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A Future and a Hope by John Myer Discussions regarding this groundbreaking, bellwether work in progress

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Old 01-09-2013, 06:36 AM   #1
UntoHim
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Default A Future and a Hope - Epilogue

Hello Friends,

The last portion of the book A Future and a Hope is now available.

This is the Epilogue, a parting personal note from me before we close the book. Thank you for making this journey together with me and for your patience and support through these years.

In Christ,
John Myer

http://assemblylife.com/

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Old 01-09-2013, 08:25 AM   #2
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I'm glad he wrote this epilogue after he was ousted from Titus Chu's work in the Midwest. It allows the reader to see how Anaheim and Cleveland more or less operate the same: we run the show and you will follow along or get out. It has always been so and now John provides another vivid example of what it looks like.

Via experience he has also discovered something else of interest: if you leave the LC with others (as a group) and want to do something completely different than the LC system it will be extremely difficult i.e. transitioning intact from an LC to a community evangelical church format is not gonna happen - too much baggage. In the end John with maybe a few others others had to start from scratch to launch a new church without the LC trappings. And when he did so the LC coworkers wanted nothing more to do with him - they divided from him he didn't divide from them.

In the end the Anaheim Politburo brand and the Titus Chu brand of the LC system are essentially the same and have the same arrogant attitude: we are right and you are wrong on essentials and non-essentials therefore you will accept this or we won't work with you. Now hopefully John has shed this kind of thinking and attitude and his work will never reflect this small minded prideful Laodicean mentality and practice. Time will tell.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:26 PM   #3
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Epilogue pp. 4-5

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It came as no surprise then, when I was called to Cleveland one day, accompanied by a Columbus elder. We both knew what would probably take place -- I would be questioned and found guilty. The ride up north was by no means quiet. The elder expressed all sorts of sentiments supportive to me. But as we gathered in that room with Titus Chu and an extremely supportive loyal Cleveland elder, the big talk noticeably disappeared. My Columbus elder friend put his head down as if he were a puppy spanked with a newspaper.
I hope no one reading this brief account looks upon John's close friend with anything less than heartfelt sympathy. Few can understand the immense intimidation confronting these brothers in Cleveland. I was reminded of many a brother during the dark ages who, when facing the inquisitors, fainted at their first trial. The interrogation seemed to fog the brain, with growing fear gripping it.

Only a brother willing to lose it all for Christ can remain sober-minded in these circumstances, and stand fast in our liberty. The seasoned Apostle Paul said, "watch, stand firm in the faith, be a man, be strong!" So much easier said than done. As one who was often seized up with "stage fright," I am more than understanding here. I can also add that just recently this dear brother and his wife have also departed from the Titus Chu system to pursue the Lord. Thank the Lord for this. May the Lord bless them.

Looking back at the whole situation, one stronghold that held this dear brother was the thought that "we are Titus' fruit, we belong to him, he raised us up." He mentioned this on occasion to others. Let me say loudly to all -- we belong only to the Lord Jesus and His Father! He alone paid the ultimate price for our liberty and our redemption. We are the Lord's, and His alone. The Apostle Paul said, "Was I crucified for you? Were you baptized into my name? What then is Paul? Just a minister thru whom you believed. I planted, but God made to grow!"

It is a tragedy of epic proportions that ministers like Witness Lee and Titus Chu use their God-given gifts to render positive spiritual help to the believers on the one hand, and then hold them in lifelong bondage because of that spiritual help. Proper ministers demand no such allegiance from their students.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:43 AM   #4
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I hope no one reading this brief account looks upon John's close friend with anything less than heartfelt sympathy. Few can understand the immense intimidation confronting these brothers in Cleveland.
You can reinsert Cleveland with any locality and the outcome is the same. Although I have never been in the predicament I have the sense it would be as walking into a no-win situation; a kangaroo court. You can try to speak, but any attempt would be interrupted. Perhaps the best written example is what sister Jane expressed in The Thread of Gold.
I don't have sympathy for John Myers friend, but I do have empathy. I would not have wanted to trade places with him. Knowing what is to be expected. I only know one brother who was able to walk into such an unsettling meeting and leave with dignity.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:59 PM   #5
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I don't have sympathy for John Myers friend, but I do have empathy. I would not have wanted to trade places with him.
Terry, thanks for improving my post. Empathy is a better word.

