from Witness Lee. "Early-Nee" was such a blessing to so many of the God's children. Unfortunately, instead of giving glory "unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever," "Later-Nee" was excessively lifted up in China. Christ, and only Christ, is incorruptible and thus worthy to be uplifted in the church of God.

What a danger this is to both the minister and the church. Exalted men are always endangered by the lusts of the flesh. Unlimited power vested in a single individual always corrupts. What human leader in history, either secular or spiritual, has ever escaped these temptations. It was only the serious failures, known to all, that preserved the early apostles, like Peter and Paul, as our patterns. Until the end of his life, Paul reminded us that he was the chief of sinners and worthy of nothing here on earth.

By promoting an early Recovery mythology of Watchman Nee to the LC's, Witness Lee was likewise exalted by his own circle of minions. Those brothers over the years, who refused to "bow down" in adoration were branded conspiratorial rebels contaminated with leprosy and fit to be cast outside the camp, lest they poison others. Lee's own history of corruption at LSM is now well-documented. We can see how his grandiose plan of being the "Minister of the Age" has damaged him and others. Neither Nee nor Lee was ever content to be "a" minister of the gospel, rather they had to be "the" minister of the age, a title rightfully belonging only to Jesus, the Son of the living God.
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

Amen, amen, amen.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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Amen, amen, amen.
Igzy, I really like your latest signature line: "If you revere some people, you will inevitably abuse others." Looking back at the Recovery, this was so true. In order for Nee and then Lee and now Chu to maintain their elevated status in the LC's, others must be abused. It was inevitable! The only way to stop the abuse, is to "dethrone" the leaders.

The Apostle Paul knew this all too well in Corinth, so he wrote, "But God has put the body [of Christ] together, giving greater honor to the members that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have the same care one for another." The other inevitable side-effect of overly revering leaders, is that there will always be divisions in the body. This is guaranteed, because God will always have some faithful ones who will not bow-down to these leaders, and thus conflicts will arise because some fallen man is exalted in the church.

As a former Catholic, with my namesake an ordained Franciscan OFM, growing up in parochial education, with such extracurriculars as choir and altar boy, I studied papal history after joining the Recovery. There is little redeeming value, for the most part, delving into their personal histories. It's so truly sad to learn that Recovery history so closely parallels papal history.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

This also means that what we were told about Nee's marriage (that some relative took out an ad against him) was false.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:10 AM   #6
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In Mark 10, after the Lord mentioned His pending passion, the two sons of thunder hatched a marvelous plan ...

"James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.

This sounded like a legitimate request, since Jesus had taught them, "ask anything in my name, and I will grant it." I'm sure the brothers had no malice in their hearts towards others, but who wouldn't want a few company perks, being the Boss's cousins, and all that. Now Jesus was being extra nice to them, since their time together was short, but He had to be a little perturbed about their ignoring his comments about what was about to happen "in Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.

But let's look at the result of these two brothers becoming the first MOTA's: "Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John." Imagine that, the other disciples getting upset about their neat idea.

Jesus then thought it wise to step in with some sober fellowship for the brothers, so "Calling them to Himself, said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Igzy's signature line caused me to remember this gospel story, and it's message for today. Once a minister desires special perks for his service, then the rest of the body feels slighted. That's the obvious part, but Jesus takes this one step further. Special accolades for any minister result in him lording it over the flock of God. He gets lifted up, and the others get put down. He becomes a bully, and they get abused. This is absolutely contrary to the heart of God.

Jesus emphatically said to all, "But it is not this way among you!" Obviously brothers Nee, Lee, We, and Chu never got this memo from Jesus.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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there is an awareness that no mere man should be looked to as a teacher of truth or a paragon of virtue. Others see the dangers of concentrating power in the hands of a single person or small group of elite leaders.
These two phrases are very fitting to the recovery.
1. In life and in death Witness Lee was looked to as a "teacher of truth" and a "paragon of virtue".
2. The "dangers of concentrating power in the hands of a single person or small group of elite leaders" has already been realized with the blended brothers. Being the recognized voices of information among the local churches, they are like the "CNN" of the recovery. Able to control what information is released and what information is withheld.
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

http://www.globalchinacenter.org/abo...ight-doyle.php



Dr. G. Wright Doyle received a B.A. with Honors in Latin from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1966); an M.Div. with Honors from the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria (1969); and a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, with a dissertation on St. Augustine (1975). He studied Chinese at the Taipei Language Institute full-time for two years (1976-1978) and part-time for another two years (1980-82). From 1980 to 1988, Dr. Doyle served on the faculty of China Evangelical Seminary, Taipei, Taiwan, eventually as Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek. He is currently visiting faculty at several Chinese-language seminaries, teaching courses in New Testament and in Systematic Theology.

Dr. Doyle is co-author of China: Ancient Culture, Modern Society; author of Carl Henry: Theologian for all Seasons; editor of the Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity; co-editor of Studies in Chinese Christianity (Pickwick Publications); editor of the Greek-Chinese Lexicon of the New Testament and of the Chinese abridgment of Carl Henry's God, Revelation, & Authority. Several volumes composed in English have been published in Chinese, including New Testament Reference Works; Confucius and Christ; a commentary on Paul's letter to the Ephesians; The Way Home: A Faith for the 21st Century – the Luce Theological Lectures; The Lord’s Healing Words; and Hope Deferred: Studies in Christianity and American Society. Dr. Doyle has also authored numerous articles and reviews of books about Christianity and/or Chinese culture, most of which can be found on this site.

Global China Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, was organized in 2004 to further the study of social change in modern China, and particularly the role of religion in Chinese society.

Dr. Doyle and his wife Dori have a grown daughter, who is married.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

Wright Doyle's version of events:

When [Watchman] married Zhang Pinhui in 1934, there was an expose in the media about his alleged romantic involvement with other women, which damaged his reputation, so he stepped down as leader of the movement, handing it over to elders whom he had previously appointed. He resumed his position the next year.


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This also means that what we were told about Nee's marriage (that some relative took out an ad against him) was false.
In his biography of Nee, Seer..., Witness Lee writes on page 97,

"Eventually the Lord brought [Charity] back to Watchman Nee. Charity's aunt, however, strongly opposed the marriage. She looked upon Watchman Nee as simply a poor preacher. On the one hand this caused Watchman to hesitate in going ahead with the wedding; but on the other hand, his mother was very much concerned for his marriage, since he was thirty years of age. In 1934, during his fourth overcomer conference held in Hangchow, all the co-workers were present. His mother grasped this opportunity to speed up the wedding. As a result, immediately after the conference, the wedding took place.

Charity's aunt was extremely unhappy about her niece's marriage. She made a threat that if Watchman Nee would not pay her the customary courtesy call she would cause him trouble. He would have surely paid her such a visit if she had not made such a threat. However, her threats caused him not to do so. He felt he could not comply with her desire under such duress. People would think that he was playing politics to please her. For this reason he refused to do what she asked. Through this conflict, a great turmoil burst out in Shanghai caused by Charity's opposing aunt. This caused Watchman a great deal of suffering.
"

Does anyone else have trouble with this account by Lee? It makes no sense to me. How in the world could Charity's crazy aunt cause so much trouble? Why didn't Nee just go and visit her? How much "duress" could that simple visit have caused him? What kind of church people would consider that he was playing politics? Would not Witness himself have silenced any criticism from the church, if there really was any surrounding this supposed "courtesy call?"

Once again, in order to accept Lee's version of events, one must believe that Nee was super spiritual, void of normal humanity, and every other person around him was an immature imbecile out to make him suffer.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

Wow, Ohio. Where do you find these things? It is good to have more sources. It confirms our findings.

I have finished the book by Dr Hsu. I am very saddened by the book, but not surprised. I believe Nee was a genuine believer and apostle. But one who fell into serious sins because he was unprotected. He should have surrounded himself by others and work with those who were his peers. Instead, he lived an isolated life and took all the matters of the church in his own hands. He became exceedingly uplifted and extremely fallen in his sins. His peers would have been his protection and help in his weakness. Though he preached this, he did not practice this. As a result, his ending was tragic. This a lessson for us all to learn.

Another point I want to make is this: I don't think Watchman Nee's early publications on Christ and life are invalid just because he fell into sin (his later publications are questionable). We are all sinners. God uses all kinds of people to spread the truth, to spread His word, to spread encouragement and inspiration. Watchman Nee was definitely one of them. But Nee was far from perfect as portrayed by Lee. Even though many received the Lord because of Nee, many also left the Lord because they were stumbled by him. The Lord has been speaking to me lately. Is my faith based on a person other than Christ? That was the lesson Hsu had to learn. She fell apart because her faith (unknowingly) was based on Nee, rather than Christ alone. The Lord was merciful to her and brought her back to Himself. This memoir serves as a help to others who are going through similar experiences. My faith was tested too when I discovered the true history of Lee, and now Nee...
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

The source of Doyle's account is the same book by Lily Hsu. How does that prove or confirm anything? He is simply repeating Hsu.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:49 AM   #12
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

Living Stream has a website promoting Witness Lee's biography of Watchman Nee. Here is an excerpt from it ...
"But to write a biography of a certain person is not an easy and simple matter. Could what is written about that person be a genuine picture of him? Is the motive for writing proper? Is the writing accurate? What will the influence be? What will the issue be? After much consideration, my solution to all these points is this: Since I have been under Brother Nee's teaching, edifying, and perfecting, and since he was a brother I respected, observed, and weighed for a quarter of a century, the accuracy of my writing about him should be guaranteed. As to the motive, the heart-searching God is the Judge! As to the influence and issue, the merciful Lord is the blessing. Much endeavor has been exercised to avoid flattery, exaggerations, and the exaltation of men, and the Holy Spirit has been the Guide and Controller of this writing. Thus, I desire to see this writing accomplished unto the good pleasure of the Triune God for His rich blessing."
It's amazing how much spiritual rhetoric goes into LSM's publications in order for them to do just the opposite of their stated intentions.

For example, one of Nee's definitive works was The Normal Christian Churchlife. History shows us that both Nee in the 1920-30's and later Lee in the 1960-70's espoused these principles and were fruitful. History also shows us that both men in their later lives abandoned these principles, and their ministries (aka "the work") usurped control of all the LC's.

After the death of Witness Lee in 1997, the battle between Anaheim and Cleveland, which resulted in quarantines, divisions, and lawsuits, could be summarized by the question "who was the real Witness Lee?" Was it Anaheim's version of "later-Lee," or was it Cleveland's version of "early-Lee?" Reading the accounts of Watchman Nee and the extreme changes which he instituted during his "resumption," I could ask the same question about him.

The stark discrepancies and contradictions which I have witnessed in Lee, were also there in China. Who was the real Watchman Nee? Witness Lee provides me with little "guarantee."
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:57 AM   #13
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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Wow, Ohio. Where do you find these things? It is good to have more sources. It confirms our findings.

I have finished the book by Dr Hsu. I am very saddened by the book, but not surprised. I believe Nee was a genuine believer and apostle. But one who fell into serious sins because he was unprotected. He should have surrounded himself by others and work with those who were his peers. Instead, he lived an isolated life and took all the matters of the church in his own hands. He became exceedingly uplifted and extremely fallen in his sins. His peers would have been his protection and help in his weakness. Though he preached this, he did not practice this. As a result, his ending was tragic. This a lesson for us all to learn.

Another point I want to make is this: I don't think Watchman Nee's early publications on Christ and life are invalid just because he fell into sin (his later publications are questionable). We are all sinners. God uses all kinds of people to spread the truth, to spread His word, to spread encouragement and inspiration. Watchman Nee was definitely one of them. But Nee was far from perfect as portrayed by Lee. Even though many received the Lord because of Nee, many also left the Lord because they were stumbled by him. The Lord has been speaking to me lately. Is my faith based on a person other than Christ? That was the lesson Hsu had to learn. She fell apart because her faith (unknowingly) was based on Nee, rather than Christ alone. The Lord was merciful to her and brought her back to Himself. This memoir serves as a help to others who are going through similar experiences. My faith was tested too when I discovered the true history of Lee, and now Nee...
Great post, Truth. I agree with your points. I don't throw out the Psalms because David sinned, neither should we discredit all the positives which Nee accomplished for the Lord in China.

Your post helps to explain the Blended Brother mindset at LSM. They must continue to promote their own mythology about Nee and Lee because their faith is based on these men and not on Christ alone, the only perfect man.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

This LSM website comments on the many biographies of Watchman Nee ...

