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Old 02-11-2013, 04:55 AM   #1
aron
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Default Witness Lee has Seven Gods

The title of this thread is humorous, and not really serious. I don't know how many Gods Lee had.

Let's see:

1. Living Stream Ministry
2. Philip Lee aka "The Office"
3. Full-Time Training
4. Daystar/Timothy Lee
5. "Let's go Linko!!"
6. Youth Propagation Groups
7. Vital Groups/New Way/Door knocking
8. Etc, etc.

Really; I don't know. For that matter I don't know how many "gods" I have, or anyone else. But I wanted to adapt the title from a Witness Lee essay I read many years ago: "The Bible Answer Man has Three Gods". Remember that unreadable miasma? I felt I had to get something out of my time and effort, so I cribbed the title for my own.

My purpose in starting the thread is to make one point: that Witness Lee, contrary to his assertions, really didn't care about the teaching and fellowship of the apostles. Whatever overlay, or interpretation, or 'spin', that he wanted to put on the Word of God, that was fine with him. What did the apostles say, think, or teach? Irrelevant. Just do the ritual obeisance to the idea of "continuing steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles", then we do whatever we want.

Here is the formula: Whatever Witness Lee thinks = the teaching and fellowship of the apostles. Got it?

The last time saw some Living Streamers one of them told me about "The Ministry". Here was his lineage: Jesus, Paul, Watchman Nee, Witness Lee. I am serious. The fact that there was a 1,900-year gap between Paul and Watchman Nee was superfluous. I suppose that if I had pressed him he would have supplied Luther and Darby. But I didn't bother.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Witness Lee has Seven Gods

I got interested in this subject because of the Seven Spirits before the throne in the Book of Revelation. Lee said it was the One Spirit, intensified sevenfold. But what did the elders of the church teach on this? Did Lee do any background check? Or was his logic the over-riding factor?

I have to confess here that I have not read nor heard the messages from the Life-Studies on Revelation. I just have my good old Recovery Version, where the footnote says "Seven Spirits = One Spirit, intensified sevenfold" But where did this formula come from? Are the seven angels in Revelation actually one angel, intensified sevenfold? Or the four living creatures actually one living creature, intensified fourfold? Or the twenty-four elders, one elder intensified twenty-fourfold? No? Why then, is this math applied to the seven spirits? Because Paul taught that there is only One Spirit along with One Faith and One Baptism, and Lee's logic overlaid the two subjects?

If so, then why are there seven spirits in Revelation? And, back to my main point: what did the apostles and church elders teach? Here, again, lacking access to the inner workings of Lee, I have to assume that because of the degradation of the church -- you know, with Constantine and all -- that Nee/Lee get "carte blanche" to skip over 2,000 years of church teaching and just reinvent the Bible whole cloth using their logic, with maybe Kittel and Vincent and Alford to back them up (assuming they agree), with the resulting interpretation equaling "the teachings and fellowship of the apostles". Neat, huh?

Well, it's not so neat. There was a guy called Clement of Alexandria, born around the year 150. Seems that Clement's writing held that the oral tradition of the elders was that the seven spirits were in fact the seven angels who stand before the throne in Revelation 8:2. Seeing that Clement was a lot closer to the apostles than Nee or Lee was, we should at least mention this, and consider it, before rejecting it (if in fact we do).

The truth is that probably we can't know for sure. It does seem attractive, at one hand: the seven archangels who stand before the throne "go out to all the earth" a la Revelation 5:6 and Zechariah 4:10. See, for example, Luke 1:19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news."

Admittedly, this interpretation brings a whole host of other difficulties. What, for example, happened to "The Holy Spirit"? What, other than ostensibly the oral teachings of the church elders, gave credence to this interpretation for Clement (and, following him, another Alexandrian writer, Origen)? How trustworthy is Clement, anyway? And how strong/widespread is the idea of an "oral tradition" among the early writings in the church?

None of this seems to matter to the Living Streamers. Just repeat after me: The teachings of Witness Lee = The teachings and fellowship of the apostles. Got it? No need to complicate things with what actually was written by the church fathers.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Witness Lee has Seven Gods

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Originally Posted by aron View Post
Got it? No need to complicate things with what actually was written by the church fathers.
Or by the writers of scripture.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Witness Lee has Seven Gods

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The title of this thread is... not really serious. I don't know how many Gods Lee had.
I know that by entertaining the idea that the "seven spirits before the throne" are in fact seven separate spirits (i.e. angels), then I am the one open to the charge of having seven Gods. So perhaps the title is doubly unfortunate. That is where having a sense of humour will get you!

Really; I don't know the answer. Don't know if anyone can answer it definitively. But if we really do care about the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, then we should take seriously the writings of those who came before (especially, I aver, those whose ministry closely followed after the apostles).

