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Old 07-07-2014, 04:41 AM   #1
aron
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Default Theodicy of the Spirit

I've been trying to follow the thread on "Becoming" or "not becoming" in 1 Corinthians 15:45 ("b"), and someone asked, Well, what is the Spirit? The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit, yes; but what is the spiritual body spoken of in the previous verse, verse 44?

But I wanted to start a new thread because my concepts here are not on Christ the last Adam becoming a life-giving Spirit but on the idea of what is Spirit, and what is spiritual.

And I want to do it in a way different than the discussion on that thread, because I want to have a discussion about experience. I don't think words and concepts will help you at the Judgment Seat, but rather experience. Though words and concepts help us with ideas, and thus shape behavior, and thus affect experience, I want to focus on the experience itself. Even my ideas I want to be from experience. So this is a personal discussion. How does the Spirit affect my life today? How do we experience the Spirit of God?

The idea of theodicy is to explain the existence of evil; why can God allow an imperfect world? I want to explain the Spirit. Not in a definition of a word or concept so much as a discussion of experience.

To me the Spirit is analogous to the Star Wars "force". The Spirit is that which pervades all, sees all, knows all. No one knows the Spirit but the Spirit knows all. Every star is named. Every hair on your head is numbered. Every bird that falls to the ground is reported back to the Father of lights. Every bug that crawls, every thought and intention of your heart, is laid bare. There is no dark hole for you to hide. The light that shines penetrates all.

And yet no one knows where the Spirit comes from, or where it goes. You can occasionally hear the sound of it, like the wind, if you listen carefully. But you really have to be still. If you think that you can join the Shouters and shout the Spirit into existence, you'll be fooled. I know, because I was there; eventually someone shouts something stupid and we all bray like donkeys, "Four legs good, two legs better!" And the Spirit moves on, like the wind. If you think that by shouting Witness Lee's theology you have caught have the wind in your box, then your box is empty. No one can catch the wind. It must move to be.

We, on the other hand, must be still. If we truly desire the "the restoration of the kingdom" (Acts 1:6), then we must "wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit" (v. 5). Then we will have the power to witness (v.8). But first we must wait. Hear of the Father's promised gift, and believe and obey, and wait.

God moves through the Spirit. God sits on the throne, but the whole universe lies open before His Spirit. When the Spirit moves, God moves. When the Spirit speaks, God speaks. The Spirit's moving and speaking is actually God's moving and speaking.

And I say this because of the word 'intention'. God's will is carried out perfectly by the Spirit. There is no distortion, no hesitation, no doubt. We are muddy, fleshy, distorted creatures, buffeted by every wind. We, unfortunately, have intention. The Spirit has God's intention. And that, my friends, is the difference.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Theodicy of the Spirit

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So this is a personal discussion. How does the Spirit affect my life today? How do we experience the Spirit of God?
I want to "justify the ways of the Spirit", not in the ways of comprehension but in the ways of obedience, submission, and personal realization. To be baptised is to repent and die and be buried, hoping for a new life and a new way. Jesus promised a baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is not something to analyze or understand. It is just something to be buried in, and raised in, and move in.

But the moving part is hard. Because moving takes intention, and if you derive intention you will distort the Spirit and you will be dropped, like a stone cast deep into mighty waters (Nehemiah 9:11). Down you go... "I saw Satan fall like lightning". The Spirit is a hard path because only the Spirit can take it. You cannot. And yet you must. It is the only way home.

Only the Spirit is the faithful reproducer of God's intention. You cannot and will not. Only when you stop, and wait, will the Spirit be revealed. But when you die, and are buried, hoping for the resurrection, eventually the Spirit will come. Our only real intention is to believe, and die, hoping to share the death and resurrection. Only then will God's intention through the Holy Spirit be manifested.

God doesn't make deals: "O God, give me Your Spirit and I will do 'x', and 'y', and 'z'". God doesn't want your doing. God wants His doing, and God only does it through His Spirit.

Anyway, these are my thoughts. Unfortunately, they are my thoughts, and as such are probably not even worth the trouble of reading them. But I thought it might be fun to type them, anyway. I'm that kind of person, if you haven't already realized.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: Theodicy of the Spirit

Obedience is hard. But it is not something you do. It is something you see Jesus doing. And it is indeed quite attractive. You are dead, but suddenly you see life! You hear the Father's voice! So you draw near, and listen, and follow. And at some point, like Peter and James and John who wandered up onto the mountain, you will indeed see glory. At some point, like John the Baptist who 'fulfilled all righteousness' and pushed Jesus down under water, you will look up and see the dove. At some point if you follow Jesus you'll see heaven open, and angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

But obedience is not something you do; it is something that you see Jesus doing, and you recognize the power of God, and you are drawn. And this drawing is nothing less than to be drawn back to the Father's throne, because that is the source of all. The angels ascend because they descend. Jesus went back to the Father because He came forth from the Father. Likewise the Spirit; it runs to and fro across the face of the earth but never leaves the Father. Its intention is pure.

We were the unwilling, the disobedient, the fallen, and the dead. We were given up. But the Spirit comes and breathes life into us, and we are raised to walk in newness of life. But this walk is entirely of the Spirit. It is not an easy walk. But it is the only walk. It is the only thing that is real.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Theodicy of the Spirit

aron,

On your last post, this sounds very good. It is very "inner life" and spiritual.

Yet the record of scripture suggests that it is not some kind of natural, "wow, today I just have this power to do it" thing. It is something you have to set your mind for. It takes a letter full of admonitions, not just for broad statements against the ritualistic OT law, but also that a couple of sisters would quit fighting and get along.

It takes admonitions in several letters from Paul. In letters from Peter, John, James, and others.

