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Old 04-10-2019, 03:20 AM   #1
Kevin
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Default Are All Christian Groups Spiritual Fornicators?


A Response to Witness Lee’s Condemnation of Christian Denominations as Spiritual Fornicators¹

Witness Lee condemns all the denominations including independent groups in Christianity with the exception of his as none-genuine churches because they commit spiritual fornication for a particular reason. In his Conclusion of the New Testament, Lee says,²
Quote:
“In [Revelation] 3:8 the Lord also says that the church in Philadelphia has not denied His name. The brothers who were raised up by the Lord in England in the early part of the nineteenth century did not take any name other than the name of the Lord. The word is the Lord’s expression, and the name is the Lord Himself. The apostate church has deviated from the Lord’s word and has become heretical. The reformed church, though recovered to the Lord’s word to some extent, has denied the Lord’s name by denominating herself with many other names. The recovered church has not only returned to the Lord’s word in a full way but has also abandoned all names other than that of the Lord Jesus Christ. The recovered church belongs to the Lord absolutely, having nothing to do with any denominations (any names). To deviate from the Lord’s word is apostasy, and to denominate the church with any name other than the Lord’s is spiritual fornication³ (emphasis added). The church as the chaste virgin betrothed to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2) should not have any name other than her Husband’s. All other names are an abomination in the eyes of God (emphasis added).”
Below is the fuller context of one instance of the text I quoted above:
Quote:
“In Protestantism there is a strong tide of denying the Lord’s name by replacing it with many other names, such as Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. Many Christians say that they go to the Lutheran church, the Methodist church, or the Presbyterian church. There is also the Episcopalian church, the Anglican church, the Church of England. The word Episcopalian is from the Latin word episcopus, meaning bishop. The Church of England is a state church under the rule of bishops.

We can see that Protestantism has replaced the unique name of Christ with many other names. Today it is very convenient for people to set up a church and give a name to it. There are many Chinese churches in California with many names other than the name of Christ. One denomination calls itself the Taiwan Presbyterian Church. Another one is called the Taiwan Gospel Church. To denominate the church by taking any name other than the Lord’s is spiritual fornication (emphasis added). The church, as the pure virgin espoused to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2), should have no name other than her Husband’s. All other names are an abomination in the eyes of God.

It is serious for a woman to take another name besides that of her husband. If a woman is married to Mr. Jones, she should not call herself Mrs. Smith. When believers designate themselves with a name other than Christ’s name, this indicates that they are taking someone or something other than Christ as their Husband. If Mrs. Jones calls herself Mrs. Smith, this means that she has two husbands. The church is a chaste virgin espoused to Christ, so the church is the wife of Christ, and Christ is the Husband. A wife should have only one husband, and her husband’s name becomes her name. From the day of her wedding, she belongs to her husband, and her last name must be her husband’s name. But today the so-called churches use other names, names replacing Christ. This is a big insult to Christ (emphasis added).”
He goes beyond to the point of condemning individual Christians of committing spiritual fornication:
Quote:
“If a wife with a proper husband breaks the governing principle of marriage, she commits adultery. But a woman who has no proper husband and who breaks God's governing principle commits fornication. The great prostitute is a fornicator; she has no husband. The situation among Christians today is filled with fornication. Many seem to say, ‘If I don't like this meeting any more, I'll go to another. And if I don't like that one, I'll form one of my own. Furthermore, if after a while I am no longer pleased with the meeting I have started, I'll start still another one.’ This is spiritual fornication (emphasis added).”

I personally do not affiliate or belong to a denomination, but am in a non-denominational church where I am in a fellowship with other Christians. “Denominations” are not inherently sinful. What's sinful is theological error, such as is found in pseudo-Christian teachings such as Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Iglesia ni Cristo, Ang Dating Daan, The Kingdom of Apollo C. Quiboloy, etc. But nevertheless, whether or not I belong to a denomination, Witness Lee has gone beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6) in his assertions from the above texts based upon his exposition on Revelation 3:8. Aside from it, there are certainly a few theological errors in his surrounding exposition on the seven churches in the book of Revelation. However, I will only be focusing this point of error under the headline of my polemical paper.

First of all, the names do not actually replace the name of Christ. They are simply descriptors showing the emphasis on their particular gathering or structure. The name "church" is still there so there is no "replacement" going on.