Another example that bothers me is in Psalm 34:4, where David said "The LORD delivered me" from Abimilech king of the Philistines. Witness Lee said, No, David rescued himself. My reply is, Okay; when David told Saul in 1 Samuel 17:37 that the Lord delivered him (David) from the lion and the bear, and would also deliver him from the Philistine giant Goliath, was he also in error? Did David deliver himself from the lion and the bear, and from the hand of Goliath? Or did God deliver him? And if so there, why not also from Abimilech?

So I come back to the question: from where did Lee get this interpretation, this reading? His (fallen, natural) human logic? Any other teachers out there dismissing David's words thusly? Or is Lee's opinion, standing alone, here equivalent to the "teaching and fellowship of the apostles"?
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Witness Lee has Seven Gods

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Originally Posted by aron View Post
None of this seems to matter to the Living Streamers. Just repeat after me: The teachings of Witness Lee = The teachings and fellowship of the apostles. Got it? No need to complicate things with what actually was written by the church fathers.
Where did you get that Aron? Now, I admit having heard the phrase "the teachings of the apostles" and "the fellowship of the apostles" was puzzling? Was it meant to imply the current teaching and fellowship from the co-workers = The teachings and fellowship of the apostles? What would a current local church attendee say? Furthermore I would like to hear from Testing123 or Cassidy on their understanding?
If you base the phrase on what the church fathers wrote (James, John, Paul, etc), there would be a contradiction what the church fathers wrote verses what the ministry practices.
How would it be received if you prophesied at a Lord's Table meeting, "we as the recovery are not practicing the apostle's teaching"?
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Witness Lee has Seven Gods

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I admit having heard the phrase "the teachings of the apostles" and "the fellowship of the apostles" ... Was it meant to imply the current teaching and fellowship from the co-workers = The teachings and fellowship of the apostles? What would a current local church attendee say? "?
"Continuing steadfastly" was a catchphrase from the FTTA. They had a publication titled that. I don't know if they still put it out.

http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/6510535


The phrase is from Acts 2:42 "And they devoted themselves [i.e. continued steadfastly] to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."


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If you base the phrase on what the church fathers wrote (James, John, Paul, etc), there would be a contradiction what the church fathers wrote verses what the ministry practices.

How would it be received if you prophesied at a Lord's Table meeting, "we as the recovery are not practicing the apostle's teaching"?
Well, back in the day, if Witness Lee said that we are not practicing the apostles' teaching, everyone would groan and do the equivalent of falling on their faces. However, if anybody but Lee said that, they would be called 'negative'. I suppose it is the same today.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Witness Lee has Seven Gods

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The phrase is from Acts 2:42 "And they devoted themselves [i.e. continued steadfastly] to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."
I think you misunderstood my point. It was not until the last 5-10 years did it become part of the Local Church lexicon.
When used wthin Local Church circles, is the phrase meant strictly towards Biblical text or is the phrase intended to be used extra-Biblically?
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:52 AM   #8
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When used within Local Church circles, is the phrase ["continuing steadfastly in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles"] meant strictly towards Biblical text or is the phrase intended to be used extra-Biblically?
That is precisely my point. The ministry of Witness Lee is held to be effectively the equivalent of the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, given that church writings from the second century onward are ignored (unless they can be used to buttress "The Ministry"). So to be precise in my answer, I would say it is meant strictly toward the Biblical text as it has been interpreted and explained by Witness Lee, which thus makes it de facto extra-Biblical.

Let me go back to Psalm 34 for example. Lee held that David rescued himself from Abimilech and the camp of the Philistines. This is in contrast to God's rescue of David from the lion, the bear, from Goliath, from Saul, etc. Where does this dichotomy come from, save Witness Lee? Has any other writer from the second century onward made this kind of effort, parsing the Psalms into "revelatory" versus "natural" texts? If not, how is Lee's effort construed as continuing steadfastly in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles? And how are we doing so, if we are following exclusively this ministry as the equivalent?

Psalm 34, and David's experience in the Philistine camp, is not some minor detail to be ignored at Lee's word. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale, just as Jesus was in the heart of the earth, so was David among the Philistines. Can you imagine what the dark forces emanated as they crowded around the descended soul of Jesus the Nazarene? Jesus had been made sin on our behalf, and died in a despised and shameful way for us. He went into Hades because of us, and was joined by the defeated ranks. They said to Him, "You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us." (Isaiah 14:10).

And then Jesus, in death, somehow cried to the Living God. "Father I praise You; You will not let the ocean cover Me; You will not let the pit close its mouth over Me" (Psa 69). And God inclined His ear to the cry of His Righteous Son. Jesus was the true Son of Oil: He lived (as) God's Word so thoroughly in His human life that He could speak it in death and its power over Him, and us, was broken. The Logos, the Word, exhibited and declared the Father even in the midst of Hell. We were there, and He took us out (see Ephesians 4, on His taking "captivity captive").