The evangelical version of grace, along with the inner-life teachings, leads us to the conclusion that when we finally get there (when we arrive, when we get enough dispensing — to use Lee's words) then we will obey. But why then did Paul constantly tell his readers that the spiritual underpinnings are — not that they will be, or need to be gathered? Why did Peter tell us that we have all things necessary for life and Godliness?

Were they wrong? Or are these teachings that in this life it is simple once we get enough fiber in our diet and take the right vitamins. If it is so easy and natural, there would be no call to "take up your cross and follow." There would be no cross because we would just do it.

And so far, no one just does it. And those that seem to tend to burn out.

It does take something that is in one place called "setting your mind." But that is today for today's trials. It is not for tomorrow's or next week's. Where your mind is set now should be how we operate. It should result in obedience to what our mind is set upon. If we are not yet doing, then the mind is not set because if it was, we would do.

That might suggest that a whole lot of reading and other things that we like to think of as spiritual are not as spiritual as we think.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Theodicy of the Spirit

OBW,

All quite true. I am doing a sort of haphazard conjecture of life on the other side of the veil. But on this side, while we still dwell in the flesh, all quite true.

The Spirit has come to be quite an interest of mine. I lived in the Shouter mindset for years. Now I am actually trying to 1) look at the text, absent Lee glasses, and 2) square that with my feeble and shallow experience.

So I am drawn, at least conceptually, to the mystical "I was carried away in spirit and beheld x, y, and z" imagery, but the hard and fast is all of which you speak. I tried to reference that in the Lord's 'wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father' in the first 2 posts. But that was certainly not some all-encompassing, comprehensive command.

Nonetheless, when Jesus prayed, "on earth as it is in heaven", shouldn't we consider "as it is in heaven", if we are to square up our earthly journey? That includes visions of angels ascending and descending, and the inexpressible glory of the Spirit, which does indeed go forth from the throne. If Jesus said "You will see this" kind of thing (John 1:51), then I will indeed struggle to obey, and enter. And here especially, "without vision we perish". And if Lee wasn't interested, focusing instead on his masticating his "processed Triune God", then I'm not terribly interested in his so-called economy, nor his ideas on 1 Cor 15:45. Which is sort of why I parked my mystical notions outside that thread. The Spirit is not something we define, or examine. It is something (or rather someone) we find, or rather are found by, and that finding will define us. That finding defines the journey.

Notice that the Jews found and lost again and again. Out of Chaldees, out of Egypt, out of Babylon. Etc. The Spirit is a hard road. But it is the only road.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:01 AM   #6
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God doesn't make deals: "O God, give me Your Spirit and I will do 'x', and 'y', and 'z'". God doesn't want your doing. God wants His doing, and God only does it through His Spirit.
Then it's none of my business. I'll only get in the way.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Theodicy of the Spirit

My question is, why is this thread called Theodicy of the Spirit? Isn't that implying that the Spirit allows evil to exist in the world?

The OP states:
Quote:
But I wanted to start a new thread because my concepts here are not on Christ the last Adam becoming a life-giving Spirit but on the idea of what is Spirit, and what is spiritual.
So why Theodicy? Did you mean Theology?
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:11 PM   #8
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My question is, why is this thread called Theodicy of the Spirit? Isn't that implying that the Spirit allows evil to exist in the world?

So why Theodicy? Did you mean Theology?
Well I was just playing with words. I like to; remember getting excited about words like “processed” and “consummated” and “crystallized”? Well, I still do, and this time I picked “theodicy”. My understanding was that Liebniz, like Irenaeus and Origen before, was not trying to justify the existence of evil, but rather to justify the ways of a powerful and benevolent God in the face of evil. So I wanted to justify the ways of the spirit.

But it was really a play on words, because I feel that any justification of God by us is going to be somewhat subjective. Just as our definitions of “Spirit” and “spiritual” are perhaps arbitrary, because we are neither Spirit nor truly spiritual. So any definition is going to be what we agree on today and not what actually is.

If you asked me, I'd say, “Spirit is how God communicates with the world”. Spirit is God moving, and speaking, and shining forth. But if you asked me in 8 months “What is Spirit” I might give you a completely different answer. My justification of the ways of the Spirit is playing in the sandbox, pushing sand around with my Tonka tractor and pretending that I am trafficking in reality. But I do it because it amuses me.
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:33 PM   #9
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Default The Pattern in Heaven

Justification of the ways of God is kind of a goofy premise: I don’t understand God, and God doesn’t need my apologetics. So I was being tongue-in-cheek when I titled this thread “the theodicy of the Spirit”. I instead wanted to examine the ways of the Spirit in a series of ideational vignettes, which are not necessarily any more “real” than someone else's.

For example, what if John’s vision of the seven spirits before the throne in Revelation 1:4 connects to Moses’ golden lampstand? The penultimate image in John’s gospel is perhaps the one at the end of the first chapter, right before the miracles begin: “You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” This scene conceptually frames the miraculous signs that follow.

So think about this: in the tabernacle, as in the temple, there was a lampstand before the throne, with its seven candlesticks focusing their light together. The lamps’ tubes are hollow, and filled with oil, and the lamps always burning. On each side of the lampstand are two spouts, pouring into the base of the lamp. (See Zech 4:11-14; Rev 11:3-12) Now we know the property of fluid: a u-shaped tube that is open on each end will have resting fluid at the same level in both ends! So you could fill the seven lamps using a spout that was opened at the same height. That way they would always burn, and they would never run out -- the flame would be undisturbed, and yet would always be supplied.

