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Old 01-20-2016, 02:45 PM   #1
Camil0
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Default Hello. Been out of LC since 2008.

Hi all. I visited these forums years back when I had just come out of the LC, but eventually needed to break away from thinking about the whole thing.

I left a small locality that wasn't quite Great Lake's Area and was definitely not a ministry church anymore. we were really isolated and on our own, and our internal dynamic was extremely unhealthy. leaving was explosive. in the course of about a year some events occurred and "I woke up" to realize that I was no longer able to think for myself. We were locked into a very small controlling group and every part of our life was scrutinized and had to meet their approval. My wife and I had been in it for 10 years and had been through so much. some things had happened that demonstrated that the group had complete control over my mind and will and i was willing to pretty much sacrifice everything precious on the altar of their approval. my wife looked at me and said "what ever happened to the man of God I used to know?" God orchestrated some events that caused us to be fairly swiftly ejected - most painful experience of my life. Within a year my wife left me as well. She was angry that I had brought her through the whole thing and she felt that so many years of her life were just wasted because of my "spiritual quest".

I was lost. Although I had come out of the LC I had not come out of its doctrines. I had read some things on this forum that helped, and the thread of gold, but I still had such a high regard for '"God's Economy", and held the view that christianity had neglected Christ, that the clergy system had nullified/replaced the function of the members, and that we should meet on the "ground."

Prior to coming to LC I had been in a large Charismatic church for many years and suffered a lot of accusations and persecution there because of my love for the word. I had led a lot of people to the lord when i first was saved and we all ended up going to the charismatic church. over time most of us lost track of each other and were absorbed in the system. when one of this group committed suicide we reconvened for a bible study which I led - just to be together and enjoy the word - it lasted for about a year and a half. I was accused of being a sheep stealer, trying to start a church, being a wolf - all kinds of scary negative things. in the bible study i had hit on ephesians 4 regarding the Gifts perfecting the saints for the work of ministry to build up the body, and it sounded to some there that I was speaking against the authority/ministry of that church and I was reported. I believed all the accusations and spent another year trying to stay there and be "submitted" to a leadership that wouldn't even talk to me. during that time all I could do was read books and I eventually stumbled on Witness Lee. His speaking about the body of Christ confirmed a lot of what I felt I had seen in the Bible, and when I read his book "God's New Testament Economy" I was hooked. I eventually read the Life STudy of Hebrews and was convinced I had to be a "river crosser" and go find the local church. When I attended the first meeting it was like heaven on earth. What I had been reading about for a year and half seemed to be true and real and it was wonderful. I knew that LC was considered to be a cult by many (I had done my "homework") but I felt that the real New Testament church would of course be perceived to be a cult, and I had already been ostracized for my love of the word. I felt I had found my new home, and the first year was pretty wonderful. I was one of the few caucasians and they were pretty dead at the time. When I came I was already able to articulate their views very strongly and speak in the meetings and "function", plus I tried to bring many of my friends into the church. This sort of revived the church for a time and I was the new favorite of the elder. That didn't last too long - the honeymoon period lasted about 6 months. Anyway although many of my friends came and stayed for awhile, they found the all absorbing requirements of the church life to be too high, and they didn't stay. I assumed it was because they loved the world too much to take the narrow way we had found. So I lost all contact with my friends and pretty much "disappeared" for the next 10 years, and those 10 years were pretty miserable. lots can be said about all that in other conversations i guess.

When I came out, I felt like a failure. I knew I could no longer endure the church life, not because I had seen so much that I had been deceived - but because I just couldn't fit in and couldn't bear the pressure anymore. I thoguht for sure I was defeated and would end up in outer darkness. I couldn't go back to christianity, that's for sure. So I ended up alone and the isolation destroyed what was left of my empty marriage.