Quote:
Recognition

The material presented in the previous five sections of this website was drawn principally from information about Watchman Nee provided by those who intimately knew him and worked with him. These were also very familiar with his ministry and closely followed it. The material presented in this final section was collected from others who did not personally know him (excepting the entries marked with an asterisk * ), and who are therefore likely to possess less knowledge and understanding of his ministry. In a few cases their understanding and assessment is even inaccurate and misleading. Nevertheless, their material has been included because, on the whole, they recognize Watchman Nee’s tremendously positive contribution along with the fact that the Lord greatly used him.

A third category of material related to Watchman Nee is excluded from this website because the materials are full of slander intended to bias readers against Watchman Nee and his ministry. At least six of these books have been retracted by their American publishers; in fact, one was condemned in court as libelous and defamatory. Nevertheless, some of those opposing Watchman Nee’s ministry and persecuting the believers meeting in the local churches still promote and circulate photocopies of these disproven and retracted books.
Obviously LSM is willing to sue, not only to preserve their mythological image of Witness Lee, but also of Watchman Nee.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:46 AM   #15
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

Quote:
I believe Nee was a genuine believer and apostle.
I agree on the first part (without the need for superlatives), but not the second, other than to the extent that we argue that we are all "sent ones."

I'm concerned that our talk still creates tiers of believers. Someone either is or is not a believer. If they are a believer, it is genuine. If it is not genuine, then they are not a believer.

We spend so much of our verbiage quantifying the faith of others. But based on what? The ability to write spiritual-sounding words and phrases?

As for all the "good" stuff that Nee wrote earlier (how much earlier? earlier than when he was charged with these sins in 1934?) is it really so sound? Or does it have a sound that is appealing? I keep reading the introduction to The Spiritual Man (written between 1925 and 1927) and see the incredible way that he sees himself as something special. Something that it would seem God could not do without.

So how much further back do I have to go to find the pure Nee? By 1934 he already had a history of these sins. And a history of thinking very highly of himself.

Maybe he hadn't yet been called-out. But there is evidence of his propensity for spiritual error and spiritual arrogance.

There are too many solid writers of all kinds. If, as has been suggested, he mainly repackaged the writings of so many others, then read the others. Maybe they will not be tainted with error.

Are we pining for the leeks and garlic of the LRC? At least the Early LRC. Or the Early Lee, or the Early Nee.


I know that some here are tired of me harping on this. Always saying to just dump Nee and Lee altogether. With such a wealth of Christian writings from every aspect and angle, including inner-life writings, (and without considering Nee and Lee), why are some of us so hopelessly drawn to them? Are we caught in their error? Do we want their writings because no one else will say the things Nee and Lee did?

That may be a good thing. It may be that those words are no more special than all those banners at the trainings. Overly adjectivized phrases that are so appealing but do nothing but make us feel better about our lexicon.

I think that all that stuff is too often the LRC's version sacrifice — being offered in the place of obedience.

And since they say "Christ" so often, how can it be wrong? Because some of it is just words. Words that they want to magically make everything right. To make the unrighteousness into righteousness without actually being righteous.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:07 AM   #16
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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Are we pining for the leeks and garlic of the LRC? At least the Early LRC. Or the Early Lee, or the Early Nee.
OBW, I never got that impression from your posts.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:36 AM   #17
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The source of Doyle's account is the same book by Lily Hsu. How does that prove or confirm anything? He is simply repeating Hsu.
The truth is still the truth no matter who repeats it or how many times it is repeated, you do realize this don't you?
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:59 AM   #18
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The source of Doyle's account is the same book by Lily Hsu. How does that prove or confirm anything? He is simply repeating Hsu.
I didn't know he used Hsu's book as his source. If that is the case, you are right - it doesn't confirm anything. However it is interesting that as an experienced researcher in the field, he *decided* to use Hsu's source rather than Lee's source.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:21 AM   #19
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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The source of Doyle's account is the same book by Lily Hsu. How does that prove or confirm anything? He is simply repeating Hsu.
For years in the Recovery I heard many brothers tell the old stories, but they all were repeating Lee, and no one ever questioned the veracity of these reports.

Since we have multiple eye-witness sources who have confirmed that Witness Lee was a false witness concerning Ingalls, Mallon, So, et. al., it is pretty hard to take his word on anything these days.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:38 AM   #20
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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The source of Doyle's account is the same book by Lily Hsu. How does that prove or confirm anything? He is simply repeating Hsu.
Doyle is a scholar and expert on Chinese culture, religion, and history. Check out his credentials. Such a person knows how to do research and knows the standard of scholarly acceptance. Why would he "simply repeat" anything? What possible motive would he have to want to take down Nee?

Lee and the BBs, on the other hand, have no credentials, and a history of lies, bombast and conspiracies to take down whomever got in their way, not to mention expecting everyone to "simply repeat" what they say!

My question is why would you choose to believe and simply repeat them?
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:50 AM   #21
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New name for the BBs. The Bombastic Brothers.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:15 PM   #22
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The source of Doyle's account is the same book by Lily Hsu. How does that prove or confirm anything? He is simply repeating Hsu.
I haven't read it. I would be surprised if Doyle based his account on Lily Hsu's book. It would not be scholarly to write a book (see A Response to Recent Accusations) without doing the research.
If Doyle had other credible sources to substantiate what Hsu wrote about, Doyle is doing his due diligence.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:45 PM   #23
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Lee and the BBs, on the other hand, have no credentials, and a history of lies, bombast and conspiracies to take down whomever got in their way, not to mention expecting everyone to "simply repeat" what they say!
LSM Standard Rebuttal #1: You are taking things out of context

LSM Standard Rebuttal #2: You are simply repeating others' lies.


For a ministry so obsessed with training their young people to become "Witness Lee Tape Recorders," it's a little hypocritical to condemn others for what you alone are doing.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:27 PM   #24
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LSM Standard Rebuttal #1: You are taking things out of context.
LSM's standard procedure is to take things out of context.

WL: "Christianity believes that... etc". Okay: who in Christianity? There are literally millions of Christians out there, saying and writing all kinds of things. But from WL all we got was "Christians teach that...". No quote; no representative sample. Just a generalization.

No due diligence. No research. No quotes. No context. Just a blanket statement. A generalization that is supposed to contain all of "Christianity".

And then they say that others are taking them out of context?
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:46 PM   #25
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LSM Standard Rebuttal #1: You are taking things out of context

LSM Standard Rebuttal #2: You are simply repeating others' lies.
Ironically Ohio, your post here indicates practices in the LC/LSM

1. Taking things out of context-when quoting one verse from the Bible they take out of context what the context of that passage is.

2. Repeating others lies- when referring to brothers who had left the LC/LSM. When confronted about the lies, one can expect to hear an out clause spoken: "honoring the feeling of the Body"
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:34 AM   #26
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LSM's standard procedure is to take things out of context.

WL: "Christianity believes that... etc". Okay: who in Christianity? There are literally millions of Christians out there, saying and writing all kinds of things. But from WL all we got was "Christians teach that...". No quote; no representative sample. Just a generalization.

No due diligence. No research. No quotes. No context. Just a blanket statement. A generalization that is supposed to contain all of "Christianity".

And then they say that others are taking them out of context?
Lee would always compare the best of the Recovery and the worst of "Christianity." He even had a hard time saying anything nice about Billy Graham, even though hundreds (maybe thousands?) in the Recovery were saved thru his ministry.

The more I read about Witness Lee and his ministry the more I see a plethora of perfect parallels with the Pharisees of old.
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:19 AM   #27
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Nee's guilt or innocence in regard to the allegations by Hsu and others is unclear.

However, LSM's categorical rejection of such allegations clearly indicates a lack of sobriety and willingness to objectively weight evidence and clues, and hence dismisses them as serious thinkers. They have stated plainly that anyone who questions the character of Nee has ill motives. But how would they know? None of them knew Nee. Everything they know about him is based largely on what Witness Lee said.

But given the fact that Lee displayed a clear pattern of slanting history in his favor, as evidenced by his character assassination of anyone who stood in his way, doesn't it stand to reason that he might prop up the reputation of someone if doing so would lend him credibility? If he would throw T.A. Sparks, John Ingalls, John So, Bill Mallon and many others under the bus, wouldn't he also place Nee on a pedestal if it fit his goals?

That doesn't mean he did that. But anyone who states categorically that Lee wouldn't do such a thing, or that those who question Lee or Nee have ill motives, does not possess a state of mind which can objectively assess reality. What they possess is a fanatical closed-mindedness.

LSMers are free to weigh evidence and come to their own conclusions. The problem is they don't do this. They categorically reject any evidence which doesn't support the conclusions they like. They should not be considered serious participants in any discussion for which they refuse to adopt the objectivity and humility requisite to be taken seriously.

Again, Nee may be guilty or innocent. Anyone who states flatly that guilt is not possible cannot be in possession of a sober mind.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:41 AM   #28
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However, LSM's categorical rejection of such allegations clearly indicates a lack of sobriety and willingness to objectively weight evidence and clues, and hence dismisses them as serious thinkers.
Absolutely! Any history of the LC system/Little Flock coming out of LSM cannot be taken seriously. It is promotional marketing material.

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...given the fact that Lee displayed a clear pattern of slanting history in his favor, as evidenced by his character assassination of anyone who stood in his way, doesn't it stand to reason that he might prop up the reputation of someone if doing so would lend him credibility? If he would throw T.A. Sparks, John Ingalls, John So, Bill Mallon and many others under the bus, wouldn't he also place Nee on a pedestal if it fit his goals?
Yes he would!

Witness Lee had a certain historical narrative he wanted his followers to blindly accept: Watchman Nee was the MOTA who appointed Witness Lee as his sole successor to be the next MOTA. And this transfer took place when Lee left the Mainland and went to Taiwan. To perpetuate this kind of narrative he had to effectively do two things:

1. Cover up anything negative about himself and Nee.

2. Remove those along the way who would question the validity of such a narrative.

Continuing this narrative the BB ousted Titus Chu because they consider themselves the sole successor of Witness Lee i.e. the MOTA by committee.

Just as Witness Lee needed a sanitized version of Nee to lend himself credibility so the BB need such a version of Lee (and to a lessor extent Nee). But at least it can be said of Lee that he came up with some of his own content apart from Nee. The BB not only need Witness Lee for credibility they are mere tape recorders of his material. IMHO that's a sad commentary on Lee's ability to equip others for real ministry!
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Old 11-06-2013, 12:01 PM   #29
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Absolutely! Any history of the LC system/Little Flock coming out of LSM cannot be taken seriously. It is promotional marketing material.

1. Cover up anything negative about himself and Nee.

2. Remove those along the way who would question the validity of such a narrative.
Alas, we have found the motive for Lee writing the biography of Nee! This is a significant discovery! In a court of law, motive is crucial. It proves (or provides evidence) that the defendant is guilty of premeditated crime.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:50 PM   #30
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Witness Lee had a certain historical narrative he wanted his followers to blindly accept: Watchman Nee was the MOTA who appointed Witness Lee as his sole successor to be the next MOTA. And this transfer took place when Lee left the Mainland and went to Taiwan. To perpetuate this kind of narrative he had to effectively do two things:

1. Cover up anything negative about himself and Nee.
Kind of like this conversation back in 1973 -- "Sure Mr. Ford you can be president, just as long as you provide Mr. Nixon with a complete pardon."
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:17 PM   #31
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The truth is still the truth no matter who repeats it or how many times it is repeated, you do realize this don't you?
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The truth is that which is true no matter who repeats it. You do know that don't you?

Original source gives rise to concern. Concern gives rise to doubt. Doubt gives rise to a proper need to know. Anyone can parrot what someone else has said! The more difficult thing is original source which gives rise to doubt. Do you know what original source is with regards to Nee. Then why are you covering up what others have to say?
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:48 AM   #32
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The Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity had a brief biography of Watchman Nee (Ni) by G. Wright Doyle.

Here are a few excerpts pertinent ...

For a variety of reasons, including the anti-Western movement of the 1920s, many Chinese Christian leaders were seeking ways to form indigenous churches that would be free from Western missionary control. Having moved to the International Settlement in Shanghai in 1926, Ni constituted in 1932 a group of “apostolic” co-workers that would lead what became the Little Flock Movement: Wang Peizhen (Peace Wang) and Li Yuanru (Ruth Lee), with Ni himself as supreme..
Why was this movement essentially co-founded by women, and 85 years later no woman can give a message to the gathering on Sunday morning? I've never heard the official house organ try to explain this disparity. One thing or the other can't be 'biblical'. Yet they try to have both.