Now, the Spirit is being manifested as seven flames burning before the throne, with oil flowing down, in supply, and flowing up to be burned. It is a very dynamic picture. And it suggests that John the apostle wasn’t picturing a newly-intensified spirit, as there were seven flames already burning in the holiest place, long before Jesus was born! To me John's spiritual significance is that there is imagery of a descending and ascending in both his gospel and in Revelation 1:4, 4:5, and 5:6. We don’t have to invent some new property (i.e. “intensification”) for the Sprit, as Moses had been told to make everything in the earthly temple (including the seven lamps burning) when he received the heavenly vision in Exodus 25. See e.g. verse 9: "Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you."
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:37 AM   #10
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Justification of the ways of God is kind of a goofy premise: I don’t understand God, and God doesn’t need my apologetics. So I was being tongue-in-cheek when I titled this thread “the theodicy of the Spirit”.
Theodicy is a bombshell word. Atheists use it to disprove God altogether.

And unless we can tie it into Nee, Lee, & the LRC, it's prolly off topic on this forum. UntoHim can clear that up.

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Originally Posted by aron
I instead wanted to examine the ways of the Spirit in a series of ideational vignettes, which are not necessarily any more “real” than someone else's.
Your present Title: The Pattern in Heaven, does it express what you mean?

Are you seeking a definition of s/Spirit (Pneuma - Paraclete - Shekinah) from the heavenly point of view?
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:17 PM   #11
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Theodicy is a bombshell word. Atheists use it to disprove God altogether.

And unless we can tie it into Nee, Lee, & the LRC, it's prolly off topic on this forum. UntoHim can clear that up.
Off topic?? Did I just get that from awareness?

Certainly I meant to be somewhat provocative, but not disrespectful nor sacrilegious. Theodicy means to justify God, and I was trying to justify the ways of God's spirit (with the humorous wink at a creature trying to justify its creator).

How this relates to Lee is his ideas of the Spirit being "inclusive" and "intensified". I say that the Spirit was already inclusive in John 1:51, to include angels ascending and descending, and already intensified on the mountain in Exodus, when Moses saw 7 spirits burning before the throne. Again, "See that you make everything according to the pattern that you saw on the holy mountain." Thus, a seven-branched candlestick was constructed. Paul can tell us in his epistles "there is one Spirit", but nevertheless Moses' candlestick has seven branches. That's what I see John saying in Revelation 1:4, 4:5, and 5:6. The heavenly scene had seven flames of fire burning. The candlestick joins the seven lamps and connects heaven to earth. Angels/oil/Spirit flows up and down. That is "the way of the Spirit".

These are all just thought pictures, not provably "right" or "wrong". But they certainly are viable as thoughts, and topical to this particular ex-LCer's spiritual walk.
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:37 PM   #12
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Your present Title: The Pattern in Heaven, does it express what you mean?
Yes, pretty much. "As in heaven, so on earth". If you don't know the heavenly pattern, on what do you base your activities? Like I said, that is arguably where the seven-branched candlestick came from. From the heavenly pattern seen by Moses.

Quote:
Are you seeking a definition of s/Spirit (Pneuma - Paraclete - Shekinah) from the heavenly point of view?
Again, the heavenly point of view is arguably the only one. It is the only one that lasts. "The things we see are not real, but the unseen things are real, and endure."

But a definition of God by disobedient and fallen creatures is ludicrous. Of course we do it, all the time. I do it. I need to do it: to struggle to make sense of it all, especially God. But I don't take myself too seriously. I don't take Lee or Dong or Chu or the blendeds too seriously either. I am sorry that so many people got hurt by taking them seriously. I think that was a big mistake. God; yes. God is serious. We are not, really. We are sinful. How can we take ourselves or our thought processes so seriously? We think thoughts and then we build gods out of them. That's what I think Lee's "intensified processed God" of Revelations 1:4 is, actually. He's deified his own definition.
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:27 PM   #13
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aron,

I will probably mostly refrain from this particular thread. But I wanted to make one statement that I think is worthy of much thought by us all and might just fit in with this thread in some way.

I have been impressed in recent years that even the very "spiritual" discussions that Paul had that are so often used as the core of LRC teaching, inner-life teaching, and even a lot of the "belief is everything" kind of emphasis of evangelicalism in general were not about being spiritual. They are mostly not about the spiritual things, but about the spiritual facts that free us to live, act, be, etc., in our lives the way that sons of God would be.

The second half of Galatians 2 is so often distilled down to "I am crucified with Christ." This is an important fact. But the guts of the section is that if justification is by faith, then quit trying to make everyone toe the line of OT ritual laws. The point is that I live by Christ, not that I have to be crucified with Christ. I am crucified with Christ. The life I now live is free of OT ritual laws. I don't need to observe the "eat this but don't eat that" rules to be a Christian.

To make my point shorter, everything about the Spirit is available to us. We have it at our disposal. Peter said we have what we need for life and Godliness. We don't need to dwell on the spiritual truths and do a lot of "spiritual" things before we live a "son of God" life. We just need to refocus our minds from the old thinking to the new. From worrying about OT laws to recognizing that on this side of crucifixion we don't have those issues.

To borrow from a post I just did in another thread, it is not about conjuring up enough spiritual effort to eventually act like a son of God. It is realizing that I am a son of God and just need to act as if it is true.

The Spirit is very important in all of that. But we don't get the Spirit by thinking about all the spiritual things or psyching ourselves up for the task. The Spirit is there. Ready? Get set and go.

If we don't, James will come along to poke holes in our spirituality.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:02 AM   #14
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I wanted to make one statement that I think is worthy of much thought by us all and might just fit in with this thread in some way.

I have been impressed in recent years that even the very "spiritual" discussions that Paul had that are so often used as the core of LRC teaching, inner-life teaching, and even a lot of the "belief is everything" kind of emphasis of evangelicalism in general were not about being spiritual. They are mostly not about the spiritual things, but about the spiritual facts that free us to live, act, be, etc., in our lives the way that sons of God would be... everything about the Spirit is available to us. We have it at our disposal. Peter said we have what we need for life and Godliness. We don't need to dwell on the spiritual truths and do a lot of "spiritual" things before we live a "son of God" life. We just need to refocus our minds from the old thinking to the new. From worrying about OT laws to recognizing that on this side of crucifixion we don't have those issues.