I have testified before that I was part of the team of saints which migrated in 1977 to begin the churchlife in Columbus. That thriving, joyful, fruitful church was nearly decimated in the early 80's by the harsh abuse and damages inflicted upon Phil Comfort by Titus Chu. Years ago most of us just did not understand how abusive and manipulative Titus Chu could be towards other workers, elders, and churches. There is absolutely no justification in the scriptures for the "management style" which he exhibits over the GLA. Where is one verse which promotes his public shaming? Where is one verse which permits the mistreatment other brothers are forced to endure?

The church in Columbus was thriving for years under the leadership of John Myer. The blessings they enjoyed were envied and copied around the GLA. For example, John Myer read The Purpose Driven Church by Rich Warren, and soon the whole GLA was reading the book. After what has transpired in recent years, one can easily see that the exact same spirit of intolerance and manipulation exhibited by Anaheim can be seen in Cleveland. As John has written, "I will be questioned and found guilty," and in the end it is the church that suffers. Just a repeat of history in the church in Columbus.

Let me speak plainly for those who still wonder what happened. Neither Phil Comfort nor John Myer have ever been accused of anything even remotely bordering on inappropriate behavior. Nothing at all, nothing whatsoever. Ironically they both lived in the same meager ranch house on church property. Though separated in time by some 20+ years, both were well-loved and appreciated by the saints in Columbus. Both had a jovial, personal disposition which well-respected the brothers around them. Both were dedicated workers which gave out much more than they took in. Both were passionate in their ministry and had a positive impact upon the saints.

Thus they both had the same problem. They posed a serious risk to the prevailing power structure in Cleveland headquarters, and hence they needed to "know their place," which can only be accomplished by being beat down in front of others. Titus Chu would never share his glory with anyone, at least not within the limits of his reach. Saints can suffer loss, churches can be devastated, and workers can be disposed of, just as long as every brother pays the necessary homage to "the brother who raised us up."
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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Thus they both had the same problem. They posed a serious risk to the prevailing power structure in Cleveland headquarters, and hence they needed to "know their place," which can only be accomplished by being beat down in front of others. Titus Chu would never share his glory with anyone, at least not within the limits of his reach. Saints can suffer loss, churches can be devastated, and workers can be disposed of, just as long as every brother pays the necessary homage to "the brother who raised us up."
IMHO there were 3 coworkers in the GLA that did not fit the "mold" of the typical LC system worker: Phil Comfort, Chuck Debelak and John Myer. They each had unique giftedness that was not in keeping with the usual repeat and follow whatever Witness Lee or Titus Chu says. They are the type of workers who could flourish anywhere and didn't need the hassle of working with abusive bullies.

Phil went on to become a professor and world renown bible scholar. John has started a church and is an author and evangelist. I'm not sure what Chuck's current status is in terms of his relationship with Titus Chu but my guess is it is probably strained at some level. Anyway he is a well respected educator with a top rated private school he runs with his wife.

They were gifts to a LC system that didn't know what to do with them. In the long run there was no place for them to grow their ministries to fullness because they were conceived as "competitors" once they became manifest. In other words like Witness Lee Titus Chu does not want peers he want's obedient worker bees who will labor to build up his work under his authority and direction.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:17 AM   #7
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There is absolutely no justification in the scriptures for the "management style" which he [Chu] exhibits over the GLA. Where is one verse which promotes his public shaming? Where is one verse which permits the mistreatment other brothers are forced to endure?
I remember watching a meeting where Lee was putting the latest tweak on the "God-ordained way". There was some practice in the Bible which, Lee was saying, we were all supposed to emulate in our local churches. Suddenly, Lee stopped speaking, turned to his left, and said, "Brother Titus, is this what you are doing out there in Cleveland?"

Titus Chu stood up slowly, stiffly, and gravely. With his head down he said, "I am ashamed to admit that in Cleveland we are not yet doing this." Then he sat down, and Lee turned back to the audience and continued with his "We must all do this" harangue.