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When he married Zhang Pinhui in 1934,
Is Zhang Pinhui the same as Charity Chang? No wonder I can't ever get these stories straight.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:20 AM   #33
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Why was this movement essentially co-founded by women, and 85 years later no woman can give a message to the gathering on Sunday morning? I've never heard the official house organ try to explain this disparity. One thing or the other can't be 'biblical'. Yet they try to have both.
I do see another possible explanation for this. China was a male dominated society, was it not? So maybe it was that by surrounding himself with female co-workers, Nee felt like there wouldn't be anyone threatening his status as the supreme leader.

In other words, I'm not sure how much we could really read into the fact that Nee had female coworkers and that they were allowed to play a significant role in his ministry. Was Nee really way ahead of his time in promoting gender equality, or was there a different explanation for this?
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:30 AM   #34
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I do see another possible explanation for this. China was a male dominated society, was it not? So maybe it was that by surrounding himself with female co-workers, Nee felt like there wouldn't be anyone threatening his status as the supreme leader.

In other words, I'm not sure how much we could really read into the fact that Nee had female coworkers and that they were allowed to play a significant role in his ministry. Was Nee really way ahead of his time in promoting gender equality, or was there a different explanation for this?
Good observation. Look at the last quoted sentence: "Apostolic co-workers... Peace Wang, Ruth Lee... with Nee himself as supreme." The fact that the two named "Co-apostles" were both female and in clearly subordinate roles may be related, since this is within the context of a male-dominated society, as you note.

Also the author notes the obvious, that there was widespread sentiment on the ground, to be rid of Western control. Nee's church model fit desire this to a 't', and thus gained wide and fast acceptance. Not because it was intrinsically viable, or real, but because it met the needs on the ground, at the time. That it wasn't intrinsically real is also shown by how fast and drastically Nee modified it, opting for centralization versus autonomy.

So -autonomy was a thing to be desired when the Westerners had control, but when Nee had control suddenly autonomy wasn't so good anymore, and centralization once again became the organizing principle. Okay; check. Got that.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:03 AM   #35
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So - autonomy was a thing to be desired when the Westerners had control, but when Nee had control suddenly autonomy wasn't so good anymore, and centralization once again became the organizing principle.
The Spirit's way (Acts 13) to reach the Gentiles was via Antioch, the way of fallen man was to model the Judaizers, who directed all the faithful back to Jerusalem.

After fallen men took hold of all the Asian and European churches, and Jerusalem was destroyed, they directed all the faithful back to Rome, to the Pope, the Holy See, the Vicar of Christ.

Autonomous Brethren congregations sprouted up all over Great Britain, led by the Spirit to return to the scriptures, until the lust for power gripped them, and in the bloody aftermath of strife and division, Darby, Wigram, Trotter, etc. directed all the faithful back to the London, Park Avenue "brothers fellowship" for safety and security.

Nee began with indigenous local churches which spread through much of China. After his hiatus into business, he decided to direct all the faithful back to Shanghai apparently for further "training."

Lee took hold of a segment of the more serious Jesus People Movement by stressing Nee's initial ideals, which were very appealing to Viet Nam-era-Americans raised in denominations, but wanting something more. That was quite prevailing until Lee reverted back to his old ways via orchestrated 10-year "storms," at which time he instructed all the faithful back to Anaheim for the recovered "interpreted" word which alone would build us up.

Is there a pattern here somewhere?
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:55 PM   #36
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Also the author notes the obvious, that there was widespread sentiment on the ground, to be rid of Western control. Nee's church model fit desire this to a 't', and thus gained wide and fast acceptance. Not because it was intrinsically viable, or real, but because it met the needs on the ground, at the time. That it wasn't intrinsically real is also shown by how fast and drastically Nee modified it, opting for centralization versus autonomy.
Concerning the anti-Western movement, the object of Nee's ire was of course, denominations and denominationalism. Perhaps Nee's concerns about denominations weren't entirely unwarranted, I will give him that much. The trap that Nee fell into, however, was thinking that he had the fix for everything.

Just by comparison, Nee wasn't the only one who spoke out against denominations. Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist, can be quoted saying the following: "A plague upon denominationalism! There should be but one denomination: we should be denominated by the name of Christ, as the wife is named by her husbands name." What was the difference between Nee and Spurgeon? Nee reacted to denominations by prescribing the ground of locality. What did Spurgeon do? I don't know too much about him, but I do know that he didn't invent a new teaching as the solution to a problem that he saw. Why is this significant? Well, fast forward 100 years later, and guess what, denominationalism is less and less of a predominant force in Christianity. If it was ever a problem to begin with, then it appears that it has been fixing itself.

It seems to me that it is increasingly rare to see churches identified as Baptist, Methodist, etc. I wouldn't think that too many people care about denominational ties these days. Of course such ties still exist, but the difference is that it's not about party lines like it may have been in the past (though I'm not sure the problem was ever as bad as Nee/Lee made it out to be).

I am not out to determine whether or not Nee had valid criticism in the first place. I'm also not here to say whether denominationalism is a problem or not. What I want to say is that Christianity has changed over the last 100 years. This is a dynamic process that is happening right before our eyes. In the 60's and 70's non-denominational groups like Calvary Chapel came about. Such groups were essentially trying to distance themselves from the denominationalism of yesteryear, just like the LC. The existence of such groups didn't fit the LC paradigm, and even to this day I have heard some LCers insist on saying that such non-denominational groups are denominations. Tell me how that makes any sense.

Anyways, the true problem at hand is that Nee tried to prescribe a fix to a problem he saw. Today, those in the LC still want to prescribe that same 'fix' to a non-existent problem. This is not to say the problem was ever there in the first place, but if the problem did exist then, it certainly doesn't exist in the same form as now. I would really have a hard time believing that most people these days would care about what denomination a church is associated with.
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Old 02-19-2016, 06:24 PM   #37
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What I want to say is that Christianity has changed over the last 100 years. This is a dynamic process that is happening right before our eyes. Such groups were essentially trying to distance themselves from the denominationalism of yesteryear, just like the LC. The existence of such groups didn't fit the LC paradigm, and even to this day I have heard some LCers insist on saying that such non-denominational groups are denominations. Tell me how that makes any sense.
The Spirit of God used the tremendous social unrest of the late 60's (primarily Viet Nam protests on college campuses and racial tensions in the ghettos in reaction to MLK's murder) to breathe new life into His church. The old wineskins of the denominations we grew up in were rejected for something new from God. All sorts of experimental and transitional church settings were initiated, some of which survived and many did not.

When Witness Lee came to this country in the early 60's, the transition and unrest had just begun. At that time, there were basically only the denominations. In Ohio, we had Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Methodists, and Baptists. The European immigrants had come to find work in the cities, and they brought their denominations with them. These old Gothic architectural wonders called "churches" had become almost synonymous with the dying rust-belt culture. During this time of social upheaval, it was either change or die, and many could not. I was raised Catholic, and they tried to adjust by changing the Mass from Latin to English.

After Witness Lee was in this country, he added "free groups" to his hatred for denominations. Genesis Life Study Message (approx. #56) on Lot and his daughters was used to condemn these free groups in every way possible. That message is perhaps the most pathetic one Lee ever gave. Since then, however, many of these "free groups" have grown up to be non-denominational community churches. Lee had to condemn everything Christian to prove that he alone was the MOTA, and the LC's alone were His testimony.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:12 PM   #38
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After Witness Lee was in this country, he added "free groups" to his hatred for denominations. Genesis Life Study Message (approx. #56) on Lot and his daughters was used to condemn these free groups in every way possible. That message is perhaps the most pathetic one Lee ever gave. Since then, however, many of these "free groups" have grown up to be non-denominational community churches. Lee had to condemn everything Christian to prove that he alone was the MOTA, and the LC's alone were His testimony.
Today any Christian assembly not associated with Living Stream Ministry is considered to be denominational. Oh the hypocrisy of it all. Just by definition churches that associate only by Living Stream Ministry publication are at best denominational if not sectarian.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:44 PM   #39
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The Spirit of God used the tremendous social unrest of the late 60's (primarily Viet Nam protests on college campuses and racial tensions in the ghettos in reaction to MLK's murder) to breathe new life into His church. The old wineskins of the denominations we grew up in were rejected for something new from God. All sorts of experimental and transitional church settings were initiated, some of which survived and many did not.

When Witness Lee came to this country in the early 60's, the transition and unrest had just begun. At that time, there were basically only the denominations. In Ohio, we had Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Methodists, and Baptists. The European immigrants had come to find work in the cities, and they brought their denominations with them. These old Gothic architectural wonders called "churches" had become almost synonymous with the dying rust-belt culture. During this time of social upheaval, it was either change or die, and many could not. I was raised Catholic, and they tried to adjust by changing the Mass from Latin to English.

After Witness Lee was in this country, he added "free groups" to his hatred for denominations. Genesis Life Study Message (approx. #56) on Lot and his daughters was used to condemn these free groups in every way possible. That message is perhaps the most pathetic one Lee ever gave. Since then, however, many of these "free groups" have grown up to be non-denominational community churches. Lee had to condemn everything Christian to prove that he alone was the MOTA, and the LC's alone were His testimony.
I remember reading WL's message about the free groups. When I read it, kept wondering why they bothered him so much. Now it all makes sense. The Christianity that Nee judged is nothing close to what happened in the 60's and beyond. Lee had to account for the new groups forming that didn't fit what had been previously condemned.

Unfortunately, LCers are stuck in a mentality of criticizing and bashing a non-existent boogeyman. That's not to say they have the right to condemn God's people in the first place, but if nice if they at least knew what they were criticizing. In an age of diminishing denominationalism, WL's call for Christians to come out of denominations is laughable at best.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:06 PM   #40
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I believe that it is far more serious than this. When you subvert people's minds and infiltrate their thinking it becomes a cult. For example; castigating innocent believers by calling them "Death" and other derogatory terms, implants a bias in people's minds that influence and eventually erode their rational thinking. Many, if not all of us had to deal with these subliminal, implanted thoughts for years. Even the Holy Spirit is quenched under these circumstances as the victim believes that this nefarious speaking is the Spirit's speaking. But the truth is that the person making the accusation is the real man of death - one who lives in deception and darkness. Not the accused!

Other indicators are: Extreme emphasis on authority using exaggerated types, shadows and figures; Unconscionable lies and blatant slander against innocent brothers and sisters to coverup their own sinful behavior; Unbridled arrogance and pride; Covert operations to take over other assemblies - even those not started by them. Sad to say they learned this from their mentor who practiced this for decades; A rigid, fleshly legalism that robs members of their unique supply and function in and to the Body of Christ, replacing it with LSM dogma. The list can go on and on.

For all their lawsuits, they really should sue themselves for making themselves a cult.
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:51 AM   #41
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Concerning the anti-Western movement, the object of Nee's ire was of course, denominations and denominationalism.
The question worth asking is whether it was really denominations per se, but rather any group in any form that looked outside of China for its leadership.

So Nee created a group that looked no further than a supreme leader in China. And Lee exported it to the U.S. and other countries where the look for leadership would be to somewhere other than the U.S.

There is a big question whether either ever really believed in truly autonomous churches answering only to the Lord, but rather to a group of churches that answered to them rather than Rome, Springfield, MO, London, or wherever various denominations are headquartered.

They made a lot of noise about there being an earthly headquarters, but they really didn't believe what they were saying because the endgame was simply to move the earthly headquarters somewhere else. Since the source of our anti-denominationalism thinking springs from teachers who never really disbelieved in their place, then maybe we should look harder at the "evidence" that they are so contrary to the teachings in the Bible. Maybe there has been some sleight of hand and cunning craftiness bringing winds of doctrines as our reason to be open to everyone except those that do not follow us to the letter.
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Old 02-21-2016, 03:14 PM   #42
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Miss Barber had come to know the Lord in a living way. She had deeply experienced the cross and practiced continually the lessons of the cross. For this reason, she decided not to vindicate herself concerning the charges made against her. She remained at home in Great Britain for a number of years. At a certain point, the chairman of the mission board became aware that the case against her was misrepresented, and he asked her to tell him the truth. He said he realized that she was seeking to learn the lesson of the cross and that she would say nothing in her own defense, but as one in authority over her, he commanded her to tell the truth. Miss Barber then told the whole story. She was fully vindicated before the mission board, and the decision was made to send her back to China. However, she resigned from the mission, considering that it was the right time to do so, even though she still had the burden to return to China for the Lord's interest.