There are a few problems with Witness Lee's analogy of a married couple. If Mrs. Jones is Mrs. Jones, she is Mrs. Jones no matter what she calls herself. You are what you are regardless of what you call yourself. If I am a woman who is married to Mr. Jones but I call myself something else, that doesn't change the fact that I am married to Mr. Jones. (Also strictly speaking, the church wedding of Christ hasn't occurred yet, the wife doesn't take the name before the marriage happens).

Lee’s analogy uses one culture's practices and applies it to a spiritual reality. A wife taking her husband's name is not actually biblical. Where in the Scripture does it say that a wife is to take her husband's name? It doesn't! That is just a matter of culture. People in Bible times did not really have last names like we think of last names today. Ironically, Lee's own culture is a prime example of many, many couples keeping their own names. You are still the wife even if you do not take your husband's name. Taking the husband’s last name is not an indicator of the reality.

Additionally, where in the Bible does the church "take the Lord's name"? We see Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32). We don't see Mr. and Mrs. Christ. Christ is a title, not a last name. Christ and the church are always just that.....Christ and the church. If a local church named herself as the church of Buddha, practices yoga, performs witchcraft, elevates and idolizes a finite man, and delves into eastern mysticism then that would be unequivocally spiritual fornication!¹⁰ The true church of Jesus Christ still has only one husband. A false and professing church is no church at all.

The Old Testament is replete with examples those under the Old Covenant sinning against God and committing harlotry by worshiping false gods. They were commanded to repent or faced punishment by God. The same can be expected under the New Covenant, the church. We are called to cling to Christ or be broken off like rejected branches (John 15).

Orthodoxy is not determined by the name of the church or the so-called proper ground of the church (Lee’s doctrine of ecclesiology, see note 1 below). It is by its faithfulness to the doctrine of Christ preached by the His apostles (which is basically founded on the New Testament) and how consistent the church's life and practice is to the doctrine of Christ.

Of course, there are churches that are more consistent than others in terms of their faithfulness to the doctrine of Christ and their conformity to His Word in actual life and behavior. But who could really say that there is one church that is so perfect, undiluted, and free of error, in this life?

The final judgment is not going to be based on the name of one's church, is it? Ultimately Christ will base His judgment upon whether or not we have put our trust in His once-for-all finished sacrificed for our sake, have kept the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and we have, by the grace of God, lived a life consistent with his profession of faith, one that is pleasing in God's sight, that is, in holiness and godliness.

Taking the name of Christ is the same as hallowing or sanctifying or glorifying the name of God. How do we do that? By loving Him and keeping His commands as our thankful response to the grace He has given us, undeserving sinners.

"The church of God in Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2) is a fully legitimate name used in the Bible and could arguably be said to be taking the Lord's name MORE than "the church in [locality]". Is Lee accusing The Church of God or the Assemblies of God as spiritual fornicators because they are not under his ministry? If so, why?

In the beginning of the book of Acts, the church simply called itself 'the Way' (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). No mention of Christ in that title at all, nor designated as "the church in [locality]". Does that mean the church was immediately unfaithful right from the day of Pentecost? Even when they did start being called Christians, it was meant to be a derogatory term from their enemies, so clearly the church in the book of Acts didn't think it was important to have a particular name.

Lee also believes that in all denominations those are taking the Lord’s Table (communion) are eating and drinking to their “judgment”, and any of Lee’s followers who partake with the denominations in communion have committed spiritual fornication. Nowhere in the Bible do we see such a thing! It is leaning towards exclusivism or claiming to be the true church. In his Study Bible called the Recovery version, for example, the third footnote in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 11:29 notes,
Quote:
“The apostle used the expression the body instead of the body of the Lord. This may imply the fact that, in addition to the physical body of the Lord (v. 24), there is the mystical Body of Christ (Eph. 4:4). Therefore, when we participate in the Lord's table, we must discern whether the bread on the table signifies the one Body of Christ or any division of man (any denomination). In discerning the Body of Christ, we should not partake of the bread in any division or with any divisive spirit (emphasis added). Our participation in the Lord's table must be the unique fellowship of His unique Body without any division in practice or in spirit.”
I was taught to avoid the "so-called table" of any other groups. Who are the real divisive ones then? They are proclaiming a oneness that is divisive and sectarian to the Body of Christ.