Chu allowed Lee to use him as his public whipping boy. Why shouldn't he then expect to reciprocate this dynamic with those under him? Clearly the apple didn't fall far from the tree in this case.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
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[Titus] Chu allowed Lee to use him as his public whipping boy. Why shouldn't he then expect to reciprocate this dynamic with those under him?
Exactly.

This cultural dynamic within the Recovery is programed into the mental DNA of her leaders. The source of the practice supposedly goes back to how the British missionary Margaret Barber "perfected" Watchman Nee in China. The rules are simple -- the ranking brother in the room has the license to abuse all others, and all the attendants are expected to understand that he is only "perfecting" them. All the leaders in SoCal used to have their weekly "ice baths" while WL berated them on a regular basis. Philip Lee apparently loved this aspect of the recovery the best.

When I first came to this forum, and began to realize how widespread and pervasive this practice was, I had my first "aha moment" -- the recovery produces bullies out of beloved brothers. It was a sobering thought. But for the first time I began to have answers to many of the nagging questions which had haunted me for years.

If only Titus Chu was like Witness Lee then perhaps the damages would be limited in scope, but that is not the case. National bullies produce regional bullies, and regional bullies produce local bullies, and local bullies produce household bullies. Not all the time in every brother, but far too often than anyone has cared to consider.

I watched one brother, whom I was close to for years, change for the worse after he dropped his job and began to serve under Titus Chu. At times he would mock and ridicule other brothers for no apparent reason. He was just "flexing his muscles" as he had learned from Titus. He learned too many bad habits from his mentor. As a brother, I love him dearly, but as a worker under Titus, I needed to step away to prevent further conflicts. It's one of my saddest memories about the churchlife.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:12 AM   #9
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Myer's Epilogue, page 5 ...

Quote:
"You were doing your own work all along," voices said. My response was, "Of course!"
When I first read this, I laughed, "Thank God for John Myer's honesty!"

This whole matter of "doing your own work" has become such a plague in the Recovery. Leadership in both Anaheim and Cleveland uses it to manipulate all their subservients. It has become the unforgiveable sin. Fear has gripped every leader lest it be ever said that they were "doing their own work!"

Like I said, "Thank God for John Myer's honesty!"

This one manipulative curse has paralyzed the creative thought process of all her remaining leaders. Beloved brothers, like Comfort and Myer of Columbus, would be expelled from the program and their epithet, engraved in granite headstones, would be the catch phrase "he was doing his own work." Talk about instilling fear into all those who remain.

Like I said, "Thank God for John Myer's honesty!"

I pray many of the brothers who know John Myer will be delivered from this paralyzing curse penduluming over their head like a guillotine and begin to realize that "their own work" may actually be God's own work. As Apostle John has told us, "perfect love casts out fear."
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:53 PM   #10
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Myer's Epilogue, page 5 ...

When I first read this, I laughed, "Thank God for John Myer's honesty!"

This whole matter of "doing your own work" has become such a plague in the Recovery. Leadership in both Anaheim and Cleveland uses it to manipulate all their subservients. It has become the unforgiveable sin. Fear has gripped every leader lest it be ever said that they were "doing their own work!"

This one manipulative curse has paralyzed the creative thought process of all her remaining leaders.
Yes indeed his honesty is a breath of fresh air!

Both Witness Lee and Titus Chu taught about The New Testament Ministry. Within this one overarching NT ministry are many ministers and their ministries. But ultimately what they did in practice is equate their own ministries with The New Testament Ministry thus the term The Ministry was applied to Witness Lee's ministry and I'm sure in the GLA to Titus Chu's ministry.

John Myers was doing his own work within The New Testament Ministry. That's what he's suppose to do! He's not suppose to do Titus Chu's work within the New Testament Ministry. That's Titus Chu's responsibility.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:31 AM   #11
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This whole matter of "doing your own work" has become such a plague in the Recovery. Leadership in both Anaheim and Cleveland uses it to manipulate all their subservients. It has become the unforgiveable sin. Fear has gripped every leader lest it be ever said that they were "doing their own work!"