To borrow from a post I just did in another thread, it is not about conjuring up enough spiritual effort to eventually act like a son of God. It is realizing that I am a son of God and just need to act as if it is true.

The Spirit is very important in all of that. But we don't get the Spirit by thinking about all the spiritual things or psyching ourselves up for the task. The Spirit is there.
I see the opposite of your point, which I agree is "worthy of much thought", in Lee's expositions building on Paul. Lee took a half-dozen supposedly key verses, framed up his "God's economy" template, and then coerced conformity upon the rest of the Bible, and that portion of the Christian flock under his tutelage. Lee arguably turned Paul's "Spirit of Christ" into dogma for us, the new and shiny equivalent of OT law.

Now, am I doing the same thing, on this thread, using Exodus 25:9, John 1:51, and Revelations 1:4? Probably... see how easy it is? We just get "impressed" with a few verses, get a "vision" from them, and superimpose that over the whole shebang. Line everything up with your vision, ignore everything that doesn't conform, label everyone as "dark" who doesn't hang with your vision, and you are off and running.

Which is where the ekklesia comes in, or should come in. It's always good to have a few people around who are not bowled over by the magnificence of your exalted view of the divine and unseen realm. We should rather be bowled over by Jesus, and not by Lee or aron or OBW, who are thinking and writing about Jesus. These are not the same things.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:34 AM   #15
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... a definition of God by disobedient and fallen creatures is ludicrous. Of course we do it, all the time. I do it. I need to do it: to struggle to make sense of it all, especially God.
As I said, Lee and his followers deified his definitions of the Spirit, which I find very oriental. Society, especially the society of God, must be very orderly. So God in his wisdom gave us a Maximum Brother who defines the very reality itself for us all. No need to read the Bible for yourself, which might give you strange notions. No; safe to read the interpreted word, interpreted solely by God's present oracle.

Once I got safely past that nonsense, and found myself adrift again, and managed to start reading the Bible, I began to notice things Lee never told me about. Surprise, surprise.

One of these things was the arrangement of the Father, Son, and Spirit. The Son lowered himself, and became completely obedient to the Father. Likewise the Son, when he left, promised that the Spirit would be sent just as he the Son had been sent. So I began to see the Father on the throne, the Son before the throne, walking among the Churches, and the Spirit sent into all the earth. A picture began to emerge in my mind.

And now I want to mention another aspect of this emerging picture. The Roman Centurion said, "I also have servants under me, and I tell this one "go", and he goes, and this one "come" and he comes, and this one "do this" and he does it. You just speak the word and my servant will be healed." (Luke 7:7,8)

Jesus marveled when he heard this word. Not in Israel had he found such faith. The faith expressed here is not just belief, but understanding as well. Jesus was arguably "under" the Father here, just as the centurion was under Caesar. Thus when Jesus spoke, the Father spoke through him, just as Caesar spoke through the centurion. Now, who are the analogous "servants under me" of Jesus? Are there any? I would say yes; that they may be seen in John 1:51.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:52 AM   #16
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The penultimate image in John’s gospel is perhaps the one at the end of the first chapter, right before the miracles begin: “You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” This scene conceptually frames the miraculous signs that follow.
I would like to compare my vision here, with what I see Lee doing. He arranged his vision around Paul. Ephesians through Philippians was Lee's "heart of the divine revelation". Much was made of Paul's authorship of 14 books of the NT (assuming Hebrews). But I see a young man who was a disciple of John the Baptist in the first chapter of the fourth gospel, who was not only one of the 12 original disciples but one of the 3 (mountaintop shekinah, Jairus' daughter [Luke 8:51], etc). And after Paul was gone this man John was still serving, and still writing. So I center my vision on him and not Paul.

And the narrative of the fourth gospel, for me, climaxes in the vision at the end of the first chapter. Everything else flows out of, and back to that vision.

So I see Christ speaking to the angel of the seven churches in Revelations 2 and 3, which churches were then told to hear what the Spirit was speaking to them. And Philip was told by an angel to go to the south road out of Jerusalem (Acts 8:26), and then the Holy Spirit told Philip to run up the the chariot of an Ethiopian (8:29).

Now, my emerging vision is no less real to me than Lee's was to him. But I don't pretend it is the last word, either. I am simply trying to say that now free of Lee's dogma I am able to read the Bible again. And what I begin to see is what I begin to see. And I see my vision in the church, and not apart from it.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:46 AM   #17
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I would like to compare my vision here, with what I see Lee doing..
Good thing you don't have a bunch of worshipers following you. Or you'd get the big head like Lee, and based upon all the eyes looking up to you, would think you are the oracle and some such more.

We made Lee what he was.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:29 AM   #18
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Hi again guys,

The subject of legitimate Christian action is a fascinating one. Do we wait for the Spirit to move in us? Or do we "obey" based on what we know in ourselves? Or is it some mixture of the two? Being action-oriented seems quite proactive and no-nonsense. Yet can't simple outward obedience lead to being just "religious?" Obviously we are to be aware of the Spirit and not do things "just in ourselves." Yet being overly Spirit-oriented can lead to passivity.

So what's the answer or key? In my experience it's really both. We should always be willing to act based on what we know, yet in doing so we listen for the Spirit's leading. As OBW said, the Spirit is here, and the commandment is clear: "Go disciple the nations." So our lives should be discipling lives. We should live and act with a view to being examples, in deed and word, of the Good News. Yet, we should also know without the Spirit's empowering our work will be random, powerless and ineffective, not to mention tedious and dry.

So we are to go forth joyfully doing our best within the parameters of all our responsibilities to obey what we know yet always looking for the Spirit's empowering and specific fine-tuning of what we do.