Here below are other Lee’s statements that need for refutation. He says,
Quote:
The recovered church belongs to the Lord absolutely, having nothing to do with any denominations (any names).”
Wouldn't "the recovered church" or “the church of recovery” be considered a denominational label that doesn't include the name of Christ? So hasn't Witness Lee just committed the same error he's accusing others of? This is a perfect example of a tu quoque fallacy.


Members of the Local Church movement identified themselves as the ‘Lord's Recovery’ (upper case R). Over the years, the phrase ‘The Lord’s Recovery’ has unconsciously become a denominational title in the minds of the Local Church people to distinguish and separate themselves from orthodox Christianity¹¹ instead the phrase itself was meant in a sense of conforming back to Scriptures. A former Local Church member and a co-worker of Witness Lee, Titus Chu states, “It becomes a title, and it is a first step toward denominating...known as the Lord's Recovery Church.

Igzy argues that the phrase ‘the Lord’s Recovery’ has an exclusive implication of denominating, He argues,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Simply that every movement (and thus its designations) conjures up positive images in its faithful followers which bespeak the best God has to offer. "Baptist" to a Baptist essentially means God's best, as does "Recovery" to an LCer. So they are more alike than LCers might want to admit.

Certainly there is plenty of difference between the Baptist movement and the Recovery movement. Yet LCers would like to make vivid differences which, when you get right down to it, aren't much differences at all. Why is the name "Baptist" divisive and "The Recovery" is not? Simply put, because in the minds of LCers, the Recovery is something good and genuine and totally of God himself thus it cannot be divisive (no matter how much havoc it wreaks). While to them "Baptist" means something of old dead religion, and so could never be anything but negative. On the other hand, Baptists think the Baptist movement is where God makes his home, so, of course, they like to call themselves Baptists.

But is there really any difference? No, there is not. So, if an LCer says by calling himself a Baptist a person is divisive, he must also say that by calling himself a person in the Lord's Recovery such a person is also divisive. Likewise if calling oneself a Baptist is not divisive, then one can say simply calling oneself a person in the Lord's Recovery is not divisive either.

When a Baptist says "we in the Baptist church" is he really saying anything different than when a LCers says "we in the Lord's Recovery"? In essence, no. One is not necessarily more exclusive or divisive than the other. Designations are necessarily for communication. No matter how much they try to get around it, LCers designate and denominate themselves when they refer to themselves as being in the Lord's Recovery and others as not.

Obviously, then, for communication purposes, denominating is unavoidable. The issue then is not denominating. The issue is what are the implications of the denominating. If a Baptist says, "I'm in the Baptist church because the Baptist beliefs to me represent the best God has to offer right now," then the Baptist is doing no differently than what LCers claim they are doing. Neither should be held at fault for doing this.

But if a Baptist says, "I'm in the Baptist church, and you are not, so you are not in God's move," then that is an exclusive implication of the denominating. This in fact is what many LCers and most staunch LSMers do. It is practically by definition sectarian.

So LC/LSMers in an attempt to claim special status try to draw all kinds of superficial differences between their names and the names of denominations (e.g. saying the name is really a "description"; making an issue of signboards, etc) but fail to see the essential similarities. On the other hand, they do not see the deep and essential exclusivity of claiming that those not in the Lord's Recovery (their movement) are not in God's move, while pointing an accusing finger at the superficial exclusivity of some modern denominations.
Further, Lee comments in 1 Corinthians 1:12,¹²
Quote:
“This is exactly the same as saying "I am a Lutheran," "I am a Wesleyan," "I am a Presbyterian," "I am an Episcopalian," "I am a Baptist," etc. All such designations should be condemned and rejected. They can be eliminated and terminated only by taking Christ as the unique center among all the believers.”
Essentially, Lee is misrepresenting the matter. Paul indeed, did not like people saying, "I am of Apollos," or, "I am of Paul." Yet, he did say, "Follow me as I follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1 MEV)" So, for starters, it is not wrong to follow men, the question is, are the men we are following, themselves, following Christ?

What Paul is getting at is unnecessary division, over and against necessary.