The story of David with Abimilech should not be dismissed so lightly. Unless the Living Streamers can show Witness Lee carrying on the tradition of previous Christian expositors in dismissing the Biblical text as "natural" versus "divinely revelatory", we should be wary in receiving these as a continuation of the apostles. Or we, in following his lead, risk dismissing the very Christ revealed therein.
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Witness Lee has Seven Gods

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... if we really do care about the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, then we should take seriously the writings of those who came before (especially, I aver, those whose ministry closely followed after the apostles).
I remember being told how many books Watchman Nee had read, that he had a collection of 3,000 books, and so forth. Then, of course, Lee was presented as his spiritual heir. So it ended up being, "Brother Lee said..." and that was it. No need to question, to struggle, to weigh alternatives, to see what others had written. Nee already did that. Lee was presenting us with "the cream of the crop". So exclusively following Lee's teachings, perforce, became equivalent to "continuing steadfastly in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles."

Eventually, long after leaving the "exclusive" Local Church fellowship, I began to ponder things in the Bible, which I didn't remember pat answers for, from my time there. So I began to search, and behold the variety of excellent writings and ministries, literally dozens of them, stretching back even to the first generations after the apostles!

So as the Bible began to unfold before me, I realized that I had been cheated. Not in the fact that Lee & Nee were so short, but in that their ministry had been presented to me as "all-inclusive", as encompassing all the good teachings of the past 2,000 years and straining out all the dross and unhelpful speculations.

Today I hold that as rubbish. That is like being told that you don't need to go any further than 3rd grade, because there are only 24 letters in the alphabet, and ten digits in the number system. Every thing you need to know is in your 3rd grade schoolbooks. What an absolute rip-off.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: Witness Lee has Seven Gods

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So as the Bible began to unfold before me, I realized that I had been cheated. Not in the fact that Lee & Nee were so short, but in that their ministry had been presented to me as "all-inclusive", as encompassing all the good teachings of the past 2,000 years and straining out all the dross and unhelpful speculations.
Similarily I have found the ministry as published by Living Stream is not comprehensive as the publisher's employees make it out to be. Rather the ministry is at times expedient and at other times bypassing scripture that it is not considered profitable is it would cause members in the local churches to ponder instead of giving a repetitive amen.
I now consider it is unlikely there is any minister who can adequately write a thorough Bible commetary. I do believe Witness Lee tried to the best of his capabilities with the Life Studies, but I also feel there's portion of scripture passed over when it may have been personally uncomfortable.
In many non-LC assemblies I do feel saints feel uneasy when a word is given that makes them feel uncomfortable.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:49 AM   #11
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I have found the ministry as published by Living Stream is not comprehensive as the publisher's employees make it out to be. Rather the ministry is at times expedient and at other times bypassing scripture that it is not considered profitable...
Here is another example of bypassing, downplaying, ignoring, or explaining away scripture. In Hebrews 10:10, the author speaks of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ as "once and for all" eliminating the need for sacrifices of animal blood. Hebrews 10 also quotes Psalm 40:6-8, from the Greek Septuagint (the prevailing text at that time), which includes the phrase "a body you have prepared for me".

In the Recovery Version, in Psalm 40 they use the Masoretic text, which didn't exist until several hundred years after the time of the NT's composition, and which says "ears you have dug (i.e. opened) for me". The RcV footnotes on Psalm 40 say that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews changed the Psalm 40 text to say "a body you have prepared for me", because it fit his argument of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Either this is really sloppy scholarship, or I don't know what. I hesitate to think what could have provoked such a statement. Let me continue to ask: did any church father teach such things? Or is "Watchman Nee = Witness Lee = the teaching and fellowship of the apostles" our guide for accepting this statement?

All they needed to say was "The Septuagint (LXX) version reads ..." End of story. Instead we get this strange soft-shoe dance about how digging an ear equated to boring a hole in the servant's ear, relating to obedience. Now, maybe this is so, maybe not, but all we know for sure is that "Brother Lee said". At its most rudimentary level (i.e. LXX vs Masoretic textual sources) the "Brother Lee said" approach misses the mark. Instead we get: The author of Hebrews modified the OT text to suit his/her argument???
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:42 AM   #12
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Default The Trade Federation builds the Death Star

I would like to show how George Lucas' company Lucasfilm, owner of the "Star Wars" franchise, is actually representative of "gospel hucksters" who merchandise the gospel. In the Star Wars films, the "Trade Federation" is a massive and incessant merchant conglomerate which enslaves formerly independent, peace-loving planetary federations in its quest to rule the universe. I remember the discussion in 2005, post-Iraqi invasion, of how "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" was a not-too-veiled dig by Mr. Lucas at the "Evil Empire" of the (Republican?) U.S. military/industrial complex. In the film, the politicians are "bought out" and acquiesce to lies, violence and oppression, and one of the film's main characters says with obvious disdain, "So this is how democracy ends". All the t.v. commentators had a field day out of the coincidence of the film's script to the ostensible manipulation of the U.S. Senate to rubber-stamp the Bush/Cheney/Rice/Rumsfeld Iraq invasion.