Before this time Miss Barber had come in contact with D.M. Panton. Mr. Panton was both a great student of the Word and one who had learned the evils of denominationalism. Through her relationship with him, Miss Barber also became clear concerning the denominations.

After spending much time in prayer, she felt the Lord Himself was sending her back to China. She did return to China, but this time not in connection with any mission. From a human standpoint, she went back on her own in the early part of this century. She settled in a suburb of Foochow, Watchman Nee's home city. She lived there with little traveling and no publicity. She simply remained at home, praying much for the Lord's move in China and helping those who sought her counsel in seeking after the Lord. She was, no doubt, a seed sown in China by the Lord for His recovery. She composed a number of poems, many of which have been adapted for inclusion in our hymnbook (Hymns, published by Living Stream Ministry). All of them exhibit a deep experience in Christ.
...
At that time over sixty young brothers and sisters received help from Miss Barber. Being deep in the Lord and exceedingly strict, she frequently rebuked the young people concerning many things. After a short time most of these young people stopped going to her. The only one who continued to see her was Watchman Nee. When he visited her, she rebuked and reproved him. Frequently she pointed out that as a young man he could not serve the Lord in this way or that way. However, the more she rebuked him, the more he returned to be rebuked. By deliberately putting himself before her to be rebuked, he received untold help.

Witness Lee, Watchman Nee-A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Chapter 3
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The question worth asking is whether it was really denominations per se, but rather any group in any form that looked outside of China for its leadership.
Please excuse the lengthy expert that I posted above from WL's book, but there are a few interesting things that I wanted to make mention of. First off, in response to your question, I think that the issue was probably a mix of both. Not too long ago, I made some posts on a different thread following aron's posts on Western imperialism. I think that WN/WL were likely influenced greatly by the perceived threats of Westerners.

By the same token, WN was also influenced by westerners and western writings that made mention of the supposed evils of denominationalism. WN was mentored by M.E. Barber from a young age. She thus had a great amount of influence on him. According to Lee, she was against denominations. I'm guessing that she probably worked to convince Nee of such views.

What made M.E Barber hate denominations? Well, part of the reason appears to be that she didn't get along with her mission board. She then resolved to move to China and hardly thought to contact anyone besides Nee. A bit odd, no? It seems that her 'individualistic' personality might have been a influencing factor that shaped Nee. She had no affiliations after a certain point in time, and this was the role-model that Nee had. I think that it's fair to say that Nee was following a very peculiar example to begin with.
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Old 02-21-2016, 04:15 PM   #43
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What made M.E Barber hate denominations? Well, part of the reason appears to be that she didn't get along with her mission board. She then resolved to move to China and hardly thought to contact anyone besides Nee. A bit odd, no? It seems that her 'individualistic' personality might have been a influencing factor that shaped Nee. She had no affiliations after a certain point in time, and this was the role-model that Nee had. I think that it's fair to say that Nee was following a very peculiar example to begin with.
This might reasonably be viewed as a rebellion against the leadership that she was otherwise under.

One of the faults of Protestantism — and one that even Martin Luther did not originally want — was that prior to that split, there was debate over issues or practice, theology, etc. That did not mean that errors would not arise. Or that change would be quick. Rather it sometimes took decades or even longer for movement on issues.

But after the protestant split, everyone felt free to just break away if someone didn't just go along with them after one or two brief discussions (being a little simplistic here, but we see it all the time). Now, despite what I refer to as a reasonable base of alternatives in various irrelevant issues on doctrine and in practice (which I do not necessarily see as negative), there is also a tendency to just take our marbles and go elsewhere if something is not perfectly to our liking. Whether the style of music or the stance on women preaching in the church, or whatever.

And the LRC is just another very over-the-top version of that long parade of splits over pet teachings, practices, or personalities. And in the case of both the Little Flock and then the LRC in the U.S., personality has been very important.
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:00 PM   #44
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And the LRC is just another very over-the-top version of that long parade of splits over pet teachings, practices, or personalities. And in the case of both the Little Flock and then the LRC in the U.S., personality has been very important.
This is the reason that I bring M.E. Barber into this. Ever since I first heard it, I have always have felt uneasy about the LC narrative of just what M.E. Barber was doing in China. They will claim that her being in China was the Lord’s sovereign arrangement for the ‘perfecting’ of Nee and that all this needed to happen on the “virgin soil” of China. By all indications, she was there in China as part of some kind of self-induced exile (kind of like Yoda – okay bad analogy). I see her a bit of a “lone wolf” type and we already know her to be highly esoteric. So why is this so significant? It all points to probability that she was more than likely trying to “prove herself” in China apart from any past affiliations.

According to what WL said, upon severing ties with her affiliations, it sounds like her work in China didn’t involve much of anything besides some inner-life stuff in her home (red flag #1). Upon meeting Nee, she put all her eggs in that basket (red flag #2). It is also significant that Lee mentioned that no one besides Nee could handle her rebuking (red flag #3). So Nee’s ‘foundation’ consisted of an independent missionary who by all indications was not someone who most would think wise to follow. I hope that no one gets me wrong, I’m not trying to criticize or ‘attack’ M.E. Barber. I respect her for what it’s worth, but I think OBW provides a good characterization of her, she was a ‘rebel’. That understanding is important when discussing Nee’s background.

I think that because of being mentored in a highly isolated environment, Nee easily took up to the idea of being part of, or heading a group that would be “God’s remnant”. I’m sure that Nee greatly appreciated his mentoring, but there is a tremendous amount of irony here. The idea of there being a remnant by its very definition is a distinction, even a distinction of all distinctions. So while others are unfortunately dividing over sometimes minor issues, those in the LC have divided themselves over both minor issues and also by the notion that all others are in apostasy, the latter being the defining distinction of the LC.
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:14 PM   #45
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This is the reason that I bring M.E. Barber into this. Ever since I first heard it, I have always have felt uneasy about the LC narrative of just what M.E. Barber was doing in China.

According to what WL said, upon severing ties with her affiliations, it sounds like her work in China didn’t involve much of anything besides some inner-life stuff in her home (red flag #1). Upon meeting Nee, she put all her eggs in that basket (red flag #2). It is also significant that Lee mentioned that no one besides Nee could handle her rebuking (red flag #3). So Nee’s ‘foundation’ consisted of an independent missionary who by all indications was not someone who most would think wise to follow.
What troubles me is Barber's unique modus operandi of public rebukes, which have been passed down for generations, and have morphed into public abuses, humiliations, shamings, etc. in oder to maintain the leader's power base. Supposedly this "perfecting technique" is unique to the Recovery, and recovered by a sister named Barber. But where is the scriptural support for this? Where are the safeguards and limitations placed on LC leaders?
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:11 PM   #46
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What troubles me is Barber's unique modus operandi of public rebukes, which have been passed down for generations, and have morphed into public abuses, humiliations, shamings, etc. in oder to maintain the leader's power base. Supposedly this "perfecting technique" is unique to the Recovery, and recovered by a sister named Barber. But where is the scriptural support for this? Where are the safeguards and limitations placed on LC leaders?
Such a practice stems from those accountable to no one. Though she didn't make any MOTA claims that I'm aware of, M.E. Barber didn't work together with anyone, and therein lies the problem as I see it. Barber could do whatever she wanted given that she was an independent missionary. Maybe denominational ties and accountability aren't so bad after all .
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:23 AM   #47
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Such a practice stems from those accountable to no one.
Not only so, but also guarantees accountability will never occur. My study of LC history has concluded that every so-called "storm" in the Recovery over the last century has occurred as a reaction to members calling for accountability from their leadership. By controlling the flow of information to the rank and file, LC leaders were successfully able to spin the calls for accountability to be merely "attacks from ambitious men."
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:38 AM   #48
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Nee’s ‘foundation’ consisted of an independent missionary who by all indications was not someone who most would think wise to follow...
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The Lord’s servant, Miss Margaret E. Barber, became a seed of the divine life in China. She learned the lessons of life, strictly disciplining herself to follow the Lamb in detailed obedience while also becoming a pattern to train the younger believers. Through this process she became a faithful steward, committing her learning to faithful men who later became competent teachers also (2 Tim. 2:2). Perhaps the most notable of those under her training hand was Watchman Nee.

In taking up the burden to move from Great Britain to China for the Lord’s interest, Miss Barber deeply experienced the cross and learned to live by faith. Her poems, some of which are included in this volume, exhibit her deep experiences of Christ. She was very much in the Lord’s presence, and she eagerly anticipated His coming back.

She paid more attention to life than to work.

In China she lived in a suburb of Foochow, traveling little and receiving no publicity. She simply prayed for the Lord’s move and helped those who sought her counsel in seeking after the Lord. Through Miss Barber, Watchman Nee obtained a foundation for his spiritual life. When the young Brother Nee would admire the eloquence, knowledge, ability, zeal, or natural power of persuasion shown by a Christian speaker, Miss Barber would point out that these things were neither of life nor of the Spirit. They could stir people up but could never minister life to people. She paid more attention to life than to work. She also warned the young brothers against doing a popular work, which would bring shipwreck to their spiritual life. By deliberately putting himself before Miss Barber’s instruction and strict rebukes, Brother Nee received much help.

In Witness Lee’s biography of Watchman Nee (Watchman Nee: A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1991, 18), he mentions the help Watchman Nee got from Dora Yu and Margaret Barber: “He frequently told others that it was through a sister [Dora Yu] that he was saved and that is was also through a sister [Margaret Barber] that he was edified.” It was Sister Barber who introduced Watchman Nee to the writings of D. M. Panton, Robert Govett, G. H. Pember, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and T. Austin-Sparks.

For this website we have put together a brief biography of Miss Barber along with several of her poems and letters and some words spoken in memorial when she went to be with the Lord. The biography was translated from a source found in Mainland China which does not give its author. It has been edited and corrected in some points. The poems were collected from The Dawn magazine (edited by D.M. Panton), from The Overcomer (edited by Jessie Penn-Lewis), and from Witness and Testimony (edited by T. Austin-Sparks). Twenty-two other poems of hers can be found in Hymns (published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, California).

This website is a reproduction of the book entitled M. E. Barber: A Brief History of the Lord’s Recovery, which was authored by James Reetzke and published by Chicago Bibles and Books.
I don't know much about Miss Barber except that she was severe and apparently humorless ("exceedingly strict", per Lee), and was fixated on 'life'. But everything here defined as 'life' can be used against Nee.

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She also warned the young brothers against doing a popular work, which would bring shipwreck to their spiritual life.
It seems that this is exactly what happened with Nee, and then with Lee. Popularity and shipwreck. How can anyone call this 'life'?

Popular ministers "stir people up, but don't deliver 'life'". Witness Lee certainly stirred people up. He openly declared this was his ambition - we sang songs based on this. When we got excited, we thought that was 'life'. Turns out it was popularity and shipwreck.
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:50 AM   #49
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By deliberately putting himself before Miss Barber’s instruction and strict rebukes, Brother Nee received much help..
Strict rebukes from a woman? A woman not under the leadership of any man? She introduced him to Jessie Penn-Lewis, the unstable "Jezebel" of the Welsh Revival?

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In Witness Lee’s biography of Watchman Nee (Watchman Nee: A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1991, 18), he mentions the help Watchman Nee got from Dora Yu and Margaret Barber: “He frequently told others that it was through a sister [Dora Yu] that he was saved and that is was also through a sister [Margaret Barber] that he was edified.” It was Sister Barber who introduced Watchman Nee to the writings of D. M. Panton, Robert Govett, G. H. Pember, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and T. Austin-Sparks.
Peace Wang, Jessie Penn-Lewis, M.E. Barber, Ruth Lee, Dora Yu, etc. How did females, supposedly (per Lee, Kangas, Philips et al) constitutionally unable to teach, wield such disproportionate influence upon Nee's spiritual formation?

Freedom has suggested something interesting: females were essentially disposable. In a male-dominated, post-feudal Chinese society, they were convenient for the rise, then could be dispensed with. Doyle's biography put it well. "He set himself up with closest "apostolic" coworkers Female A and Female B, with himself supreme." Female A and Female B won't challenge the Alpha Male (Male A) in this cultural setting; they're a firewall against apostolic co-workers Male B and Male C, who might begin to vie with the Alpha Male for supremacy.
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:11 AM   #50
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Nee created a group that looked no further than a supreme leader in China. And Lee exported it to the U.S. and other countries where the look for leadership would be to somewhere other than the U.S.