Notice that Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:14-16, "I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)"

This is because people were taking sinful pride in who they were baptized by. Thinking that if they were baptized by someone special, they themselves were special. And Paul's point was that, in short, baptism is about being baptized into Christ, and nothing else.

This is not the same thing as agreeing with Paul's teachings, when false teachers come along teaching the opposite.

Further, this version of "no creed but Christ" idea is problematic. If one man stands up and teaches heresy, (like Arius did, thus creating the teaching called "Arianism") and another stands up, like Athansius, point to Scripture and saying "I follow Scripture" won't work.

The person would either be ignorant or dishonest. For, both Arius and Athanasius declared to be following both scripture and Christ.

We, however, must adjudicate between the two, as to which one is right according to Scripture. And when we do, it is because we believe what that person is teaching or saying. And thus, we are "following" as people put it.

Labels are used to separate you from the other erroneous doctrines. Labels can be necessary, they help us define what we believe, why we believe it, and separate truth from error. But it doesn’t mean to call oneself a Lutheran or a Presbyterian in a 1 Corinthians sense.¹³

In connection with his condemnation on denominations with labels, he says,
Quote:
“When some hear that we are the church, they are unhappy and say, “Why do you say that you are the church and that we are not the church?” They are not the church because they are a prostitute, a woman who has a relationship with many men instead of a proper relationship with one husband. Who is your husband? If Christ is your husband, then why do you call yourself a Lutheran? (emphasis added) If your name is truly Mrs. Smith, then why do you call yourself Mrs. Jones one day and Mrs. Harris another?”
This has been discussed in detail above. Such statements are examples of a double standard or a tu quoque fallacy because even members who absolutely and solemnly follow Witness Lee’s ministry are liable to be called Leeites (1 Corinthians 3:4-6). Nigel Tomes argues,
Quote:
“What do you call a network of churches which teach the theology of one man, who use a study Bible with every footnote written by one man, who attend conferences reviewing that one man’s teaching and then review that review in their local congregations, exulting in the fact that they are “all on the same page” of his materials? Plus, they venerate that man with accolades such as, “the Minister of the Age,” the “wise master builder” and the “acting God.” Why do observers call it “the Recovery Church of Witness Lee”? When the name “Witness Lee” is mentioned more frequently than the Lord Jesus’ name, isn’t that a Witness Lee denomination?”
They absolutely follow a mere fallible man’s ministry without reservation instead of Jesus Christ, whose Word is to be the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. They are not aware that idolizing and elevating a man’s ministry is spiritual fornication (according to them) whether they admit it or not.

To say that to denominate a church is spiritual fornication, is purely a fabrication of Lee's making or an eisegesis¹⁴, without any scriptural basis. Denominations did not exist during John’s time when he wrote the book of Revelation. There is some sense of truth to what Lee writes in the above text, but this interpretation of “have not denied my name” is quite far-off from context.


What did Jesus mean by, “have not denied my name” in Revelation 3:8?

An Exposition on Revelation 3:8

Revelation 3:8 | NASB
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

This portion of the letter by the Apostle John is written to the church in Philadelphia (v. 7) in Asia Minor. John is communicating to us in (v. 8) that God is aware of the good deeds that the Philadelphians had been doing: “Good works, of faith, love, and patience; and which lay much in preaching, professing, and maintaining the pure Gospel, and in acts of charity to one another; and which were done to some degree of perfection, and with great sincerity”. (John Gill Commentary)

God has set before the Philadelphians an opportunity (open door). Some believe this open door was a unique opportunity to preach the Gospel: "may design an uncommon opportunity of preaching the Gospel" (John Gill Commentary), "for evangelization" (Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible) "Probably it means here a good opportunity for missionary effort in spite of the Jewish hostility." (Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament).

God has set before the Philadelphians an opportunity (open door). Some believe this open door was a unique opportunity to preach the Gospel: "may design an uncommon opportunity of preaching the Gospel" (John Gill Commentary), "for evangelization" (Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible) "Probably it means here a good opportunity for missionary effort in spite of the Jewish hostility." (Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament).

This open door was a door that no one could shut. The reason no one would be able to shut this door is because the Philadelphians were a group of "little power", which is most likely a reference to their size as a congregation, or their influence in Philadelphia. They also had "kept my Word" which is likely a reference to them keeping the Gospel pure. The keeping of the Word and the name of the Lord shows some form of faithfulness from the Philadelphians.