Our bread-and-butter obedience is usually a combination of what we know from learning and experience combined with what we know directly from the Spirit. It's a team effort, although God gets all the glory. Which comes first varies, it seems. Just what was the spark that led us to act we don't always know. This keeps us honest, on our toes, and living by faith.

But I think it's usually better to act and have the Lord adjust you, than to be overly worried about making a mistake. We learn by doing.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:45 AM   #19
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Good thing you don't have a bunch of worshipers following you. Or you'd get the big head like Lee, and based upon all the eyes looking up to you, would think you are the oracle and some such more.

We made Lee what he was.
Amen, and amen. I compared myself to Lee because I can read the Bible and see things just like he could. But I don't assume, in LC parlance, that "now I have the mantle" and everybody has to listen to ol' bruther Aaron. You know, when you read the Bible you'll say, "Gee, I wonder what bruther Aaron says about that verse".

No, I think we all can "see visions and dream dreams", a la Joel 2:28, and then come to the ekklesia and get our dreams and visions right-sized. Lee succeeded in the first aspect, and utterly failed in the second. And you are right: we were his co-conspirators in the failure. We deified Lee's thoughts, if not the man himself. We made Lee what he was.

Btw, when I earlier wrote that "I follow John over Paul", I don't mean that "I am of John"... I just say that understanding-wise, just as Lee focused his revelation on a few verses from Paul, and forced John's and everybody elses' writings into his Pauline-centric line, I typically start my understanding from John's writing, and compare others with that.

But if the ekklesia doesn't give me a big resounding 'amen', then I'm willing to just drop my vision, or at least shelve it. Because I'm not going to go start some new movement around what I read or see in the Bible. If the apostle John didn't start something new, then I'm not going to either. John told the Asian churches, most of them, to repent. He even threatened one of them with expulsion (sorta) if they didn't get their act together. But you didn't see John leaving "degraded Christianity" and starting some new and supposedly "pure" recovery movement. So why should I allow my vision to separate me from the flock?
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:34 PM   #20
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You know, when you read the Bible you'll say, "Gee, I wonder what bruther Aaron says about that verse".
Well if I'm gonna follow you first thing I need to know is: Are you aron, or Aaron?
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:57 PM   #21
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Well if I'm gonna follow you first thing I need to know is: Are you aron, or Aaron?
Well my name is aron but if you want, you can call me Maximum Brother, or Max for short.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:14 PM   #22
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Okay Maximum Brother, let's get back on the brass tacks.

You say you want to see Spirit from the heavenly point of view. I'd like that too.

So I'm hopin' that yer gonna tell me how to see that way.

I suppose UntoHim will tell you the way to do that is thru the Bible ; that the Bible provides the heavenly view we're lookin' for.

Hey, I had one Church of Christ'er tell me the Bible is the Holy Spirit, based a verse that reads "the spirit of the word," somewh'ers.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:24 AM   #23
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Okay Maximum Brother, let's get back on the brass tacks.
Actually I've decided to renounce my title as MB, aka Sir Max-alot. In a fit of sober-mindedness I realized that only Jesus is "the name above every name", and anyone else who presumes pride of place is in for a tough surprise. So I quit. Sorry.

Of course there are indeed apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. But there are also wanna-be's, fakes and frauds. Along with people who for some weird reason need to be taken for a ride. I know; I was there once.

So better that we don't even joke here.

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You say you want to see Spirit from the heavenly point of view. I'd like that too.

So I'm hopin' that yer gonna tell me how to see that way.
As I said, I believe that we all "have the oracle", and the church is the place where our visions can be presented and pruned. You and I both remember when the Local Churches were really local and that happened, at least occasionally. So I'm not gonna do a "Lee" on you and tell you how to see the way. Anyone wants to be told the way, they can read a HWFMR outline. It is full of "we shoulds", "we needs", and "we have tos." I'm not that way and I resent it when anyone tries to tell me how to follow Jesus.

Instead I'll tell you what happened to me and you can figure out if it relates. As I said earlier, I began to focus more and more on the apostle John. Not that I am "of John", but rather I began to feel that John's writing could show me something about Jesus that I couldn't see anywhere else. John was there at the beginning, and also there at the end. His ministry book-ended the whole shebang. So, I wanted to see what John was trying to say to me.

But first I had my "we see Jesus" moment from Hebrews chapter 2: there, I suddenly realized that I was part of the "we" that could see Jesus, and it was in the present tense. It was me, and it was now! It was like when I saw the author of Hebrews seeing Jesus, I knew that I could also; a door was opened for my own experience. I just could believe, today, and see.

So I became determined to see, I guess. Then when I was in John's gospel, and I kept getting drawn to the first chapter, where John the Baptist was walking alone with 2 disciples and they met Jesus. That story climaxed in the utterance: "You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." Now, first I got curious: where did this imperative statement get fulfilled? Jesus said, "You will see" something, so it definitely happened. Then, as I was considering, spontaneously I began to pray, and began to declare, and even demand the same experience. I wanted to see heaven opened. I wanted to see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. Jesus had said, "You will", so by faith I demanded fulfillment.

At that moment, everything began to change for me. The Bible just began to open up, and the "behind the scenes" stuff suddenly became apparent. All the miracles and speakings and wondrous works; suddenly behind them I could see "angels ascending and descending", etc. And this included the Spirit. This included the seven flames of fire before the throne. This included the seven eyes of the Lamb, which run to and fro throughout the earth. This included the angel talking to Hagar in the wilderness, and she said, "You are the God who sees me." Etc, etc. I just began to see it all. It became as real to me as any mind-picture of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth when I was a kid.

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I suppose UntoHim will tell you the way to do that is thru the Bible ; that the Bible provides the heavenly view we're lookin' for.