There is a big question whether either ever really believed in truly autonomous churches answering only to the Lord, but rather to a group of churches that answered to them rather than Rome, Springfield, MO, London, or wherever various denominations are headquartered.

They made a lot of noise about there being an earthly headquarters, but they really didn't believe what they were saying because the endgame was simply to move the earthly headquarters somewhere else.
That last sentence is spot-on: "the endgame was simply to move the earthly headquarters somewhere else." Headquarters moved from London or New York or Dusseldorf to Shanghai, with a brief "localism" interregnum which was merely a convenient (and necessary) stepping-stone from Point A to Point B.

As per belief (in, say, "autonomous churches answering only to the Lord"), I doubt Nee, for all his intelligence, was able to visualize the endgame. Likewise, I don't think women were chosen for early "chief apostolic co-worker" status deliberately, to soon be discarded (again, deliberately) once Nee was supreme. But that's how it worked out. Similarly, I doubt "localism" was merely a cynical ploy.

But as the lure of power distorts vision and corrupts the heart, so does absolute power, which Nee and Lee both eventually insisted upon, corrupts worst of all. Therefore, although I don't see evidence that the endgame was consciously sought, from the distance of time it looks inevitable. And it probably was.
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:32 AM   #51
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The Lord’s servant, Miss Margaret E. Barber, became a seed of the divine life in China. She learned the lessons of life ...They could stir people up but could never minister life to people. She paid more attention to life than to work.
This website is a reproduction of the book entitled M. E. Barber: A Brief History of the Lord’s Recovery, which was authored by James Reetzke and published by Chicago Bibles and Books.
This is so ironic ... I read this kind of stuff for years ... all this talk about "knowing life" in the Recovery. Balderdash as they say. M.E. Barber has become larger than life in TLR, a legend in her time. Whether she was or not we will never know.

Reminds me of the opening line of my family's Catholic Bible which always sat on the living room corner table. The opening page addressed the Assumption of Mary with the caption beneath, "Scriptures are silent, but legends abound ... " And so much of the history in TLR could also be summarized ... Scriptures are silent, but legends abound.

Apparently none of Barber's admirers have learned anything from her great learning. Take the author of this little blurb, James Reetzke Sr. of Chicago. For years he stood with Titus Chu and GLA Company against LSM's One Publication Edict. That was because "he knew life." Brother James even made the famous comment (in GLA circles anyways) that, "Christians have died for the right to publish!" What a great man of God, who knows life, and stands for the truth, ready to die if need be!

Then overnight Brother James Reetzke flip-flops his stance, siding with LSM against Titus Chu for publishing his own books thus violating LSM's greatest commandment. The repercussions were global. Does anybody know life anymore? Oh, and btw, as a concession for his loyalty, LSM now allows Brother James to continue to publish his own books through LSM's printing presses.
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:33 AM   #52
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Freedom has suggested something interesting: females were essentially disposable. In a male-dominated, post-feudal Chinese society, they were convenient for the rise, then could be dispensed with. Doyle's biography put it well. "He set himself up with closest "apostolic" coworkers Female A and Female B, with himself supreme." Female A and Female B won't challenge the Alpha Male (Male A) in this cultural setting; they're a firewall against apostolic co-workers Male B and Male C, who might begin to vie with the Alpha Male for supremacy.
I think that the LC has a very specific agenda with the whole M.E. Barber story. As you have said, the initial precedent of Nee's working with and appreciating female workers has no parallel in the LC today. I have suggested that WN didn't see female coworkers as 'threats' compared to male coworkers, but this doesn't account for Miss Barber.

In her relationship with Nee, M.E. Barber was the master and he was the apprentice. I think that Nee eventually came to see this relationship as his 'credentials' in his own quest for power, and his followers like Lee obviously picked up on what kind of meaning Nee wanted to assign to this relationship. There are two factors I see in why LCers see it beneficial to reference this relationship.

Firstly the relationship is used by LCers to show that Nee himself once submitted to someone, and it was very tough kind of submission at that. Having been under Barber, Nee could tell everyone that he too had submitted to someone in a way that would have been humiliating for most young men in a male-dominated society. I would think that he probably outdid most in being able to submit to someone. As the ultimate 'submitter', Nee could then discuss deputy authority and no one seemed to think twice about it. Since no one could match the standard that Nee had set, it was all too easy for him to set himself up as the shepherd of dump sheep who needed a lesson or two in submission. Apparently he had already paid his dues. I think this made it easy for everyone to let their guards down.

The second purpose that the Barber/Nee relationship has served is that it is viewed as the archetypal master/apprentice relationship in the LC. To go along with the deputy authority teaching and the idea of an unquestioned leader, it was extremely convenient to imply that submission to a leader who was known for humiliation and abuse was just fine. It is even seen as a necessary step to be 'perfected'. What could have been more convenient for Nee than to make reference to this relationship?
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:38 AM   #53
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Then overnight Brother James Reetzke flip-flops his stance, siding with LSM against Titus Chu for publishing his own books thus violating LSM's greatest commandment. The repercussions were global. Does anybody know life anymore? Oh, and btw, as a concession for his loyalty, LSM now allows Brother James to continue to publish his own books through LSM's printing presses.
In the LSM/LC culture the life card seems to be used liberally just as the Obama administration uses the race card liberally.
In respect to LSM, there's no consideration for character, righteousness, integrity, etc.
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Old 02-22-2016, 03:29 PM   #54
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"Scriptures are silent, but legends abound ... " And so much of the history in TLR could also be summarized ... Scriptures are silent, but legends abound.
In the Legend of Miss M.E. Barber, like those of Peace Wang, Dora Yu, Ruth Lee, and so on, we are asked to ignore the fact that none of these women would exist for 5 minutes in the Lord's recovery of Witness Lee or his Blended Lieutenants.

"Oh, but she was exceedingly strict!! She rebuked and rebuked, and rebuked!!"

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As the ultimate 'submitter', Nee could then discuss deputy authority and no one seemed to think twice about it.

The second purpose that ... it was extremely convenient to imply that submission to a leader who was known for humiliation and abuse was just fine. It is even seen as a necessary step to be 'perfected'. What could have been more convenient for Nee than to make reference to this relationship?
It seems to benefit both ways, here. As the total disciple of the exceedingly strict Miss M.E. Barber, WN thus became the paragon of self-control. And combined with his forays into the fields of untrammeled subjectivism (think Jessie Penn-Lewis, Madame Guyon) he could then decide what "life" wanted him to do. Since he had such self-control, he was therefore completely pliable in the hands of "life". He was a Spiritual Man.

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In the LSM/LC culture the life card seems to be used liberally
See my comments, above. If you are under the "discipline" of the "trainer", then you can wallow in subjectivism and never disconnect from God. Who needs scriptures? Just pick a convenient launching point, and you are off.
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Old 02-22-2016, 06:52 PM   #55
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In the Doyle biography, I only see one other co-worker besides women like Peace Wang and Ruth Lee. A brother named Leland Wang, and it says is that they split early, over doctrine. And in Nee's autobiographical writings, a brief mention of a Faithful Luke and a Simon Meek.

Then there is Lee. None others to be seen. Where are the male co-workers? There was a striking passage where Nee lamented to Sparks that he had no peers. Even 20 years later, the anonymous "Shanghai elders" deposed Nee; they weren't important enough for names, I guess.

The whole history of the Lord's Recovery/Little Flock seems fishy, to me. Why no male co-apostles? By design or happenstance? None who could stand shoulder to shoulder? Or none allowed? Asian culture, here?
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:05 AM   #56
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The whole history of the Lord's Recovery/Little Flock seems fishy, to me. Why no male co-apostles?
In the Lee biography of Nee, there was an absence of names, besides Peace Wang, Dora Yu, Ruth Lee, and Margaret Barber. (Perhaps there were more, I don't remember any standing out).


In Nee's testimony, the same thing. A few at the beginning, then a faceless and de-humanized "church". I wonder what happened.


Here is a testimony of one who started with Nee, learning under Barber. But the two could not work together for long, and parted.

Quote:
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I am a Chinese by birth and a Christian by rebirth. I am a Chinese by race, and a Christian by grace.

We Chinese are known as a persevering people, but the Spirit of God overshadows even our Oriental persistence. There was a time when I used a copy of the Bible as a postage stamp album, but over the years the Spirit of God probed at the door of my heart, and the Bible is now my most precious possession.

My day always begins with a reading of God's Word. If it does not, I go hungry, for my motto is, "No Bible, No Breakfast."

I was born in Fuzhou, China, in 1898. The first Bible I ever saw was given to my father by Hsu Sanyu, a Christian friend of the family, when I was nine years old. I asked my father for it, although I could not understand a word, as it was in English.

The book made a wonderful stamp album. At the age of fourteen I broke an ankle in a fall from a high iron fence near our house. I became discouraged during the two months I was confined in a Shanghai hospital, for I feared I should never walk again. For the first time I wondered in adolescent fashion about deeper problems. Where did I come from? What is the purpose of life? Where do we go after death? In the years that followed I studied Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, but they gave no answers. I decided to let the future take care of itself.

After our marriage, my Christian wife, Ada, led me back to a search for life's truth. While attending church with her one day, I heard the congregation singing, "Nearer, My God, to Thee." I thought, "That must be a wonderful God. I've never heard anyone sing, 'Nearer, my idol, to thee.'" I reflected upon all the good works — hospitals, schools, missions -- built in China in the name of Jesus. Even the history of the world is dated before and after His birth, I reasoned.

Plunging past the Begats

This man Jesus Christ intrigued me, and Ada told me the Bible was the best book from which to learn of Him. She introduced me to Miss Evelyn Wallace, a Canadian missionary and teacher at Hwa Nan College in Fuzhou, who was conducting a Bible study for anyone interested. I joined the study.

I entered into an examination of Matthew because I was told the Old Testament was too hard for beginners. I began to be disappointed as I read, "Abraham begat Isaac: and Isaac begat Jacob..."; but I kept reading.
As I came to the Sermon on the Mount, I marveled at the remarkable teaching unfolding to me. "No man ever spoke like this man."

As I continued to study. I began to see myself as a lost sinner whom Christ had come "to seek and to save." When I read, "Blessed are the pure in heart," I realized I needed a pure heart to see God.

The Bible became a different kind of book to me, and through reading it I came to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.

Thank God for the happy day that fixed my choice on Christ! Confucianism teaches us the duty of life; Buddhism, the vanity of life; Taoism, the simplicity of life; but Christ gives us the eternity and glory of life. Ada, who became a Christian under the ministry of Miss Ruth Paxson shortly before our marriage, was overjoyed at my conversion. My mother, who had been a Buddhist, soon came to the Lord. One by one, others in the family came to accept Jesus as "the way, the truth, and the life."

In 1921, while serving as a lieutenant on a Chinese gunboat, I felt led to proclaim God's Word. Later I began to preach in the open air, drawing crowds by ringing a hand bell. I rented a hall in Foochow that later became known as the Christian Assembly, and was joined by Watchman Lee, my younger brother Wilson, Simon Meek of Manila, Faithful Luke of Singapore, and John Wang of Taiwan. This turned out to be the genesis of a vital Christian evangelical movement in China.

One Blow for Each Minute

As time went on, I yearned for a way to become well versed in the Scriptures. I needed a plan of study, and God led me to Acts 17:11, which tells how the Christians in Berea searched the Scriptures daily.

Daily! To systematically study the Word I determined to read a portion each day. But when? I realized my trouble was that I liked to sleep late and then rush into my daily activities. When evening came, I was too tired to read and continually postponed my study until the next day. Again God led me to several verses in Proverbs, one of which. Proverbs 6:9, says, "How long will you sleep, O sluggard?"

So I decided to rise each day at 6 a.m. to read my Bible. I began this discipline when I was twenty-one, while studying at the Naval College in Nanking. There was no central heating; the cold winter provided little incentive for my plan.

After some time I faltered. So I prayed for dedication and disciplined myself by hitting my hand with a stick once for each minute I was late in rising. I think the longest I overslept was thirty minutes — which was a painful experience! My wife and others thought this punishment a little crazy. But it got results. I overslept only a few times.

Later I found an even more effective means of ensuring my early reading. If I did not read at least one chapter to start the day, I did not eat my breakfast. "No Bible, No Breakfast" became my motto.

The Bible has been my daily companion. With no Christian schooling it was the only way I had to gain knowledge of the Word. Needless to say, the reading has helped immeasurably to strengthen my faith. Very early in my Christian service I found answers in the Bible to meet the problems that arose.