But what actually struck me was that the Hollywood folks probably represented the "Trade Federation", the "Evil Empire", as anyone else! What is more emblematic of the United States today than our cultural hegemony? Satan(Hollywood) makes billions of dollars selling overstuffed tripe, which is warning people that Satan is merchandising them, selling overstuffed tripe! Genius! First you rob people, then you sell them a story telling about the robbery! George Lucas just sold Lucasfilm to Walt Disney last year for $4 billion, which is a pretty good reward by the Trade Federation for his storytelling efforts on its behalf.

To transpose that on "Local Church Discussions", the Trade Federation's ultimate weapon, the "Death Star", is actually a representation of the merchant/prophets who warn(for a fee) the gullible sheep of the coming doom. Ten bucks and you can watch Angels at Armageddon, folks! Step right up, buy your ticket!

The key is in the money changing hands... the exchange is something like: "Your will benefit from my prosperity". If you give me ten bucks, you will be amused for 90 minutes watching people wave light-sabers for the Republic, or you will see "The New Jerusalem" and the Highway to Zion in "God's New Testament Economy" in living color! Thus the story becomes a stand-in, an exchange, for reality itself. The story becomes a monetized product, and the birthright can then be exchanged for a bowl of soup, Esau-like.

Remember the incessant and pervasive merchandizing in Revelation 18? Remember how the Beast is obsessed with buying and selling? Remember his version of "One Publication Policy" in Revelation 13? Remember how Simon the Magician tried to exchange money for power with Simon Peter in Acts 8? Step right up, folks, get your God-man socks! On sale this week only! Get your Crystallization wall calendars! Who cares if we can't tell the Masoretic from the Septuagint? There's merchandise to move here! Come on in, folks... grab your ticket and take your seat!

The moral of the story is: when money changes hands for the gospel, the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) becomes the Rule of Gold (He who has the gold makes the rules). Money becomes the route to power; when you have the gold you can "buy the truth". See Ezekiel 27 and 28: e.g., "When your wares went forth out of the seas, you filled many people; you did enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of your riches and of your merchandise." The marketplace seems to be spreading the truth, but the spreading-for-cash distorts the truth and ultimately ruins it.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:49 AM   #13
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I would like to show how George Lucas... is actually representative of "gospel hucksters" who merchandise the gospel.
Of course my writing is actually the opposite of what I elsewhere called good and desirable -- scholarship. I opined that scholars would put forth an idea, a proposal: say, that "A is somehow related to B". The scholar will present this conjecture, displaying possible dependent relationships between two variables. He/she uses readily observable and commonly agreed-upon facts to demonstrate a "correlation" between two different things.

However, I didn't unoquivocally link with Mr. Lucas with an evil Trade Federation; I just pointed a possible linkage, in that his $4 Billion buyout by Walt Disney Co. shows that rich merchants somewhere were quite pleased with his wares. Nor can I prove that Living Stream Ministry's 2002 entry into the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, nor its 20003 "dialog" with CRI which led to its eventual rehabilitation of and by them, was the equivalent of their joining the Dark Side (or that it demonstrated them having already done so).

No -- I merely point out these facts, along with the interesting coincidence in Revelation 13 of worship (v.15) joined with a kind of copyright "mark" (v.16), and linked to control of buying and selling (v.17). I already noted the detailed descriptions of merchandising in Ezekiel 27 & 28 and its culmination in Revelation 18.

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The key is in the money changing hands... something like: "You will benefit from your helping me to prosper materially"... [and then] the gospel story becomes a monetized product, which can be exchanged for a bowl of soup, Esau-like...The marketplace seems to be spreading the truth, but the spreading-for-cash process ultimately subsumes the truth...
My sense was that cash exchanged for the gospel seems to use the market forces to spread gospel truth, but actually the market subsumes it. The gospel message becomes just another product on eBay or Amazon or Wall-Mart. So the 'relational' hypothesis might be: A seems to be using B, but really B is co-opting A. Light seems to be overcoming darkness, but darkness is actually infiltrating the gospel light. And when the light turns to darkness, how great is the darkness! (See, e.g. Anakin Skywalker).

In fairness, pointing out weaknesses/alternatives, I will say that Jesus got money & material support from His followers; see e.g. Luke 8:3. Paul quoted Deuteronomy 25 in about not muzzling the threshing ox in 1 Cor. 9:9. Multiple times in the NT record (Acts and Epistles) Paul collected money for the poor. In Acts 5 Peter received sums of cash from disciples, laid at his feet.

But none of this was quid-pro-quo, like Simon Magus, like "my-ministry-for-your-money", especially in the realm of merchandise (books, tapes, CDs, videos, magazines, pamphlets, booklets, calendars, coffee mugs, etc). In such an environment, the Holy Spirit, once given without measure, and given "without money and without price", is replaced by a thing, which is sold. And the "truth" becomes a number attached to a dollar sign.

But all this really proves nothing. This is what I see. What such observed phenomena might mean, ultimately, to and for the collective ekklesia I have no way of knowing. But this is what I see.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:46 AM   #14
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My sense was that cash exchanged for the gospel seems to use the market forces to spread gospel truth, but actually the market subsumes [the gospel message].
Any researcher wants to get many data points; this will better "prove" whether the proposed hypothesis is correct or not. My original hypothesis was kind of messy, so I'll try to prune it here, and provide some more data.