Hey, I had one Church of Christ'er tell me the Bible is the Holy Spirit, based a verse that reads "the spirit of the word," somewh'ers.
The Bible provides the heavenly view, but we are all different. John 1:51 happened to open a "door to heaven" for me, but maybe some other verse or experience will guide you. Lee's experience in Paul's "God's economy" or "now the Lord is that Spirit" may have been watersheds for his consciousness. But Lee's vision ain't gonna become a law imposed upon my consciousness. If anyone out there needs it, surely Lee's BBs (or Chu or Dong or any other Apostle-lite) will be happy to run your life for you.

Instead, I see the church as a place not to get visions from others but to present our own visions. And then a 'zeek' or an 'Igzy' will come along and say, "not so fast", because otherwise you might run off the rails. Because although it's inspiring to see visions, the church is where rubber hits road. Like OBW said, ultimately it's not about your talking the talk, it's about your walking the walk.

Certainly I've talked some kind of talk here. But how much is "self" and how much is "God"? I really don't know. So I don't take myself or even my visions too seriously. But I believe God is real, and I believe the door to heaven is open, and the Spirit is calling. And man, when you get a whiff of it, wow! You feel like that Samaritan woman: you wanna run around and shout, Come and see! Suddenly church becomes fun, if they'll let you talk. You can share your vision. Suddenly that guy next to you at work becomes a potential receptacle for the Spirit enlivening you. It can really be a blast. Suddenly you really feel that "wherever two or more are gathered in my name" stuff. It's real.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:40 AM   #24
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As I said, I believe that we all "have the oracle", and the church is the place where our visions can be presented and pruned. . . .
. . . So I became determined to see, I guess. Then when I was in John's gospel, and I kept getting drawn to the first chapter, where John the Baptist was walking alone with 2 disciples and they met Jesus. That story climaxed in the utterance: "You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." Now, first I got curious: where did this imperative statement get fulfilled? Jesus said, "You will see" something, so it definitely happened. Then, as I was considering, spontaneously I began to pray, and began to declare, and even demand the same experience. I wanted to see heaven opened. I wanted to see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. Jesus had said, "You will", so by faith I demanded fulfillment.

At that moment, everything began to change for me. The Bible just began to open up, and the "behind the scenes" stuff suddenly became apparent. All the miracles and speakings and wondrous works; suddenly behind them I could see "angels ascending and descending", etc. And this included the Spirit. This included the seven flames of fire before the throne. This included the seven eyes of the Lamb, which run to and fro throughout the earth. This included the angel talking to Hagar in the wilderness, and she said, "You are the God who sees me." Etc, etc. I just began to see it all. It became as real to me as any mind-picture of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth when I was a kid.

The Bible provides the heavenly view, but we are all different. John 1:51 happened to open a "door to heaven" for me, but maybe some other verse or experience will guide you. Lee's experience in Paul's "God's economy" or "now the Lord is that Spirit" may have been watersheds for his consciousness. But Lee's vision ain't gonna become a law imposed upon my consciousness. If anyone out there needs it, surely Lee's BBs (or Chu or Dong or any other Apostle-lite) will be happy to run your life for you.

Instead, I see the church as a place not to get visions from others but to present our own visions. And then a 'zeek' or an 'Igzy' will come along and say, "not so fast", because otherwise you might run off the rails.
Well now that's quite a story. I feel left out. All around me people are having visions, and I don't.

Hosepipe, my friend of long standing (Since the C. in Ft. Lauderdale - he got the boot with me, sort of), had a vision some 15 yrs ago, and wrote it down in a furry. He's been trying to understand it ever since. And has made dogma out of some of it. I like to shoot holes thru it. He takes it waaaay tooooo seriously.

And I have a friend I made here in Kentucky, since moving here, at Al-Anon. She's been obsessed with following the Spirit for over 3 decades. She sees visions too.

In fact, she can be driving down the highway and a panoramic movie appears in the sky. She pulls over to watch it. Spends weeks trying to figure out what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell her.

She has visitations at 3am from God, who speaks to her.

You say the church provides a balance. When she shared her visions to some at her church, they balanced her right out the door. She doesn't share her visions at church no more.

I don't judge, she shares them with me. What do I know about visions? I try to provide balance. I tell her if anyone saw her following the Spirit, and its outcome in her life, they'd run the other way from the Spirit. She admits to that, but still has visitations and visions. I tell her that then she can expect more pain from God, if it keeps going as it's been going for her so far. She says, "What's up with that?"

She takes it waaaay toooo seriously, and it gets her in serious trouble.

I don't see like you guys. I get them vicariously. Can anyone spare some eye-salve?
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:40 PM   #25
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I don't see like you guys. I get them vicariously. Can anyone spare some eye-salve?
You know, there's an interesting story in the Bible. The crusty old prophet Elijah knows that it's his time to go home. So he tells his helper, "You have been faithful to me these many years. Tell me, what can I do for you? What do you want?" And the helper says, "Give me twice the Spirit that you have." The old prophet says, "Well, that's a tall order. But tell you what: if you see me go, you'll get the double Spirit."

So the helper watches day and night, and sure enough, one day along comes the chariot and swoops up the old dude. The young'un runs along after, shouting, "My father, my father - the horses and chariots of Israel!!"

So I wonder; who was his father, that he espied? Elisha, Sr? Elijah the prophet? Or, "our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name"? I kinda suspect the latter.

So I reckon, maybe I've never seen heaven open, but Elisha did. Maybe I've never seen the New Jerusalem descend out of heaven, but John did, there on Patmos. Maybe I've never seen the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man, but Nathanael did. Maybe I can't see God, but by faith I see in a mirror, darkly. Maybe I also get visions vicariously. And maybe that's good enough.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:59 PM   #26
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You know, there's an interesting story in the Bible. The crusty old prophet Elijah knows that it's his time to go home. So he tells his helper, "You have been faithful to me these many years. Tell me, what can I do for you? What do you want?" And the helper says, "Give me twice the Spirit that you have." The old prophet says, "Well, that's a tall order. But tell you what: if you see me go, you'll get the double Spirit."