Eventually I did remarry. my new wife - also was a charismatic who read "thread of gold" an had some understanding of what I'd been through in the LC. we found a small church of very zealous believers - mostly young people and started attending there. we were there for about 2 years, and the pastor was very imprsesed with my views concerning christ and the church. we had lots of discussions and i thought i was going to somehow import the LC template to this group or something. but this pastor was a covenant calvinist / reformed guy and I was frustrated that in his preaching he revealed that he did not distinguish between israel and the church, and put believers under the law. there was never anything of the new creation. ( as i was struggling with their doctrine i was also finally able to sort out many of the theological issues that plagued me about the LC.) but i also noticed a trend that this church's leadership was increasingly abusive and controlling. eventually i said too much and we were "asked" to leave. actually in a one on one meeting with the pastor i found myself having an absolute anxiety attack, and later i realized that i was experiencing PTSD beacuse of my dramatic exit from the LC, which as I said before was explosive.

The next two years I spent with no church, which was very hard on my wife and marriage. but I had to use that time to really "Detox" and discover what I believed. In that time God led me back to a very simple discovery of the Gospel and my security in Christ, and althoguh I had wandered from Him into various religoius systems, He was with me the whole time and would never stop bearing witness that I am His Child. He would lead me through to the end.

Now we are in a small baptist church, and honestly I don't agree with about 60-80% of what is said. but most churches in our area are covenant calvinist and that doctrinal system is just absolutely terrible. honestly I find myself "playing church" to keep the peace- just being nice. i've gotten kicked out and called the devil or divisive or whatever by most churches I've been in. ultimately I just believe the gospel and am sad that it is not preached clearly.


I remember coming out that I struggled with
1) what translation to read because although i loved recovery version it triggered too many concepts that I couldn't really deal with. Landed on NASB which was my previous favorite. pretty good for memorization.

2) which "church" to go to - ugh. very little healthy places. christianity is in bad shape, it is true, and I live in a very religious city. in my experience people argue against the gospel, against assurance of salvation, and are very much caught up in works. fellowship is hard to come by. i've landed in the safest place that i can find right now where the people are the least controlling (and most likely because they're not that "serious".)

3) had bad dreams about the church every night for years. felt a siren call to go back and apologize. feared constantly that i might see them in the mall or at the store or wahtever. had panic attacks for fear I might see them. morbid curiousity led me to continaully wonder how they were doing although i knew i could never go back. facebook helped cure this actually - i became friends with some of them on facebook and that helped take some of the fear away (much of the fear was just the "unknown"). also, one of the ones that caused me the most anguish went on to be with the lord. that broke a lot of the fear.

4) felt like a failure as a christian. i went back to the people that I had originally tried to lead into the LC, who I originally led to the lord for thta matter, and many / most won't speak to me beacuse they've lost respect. "he was in a cult" "he was decieved though he thought he knew everything" " he's divorced and remarried". this has been washed away over time by the gospel. it was really about my own personal embarrassment and pride. we're all broken messed up sinners. thank you jesus for your blood.


5) struggle with a lot of backsliding because its difficult for me to find purpose in traditional christianity and can't figure out how God can use me. I still struggle with this, even though it doesn't bring me into condemnation as much as previously because I'm able to encourage myself with the gospel. i think i had a very high view of what it meant to be "in the spirit" which often leads me to feel backslidden when i'm just being "normal". however i've sinned in ways that previously were unthinkable to me when i first became a christian. some of that is from not having good fellowship and as i said feeling "directionless."

6) struggle in my marriage because we argued about church related stuff a lot. we LC people are rare birds with a wierd vocabulary that no one understands and we get upset about things no one cares about.

7) sorting the "baby" from the "bathwater". this was a big deal to me the first few years. How did I sort through what was good and bad? Honestly I can say that time deals with that one. My best advice to people who are exhausted from sorting it out is to focus on the gospel try not to fret about the other stuff. Over time you will find that the things that remain are the things the holy spirit is continually bearing witness to - the testimony of the Son of God. Everything else is not that important and will fall away. the only thing we can really hold in our mind without any effort of our own is the gospel. everything else requires continuous study to stay "fresh in it" or we forget it. that shows that it's not eternal.