Data points:

1. Paul converted the truth of the gospel message into objects, called letters, and they were distributed among the churches. Paul told the Colossians, "See that you send this letter to the church in Laodicea, and read the one I sent to them." Eventually people will pay money for the letters, to cover the cost of paper, printing and distribution. Not evil in and of itself.

2. I buy christian books and CDs on the marketplace. Not bothersome to my conscience.

3. Not everyone that wrote a book about Christ or sang a song praising God is a money-grubber. Most times it's the opposite.

3. On the other hand, you have "Gospel hucksters" out there, just trying to make a million or three. One example is a guy named Jim Bakker. He was an earnest young preacher from Muskegon, Michigan, who fell into the lucrative televangelism gig. I saw a clip of him telling viewers if they sent something like several hundred dollars they would get a souvenir stuffed animal. He started a christian theme park and told people if they "invested" thousands of dollars they would have a permanent time-share condo on this place. Eventually he got convicted of fraud and went to jail. Another huckster, Jerry Falwell, took over his television satellite. The PTL Ministry's "Heritage USA Theme Park" is now a ruin, a home for owls and jackals.

But Jim Bakker is still at it. He's hooked on the art of easy money. It's like a drug. Loot at this:

http://jimbakkershow.com/lovegifts/i-care-club-ii.html

It's like heroin. He just can't let go of the hucksterism business.

4. So, Witness Lee -- Gospel huckster or no?
A. Left the Far east in the late 50s early 60s to get away from angry 'investors'... sound familiar? Sold tennis rackets, plastic chairs, men's suits, World's Fair, Seattle 1962. I don't know the details, maybe someone else can provide them.
B. Daystar. Took saints' money, set up a motor home business with son Timothy as head. A disaster. Advertising had christian 'sisters' from the local church posing in skimpy outfits. A lot of 'investors' from the local churches lost quite a bit of money. 'Training fees' were then established at LSM conferences to raise money to pay off angry investors. If you don't believe me read the story.
C. Placing admittedly 'nonspiritual' son Philip as head of his publishing company, Living Stream Ministry. Lee said "It's a business", in defense of this move. This son caused a lot of problems, was repeatedly caught molesting the help, and was eventually removed. Again, it's well-documented.
D. Instead of repenting when this was exposed, Lee became the untouchable 'apostle of the age', who must be 'covered' like the drunken Noah so that discussion of any wrong-doing became verboten. Anyone who opened their mouth was 'rebellious'.
E. Consolidation and complete control of merchandising: "One Publication Policy" and "One Trumpet". News flash, folks: our one trumpet is called the Bible.

So my hypothesis is that Lee was a Gospel huckster. He got caught in the Far East selling snake oil, came to the U.S.A. and repeated his business, with better results. Even when he got burned with Daystar and Philip Lee he managed to keep his empire, by purging any unwelcome voices of critique and setting himself up as "God's oracle."

And Lee's opinion, and his rudimentary scholarship, became the equivalent of "the teaching and fellowship of the apostles", available online or at your local bookstore. Catalogs are also available.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:49 AM   #15
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Default Re: The Trade Federation builds the Death Star

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On the other hand, you have "Gospel hucksters" out there, just trying to make a million or three. One example is a guy named Jim Bakker. He was an earnest young preacher from Muskegon, Michigan, who fell into the lucrative televangelism gig .... But Jim Bakker is still at it. He's hooked on the easy money. It's like a drug.

So I conclude that Lee was a Gospel huckster. He got caught in the Far East selling snake oil, came to the U.S.A. and repeated his business. Even when he got burned with Daystar and Philip Lee he managed to keep his empire, by purging any unwelcome voices of critique and setting himself up as "God's oracle."
I remember when the Jim and Tammy Faye scandal hit the fan back in the Spring of 1987. I was on a jumbo airliner with many other brothers crossing the Pacific to participate in the Lord's move in Taipei, the evangelization of the island of Taiwan, the beachhead of the whole inhabited earth.

Some of us then discussed how "this ministry" had kept itself pure, thus preserving the "recovered" word of God as food for the whole world, as Joseph did in Egypt of old. Little did I know that at that very moment, Philip Lee was actively molesting the volunteer help and bullying LC leaders around the globe. Neither did I know about about a long trail of "angry investors" which were left in Lee's wake.

How naive I was. Just like Jim Bakker recycling old con games, we too believed all the lies.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:27 AM   #16
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Sold tennis rackets, plastic chairs, men's suits, World's Fair, Seattle 1962. I don't know the details, maybe someone else can provide them.
My understanding is the tennis rackets and the plastic chairs came much later. It was the suits that were sold at the World's Fair in 1962. I had read in an email or in a post from another forum that Elden Hall was later used as storage for some of the suits that didn't sell.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:39 AM   #17
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...I had read in an email or in a post from another forum that Elden Hall was later used as storage for some of the suits that didn't sell.
I am also vague on the details. Besides the World's Fair thing, I remember reading that some local church meeting halls got plied with chairs from an unsuccessful business venture.