Below I provide some commentaries in reference to “have not denied my name.”
Quote:
Sam Storms’ Biblical Studies: The Seven Letters of Revelation
“Three things are said of these believers: they have “kept” Christ’s “word” and have “not denied” his “name,” both of which would appear to refer to faithfully bearing public witness to the gospel in the face of persecution and slander and possible martyrdom.”
Quote:
Paul Hoskin’s The Book of Revelation: A Theological and Exegetical Commentary
“Like the Pergamum church, they have not denied his name, which is equivalent to denying their faith (2:13). Jesus’ commendation means that there must be some significant pressure to deny his name. The pressure that they are facing would most likely arise from the same source as the pressure at Smyrna. Some Jews (the “synagogue of Satan”) are accusing them to the Roman authorities, which is causing persecution of Christians (3:9).”
Quote:
Robert G. Bratcher’s A handbook on the Revelation to John
“And have not denied my name: see the similar “did not deny my faith” for my name see verse 2:3 [in Revelation]. This means “you have not disowned me,” “you have not renounced your faith in me,” “you have not said that you do not believe in me,” or “you have not said, ‘I don’t believe in Jesus (Christ),’ ” that is, “you have not apostatized.”

For the same verb “deny” see Matthew 10:33; Luke 12:9; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 1:4.

Alternative translation models for this verse are:

I know the life you live. I know that you have only a little prestige. You have obeyed (or, followed) my commands and have not said that you do not know me. Look, I have opened a door in front of you which no one is able to shut.

Or:

I know the things that you do. I know that you do not have much face. You have followed my teaching and have never said, “I don’t know Jesus.” I have opened a door in front of you which no one is able to shut.”
Quote:
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
“When Christians were brought before pagan magistrates in times of persecution, they were required to renounce the name of Christ, and to disown him in a public manner. It is possible that, amidst the persecutions that raged in the early times, the members of the church at Philadelphia had been summoned to such a trial, and they had stood the trial firmly. It would seem from the following verse that the efforts which had been made to induce them to renounce the name of Christ had been made by those who professed to be Jews, though they evinced the spirit of Satan. If so, then the attempt was probably to convince them that Jesus was not the Christ. This attempt would be made in all places where there were Jews.”
It is only Witness Lee who offers such a unique and foreign interpretation of "have not denied my name" in Revelation 3:8 from all of the commentaries out there.

Therefore, not denying His name is speaking of apostasy, not denominating a name for the church! Denying Christ’s name is denying everything that is wrapped up in who He is. They have not denied His Lordship and salvation. This was in reference primarily to the Roman persecutions at the time in which professing Christians were called upon to deny Christ and make an offering to Caesar. Those he was referring to had not done this, but had stood firm against this pressure. Similarly, it applies in principle to those who are likewise tempted at any point in church history.

Conclusion: Denying the Lord's name is a common theme in the New Testament. If you are ashamed of Him in this age He also will deny you to His Father (Matt. 10:33). Likewise, having any other idol other than the Lord is a very serious sin also repeated in the New Testament. To "deny" the name of Christ was related to denying association with Christ in the face of persecution on those who were followers. Not only to save their lives from execution, but to avoid being outcast in society in general. Many Christians during the times of more severe persecution are not ashamed of openly preaching the gospel with boldness in the streets of Philadelphia. But there is nothing that suggests that denying His name is to denominate the church by taking any name other than the Lord’s is spiritual fornication! This is purely an eisegesis!