Three things have greatly helped my daily Bible reading: First, carrying a Bible or New Testament in my pocket wherever I go. Verses can be read in spare moments. I always have the Word of God within easy reach. Second, establishing my motto. I have lived by "No Bible, No Breakfast" for forty-four years; not as a law to bind me, but as a motto to remind me. For "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."

2 + 2 + 5 + 1 = Breakfast

Third, having a plan. I read ten chapters daily: two each in the Old and New Testaments, plus five in Psalms and one in Proverbs. This way one can finish the Old Testament once a year, the New Testament three times a year, and Psalms and Proverbs once a month.

The Psalms teach me to pray and praise in my dealings with God. Proverbs teaches me how to live and deal with men. I have read these books over four hundred times, and they have not lost their freshness. There are thirty-one chapters in Proverbs. I used Proverbs as my travelling calendar and have no trouble remembering dates.

This is my plan of daily Bible reading. I do not expect everyone to follow it, as it is rather a big order. But everyone should develop some sort of systematized study plan.

"No Checkie, No Shirtie"

A man in Pennsylvania said to me one day, "Brother Wang, I know where you got your motto 'No Bible, No Breakfast': you must have learned it from your Chinese laundryman, 'No checkie, no shirtie!'"

I replied, "No, sir, I learned it from Matthew 6:33: 'But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.'"

And since two negatives make a positive, I not only get my Bible but my breakfast, too.

Reprinted from Decision Magazine, August 1965 (© 1965, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association). In 1928 Leland Wang formed the Chinese Foreign Missionary Union, committed to the task of evangelism and mission endeavor to the scattered Chinese in the South Seas of Asia. From the 1940s to the 1960s Wang extended his preaching ministry to the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. He evangelized the Chinese Diaspora and stirred Western Christians in holy living and ardent outreach to Asia. Wang received the Doctor of Divinity degree from Wheaton College in recognition of his labors on behalf of Christ. He is sometimes referred to as the "Moody of China." He was associated with Watchman Nee.
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:14 AM   #57
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Default More on Leland Wang

The below quote is from another thread, on Lee. But it seemed appropriate to consider here, as well.
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Originally Posted by OBW View Post
But the fluid rules that underpinned Lee's theology were not something he didn't already know. He knew he was going toward Deputy Authority. And there was always going to be the one who was the most spiritual in any room. And it was always going to be Lee. He just couldn't spring that one on us so early.
Leland Wang was born in 1898. Watchman Nee was born in 1903. According to Nee, Miss Barber said that the younger should submit to the older. I suppose that Leland Wang, a fellow pupil of Barber's, was one of the older ones that Nee mentioned struggling with.

Evidently Wang couldn't see that Nee was the most spiritual one in the room, so Nee had to let him go, eventually. According to Wang, it was he who rented the hall that became the Shanghai Assembly; he was joined by Nee, and others. But ultimately it was Nee running the place.

And yet, Wang clearly didn't fall away from his initial calling, becoming an influential preacher. Why didn't Nee receive him as a peer? Even a superior? Why did Nee tell T.A. Sparks that he had no peers, no confidantes? Something seems wrong with the picture, here.
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:16 AM   #58
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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Originally Posted by Leland Wang
I am a Chinese by birth and a Christian by rebirth. I am a Chinese by race, and a Christian by grace.

After our marriage, my Christian wife, Ada, led me back to a search for life's truth. While attending church with her one day, I heard the congregation singing, "Nearer, My God, to Thee." I thought, "That must be a wonderful God. I've never heard anyone sing, 'Nearer, my idol, to thee.'" I reflected upon all the good works — hospitals, schools, missions -- built in China in the name of Jesus. Even the history of the world is dated before and after His birth, I reasoned.
This is one thing that always bothers me about Nee's and Lee's story-telling about the beginnings of the "Recovery" in China. I always heard about those dire, dead, deplorable, and dreaded denominations in China during the early 20th century. Never did I hear Nee or Lee appreciate all the good works — hospitals, schools, missions -- built in China in the name of Jesus.
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Old 02-23-2016, 04:29 PM   #59
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Never did I hear Nee or Lee appreciate all the good works — hospitals, schools, missions -- built in China in the name of Jesus.
You know what's interesting about Leland Wang? He was also there, getting "perfected" by Margaret Barber. He was in the same exact cultural and historical milieu. He was there, renting the hall for the Shanghai Christian Assembly. He was gathering with Watchman Nee and all the rest, ringing bells and wearing "gospel shirts".

And you know what? It looks like he "dropped his culture", just like Lee and Nee were supposed to do. He accepted and received Billy Graham, and was received by Billy Graham, if the article from 1965 is to be believed.

He was okay with "churches, schools, and missions ... in the name of Jesus." He didn't sneer at it, then turn around and build some exclusive "training center". He didn't deride (from what I can see) "Campus Chrusade for Christ" or "Intervarsity", then push some "Christians on Campus" as if it were newer and truer.

So who dropped their concepts and their native culture here - Witness, or Watchman, or Leland?

Did Leland ever insist that all churches everywhere have to be "absolutely identical"? That there can only be one apostle per age? Who had trouble letting go, here? Seems to me that he was free, and Nee and Lee never escaped their culture.
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Old 02-23-2016, 05:11 PM   #60
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You know what's interesting about Leland Wang? He was also there, getting "perfected" by Margaret Barber. He was in the same exact cultural and historical milieu. He was there, renting the hall for the Shanghai Christian Assembly. He was gathering with Watchman Nee and all the rest, ringing bells and wearing "gospel shirts".

And you know what? It looks like he "dropped his culture", just like Lee and Nee were supposed to do. He accepted and received Billy Graham, and was received by Billy Graham, if the article from 1965 is to be believed.

He was okay with "churches, schools, and missions ... in the name of Jesus." He didn't sneer at it, then turn around and build some exclusive "training center". He didn't deride (from what I can see) "Campus Chrusade for Christ" or "Intervarsity", then push some "Christians on Campus" as if it were newer and truer.

So who dropped their concepts and their native culture here - Witness, or Watchman, or Leland?

Did Leland ever insist that all churches everywhere have to be "absolutely identical"? That there can only be one apostle per age? Who had trouble letting go, here? Seems to me that he was free, and Nee and Lee never escaped their culture.
One has only to compare the Deputy Authority doctrine in the LC with 5 millennia of Chinese dynasties to under stand who never dropped their "culture."

The same thing happened in Rome. Why is it that, as Caesar's hold on power and exaltation as a demigod waned, the papal bishop of Rome rose in prominence and power to replace him as the Vicar of Christ, the Holy See, etc.
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Old 02-24-2016, 11:51 AM   #61
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

I was curious to see what was Wright Doyle's sources. They are as follows:
  • Lilly Hsu-Unforgettable Memoirs: The Shanghai Local Church
  • Lily Hsu-Watchman Nee and My Life
  • Angus Kinnear-Against the Tide
  • Wing-hung Lam-A Dictionary of Asian Christianity
  • Dana Roberts-Secrets of Watchman Nee
  • Lian Xi-Redeemed by Fire
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:01 PM   #62
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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Originally Posted by Ohio
This is one thing that always bothers me about Nee's and Lee's story-telling about the beginnings of the "Recovery" in China. I always heard about those dire, dead, deplorable, and dreaded denominations in China during the early 20th century. Never did I hear Nee or Lee appreciate all the good works — hospitals, schools, missions -- built in China in the name of Jesus.
The more that I read about what was happening in China during Nee's time, the more I realize that there was so much else going on. Because Nee was an influential figure even outside the LC, it has probably been easy for people to overlook everything else that was going on in China during that time.

I don't doubt that some of Nee's work was beneficial, but I notice an agenda starting with Nee which carried over to Lee. They were out to give themselves more credit than anyone else and to discredit anyone who could be considered a rival.

Sadly, all the good works that were being done in places like China by missionaries during that time were deemed to be meaningless by Nee. Had he not been so quick to dismiss such things, maybe he could have appreciated them for what they were.
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:41 AM   #63
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
The more that I read about what was happening in China during Nee's time, the more I realize that there was so much else going on. Because Nee was an influential figure even outside the LC, it has probably been easy for people to overlook everything else that was going on in China during that time.

I don't doubt that some of Nee's work was beneficial, but I notice an agenda starting with Nee which carried over to Lee. They were out to give themselves more credit than anyone else and to discredit anyone who could be considered a rival.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
I was curious to see what was Wright Doyle's sources. They are as follows:
  • Lilly Hsu-Unforgettable Memoirs: The Shanghai Local Church
  • Lily Hsu-Watchman Nee and My Life
  • Angus Kinnear-Against the Tide
  • Wing-hung Lam-A Dictionary of Asian Christianity
  • Dana Roberts-Secrets of Watchman Nee
  • Lian Xi-Redeemed by Fire
There are more sources out there, which give lie to Lee's simplistic and self-serving narrative, "Then on the virgin soil of China, God raised up Watchman Nee..."

I googled "Watchman Nee - Leland Wang - Dana Roberts" and the fourth hit was a 2000 PhD thesis on Chinese Christian missiology, and the subsequent emergence of the indigenous Chinese church, circa 1900-1949, which (lo and behold) wasn't limited to Watchman Nee. The author was a participant and witness of many events and personalities covered in the thesis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moses Lee-Kung Yu
This study is a historical and theological analysis of aspects of the development of the Chinese indigenous churches from the missionary movement from the year 1900 to 1949. I was born in 1920 and entered Christian ministry gradually during this period. There were important events and influential persons with whom I had personal experiences, so this history relates also to my life story.

I am a third-generation Christian. My father was educated under Dr. Calvin Mateer, who was the president of Kwang Win Christian College. He was taught by Dr. Mateer himself, and received music instruction from Mrs. Mateer. After his graduation from college, my father taught at the Quaker-run Friends Academy. I grew up and received my basic education at this evangelical academy. Hence, my family background and early life was characterized by a close association with missions and missionaries.

When the Sino-Japanese War started at 1937, we had severely limited choices as we were in the midst of thousands of refugees. By faith we walked 1300 lis (Chinese "miles") inland and to the western region of China. My father was killed by a Japanese bomb at the Christian and Missionary Alliance church at Kweilin (Kwangxi).

My growth and development at a Christian were closely linked to the revival movement in evangelical churches and missions which reached its peak in the years 1930-1940. Of special importance is a great revival meeting in 1925 led by a great evangelist of that time, Leland Wong. Many young people, who were destined to have a great impact on the Chinese church, consecrated their lives to the service of God as a result of that meeting. Among them were Andrew Gih, Chow Chih-Yu, Alice Lan, Betty Hu, Lu Xuan, Timothy Chao, Zu Kwie Shen and others. I became acquainted to most of them. I also heard John Sung, Watchman Nee, and Wang Ming Tao preach, and witnessed the ordination of Rev. Dr. Jia Yu Ming. All of these people influenced me greatly, and after the death of my father I consecrated myself to full-time ministry.

For five years I participated in the Christian college student movement as co-worker with Calvin Chao. Through the student movement the quality and standard of Chinese ministers was raised from a basic high school level to higher education for ministers. Writing about developments in the Chinese Church between 1900 and 1949 thus reminds me about things and persons very close and dear to me and this partly motivated my choice of this thesis topic.
One point of note, more explicit in Roberts' biography, is that Leland Wang, another of Miss Barber's students, appears initially in the lead, circa 1925 and for some reason Nee broke off with him. It seems that it wasn't Nee initially taking the lead with Wang refusing to follow, but the opposite. I can only presume that Watchman Nee found some doctrinal/procedural reason to separate himself from Leland Wang's leadership. And it's not that Leland Wang subsequently disappeared from the gospel narrative; on the contrary he remained a noteworthy figure. He just disappeared from Witness Lee's narrative; he didn't advance Lee's agenda, and therefore didn't exist. In Lee's narrative, only Watchman Nee had emerged functionally intact from Miss Barber's School of Exceedingly Strict Discipline.

Regarding Watchman Nee's copying extensive sections of others' materials without attribution, Yu quotes the editor's preface to the 1932 edition of The Spiritual Man:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yu p.114
In the first edition, it was not that these differentiations [i.e. matters covered] were unknown. Rather, it was thought that, if the underlying spiritual truths and principles are correct, then the terminology used were not of the essence. Even the amendments for this edition initially did not include those differences. It was only a few days ago that the Lord specifically pointed this out to me... I also hope that, in the future, all these changes can be implemented across the board to all publications."
In other words, Nee copied verbatim, and didn't change the wording, and didn't attribute. As the editor so delicately put it, ''the terminology used were not of the essence''... nor apparently were attributions. But, the editor continues, now that the work has become popular, we acknowledge this defect and at some point hope to correct it.