Two (hopefully final) points: one is the idea of apostasy. Apostasy, as I see it, is with someone who is not heretical, and has the basics of the faith. You look at their "confession", and it seems orthodox, maybe even quite orthodox.But there is a long trail of evidence that something just isn't right. They confessed the faith, but eventually they got sidetracked by something. Power, money, fame, ego, control; whatever.

So I believe I am possibly looking at apostasy here. All the theological "i's" are dotted and "t's" are crossed, but there is also a long and unmistakable trail of wreckage. The fruit is testifying as well as the "What we believe" statements. All those "storms" and "rebellions" are lined up, and "speaking in one accord".

Second point is what Jesus said to Peter at the end of John's gospel: "They are going to bind you and take you somewhere you don't want to go." Lee maybe repented of his earlier Oriental failures, and tried to serve the Lord. Then one day in the U.S., a brother came up with an sizeable inheritance, and tried to lay it at Witness Lee's feet, and suddenly "Daystar" was born.

It was like a bank robber that got caught, and did the prison time, and was restored, and one day he walks by a bank and looks over and says, "Wow. Look at all that money and their security is terrible! What an easy mark..." and he begins to think, and he gets taken somewhere he doesn't want to go.

Like a dog returning to his vomit, like a sow going back to the mud; Lee got the potential for easy money placed before him and he couldn't resist. The Gospel Huckster was reborn, and he got taken somewhere he didn't plan on going.

Same with me. I did my time in the Local Church system. I got taken somewhere I didn't want to go. So I accept it. It is part of my journey. It was a lesson I needed to learn. I thank the Lord for all of my experiences.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:59 AM   #18
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I think that both the chairs and tennis rackets were attempts to make something besides motor homes in the plant they set up for Daystar. As you recall, the sales company went belly-up (that is the part the members were invested in) while the plant made some money and survived (the part that Lee was invested in).
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:34 PM   #19
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I am also vague on the details. Besides the World's Fair thing, I remember reading that some local church meeting halls got plied with chairs from an unsuccessful business venture.

Two (hopefully final) points: one is the idea of apostasy. Apostasy, as I see it, is with someone who is not heretical, and has the basics of the faith. You look at their "confession", and it seems orthodox, maybe even quite orthodox.

But something isn't right. There is a long trail of stuff that just isn't right. They confessed the faith, but eventually they got sidetracked by something. Power, money, whatever. So I believe I am looking at apostasy here. All the "i's" are dotted and "t's" are crossed, but there is a long trail of wreckage there. The fruit is testifying as well as the "What we believe" statements. All those "storms" and "rebellions".

First
. WL bought a myriad of chairs from Taiwan. That's 10,000 total. He told TC, "you just bought a thousand chairs." TC called my elder in Columbus, "you just bought a hundred chairs." The elder called me up, "go to Cleveland and get our new chairs." Then I spent the next 5 years gluing and screwing those junky particle board chairs back together so we had a place to sit.

Second. Great points about having orthodox confessions and unorthodox behaviors. This is why I place great responsibility on the leadership code of ethics, and pay little regard for statements of faith. WL and his team of editors at LSM took great pains to publish book after book, attending to every jot and tittle, but when it came to keeping an eye on their illustrious "Office Manager," they were all like Tommy, that "deaf, dumb, and blind kid."
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:14 PM   #20
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WL bought a myriad of chairs from Taiwan. That's 10,000 total. He told TC, "you just bought a thousand chairs." TC called my elder in Columbus, "you just bought a hundred chairs." The elder called me up, "go to Cleveland and get our new chairs." Then I spent the next 5 years gluing and screwing those junky particle board chairs back together so we had a place to sit.
Now that, my friend, is a funny story. This was exactly what I was referencing when I talked about being bound and taken somewhere that you didn't want to go.

Peter was too cool for school, so he went fishing. Jesus told him where his journey was going to take him (John 21:18). Lee was too cool for christianity, and he convinced us that he had found a shortcut. Remember that song with the refrain "We love the church life" -- the line that said "It may be that you willl find with us a better way." How we all congratulated ourselves that we had found a better way, a shortcut to the throne! But eventually we realized that actually we had been bound, and taken somewhere that we didn't want to go.

Ohio, I totally love that story. Thanks for sharing. You made my day.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:47 PM   #21
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Now that, my friend, is a funny story. This was exactly what I was referencing when I talked about being bound and taken somewhere that you didn't want to go.

Peter was too cool for school, so he went fishing. Jesus told him where his journey was going to take him (John 21:18). Lee was too cool for christianity, and he convinced us that he had found a shortcut. Remember that song with the refrain "We love the church life" -- the line that said "It may be that you willl find with us a better way." How we all congratulated ourselves that we had found a better way, a shortcut to the throne! But eventually we realized that actually we had been bound, and taken somewhere that we didn't want to go.