I will say that God has led me to understand the gospel as never before and to rely on his unconditional love that is here for me regardless of my performance. he showed me that many of the things i used to try to enjoy by "exercising my spirit" or "being in the body" were actually enjoyed merely by focusing my mind and heart on the facts of the gospel - the simple facts that are realities for me now that Christ has died for my sins, reconciled me to God, risen and positioned me with Himself in God and at His right hand.

He also showed me doctrinally that I did not need to fear outer darkness ( a great relief! ). That view is very obscure and is not addressed very much by Christians. However in the last few years the prophetic movement outside the local church has picked up on it and that has allowed it to be addressed by some very well grounded dispensationalists, and it's pretty clear to me that the main problem with W Lee and really any legalistic system is that they just don't make a clear and consistent distinction between Israel and the Church. They put the Church where it does not belong - for example they attempt to subject it to the sermon on the mount, or to the parables in matthew 24 and 25. The bride is nowhere present in those parables, being a mystery really not revealed until after the resurrection of Christ although prophetically referenced by Him. The Bride is not invited to the wedding feast, she is the one that is doing the inviting! so no need to fear being cast out and not allowed into the wedding feast for wearing the wrong garment because thats not us in that parable. Also, the bride is not among the bridesmaids, so no need to fear being in outer darkness for not having enough oil. When you realize your place in Christ and then go back and read those parables the fear of outer darkness can finally be dealt with head on! we're in a position of grace that is so overwhelming and requires nothing from us but our simple faith in the lord jesus. That is our service to Him and what He treasures above all things. It has positioned us with Him in the heavenlies and made us partakers of His reward and His inheritance. We do suffer in this age because of the vanity we find here, but that suffering is worth it because in the next age when we are revealed as His cihldren we will be full of joy with Him!

This post is getting too long..so that's my introduction at this point that is not neat and tidy. (sorry ADD makes that difficult for me). so with all that being said if you're still reading, hello!

Last edited by Camil0; 01-20-2016 at 03:19 PM. Reason: didnt feel it completely addressed some of the questions it brought up.
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hello. Been out of LC since 2008.

Hi Camilo,

Glad to meet you. I'm sorry you've had such a hard go at things. I hope you get settled in somewhere. I think the LC and sometimes the Church of Christ say things the right way, but I'm at the point that I purposefully not say things the "right way" because they make it a point of division. For example, I think it's closer to the truth to say "I'm going to a church meeting" rather than "I'm going to a church service", but who other than a divisive brother or an evil spirit gives a rat's behind? There is nothing (that I know of) in the scripture that clearly teaches or demands that kind of speaking. It seems WL has spent a lifetime making mountains out of molehills (and I think he had to fabricate some of the molehills). I'm so glad to be free of the LSM LC WL teachings.
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hello. Been out of LC since 2008.

Hi! Yes I agree. Thank the lord that time and failure have pretty much stripped my lingo away. The only thing that drives me nuts these days in churches is that there is so little extolling of the work of Christ and so much emphasis on what we should be doing - works oriented. as far as the church form - i do believe the pastoral system really hinders people from growing, but so did the groupthink / ministry control of the LC !
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:24 PM   #4
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Hi! Yes I agree. Thank the lord that time and failure have pretty much stripped my lingo away. The only thing that drives me nuts these days in churches is that there is so little extolling of the work of Christ and so much emphasis on what we should be doing - works oriented. as far as the church form - i do believe the pastoral system really hinders people from growing, but so did the groupthink / ministry control of the LC !
I'm really glad that I landed somewhere that Christ is loved and preached. Where I'm at I've come to value and appreciate the pastoral ministry, but I think it can depend on the pastor.
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:40 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum Camil0!