Kevin,
Philippines
April 10, 2019

Notes:
[1] There are at least two different thoughts behind this kind of thinking: 1. The whole "ground of the church" doctrine," and 2. The discussion by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1–4. While I will not argue the many issues surrounding the "ground of locality" doctrine of Lee’s magnum opus which he learned from his mentor Watchman Nee, suffice it to say that there is never anything remotely commanded in Scriptures about the few references to a church in a city. See, Nigel Tomes’ polemical writings: (1) Jerusalem & Rome - Churches on the Local Ground, LSM's (2) Sacrament - the "Ground of the Local Church, and (3) What ‘Recovery’? LSM’s Major Myth Debunked
[2] Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 221-239), Chapter 18, Section 1
[3] This can be also found in a footnote from the Recovery Version online on Revelation 3:8 and from the Open Letter: To the Leadership of Living Stream Ministry and the "Local Churches" website under the Legitimacy of Evangelical Churches and Denominations. It appears that Defense Confirmation Project (DCP), a project to defend and confirm the New Testament ministry of Watchman and Witness Lee and the practice of the local churches, did not address or answer about the “denominations as spiritual fornicators with the whore of Babylon” (Roman Catholic Church) in response to the Open Letter from these prominent Christians scholars and ministry leaders. I notice that from my own observation over the years after I left the Local Church movement, it seems Lee's statements would be misunderstood by those who criticize him. His eastern mindset and non-English-native language combine to make some of his statements appear to mean one thing, when a lengthy assessment of his work actually suggests something else. But nevertheless, those radical statements above are quite plain to read.
[4] The Overcomers, Chapter 5, Section 4
[5] Life-Study of Revelation, Chapter 51, Section 2
[6] What is a Denomination? https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is...omination.html
[7]See also, Nigel Tomes' Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches
[8] The fact that the church, though not yet actually wed to Christ is nevertheless already "betrothed" to Him, which is already very binding as compared to our present cultural "engagement" arrangement.
[9] Did the people in the Bible have last names? https://www.compellingtruth.org/peop...ast-names.html
[10] What is Spiritual adultery? https://www.gotquestions.org/spiritual-adultery.html
[11] See also Nigel Tomes’ Against the Practice of Exclusivism
[12] The New Testament Recovery Version, note 12¹ (1 Corinthians 1:12)
[13] I don’t preferably identify with labels other the name of Christ but in a growing world of heresy, it is important to distinguish truth from falsehood. Given the example that someone calls himself a Calvinist, it doesn’t mean the Christian is an ardent follower of John Calvin or he was baptized in the name of Calvin. Calvinist doesn't mean Calvin himself, it is just a useful term, many others taught the same doctrines. By saying that one is a Calvinist, one is simply saying that one agrees with his interpretation that God is sovereign over salvation in Christ which is a biblical view of salvation. God's glory is the supreme meaning behind all things. Majority of Calvinists do not agree everything what John Calvin taught. Thus, calling oneself a Calvinist is not in a strict sense a follower of John Calvin nor is it an allegiance to a man.
[14]Eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.” (Got Questions Ministries)
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Are All Christian Groups Spiritual Fornicators?

Your comments are always welcomed.
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:34 AM   #3
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I'm no scholar in writing this paper. But I have gone deeper study on this issue. Why did I decide to write this response? The LC leaders have mouthed me against my current church as a spiritual fornicator. Now I pointed out the inconsistencies, and logical fallacies as well as that there is no biblical warrant for a church name and the bad use of the Revelation 3:8 passage. Please do consideration that English is not my primary language.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:20 AM   #4
aron
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Default Re: Are All Christian Groups Spiritual Fornicators?

Kevin, very nice article. I myself can't write such well-constructed arguments, because my attention span is too short probably, but I welcome others. Thanks for making the effort.

1. I agree that if Miss Jones marries Mr. Smith and keeps her name, then she can still go to church and nobody will say anything. I have seen this in the Lord's Recovery. Often the woman has some professional standing and wants to keep her name. Nobody says a word about it. But they receive Witness Lee's teaching as if it was valid. It is not.

2. I asked the Lord's Recovery church where I met, why they had to take a name and register with the government as a 403(c) organisation. They said, "We have to". Huh? No you don't - where in the NT does it say that you have to register with the government? Talk about Pergamos - married to the world! Why condemn others if you do it?