Ohio, I totally love that story. Thanks for sharing. You made my day.
I never thought anything about those ugly gold chairs was funny. The backs of those chairs started falling apart right away. I remember finding some old syringes at work, and bought some messy two-part epoxy. We got an assembly line going with the saints, first disassembly, next injecting epoxy into the elongated hole of the particle board back and clamping it together, then reinsert larger screws and pray for the best.

I was actually proud of my efforts to salvage that junk. When I visited other LC's with those same chairs, theirs were the worse for wear, but with my improvements, they outlasted every other church. That's when I found out that some other LC's updated their chairs with soft comfy cushions. Cleveland's were nice, but Akron's were the best, and we were still sitting on particle board.

I should have let them fall apart.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:57 PM   #22
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First
. WL bought a myriad of chairs from Taiwan. That's 10,000 total. He told TC, "you just bought a thousand chairs." TC called my elder in Columbus, "you just bought a hundred chairs." The elder called me up, "go to Cleveland and get our new chairs." Then I spent the next 5 years gluing and screwing those junky particle board chairs back together so we had a place to sit.
Would these be those gold colored inter-locking chair that became standard furniture for any localities meetings? If so, the chairs were bought with the intent localities would be billed for the chairs. Local churches would have new chairs and Lee's investment in (Overseas Christian Stewards?) would make a profit.

In my employer's ethics training this scenario is considered a conflict of interest. The alternative would be to have purchased chairs from another vendor.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:36 PM   #23
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Would these be those gold colored inter-locking chair that became standard furniture for any localities meetings? If so, the chairs were bought with the intent localities would be billed for the chairs. Local churches would have new chairs and Lee's investment in (Overseas Christian Stewards?) would make a profit.
That would be them.

I guess at the time I was naive enough to think that WL bought a large quantity to get a better price. Little did I know that he took a commission too.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:55 AM   #24
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I never thought anything about those ugly gold chairs was funny.
Forgive me if I made light of your experience. I just felt it was God's mercy, combined with His sense of humor. James the brother of John was beheaded with a sword, and eventually Peter also was girded and taken somewhere he didn't want to go.

In your case, it was gluing particle-board chairs back together. God is merciful.

Question (unanswerable perhaps): Did Witness Lee initiate the "myriad of chairs" arrangement, or was this pushed onto him by one of his 'business associates'? I wondered if maybe someone gave him a 'get out of jail free' card at some point, and this was the payback? Or was this a further fallout of the Daystar fiasco, with a factory that needed to produce something, as OBW suggested?

I am wondering because I wonder if Lee the merchant led Lee the Bible expositor, or vice versa. Was the merchandising of the Gospel an outgrowth of a desire for the spread of the Gospel, or was the Gospel seen as a lucrative niche for a would-be merchant? Perhaps the two are so intertwined that unraveling them is not worth attempting.

With Lee the chair 'salesman', and Lee the installer of his neer-do-well son (sorry, 'unspiritual') as the head of his 'publishing company', I see Lee the businessman. Like a line from Marlon Brando in the Godfather movie: "I am a businessman." Oh, really? What business do you do? "Business". Really, chairs or motor homes or rainbow tracts is irrelevant. It is business. In the end it's all about business.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:17 AM   #25
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Forgive me if I made light of your experience. I just felt it was God's mercy, combined with His sense of humor. James the brother of John was beheaded with a sword, and eventually Peter also was girded and taken somewhere he didn't want to go.
No apology needed. You just got me going, reminiscing about the endless hours I sat on those gold chairs.

IIRC, the original purchase of those chairs coincided with the construction of the Ball Road facility in Anaheim. The hall was readied for the first Revelations training in August 1976.

Perhaps others were familiar with the purchase details.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:16 AM   #26
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No apology needed. You just got me going, reminiscing about the endless hours I sat on those gold chairs.

IIRC, the original purchase of those chairs coincided with the construction of the Ball Road facility in Anaheim. The hall was readied for the first Revelations training in August 1976.

Perhaps others were familiar with the purchase details.
Well, at the very least it separates them in my mind from the Seattle World's Fair, 1962. Perhaps further details are irrelevant, besides noting that Lee was trafficking in manufactured goods in the U.S. over a span of at least 14 years.

To which one might well reply, "What is the crime in buying and selling manufactured goods?" and I would say, Look at the way goods were sold. Lee calls Titus Chu and says, "You just bought 1,000 chairs." And so on down the line. Nice, huh? Amway would love to have such a marketing arrangement.

On a related note, in my former locality, in the back room of the meeting hall, there were stacks and stacks of cardboard boxes full of what they called "Rainbow booklets". Every book of the Bible got its own color. Ephesians was pink, Colossians was yellow, Galatians was green, etc. Hundreds, probably thousands, of pastel-colored booklets just sitting there, piled up in cardboard boxes and gathering dust. I remember asking what that was about and being told that one day they got a phone call from Anaheim: "You just bought 10,000 Rainbow Booklets".