Like I said, "Thank God for John Myer's honesty!"
Yes doing one's own work is something altogether frowned upon, which makes for almost comical meetings when our group wants to actually do something (like go out preaching and someone needs to print the little leaflets- nobody wants to take any responsibility for ANY part of that lest it be seen to be their "own work" or they are "taking charge" with frankly poor results.

Perhaps the accusation of "being divisive" is similar. I have been warned, gently, about this, and I agreed with the warning, that to criticise the church in front of the others may well be "divisive". And I think we can all see the patient approach shown by John Myer as something to learn from. But then how to voice dissatisfaction or disagreement or point out where things are going awry? Perhaps one could find a way to start another "skunkworks" division, as John writes about- I would happily join that.

Here's the thing: we are starting a new Lord's Table district in Hong Kong, under the umbrella of all existing arrangements of course, and from the elders' initial discussions, it seemed to me as if this could be it, the skunkworks! It was one thing which attracted me back to the LC: we would be free to do whatever we wanted, as long as it was scriptural, we had no ties or controls from anyone, it was said. We are not an LSM church!! Of course not!!

Of course, that turned out to be complete smoke. Within a week, we were reading Witness Lee on how to select hymns, we have an 83-week LSM plan for learning churchlife set down by the "leading brother" (we have no pastors remember...), and we are fixed to the schedule for morning revival/life study reading as all the others in our district. So much for skunkworks....

But maybe I can do something. After all, I am about 10% of the new group Any thoughts on applying John Myers to an existing and a new LC group? I am a little inspired by the idea that my "own work" might not be so evil after all...
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:10 AM   #12
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I am about 10% of the new group Any thoughts on applying John Myers to an existing and a new LC group? I after all...
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:25 AM   #13
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Yes doing one's own work is something altogether frowned upon, which makes for almost comical meetings when our group wants to actually do something (like go out preaching and someone needs to print the little leaflets- nobody wants to take any responsibility for ANY part of that lest it be seen to be their "own work" or they are "taking charge" with frankly poor results.
Here you see the utter hypocrisy and selfish manipulation of all the saints by Witness Lee and other leaders. Everything Lee did was his own work, yet for anyone else to follow the Lord and initiate some action was condemned by Lee and the group. How can anyone begin to follow the Lord in such a system? Can you believe the frustration I had to endure when our local elder had to consult with Titus Chu in Cleveland for every church initiative? It was even more frustrating to invest spiritual labor down some path only to have it aborted by one phone call to headquarters. All the brothers would pray in one accord, being like-minded in our direction, only to have Cleveland press the "off" button on their remote control.

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Perhaps the accusation of "being divisive" is similar. I have been warned, gently, about this, and I agreed with the warning, that to criticise the church in front of the others may well be "divisive". And I think we can all see the patient approach shown by John Myer as something to learn from. But then how to voice dissatisfaction or disagreement or point out where things are going awry? Perhaps one could find a way to start another "skunkworks" division, as John writes about- I would happily join that.
John Myer was permitted a certain amount of liberty by Titus Chu, as long as he was fruitful, brought his young people to Cleveland, and turned them over to Titus. In a business sense, this is understandable. When I join a company, and they pay my salary, then all of my product developments belong to the company, and not to me. But this does not work in the body of Christ. First of all, the saints make offerings to the Lord, and then ones like Titus use the money to further his own work. John Myer serves God, not Titus. God supports him thru the saints' offerings. Titus has no right to undermine the relationship that Myer has with young people, and claim them as his 'fruit.' Once Myer decided that Titus Chu's public insults were no longer acceptable, his liberty ended.

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Here's the thing: we are starting a new Lord's Table district in Hong Kong, under the umbrella of all existing arrangements of course, and from the elders' initial discussions, it seemed to me as if this could be it, the skunkworks! It was one thing which attracted me back to the LC: we would be free to do whatever we wanted, as long as it was scriptural, we had no ties or controls from anyone, it was said. We are not an LSM church!! Of course not!!
Reminds me of Henry Ford's infamous saying, "the customer can have any color Model T car he wants, as long as it is black." LSM's version is strikingly similar, "Of course you have complete freedom, you have the liberty of the all-inclusive Spirit of God in your mingled spirit, you can do any scriptural thing you want, as long as it's what we say!"