Yu also notes that in "The Normal Christian Church Life", written 10 years later, Nee refers to original source materials and references. (p.117) So Nee eventually learned the necessary rudiments of scholarship. I think that Nigel Tomes' article on Lee's plagiarism shows a similar trajectory: don't use quotation marks or attribution unless you think that circumstances force your hand.

Also, in the first pages, Yu gives extensive coverage to the deep and widespread anti-Western sentiment which led to various localized or nativist Chinese Christian expressions. "The denominations" neatly coincided with foreign cultural hegemony. How convenient.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:04 AM   #64
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The more that I read about what was happening in China during Nee's time, the more I realize that there was so much else going on. Because Nee was an influential figure even outside the LC, it has probably been easy for people to overlook everything else that was going on in China during that time.

I don't doubt that some of Nee's work was beneficial, but I notice an agenda starting with Nee which carried over to Lee. They were out to give themselves more credit than anyone else and to discredit anyone who could be considered a rival.

Sadly, all the good works that were being done in places like China by missionaries during that time were deemed to be meaningless by Nee. Had he not been so quick to dismiss such things, maybe he could have appreciated them for what they were.
Very shortly after my first LC meeting, I came across Kinnear's biography of Nee, Against the Tide. The book title corresponded with whatever else I had gleaned at the time, so I looked forward to reading it. I happened to mention the book to a Chinese elder in Cleveland, who seemed alarmed at my choice of reading material, as a new member of the church in Cleveland.

He assured me that the book had "more than 200 major errors," which shocked me at the time, and so I promptly discarded the paperback. I never did hear who had determined all those errors, but I'm sure it was Lee. Since the only available history on Nee that I knew of at the time was Kinnear's, I, like every other LC adherent, was left with Lee's oral traditions of Nee.

Like everything else related to Lee, we are always confronted with the stark choice: either only Witness Lee is faithfully accurate and truthful and all others pernicious liars, or vice versa.
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Old 02-25-2016, 12:18 PM   #65
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Like everything else related to Lee, we are always confronted with the stark choice: either only Witness Lee is faithfully accurate and truthful and all others pernicious liars, or vice versa.
Then there's what Witness Lee spoke in Taipei 1990 as found in the foreward of The Mysteries of God's New Testament Economy :

"The book The Fermentation of the Present Rebellion includes my spoken messages, but its content was edited afterward by me personally. I have carefully checked all the facts and have tried my best to be accurate, to be without any mistakes. In addition to an account of the beginning and development of the whole period of the rebellion, the content of that book includes personal testimonies from over thirty brothers. Therefore, concerning this storm, I have spoken the clarifying and concluding word that I needed to speak. I have absolutely no more interest in talking about this matter. This matter now stops here. I hope that you brothers who have come to attend this conference will not mention it anymore. It does not deserve any more mentioning."

Ohio, based on the quoted text I believe it's the vice versa.
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Old 02-25-2016, 03:00 PM   #66
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Therefore, concerning this storm, I have spoken the clarifying and concluding word that I needed to speak. I have absolutely no more interest in talking about this matter. This matter now stops here. I hope that you brothers who have come to attend this conference will not mention it anymore. It does not deserve any more mentioning."

Ohio, based on the quoted text I believe it's the vice versa.
The blendeds claim that they follow WL absolutely, so why is it that they can't resist the incessant vague references to times of 'turmoil' or 'rebellion' bygone? WL told them to not speak of it anymore.

The fact of the matter is, the LC is a system where the constant rewriting of history has become necessary for the survival of the movement. The blendeds know this more than anyone. If there was a way for LCers to become aware of on a broad scale of the truth of all the events that have been covered up, the very existence of the movement could be at stake.
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Old 02-25-2016, 03:17 PM   #67
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Very shortly after my first LC meeting, I came across Kinnear's biography of Nee, Against the Tide. The book title corresponded with whatever else I had gleaned at the time, so I looked forward to reading it. I happened to mention the book to a Chinese elder in Cleveland, who seemed alarmed at my choice of reading material, as a new member of the church in Cleveland.

He assured me that the book had "more than 200 major errors," which shocked me at the time, and so I promptly discarded the paperback. I never did hear who had determined all those errors, but I'm sure it was Lee. Since the only available history on Nee that I knew of at the time was Kinnear's, I, like every other LC adherent, was left with Lee's oral traditions of Nee.

Like everything else related to Lee, we are always confronted with the stark choice: either only Witness Lee is faithfully accurate and truthful and all others pernicious liars, or vice versa.
It is clear that even dating back to the time of Nee, there was a consistent effort to color history a certain way. It all started with the promoting of a man and a ministry. Much of the turmoil surrounding Nee's later life wasn't made known until many years later. Sad to say, books with titles like Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age didn't seem suspicious to me until I realized that there were negative aspects to Nee.

Regarding the various biographies of Nee, it would seem like Lily Hsu's book is one that LSM might view as a threat. This begs the question of why a positive book like Against the Tide would have provoked a strong reaction so many years ago. I haven't read that book, but I can assume that it doesn't elevate Nee to the status of a MOTA or a Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age. That is probably the issue right there. The supposed 'inaccuracies' are just an excuse. It doesn't present the LSM sanctioned history, therefore it is viewed as borderline poisonous even though it likely paints Nee in a positive light.

LCers could manage nothing less than to view Nee as the MOTA. They have gone to great lengths to get him mentioned in congress. In the LC people are told that Nee influenced millions of Christians in China and beyond. If such claims are true, that is a better legacy than anyone could ask for (and we know LCers care about legacy). It really makes one wonder why they still feel the need to sensationalize Nee. It's not like Nee is unknown outside the LC. At any rate, it is very telling how much the LC is concerned with promoting legacy.
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:57 PM   #68
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The fact of the matter is, the LC is a system where the constant rewriting of history has become necessary for the survival of the movement. The blendeds know this more than anyone. If there was a way for LCers to become aware of on a broad scale of the truth of all the events that have been covered up, the very existence of the movement could be at stake.
I recently watched a program about Joseph Stalin whose paranoia was legendary. He would assassinate his lieutenants just for becoming too popular with the people, though still absolutely loyal to him. His historians were constantly rewriting history to expunge all those who got bumped off, and then his photographers had to go back over all the photographs and carefully remove them from sight.

Lee was similarly paranoid, as was TC.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:23 PM   #69
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I recently watched a program about Joseph Stalin whose paranoia was legendary. He would assassinate his lieutenants just for becoming too popular with the people, though still absolutely loyal to him. His historians were constantly rewriting history to expunge all those who got bumped off, and then his photographers had to go back over all the photographs and carefully remove them from sight.

Lee was similarly paranoid, as was TC.
One is only paranoid when you think you have something that someone else can take away. TC and WL must have always been looking over their shoulders at up and coming brothers who could take their place.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:23 PM   #70
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I recently watched a program about Joseph Stalin whose paranoia was legendary. He would assassinate his lieutenants just for becoming too popular with the people, though still absolutely loyal to him. His historians were constantly rewriting history to expunge all those who got bumped off, and then his photographers had to go back over all the photographs and carefully remove them from sight.

Lee was similarly paranoid, as was TC.
Lee's history is punctuated by purges of his closest coworkers. In many cases, I don't think they were ever threats to him, but like you say, he was paranoid nonetheless. Maybe the current crop of blendeds would have suffered the same fate as others did had Lee lived longer.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:20 PM   #71
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I recently watched a program about Joseph Stalin whose paranoia was legendary. He would assassinate his lieutenants just for becoming too popular with the people, though still absolutely loyal to him. His historians were constantly rewriting history to expunge all those who got bumped off, and then his photographers had to go back over all the photographs and carefully remove them from sight.

Lee was similarly paranoid, as was TC.
It is quite apparent to anyone who has read and studied the history and evidence concerning Witness Lee's life that he had a large ego and a short temper; Often destroying those that he considered his opposers. Even worse is the fact that he actually appears to believe the lies that he presented in his slanderous book. This indicates a mind and personality that loves power to the point of being delusional. The blendeds are now continuing this legacy. May the Lord have mercy
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:52 PM   #72
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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One is only paranoid when you think you have something that someone else can take away. TC and WL must have always been looking over their shoulders at up and coming brothers who could take their place.
Someone has wisely said that famous dictum that “it is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

Such was deputy authority in the LC's.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:55 PM   #73
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Lee's history is punctuated by purges of his closest coworkers. In many cases, I don't think they were ever threats to him, but like you say, he was paranoid nonetheless. Maybe the current crop of blendeds would have suffered the same fate as others did had Lee lived longer.
Those who knew and loved brother John Ingalls know unquestionably that he was never a threat to Lee, only that he stood up for righteousness on behalf of the saints he served.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:56 PM   #74
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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It is quite apparent to anyone who has read and studied the history and evidence concerning Witness Lee's life that he had a large ego and a short temper; Often destroying those that he considered his opposers. Even worse is the fact that he actually appears to believe the lies that he presented in his slanderous book. This indicates a mind and personality that loves power to the point of being delusional. The blendeds are now continuing this legacy. May the Lord have mercy
Quite a fitting description of the leadership in TLR.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:16 PM   #75
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Those who knew and loved brother John Ingalls know unquestionably that he was never a threat to Lee, only that he stood up for righteousness on behalf of the saints he served.
Something that came to mind today is that before those like John Ingalls and Bill Mallon ever became concerned about the LC, there were signs that their days were numbered...

Please excuse the bad analogy, but it’s kind of like at a job when suddenly a certain person is excluded from meetings, discussions, etc., and not long afterwards, they are terminated. When WL started the “new way”, his most senior coworkers besides Benson were completely excluded. They had only failed to promote WL and his ministry office like Benson had been doing. Bill Mallon and John Ingalls had reason to be concerned about this, but any mention of the fact that they were being excluded would have brought about accusations of 'ambition' (and this is exactly what happened eventually).

Bill Mallon and John Ingalls had every right to be concerned, since they were some of WL’s closest coworkers. There is no evidence to indicate that they were ever a threat to WL. They were brought up under a different era of Leeism, an era which WL wanted to completely do away with to bring in a new era of unprecedented Leeism. I think by most indications, they had supported WL to a 'T' up until the late 80’s. That is noteworthy considering all the questionable things that WL did. What more could WL had asked for? Nonetheless, even such adamant supporters were considered to be expendable.

Not long after, WL brought in new, younger coworkers to ridicule the older coworkers who had been WL’s strongest supporters. It really was all part of WL’s quest for power. I don’t know that anyone really posed a threat to WL’s stardom, but that was irrelevant to WL. He was paranoid, plain and simple. His treatment of his closest coworkers attest to that.
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Old 02-27-2016, 05:12 AM   #76
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

John was and is a man that loves the cross and lives by it. If anyone "is" always in his spirit, then John is such a person. Our brother Lee did not seem to like the cross very much. This statement was made by others who were co-workers of his for a number of years.

Today the fruit of the Sprit and especially "Holding the Truth in Love" is not practiced or even correctly acknowledged in the current LSM leadership. More like "Holding the Lie in Unrighteousness".

One prominent example is: Reversing the excommunication of Phillip Lee knowing fully well that he willingly and continually committed the gross sins mentioned in Corinthians. The current leadership subsequently apologizied to Phillip and later appended their signatures to the letter of apology because Phillip Lee was insulted. This action itself is a serious sin and a gross violation to the Sanctity of the Body of Christ. Witness Lee also took part in this. If that was not enough they began an aggressive smear campaign against innocent brothers and sisters whom the Lord loves, simply because they told the truth. This castigating campaign continues in full force today, compounding the effects of the original sin. How can these people expect the Lord's blessing?
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:37 AM   #77
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Default Re: Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee

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John was and is a man that loves the cross and lives by it. If anyone "is" always in his spirit, then John is such a person. Our brother Lee did not seem to like the cross very much. This statement was made by others who were co-workers of his for a number of years.