3. The irony with the Lord's Recovery is the names that sprout so easily there. Christians on Campus, Affirmation and Critique, Lord's Move to Europe, Living Stream Ministry, Continuing Steadfastly, Bibles for America (and Russia and Germany &c), Defense and Confirmation Project, Full-Time Training Centres and so forth. Every 7 or 8 months you'd see a new name come out... some new ancillary named and publicly-registered non-profit entity would appear. "But it's not the church".
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Are All Christian Groups Spiritual Fornicators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
I'm no scholar in writing this paper. But I have gone deeper study on this issue. Why did I decide to write this response? The LC leaders have mouthed me against my current church as a spiritual fornicator. Now I pointed out the inconsistencies, and logical fallacies as well as that there is no biblical warrant for a church name and the bad use of the Revelation 3:8 passage. Please do consideration that English is not my primary language.
Kevin I encourage you to write more. The more you write, the more you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

The Recovery program is filled with hypocrisies. Don't expect their leaders to accept anything that you write. The Lord often confronted these hypocrites in the Gospels. Apparently none of them were convinced by Jesus either.
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Old 04-10-2019, 09:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: Are All Christian Groups Spiritual Fornicators?

Kevin,

Well done! Keep doing this. Your insights are helpful.


The "wife only takes the name of the husband" analogy is as you said a cultural not biblical phenomenon, so it is a meaningless argument. It's even worse than that. Wives take their husbands last name, but keep their unique first name, which even the husband happily uses. So "ABC Community Church" could be seen as an identifying "first name" with the surname still "Christ." Either way, Lee's argument falls apart upon examination. As much of his teaching, it only impresses an audience that feels they have no choice but to believe it.

As you imply, distinctions are not division. Division, in fact, is not what "ABC Community Church" does by having its name, but what the LR does by discounting groups like "ABC Community Church." They are masters at straining gnats and swallowing camels.

All of the LR's teachings about "oneness" are really not about oneness (though they have convinced themselves they are). They are about a scorched earth policy of discrediting every group other than themselves. They really feel the Lord is better served by everyone agreeing with and joining them, so to them that end justifies any means they use. This is at the very least frightfully arrogant and at the worst dangerously deluded.

(Also, humble thanks for including my little piece. I forgot I wrote that. I learned something from it!)
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:05 AM   #7
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Kevin I encourage you to write more. The more you write, the more you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

The Recovery program is filled with hypocrisies. Don't expect their leaders to accept anything that you write. The Lord often confronted these hypocrites in the Gospels. Apparently none of them were convinced by Jesus either.
The LC elders refused to listen to what Scripture is trying to say.

Jesus is commending the church in Philadelphia for not loosing faith and remaining loyal to him. That's the point of what Jesus getting at. Having a denomination doesn’t make you loyal to that teacher who started that denomination at the expense of Jesus himself.

Witness Lee's critical view on Christianity is an attempt to deceive many precious people to make them believe that there is nothing good in Christianity than the Lord's Recovery movement.
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Old 04-12-2019, 03:24 AM   #8
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The LC elders refused to listen to what Scripture is trying to say.

Jesus is commending the church in Philadelphia for not loosing faith and remaining loyal to him. That's the point of what Jesus getting at. Having a denomination doesn’t make you loyal to that teacher who started that denomination at the expense of Jesus himself.

Witness Lee's critical view on Christianity is an attempt to deceive many precious people to make them believe that there is nothing good in Christianity than the Lord's Recovery movement.
Kevin, you should note that the ground of locality was never properly learned from scriptures, rather it was used by Nee in China during the early 20th Century as a means to declare indepenence from Western missionaries. I found this a little disconcerting since these missionaries sacrificed their lives to bring the Gospel to them.
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Old 04-12-2019, 04:44 AM   #9
aron
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Default Re: Are All Christian Groups Spiritual Fornicators?

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Kevin, you should note that the ground of locality was never properly learned from scriptures, rather it was used by Nee in China during the early 20th Century as a means to declare indepenence from Western missionaries. I found this a little disconcerting since these missionaries sacrificed their lives to bring the Gospel to them.
In the genesis of this movement one should appreciate the degree of anti-Western sentiment behind it. Both Nee and Lee's parents were Christian and were persecuted. Nee's 'local ground' proposal, learnt from Darby et al, seemingly cut the Gordian knot and they streamed in by the tens of thousands.

But as Breadfish noted, any who critically examine the teachings got shunted aside and the mass became 'yes robots'. We now see imperialism redux as exported Chinese-flavored churches emerge. In some western communities the Chinese-speakers are so prevalent that they've segregated themselves from the natives. As long as they call it a "meeting" and not a "church" they presume propriety. But guess what - the NT Greek has the same word for each. Ekklesia.