So the helper watches day and night, and sure enough, one day along comes the chariot and swoops up the old dude. The young'un runs along after, shouting, "My father, my father - the horses and chariots of Israel!!".
Are you talking about old bald head, who had she bears render 42 silly children into pieces?
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:07 AM   #27
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Are you talking about old bald head, who had she bears render 42 silly children into pieces?
Thanks for the correction. So Elisha wasn't young at that point.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:46 AM   #28
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So I reckon, maybe I've never seen heaven open, but Elisha did. Maybe I've never seen the New Jerusalem descend out of heaven, but John did, there on Patmos. Maybe I've never seen the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man, but Nathanael did. Maybe I can't see God, but by faith I see in a mirror, darkly. Maybe I also get visions vicariously.
Even if I don't see Jesus, I can apprehend that others have, and follow by faith. To me that is the great message of the epistle to the Hebrews. The author did not see Jesus but nonetheless believed and followed (btw, would Paul have written (2:3) that the gospel of salvation came "to us by those who heard Him[Jesus]"? I doubt it. Paul's revelation clearly came from God). And now the writer of Hebrews holds up the OT text and says to us, "we see Jesus".

To me, the Bible does not end with the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven but rather with the apostle John, while on Patmos yet in the Spirit carried away to a high mountain, seeing the New Jerusalem descend. I may not see the New Jerusalem but in the text I can apprehend that John does. I believe and follow. I see the author of Hebrews seeing Christ in the pages of scriptural text. I agree, and struggle to enter in.

In Bethany, I do not see Jesus but I see Mary's face as she gazes upon him. In 2 Kings I don't see the Father but see Elisha running after the chariot and shouting. And so on. In the Bible I can by faith attach myself to the visions of those who have gone before.

And so it is with the Spirit. It is right there, described in the text, in words I cannot comprehend but can believe and struggle to obey. "You hear the sound of it" (John 3:8) is a good analogy: like the breeze through the trees we have ample evidence of its existence, but by definition we cannot own it; it has to be free to move where it (i.e. the Father) wills. So it's not something that will fit in our conceptual box. Again and again, your concepts will be broken if you let the Spirit in.

I guess my point is that we are probably too small for our vision to contain God. And yet I struggle. What else in life is worth doing, except to return home to my Father in heaven?

Anyway, I'll repeat what apparently needs repeating: any vision that separates or divides us from the flock is not what we are after here. Exaltation does not equal isolation. Get over that stupid notion.
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:51 AM   #29
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How this relates to Lee is his ideas of the Spirit being "inclusive" and "intensified". I say that the Spirit was ... already intensified on the mountain in Exodus, when Moses saw 7 spirits burning before the throne.

"See that you make everything according to the pattern that you saw on the holy mountain." Thus, a seven-branched candlestick was constructed. Paul can tell us in his epistles "there is one Spirit", but nevertheless Moses' candlestick has seven branches. That's what I see John saying in Revelation 1:4, 4:5, and 5:6. The heavenly scene had seven flames of fire burning. The candlestick joins the seven lamps and connects heaven to earth.
Two points:

Exodus 25:37 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it."

Those seven lamps were burning long before the apostle John got to write of seven lamps of fire burning in Revelation 4:5. So we don't need to reconcile Paul's "there is one God and one Spirit" with John's vision of seven burning spirits. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians there were already seven lamps burning. And they were indeed one -- look at what their orientation: "so that they light the space in front of it". They corporately look toward their source. The seven lamps shine as one, knowing the source of true light. And that the priests' are not to let them burn out is also indicative of this unyielding and unending focus on enduring reality. So we do mental gymnastics if our vision requires us to. But we don't have to if we don't need to. I am not sure that John felt there was any conflict with his vision and Paul's. John had been with Jesus, and heard the affirmation: "Hear O Israel: the LORD your God is one God, and you shall..." There is no conflict to reconcile, if we don't create one.

My second point is that I've had people reply to me, BP-like, "We don't care for that", when I raise the vision of the seven spirits, or the angels of the seven churches in Asia. Because, they assert, their eyes are fixed resolutely on the New Jerusalem. They are here for the consummation, not some way-station. They point out that in the New Jerusalem there is no more temple, because it isn't necessary. The old things are gone, and all is made new. So why fixate on something temporary?

They quote Revelation chapter 21:22, "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." But I reply that you don't get to Revelation 21:22 except by going through Revelation 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. If you want to skip the tough parts and just go to the dessert at the end, go for it. Just eat ice cream covered in syrup and whipped cream and maraschino cherries and sprinkles. Enjoy.
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:02 AM   #30
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My second point is that I've had people reply to me, BP-like, "We don't care for that", to my raising the vision of the seven spirits, or the angels of the seven churches in Asia. Because, they assert, their eyes are fixed resolutely on the New Jerusalem. They are here for the consummation, not some way-station. They point out that in the New Jerusalem there is no more temple, because it isn't necessary. The old things are gone, and all is made new. So why fixate on something temporary?
It's been a long time ... prolly since the late 70's ... that the Local Churches even focused their eyes on "the Local Churches." Witness Lee and the Blendeds-to-Be realized long ago that the very existence of "local" churches and "local" elders created far too many obstructions for a global leadership hell-bent on the domination of God's people.

Like others before them in church history, it became all too convenient to pay lip-service to all the restrictive notions of locality, and move on to "high peak visions," which of course no one else could "see" in the scripture except for those true "Seers" in Anaheim. Hence we had Lee shift focus from local churches to the "one body." It also helped to have regular rebellions among its adherents to expedite this process.