Today the fruit of the Sprit and especially "Holding the Truth in Love" is not practiced or even correctly acknowledged in the current LSM leadership. More like "Holding the Lie in Unrighteousness".
Or perhaps it could be said of the Blendeds, "Holding the Lee in Unrighteousness."
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:23 AM   #78
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Default G Wright Doyle's Biography of Nee - Updated October 28 2016


Nee Watchman
(Ni Tuosheng)
1903 ~ 1972
By: G Wright Doyle
Newly revised on October 28, 2016

Born November 4, 1903, in Shantou, Guangdong, of churchgoing parents, Ni was called Shucu ("declare your ancestors' merits"). His parents moved to Fuzhou when he was six. (Later, he took the name Tuosheng, which is the sound produced when a time-watcher hits the bamboo gong at night.) Shortly after his birth, his parents returned to Fuzhou, where Ni received his early education in Chinese classical studies, with a private tutor for calligraphy and the Four Confucian Classics.

Ni’s father, the son of a Christian preacher, was active in his church, though his mother’s faith was nominal during his youth. He attended the Church Missionary society (CMS) Chinese vernacular school, St. Mark’s English High School, and starting in 1916 the junior high school at the Anglican Trinity College, which was run by the Church Missionary Society. At first, he was not interested in the required biblical instruction. In April, 1920, however, both he and his mother were converted through the ministry of Dora Yu (Yu Cidu), a Methodist evangelist.

Yu also introduced Ni to Margaret E. Barber (1869-1930), an independent English missionary who became the most important personal influence on his theological development. Barber had renounced her ties to the Anglican church and embraced a “life of faith,” depending on no one for financial support. Ni and his mother, having rejected as unbiblical their baptism as infants in the Methodist church, were re-baptized by Barber in 1921.

From the time of his conversion, Ni became a diligent student of the Scriptures and a constant witness to Christ. He joined with several other students of Trinity College, including Wang Zai (Leland Wang), to form a home fellowship. They split, however, when Ni insisted upon a total dissociation from Western denominations, which he had come to consider anti-Christian. Disenchanted with Anglican doctrine and liturgy, Ni spent a year at Yu's Bible school in Shanghai, where he received basic training in Christian living. He was deeply influenced by the books in Barber’s library, consisting mostly of the Holiness literature of writers such as T. Austin-Sparks, Jessie Penn-Lewis, D. M. Panton, Andrew Murray, and F. B. Meyer. Jesse Penn-Lewis played by far the most prominent role in his own thinking, however. Like these writers, Ni would emphasize both a “rest of faith” and premillennialism.

He became familiar with the Brethren Movement through the writings of J. N. Darby, George Muller, William Kelly, and C. A. Coates. He read about major Christian leaders, also, such as Martin Luther, John Knox, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield, David Brainerd, John Henry Newman, D. L. Moody, Charles Finney, and C. H. Spurgeon.

Throughout his career, Ni engaged in extensive literature ministry. He began in 1923 by editing Revival, a devotional magazine for free distribution, followed in 1926 by The Christian, which dealt with “truths about church and matters of prophecy” and gained wide circulation in only a few years. In 1926, when he was suffering from tuberculosis, Ni began his first major book, The Spiritual Man, which sought to explain spiritual formation in terms of biblical psychology, especially the radical distinction between “soul” (self-consciousness) and “spirit” (God-consciousness). Published in 1928, the three-volume work has been called basically a translation of Penn-Lewis’s Soul and Spirit, published ten years earlier, though Ni did not make that clear. These early efforts laid the theological foundation for his future teaching ministry.

For a variety of reasons, including the anti-Western movement of the 1920s, many Chinese Christian leaders were seeking ways to form indigenous churches that would be free from Western missionary control. Having moved to the International Settlement in Shanghai in 1926, Ni constituted in 1932 a group of “apostolic” co-workers that would lead what became the Little Flock Movement: Wang Peizhen (Peace Wang) and Li Yuanru (Ruth Lee), with Ni himself as supreme. They soon grew from a small household gathering to a network of local churches.

Rather than becoming an itinerant evangelist, Ni decided to build a solid base in Shanghai, whence churches could be planted all over China. Ni had a team of fellow workers, including Witness Lee, Simon Meek, and Faithful Luke, who helped to start local churches in many cities in Southeast Asia. In his rejection of all denominationalism, Ni stressed the principle of locality, i.e., there is only one true church in each city. “Despite his weak constitution, Ni’s magnetic personality and his remarkable ability to speak . . . mesmerized the group, and he soon emerged as their indisputable leader” (Xi, 167). In the chaotic years of the Republic, Ni’s emphasis upon a deep spiritual life and on the certainty of the return of Christ evoked a strong response from spiritually hungry people, including many students and intellectuals.

Ni's theological outlook was influenced by the Brethren tradition. In 1933, he visited the Brethren communities in England and the United States, though he later severed this relationship because he considered their principle of Christian fellowship too restrictive and their emphasis on perfection in Christ too excessive. In 1938, he attended the Keswick Convention, and during his European tour he gave a series of talks on Romans 5-8, which were published as his popular book, The Normal Christian Life. He was briefly exposed to the Pentecostal movement through a missionary of the China Inland Mission in the 1930s, but he did not speak in tongues and later rejected what he considered the emotional excesses of the charismatic meetings.

When Ni was nineteen, he fell in love with an eighteen-year-old girl, Zhang Pinhui, whose English name was Charity. She was not a believer, however, so he wrestled with God in prayer. Finally, he submitted his desire to wed Charity to God in complete surrender. Charity later studied at Yanjing University in Beijing, earning a Master’s degree in English. Upon graduation, she moved to Shanghai and was baptized, opening the way for Ni to marry her.

When he married “Charity” in 1934, an aunt of Charity’s who opposed the match published an “expose” in the media about his alleged romantic involvement with other women, which damaged his reputation, so he stepped down as leader of the movement, handing it over to elders whom he had previously appointed. He resumed his position the next year.

After the work had grown to more than two hundred local assemblies around China, Ni set forth the basic organizational principles in Rethinking Our Mission. Each assembly would be autonomous and led by its elders, who were appointed by the “apostles.” The whole movement of Local Churches would be led by the “workers,” or apostles, considered to be chosen by God as his “overseers.” 1942, Ni was expelled from leadership for several reasons: His increasing, and finally full-time, work with his brother’s pharmaceutical company; multiple instances of shady business practices; and the exposure of ongoing sexual immorality with female co-workers and other women, including prostitutes.

After the war, Ni published several books on ecclesiology, including The Orthodoxy of the Church, Authority and Obedience, and On Church Affairs, which stated the “Jerusalem Principle,” according to which the authority of elders in local assemblies was restricted and the entire movement came under direct central control. These works represented a major change in emphasis, from the spiritual life of the individual and the local church to the authority of “apostles,” of whom Ni was pre-eminent, to direct the entire organization and its work.

With a great deal of help from Li Changshou (Witness Lee), he was restored to his previous leadership position in 1948, and announced a program of evangelism by dispatching teams of unreached areas of China. By 1949, there were over 700 local churches with a combined membership of 70,000. A campaign of “handing over” possessions to the local church was promoted in 1947, ostensibly to fund evangelistic migration of believers. At the same time, Ni was preaching absolute, even unthinking, submission to church leaders, especially himself. Only those who had been trained by Ni and Li could become leaders in the local churches. Believers were fired with zeal to give all they had to the work of the Lord, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were contributed. Some of the money went toward the construction of a very large meeting place for the Shanghai assembly, whose numbers had reached 1,700.

Ni had an opportunity to escape from Communist persecution when he visited Hong Kong in 1950. His friends urged him not to return, but he insisted that it was his duty to share whatever sufferings his fellow Christians would have to undergo. 
After the Communist victory, the government began to take control of Christian churches. A “Christian Manifesto” called upon believers to sever all ties with “imperialist” foreign churches and organizations. Ni used signatures which had been gathered for another purpose to add to the number of those who had subscribed to the Manifesto. When the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) was established in 1951, Ni supported the new organization, publicly “repenting” of his previous inadequate grasp of indigenous principles, and advocating submission to the government.

Ni was arrested in Manchuria in April, 1952 on charges of tax evasion and corrupt business practices. Four years later, in a public trial in Shanghai, he was found guilty on political grounds and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. His followers were devastated by revelations of his dishonesty both in business and in church dealings, and even more by his sexual transgressions, which started in the 1920s and continued into the 1950s. Disbelief turned into grief as the evidence (including photographs, Ni’s signed confession, and admission of guilt by at least one female co-worker) became conclusive. At the same time, Ni’s ten-year absence from the Lord’s Table was explained by his admission that he had had a guilty conscience.

Charity was arrested during the same period, but was later released from prison because of deteriorating health. She was thus able to visit her husband while he was in prison. Ni was confined to a tiny cell and treated so badly that he soon weighed only 100 pounds. For a while he suffered from coronary ischaemia. Charity was arrested again at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution (19966-1976). She and two of her sisters were put into a small room, interrogated by Red Guards, and brutally tortured. Later, they were paraded through the streets wearing dunce caps and heavy boards around their necks. Still, the three women refused to deny their faith in Jesus Christ.

Ni expected to be released when his fifteen-year sentence was completed in 1967, but officials demanded that he renounce his faith in order to gain freedom, which he would not do. Two thugs were placed into the cell with him with orders to torment Ni, but he remained firm in his faith despite suffering indescribable pain from his cellmates. He was transferred to Qing Dong Reform-through-labor Farm in Qingpu County outside of Shanghai, where Charity was allowed to visit him once. Later he was sent to the dreaded Baimaoling Reform-through-Labor Farm in the mountains of Anhui province. Though conditions were rough and primitive, he wrote his sister, “Here the mountains are beautiful and the water clear.”

When Charity died after suffering for months of high blood pressure and heart disease, her family delayed passing the news to Ni. They knew that his one great wish was to be re-united with her. While in prison, he had realized “with much regret, that his wife had suffered loneliness when he was travelling around China and overseas. . . They had only been together for relatively short periods during their married life. He resolved that he would make it up to her if he had this opportunity. He would serve her, wait on her and do all he could to give her a restful retirement in their closing years together.” When he finally heard the news of her passing, he was devastated and spent many days in prayer.

On May 22, 1972, Ni wrote a coded letter to his sister-in-law, saying that “my joy is full,” clearly referring to John 15:11. A week later, he was in critical heart condition, so the prison authorities put him on a tractor to take him to the prison hospital, twelve miles away. His weakened body could not stand the rough mountain road, and he died on the way.

After his death, a written note was found under his pillow. It read:
Christ is the Son of God. He died as the Redeemer for the sins of mankind, and was raised up from the dead after three days. This is the most important fact in the world. I shall die believing in Christ.

His ashes were buried next to Charity’s in a cemetery near Shanghai.Some of his churches joined the Three-Self Patriotic Movement; others went underground.
Ni left the Chinese church with a body of teaching on based on a trichotomy of the human constitution---body, soul, and spirit, with primacy in the Christian life to be given to the spirit. The goal was to be restoration of communication between God's Spirit and the human spirit. He regarded sanctification as the lifelong process of the spirit's controlling the soul and the soul's directing the body. Through his powerful spoken teaching and prolific writing, Ni greatly influenced the conservative wing of the Chinese church.

Publications by Ni include many volumes translated into English from notes of his oral instruction taken down at the time. Some of the most influential are The Normal Christian Life; Sit, Walk, Stand (an exposition of Ephesians); Changed into His Likeness; and a series of booklets issued by Living Streams Ministry, the publishing arm of Witness Lee’s Local Church movement in America. The theological vocabulary he formulated has become an important ingredient in today's popular Chinese theology.

Several commendatory biographies of Watchman Ni have added to the enormous influence of his writings. He is remembered mostly for his early emphases: life centered upon God; devotion to Christ; reliance on the Holy Spirit; the centrality of the church; memorization of, and meditation upon, Scripture; and the indigenous nature of the Local Church. Among those who knew of Ni’s serious faults and failings, there is an awareness that no mere man should be looked to as a teacher of truth or a paragon of virtue. Others see the dangers of concentrating power in the hands of a single person or small group of elite leaders.

In China, churches connected with the Little Flock constitute a major segment of both the unregistered and, in some areas, TSPM congregations. Under the leadership of Witness Lee and others, the Local Church movement which he founded spread overseas, especially in Taiwan and the United States.

Sources:
Hsu, Lily, M.D., Unforgettable Memoirs: The Shanghai Local Church,
Watchman Nee and My life,
with Dana Roberts, 2012 (unpublished manuscript).

Kinnear, Angus, Against the Tide: The Story of Watchman Nee. Christian Literature Crusade, 1974.

Lam, Wing-hung, “Watchman Nee,” in A Dictionary of Asian Christianity. Scott W. Sunquist, editor. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001.

Roberts, Dana. Secrets of Watchman Nee. Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2005.
Xi, Lian. Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010.

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