At that time I was a rank newbie, and I remember thinking how the "saints" let down the "ministry" by not getting out there to sell, sell, sell! Gradually, I realized how dispiriting it was to have these amateurish, marketing "moves from the Lord" continually sweeping through town, each at the latest whim/inspiration of the 'oracle'.

When you think about it, Lee did change over time. In 1962 he didn't have a captive U.S. market. By 1976 he did.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:09 AM   #27
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At that time I was a rank newbie, and I remember thinking how the "saints" let down the "ministry" by not getting out there to sell, sell, sell! Gradually, I realized how dispiriting it was to have these amateurish, marketing "moves from the Lord" continually sweeping through town, each at the latest whim/inspiration of the 'oracle'.
It is truly amazing how we were all trained to believe that every failure in the Recovery was our fault. Since WL was the "acting God" here on earth, there is absolutely no way in which he could have erred, or even miscalculated the need for "rainbow booklets." Lee was a master at holding all of us in the shackles of fear and failure. Every one of his blunders were held over our heads. Think about how that Daystar debacle ended -- not with repentance or personal bankruptcy, but with those saints believing they had "lost their virginity."

Personally I can somewhat understand my own naivety. Having gone through 12 years of parochial education, with stints as an altar boy, choir boy, and years of Latin class, not to mention my namesake who was a Catholic priest O.F.M., I suppose those years of indoctrinations concerning the "infallibility" doctrine had warped what little discernment I had. But what about all those brothers from a fundamental background? At least the Cat'lics limited the papal infallibility matters to "faith and doctrine." Lee's infallibility also included business transactions.

Btw, those rainbow booklets were just a money making enterprise for LSM. They were just repackaged Life-Studies, which all the saints already owned.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:32 PM   #28
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But what about all those brothers from a fundamental background? At least the Cat'lics limited the papal infallibility matters to "faith and doctrine." Lee's infallibility also included business transactions.
I'm baffled. For years I've heard blended co-workers say Brother Lee doesn't make mistakes. In recent years there has been a turn away from this concept. I'm sure this turn enabled brothers who believed brother Lee was not infallible to verbally admit it. Have you considered why brothers would not before, because to do so would constitute not being one with the brothers. Thus the recourse was to remain silent until the environment changed.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:49 PM   #29
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To which one might well reply, "What is the crime in buying and selling manufactured goods?" and I would say, Look at the way goods were sold. Lee calls Titus Chu and says, "You just bought 1,000 chairs." And so on down the line. Nice, huh? Amway would love to have such a marketing arrangement.
I had heard such a reply. Speaking with my relative about Daystar. I raised an issue mixing business with the church is a conflict of interest. My relative's position was many ministers have businesses in addition to being ministers of the Word. So it is no big deal. There is such a thing as separation of business from ministry. In Acts 18 we can read Paul was a tent maker, though there's no mention it is high likely Paul did not use the saints for a marketing arrangement.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:15 AM   #30
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My relative's position was many ministers have businesses in addition to being ministers of the Word. ... There is such a thing as separation of business from ministry.
Let your relative tell that to the Local Church elders and co-workers who got a call from Philip Lee, aka "The Office". The business ate the ministry.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:38 AM   #31
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Data points:

1. Paul converted the truth of the gospel message into objects, called letters, which were distributed among the churches. Paul told the Colossians, "See that you send this letter to the church in Laodicea, and read the one I sent to them." Eventually people will pay money... to cover the cost of paper, printing and distribution.

2. I buy christian books and CDs on the marketplace. Not bothersome to my conscience.

3. Not everyone that wrote a book about Christ or sang a song praising God is a money-grubber. Most times it's the opposite.
Continuing these thoughts: maybe what really spells doom for the centralized, command-and-control models honed by the likes of the Living Stream Ministry is that the cost of disseminating information is nearing zero. Think how hard it was to copy the Bible before Gutenberg! When Lee came to the U.S. and started the Living Stream Ministry in the 1960s and 70s the printing press was still king. Now with computers and the internet and a printer in every home and public library, information is easily available.

So an attempt to copyright and control not only the Word of God but even commentary about the Word a futile quest. Even the RCC lets its parishioners write, and publish! The LSM model does not stand a chance. The more they try to bind people, the more people will struggle free. The "one trumpet" idea is just a last gasp from Babel. Me, me, me... ten thousand people each standing there, holding a brick or a bucket of cement, speaking and unable to hear or understand anyone else.

Contrast that with the "many counselors" in the OT and the "many waters" in the NT, who with one voice point out the same reality of God.

Put it another way: if the cost of information transmission is virtually nothing, what right do I have asking for money in return for my information? "Freely have ye received; freely give."

This is my last post; I shall not write any more. Thanks to this site for hosting my comments. Thanks to all writers for their feedback. My apologies to all, especially Living Streamers, who've been offended by my often confident speculations. I had a lot of fun and hopefully some of my enjoyment spread around. Peace.
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