Like you, many of us had difficulty after leaving the LC. Unfortunately for us, the LC leaders designed it that way by filling us with much leaven. That's why Jesus said, "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees." We all had many strange ideas, and used them to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ.

One of the worst LC obsessions was doctrines about Christ and the church. This lust for dead doctrines and head knowledge infected our hearts with sickness like the Laodiceans in Revelations chapter 3. I now am a recovering "judgaholic" learning to love God and His people, rather than be obsessed with teachings. I also have little appetite for books about the Bible, and prefer to just read the Bible, especially the Gospels.

So sorry to hear about your difficulties. Remember we are called to love God and to love people. Too much knowledge just gets in the way. Too much bad knowledge just makes us impossible to get along with others. Look at the LC leadership -- dozens of lawsuits and quarantines towards both outsiders and insiders. Yet the leaders of that sick program talk about having the "richest ministry on earth."

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you!
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hello. Been out of LC since 2008.

Just want to clarify - the calvinist church we were asked to leave a couple of years after leaving LC was due to the fact that they were pushing a teaching that was causing new believers to doubt their salvation. i was there practicing "generality" and we had good/heatlhy relationships with believers there. I had already been out of the LC for several years and was intentionally NOT making mountains out of molehills, although it was in that church that i had the opportunity to begin to "sort the baby from the bathwater". today my focus is not at all on "Christ and the Church" or any other doctrinal hobbyhorse. We try to just positively contribute where we can. We are musicians and play on the worship team and we always show up with a smile and a positive attitude and care about the people there. however, I still am irritated that the gospel is minimally preached and the emphasis is on works. the pastors that I have met in our area, when you get one on one with them, will argue against having security in salvation - either from the "arminian" standpoint that you will be one day cut off for unfaithfulness (lose your salvation) or from the "calvinist" standpoint that you may have deceived yourself and may not actually be saved at all. i find that we need to major on the majors and minor on the minors and that's definitely a major. however in everything i've learned that honey attracts and vinegar repels and i try not to approach in a combatitive or negative manner, and my heart is for people to know that they can trust the lord for everything. i think because I spilled out everything in a jumble in the intro as i tried to remember everything that happened that might have been lost.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:41 AM   #7
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I now am a recovering "judgaholic" learning to love God and His people, rather than be obsessed with teachings. I also have little appetite for books about the Bible, and prefer to just read the Bible, especially the Gospels.
The greatest revelation is arguably God's love for us in sending His Son, and our responding, in faith and love, toward God and each other. Any truth, so-called, that turns our attention away from this is highly suspect, in my book. Everything should enhance this gospel message.

Now some may strongly feel that without "church" there is no way to hear the message, no way to preach the message, and even no way to express the message of love, both from and toward God, and toward one another. Although I wouldn't dismiss such an argument out of hand, I would ask them, How much of your focus on the collective is culturally derived? In the LC of Lee, a lot, clearly. They are unwilling to gather without a "master plan" given by "God's oracle of the present age." Even where the plan deviates from the Bible, from common sense, and from our own present leading.

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today my focus is not at all on "Christ and the Church" or any other doctrinal hobbyhorse. We try to just positively contribute where we can..
I went through the same thing, and still do... trying to fit into the larger Christian conversation. One of the things about being older is that you don't fall for the next guy who comes along and proclaims something as if it were so; this is good because you don't get led by the nose as when you were 25. But this is bad because being led by the nose was once the basis for your communal experience of Christ, and when that is gone, how to meet and interact with others? What to say, when Big Brother isn't dictating the conversation?

First, to find a group where the Maximum Brother or Sister complex isn't dominating the conversation. Jesus alone is the mediator between humanity and God. Second, a place where your own journey, such as it is, will be welcomed. (The second point is greatly abetted by having the attitude Camil0 suggests, above.)