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Of course, that turned out to be complete smoke. Within a week, we were reading Witness Lee on how to select hymns, we have an 83-week LSM plan for learning churchlife set down by the "leading brother" (we have no pastors remember...), and we are fixed to the schedule for morning revival/life study reading as all the others in our district. So much for skunkworks....
I used to think (for more than a quarter century!) that having a pastor was such a horrible thing, until the day I woke up and realized that having Pope Witness Lee in Anaheim, the Blended Cardinals around the globe, and Bishop Titus Chu in Cleveland was far worse!
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:03 PM   #14
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I used to think (for more than a quarter century!) that having a pastor was such a horrible thing, until the day I woke up and realized that having Pope Witness Lee in Anaheim, the Blended Cardinals around the globe, and Bishop Titus Chu in Cleveland was far worse!
I still struggle with having a pastor, but realize HE IS ACCOUNTABLE! Being trained under an accredited seminary, there is less danger of giving a message or a word that does not glorify God.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:01 PM   #15
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I still struggle with having a pastor, but realize HE IS ACCOUNTABLE!
In my experience and observation many churches have a number of pastors not just one and these pastors have an equal standing although their daily work usually focuses on a certain ministry e.g. youth, missions, etc.

Some churches have a senior pastor who is "above" the others which in practice means if a final decision has to be made he can do it after he receives input from all the other pastors. This is useful in situations where if 1 out of 5 pastors disagree with a certain direction instead of waiting for the 1 holdout to come around the senior pastor can make the final decision and move things forward.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:05 PM   #16
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I used to think (for more than a quarter century!) that having a pastor was such a horrible thing, until the day I woke up and realized that having Pope Witness Lee in Anaheim, the Blended Cardinals around the globe, and Bishop Titus Chu in Cleveland was far worse!
Indeed! And if further truth be told the elders and coworkers had the position of pastors but thought it clever somehow to call themselves something different. There were a lot of such language games in the LC system.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:56 PM   #17
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Indeed! And if further truth be told the elders and coworkers had the position of pastors but thought it clever somehow to call themselves something different. There were a lot of such language games in the LC system.
Yes, I can think of several elders who could function as pastors. Meaning they could labor through the Word to deliver a message without relying on Witness Lee's ministry as a crutch to deliver the message.
Of course those I thought of were Bill Freeman, Al Knoch, John Ingalls, Francis Ball, and Gene Gruhler.
In present tense I cannot think of any current elders/co-workers who can function as a pastor. Truth be told alwayslearning I see it situation by situation whether an elder is functioning as an elder or functioning as a steward. My hope is for elders to function as elders.
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Old 05-05-2013, 12:09 PM   #18
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In present tense I cannot think of any current elders/co-workers who can function as a pastor.
I agree. Elders should be pastors/shepherds but in the current LC system they are locally based repeaters of Witness Lee messages and announcers of LSM events. In other words they are representatives of the LSM.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:16 PM   #19
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I agree. Elders should be pastors/shepherds but in the current LC system they are locally based repeaters of Witness Lee messages and announcers of LSM events. In other words they are representatives of the LSM.
Following is an excerpt (in bold) I received in an email today:

“But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” (John 10:12, 13 KJV)
Jesus made it clear that the central difference between a true shepherd and a hireling (hired hand) was that the shepherd was willing to fight and die for the protection of the sheep, while the hired hand was not willing to risk his life for the sheep.


There are character distinctions between a shepherd and a hireling. For an elder to be a shepherd, he needs patience, integrity, accountability, impartiality, etc. Among hirelings an obvious characteristic is partiality. If one elder has a problem with you, all elders will until "you get right with the brothers." That's being partial. Also there is little or no care for the flock. What about one brother or sister who wanders astray? The general attitude is passive "if they want to come and meet, we're here." Whereas the heart of a shepherd is active as seen in Matthew 18:12-13.

“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray." Matthew 18:12-13
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