It becomes incredibly self-serving for any pseudo-Christian organization to shift focus from the basics of the scripture, like loving and serving the ones next to you, to idealized goals like the "one body" and the "New Jerusalem." To love and serve the ones around me, I need a daily communication with my Lord, and a daily supply of his Spirit. To follow Anaheim with their future visions of grandeur requires constant attendance in their trainings.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:24 AM   #31
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It's been a long time ... prolly since the late 70's ... that the Local Churches even focused their eyes on "the Local Churches." Witness Lee and the Blendeds-to-Be realized long ago that the very existence of "local" churches and "local" elders created far too many obstructions for a global leadership hell-bent on the domination of God's people.
I'm not sure, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Lee design the numbers for taking over the whole world for the Recovery?
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:32 AM   #32
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I'm not sure, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Lee design the numbers for taking over the whole world for the Recovery?
Perhaps you are referring to that ludicrous statistical chart at the FTTT in 1987 showing how the whole world will be saved by Y2K, based on fudged door-knocking data samples, the Matt. 13 parable of the sower, and wild extrapolations into the future.

The blended brother who showed us the chart kept saying, "these are Brother Lee's numbers, these are Brother Lee's numbers, these are Brother Lee's numbers, these are Brother Lee's numbers, these are Brother Lee's numbers ...
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:03 AM   #33
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The blended brother who showed us the chart kept saying, "these are Brother Lee's numbers, these are Brother Lee's numbers, these are Brother Lee's numbers, these are Brother Lee's numbers, these are Brother Lee's numbers ...
The blended cheerleaders are like Squealer in Animal Farm: excitedly telling the other farm animals how much Snowball cared for them, how any problems were from not carefully following the great one's wisdom, and how if they would unquestioningly obey the new directive, then everything would be wonderful. Because the leader is great, and how can a great leader give anything but great directives?
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:23 AM   #34
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It becomes incredibly self-serving for any pseudo-Christian organization to shift focus from the basics of the scripture, like loving and serving the ones next to you, to idealized goals like the "one body" and the "New Jerusalem."
All it takes is one verse to be converted into the "central lane of God's eternal economy", and you are off and running. Arguably we all do this to some extent to make sense of it all. Happily our Chief Shepherd gave us some cues, like the "What is the greatest commandment of all" discussion. But even so, we can all get some speaking, or vision, directly from God, and try to follow that. "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision", said Paul (Acts 26:19). Paul wrote that he got his revelation not from men but from God (Gal 1:1), and also asked, "Am I not free? (1 Cor 9:1)"

Paul was subservient to no one, but neither was he "apostle of the age", whom James and John and Peter had to recognize as such whenever they were in the same room. Paul's vision was for Paul's ministry, and it was indeed to share with the saints, but it was not the central lane of John's spiritual life, sorry. I see no indication whatever that John was supposed to "line up" behind Paul.

I can get a vision, as do you, as does the Joe sitting in the pew next to you. Once, 30 yr ago, the Local Churches actually were somewhat like that. But that is arguably long over. Now their vision is about being "one" with HQ. And tellingly, when the Asian "losing face" button is pushed, suddenly the pseudo-oneness gets jettisoned and a substrate human culture reveals itself. It was there all along; as WL put it, suddenly the fox tails spring up, and can be clearly seen.
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:39 AM   #35
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Those seven lamps were burning long before the apostle John got to write Revelation 4:5. So we don't need to reconcile Paul's "there is one God and one Spirit" with John's vision of seven burning spirits. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians there were already seven lamps burning. And they were indeed one -- look at what their orientation: "so that they light the space in front of it". They corporately look toward their source. The seven lamps shine as one...
Suppose one day I'm reading the Bible and I receive a vision from "Him who is and who was and who is to come, and the seven spirits burning before the throne, and Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness and Firstborn from the dead"... and spiritually I do the same thing John did: I fall down as dead. The vision is so great that I;m overwhelmed, and become disoriented and intellectually non-functional. Gradually, though, I'm roused, and begin to re-orient myself. But that orientation has shifted because of the greatness of the vision. Now I look through the Biblical text and instinctively keep referencing this vision. Interestingly, when I keep coming back to the original it, the initial power endures; it continually renders me, and all my conceptual arrangements, as though "to fall down as dead".

And gradually a new hermeneutic emerges, allowing and even integrating something previously unrecognized, like seven spirits burning before the throne. For example, when Moses and Aaron and the seventy elders go up to the mountain, to eat and drink and gaze upon God, and look across the pavement of sapphire, I wonder; did they also see seven spirits burning there, in front of God's throne? Because Moses later made the seven-branched candlestick "according to the vision which you have seen on the heavenly mountain". Perhaps, anyway... the power of the vision in Revelation 1:4 at least causes me to re-consider this in Exodus 24 & 25.

If my experience from Revelation chapter 1 doesn't dovetail with that of everyone else, I'm fine with that; I neither have to abandon its visceral impact, nor force my vision upon the flock as though it were God's present speaking. As I said, Paul didn't require John's submission, nor did John attempt to subdue Paul. Paul was faithful to his heavenly vision, as was John. "Spirit" and "spirit" and "spirits" are rather subjective experiences. The contents of our visions will be fully unveiled on "that day", and to what extent we were faithful.
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:21 AM   #36
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Default Re: Theodicy of the Spirit

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The idea of theodicy is to explain the existence of evil; why can God allow an imperfect world?
Evil is a construct of human mind. In reality the world is perfect. To me a big part of my spiritual journey was to learn to accept things as they are - to yield to life.

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To me the Spirit is analogous to the Star Wars "force".


Another thing to realize is that there is ONLY Spirit. The world is forms and manifestations of the Spirit.
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