I'm an opinionated know-it-all type, who constantly has to struggle to let go, to shut up, to admit my ignorance and foolishness, and in church my struggle is to sit there with believers who bray like donkeys, and just sit there until one of them turns and speaks forth God. Because it will happen, sooner or later. You just have to be patient. Because I am also one of the donkeys. The heavenly promise is: if you show mercy to others, God will show mercy to you.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:54 AM   #8
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The only thing that drives me nuts these days in churches is that there is so little extolling of the work of Christ and so much emphasis on what we should be doing - works oriented. as far as the church form - i do believe the pastoral system really hinders people from growing, but so did the groupthink / ministry control of the LC !
The great failure in the Christian conversation is that it's rarely about Christ, and even then Christ becomes a touchstone to what we want to do. If we want to beat people, we reference Him taking a whip of cords and driving out the moneychangers. If we want to be beaten we reference Him standing in front of Herod and Pilate like a sheep being shorn, with mouth closed.

Etc. Where is the simple sitting at His feet, like Mary in the Bethany gathering? The reason our lives are a mess, and our impact in the world is negligible, is because we don't understand Him. And the reason we don't understand Him is because we think we do, and thus ignore Him.

Today I feel that the Lord Jesus had a secret, invisible relationship with the Father in heaven, which was constantly manifested in what He did and said. The "works" proved the Man. See e.g. the conversation in John 10. His works proved His Sonship. His relation with the Father was firm. A Man, in the flesh of sin on an earth held captive, was one with His Creator God in heaven.

The details of this relationship are there, but they are hard to get to, hard to fathom, and harder to grasp experientially and live within. You know, "abide". What a brutal word, in my lexicon! But it's sort of become a burning passion within me. And I hope that it's softened my interactions with others. And simplified them. How we need simplification! Not Christ and the church, not the ministry or God's present move on the earth, so-called, but just the One in whom God delights.
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Old 01-21-2016, 05:45 AM   #9
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The details of this relationship are there, but they are hard to get to, hard to fathom, and harder to grasp experientially and live within. You know, "abide". What a brutal word, in my lexicon! But it's sort of become a burning passion within me. And I hope that it's softened my interactions with others. And simplified them. How we need simplification! Not Christ and the church, not the ministry or God's present move on the earth, so-called, but just the One in whom God delights.
Just a thought - see how this rings to you. I have a less mystical view of the word "abide" today than I used to. 1 John: "Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father." I really believe this means that our abiding in Christ simply means grasping, reminding ourselves, laying hold of, and not neglecting the promise of the Gospel. Just like Paul said in Colossians that He will present us without spot "if indeed we continue in the faith, rooted/grounded and not being moved away from the hope of the gospel which we heard and which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven." With all of WL's focus on Christ as the Spirit (which I believe actually helped me be aware of how near and dear He is to me), I sort of lost the notion that He is also the message itself. We walk by faith, and that faith comes from hearing the word, and the Word is not just in general "the Bible" but the message which we heard from the beginning - the promise of eternal life because of what Jesus did on the cross. That keeps us in Him, and abiding in Him simply means not moving away from that word and onto something else (even temping biblical hobbyhorses . ) Ever since I read Andrew Murray's 'Abide in Christ' (which I read before Witness LEe) i had this terrible burden about "walking in the spirit" and keeping myself in the mystical union with Christ. I found it impossible, because that sense is continually interrupted by the sinful flesh and distractions of the world. I do believe you're right about Jesus' mysterious union with the Father - but He was the burnt offering - absolutely for God where we cannot be. We just don't have that capacity, so he simplified it and gave us the message of the Gospel to cling to. This is something we will never move away from ultimately because we've been sealed. We are mystically one with Christ - it's an accomplished fact, but until we see Him face to face and get rid of this flesh He's given us something simpler to hold on to - just believe the message.