If the Lord's Recovery's basis or ground is judgment and condemnation of others for spiritual fornication, then how will they find the means for repentance and forgiveness when they're similarly found? I mean, who is without fault?
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:28 PM   #10
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A lot of folks from the LC who knew me personally have expressed their disappointment towards me for pointing this error. They "hung up" on the "name." I find that anyone who is narrowly focused on "the name" is someone who is off track. It is a "red flag" of warning: watch out for those who make a big deal about the "name."

Giving a "name" to a local church is NOT deserting the Lord's "name." It is not spiritual fornication to leave a local church if there is a problem. Problems cannot always be solved due to the flesh and spiritual warfare.

Here I stand. I am challenging those who are in Local Church of Witness Lee to reconsider their doctrinal views if their views are aligned with Scripture. Sadly, they don't speak for sola scriptura and tota scriptura! They adhere to Scripture + Experiences + MOTA.

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Old 04-18-2019, 07:53 AM   #11
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In the genesis of this movement one should appreciate the degree of anti-Western sentiment behind it. Both Nee and Lee's parents were Christian and were persecuted. Nee's 'local ground' proposal, learnt from Darby et al, seemingly cut the Gordian knot and they streamed in by the tens of thousands.
Are you suggesting that Western missionaries were involved with the persecution of the Nee and Lee families?
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:16 AM   #12
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Nee's 'local ground' proposal, learnt from Darby et al, seemingly cut the Gordian knot and they streamed in by the tens of thousands.
I've said before that the "local ground" doctrine was intended to invalidate all other groups as much as it was intended to validate Nee's group.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:25 PM   #13
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I've said before that the "local ground" doctrine was intended to invalidate all other groups as much as it was intended to validate Nee's group.
Then you have places like Seattle, WA and Bellevue, WA that have congregations heavily influenced by Lee and Nee. Those local churches influenced by Lee (aka LSM) want nothing to do with the Nee influenced congregations. There's more of a wall than there is inclusiveness.

Back to Kevin's initial question, I'm sure many such as I raised in the local churches that have heard much the same. The argument behind it is so hypocritical. At least in the US, I have yet to find a local church that doesn't take a name. If not having a name is so important, don't take a name.
Or is the bigger issue tax breaks that go along with having a name?

Something that's been brought up on this forum multiple times are those cities um localities that have multiple congregations claiming to meet on the local ground. No one has yet to defend their position adequately why the LSM church is legitimate and all others are not.
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Old 05-03-2019, 06:29 PM   #14
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Conclusion: Denying the Lord's name is a common theme in the New Testament. If you are ashamed of Him in this age He also will deny you to His Father (Matt. 10:33). Likewise, having any other idol other than the Lord is a very serious sin also repeated in the New Testament. To "deny" the name of Christ was related to denying association with Christ in the face of persecution on those who were followers. Not only to save their lives from execution, but to avoid being outcast in society in general. Many Christians during the times of more severe persecution are not ashamed of openly preaching the gospel with boldness in the streets of Philadelphia. But there is nothing that suggests that denying His name is to denominate the church by taking any name other than the Lord’s is spiritual fornication! This is purely an eisegesis!
I agree that WL's exposition on this verse in Philadelphia is repulsive. Primarily because it distracts us from this very crucial verse in the Bible.

I think it is fair to say that all Christians aspire to be in the church in Philadelphia. One requirement is that "you have not denied my name" and as one of the Bible expositors you quoted pointed out, this implies that there was pressure on the saints prior to this to deny the Lord's name. In my experience this pressure is common, it is ordained by the Lord.

But to the issue you focused on, I wondered how you could avoid "denominating" yourself. "American" is a denomination. "Southerner" is a denomination. "Texan" is a denomination. Likewise, as Christians it is seemingly impossible to not meet in an actual building with a relatively small group of believers (hundred, thousand?) and this will also have to have a name, an address, a phone number, etc. But Peter helped me with this conundrum when he referred to the false prophets saying they would bring in "damnable heresies". A heresy is a "school of thought". It is impossible for us not to be involved in heresies, but the condemnation is not on that, but on "damnable heresies". A heresy that denies the Lord's name would be a "damnable heresy" or one that divides the Body of Christ, or one that condemns brothers and sisters in the Lord. Those would be damnable heresies.
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