Well, it's a comfort to me, that's for sure.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:34 AM   #10
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Just a thought - see how this rings to you. I have a less mystical view of the word "abide" today than I used to. 1 John: "Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father." I really believe this means that our abiding in Christ simply means grasping, reminding ourselves, laying hold of, and not neglecting the promise of the Gospel. .... until we see Him face to face and get rid of this flesh He's given us something simpler to hold on to - just believe the message.

Well, it's a comfort to me, that's for sure.
I have no problems whatever with what you share. My problem has been this: the union of Christ with the Father issued in a living that was a firestorm, a contagion, to the kingdom of Satan here on the earth. Only a few times in my life have I had the experience of Christ living in me to such an extent that I no longer existed, practically, but focused all my energy and attention on the fact that He lived. This literally created a firestorm around me, as I no longer reacted to the world but remained fixed upon the Father, through Christ.

Mostly I walk into a room, or down the street, and it is all controlled by Satan (or mostly) and it is "business as usual" around me. Satan doesn't fear me nor my Christ. This bothers me. This I believe is due to the lack of abiding.

Yes I believe the gospel. I hope in the gospel. I attempt to align with it. But the person behind that gospel, so tantalizingly real, usually is out of sight, more or less. I simply have an idea: today's concept or theology. That can be frustrating.

And in the context of church affairs, today, I find almost nothing of interest when the Christians gather. Either ritualistic platitudes or excitement and froth about something inconsequential, or even misleading. Been there, done that.

But am I any better? Probably not. Plus I would rather show up and at least acknowledge those of the faith, than sit home like Jack Horner and pretend what a good boy I am. So I go.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:44 AM   #11
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1 John: "Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father."
Let me rephrase my argument. I suspect that "what you heard from the beginning" wasn't Witness Lee or Andrew Murray or Martin Luther or Billy Graham. Even Moses; no, Christ calls us deeper. Moses was merely the Father being kind to us, and meeting us where we were, stuck in the hardness of our heart. See e.g. "the beginning" as referenced in Matt 19:8. But though Moses points to Christ, Christ doesn't point to Moses. Rather, Christ points to the Father.

That which was from the beginning, is deeper than we can ever go, in this life, but if we begin to proceed, we will see the issue, in "works", all around us. Not our works, but His. Thus far I have books and words and ideas, which I do believe center around the gospel of Jesus Christ, but few works.

And I am not talking of tongues of angels, or flames of fire, or miracles. I am talking about Satan falling back in disarray as the kingdom of God is manifest. And the building of the church in this manifestation is our coming together and acknowledging God's work among us in Christ. Not the "authority and submission" of Nee, with his "getting in line" and his "handing over", nor the "being absolutely identical" of Lee, or the "one trumpet" of the blendeds. Just acknowledge one another in the name of Jesus Christ. So I go to church, try not to grind my teeth too loudly as they mouth empty things (I'll remind myself, "remember, if you show mercy God will show you mercy!").

Anyway I have full confidence that God can do anything. I'm not without hope.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:49 AM   #12
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But am I any better? Probably not. Plus I would rather show up and at least acknowledge those of the faith, than sit home like Jack Horner and pretend what a good boy I am. So I go.
So funny. I have family from Hornerstown, and some of us have done exactly that.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:54 AM   #13
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I have family from Hornerstown, and some of us have done exactly that.
The revelation from God in Christ Jesus is that while we were sitting at home, thinking darkness was light, a great light shined into the darkness. Jack Horner suddenly realizes he's in a corner. The light shines and the dead rise. What a gospel.
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Old 02-06-2016, 04:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by aron View Post
The revelation from God in Christ Jesus is that while we were sitting at home, thinking darkness was light, a great light shined into the darkness. Jack Horner suddenly realizes he's in a corner. The light shines and the dead rise. What a gospel.
Amen! And Jack Horner realizes he is the deepest, darkest, most hopeless slimey worm.... yet God came to him, to give him forgiveness and a new life.
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