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Old 12-05-2016, 10:56 AM   #1
DistantStar
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Default Mere Christianity or Degraded Christianity?

During the time I questioned the LC, I was reading books by C. S. Lewis. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he told of how he was very much influenced by two... Catholics... The one was G. K. Chesterton who I really admire for his brilliant wit, and the other was J. R. R. Tolkien, his friend (he authored The Lord of the Rings.

C. S. Lewis did not become a Catholic, yet he did consider these two as Christians.

In his book, Mere Christianity, Lewis talked about how new converts to Christianity are standing in the Hall of Christianity. In the hall there is no discussion and fire and interaction. All of those are found in the rooms, with the rooms representing denominations, whether Catholic or Protestant or whatever.

The goal of this book of his was to give a defense of the Christian faith which all Christians; Catholic, Protestant and others, hold. He tried to find the middle ground. To give an account of the "Hall". In other words, that which all Christians believe, the "Mere" Christianity.

In my posts so far I've tried to show how, as others pointed out, normal Christians will often worship and support each other, regardless of their nominal denomination. In fact, I've seen increasing respect between Catholics and Protestants in general.

Now for the LC...

The chief thing which bugged me about the LC was their lowly view of the so called "denominations". It always struck me as seriously hypocritical. After all, they are just as much a denomination as all the rest. Another thing which bothered me was their disinterest in apologetics in general. I recall one instance where I discussed the Biblical account of creation, and the problem of evolution, with one LC member. He basically dismissed its seriousness. He told me about a time when an atheist threw out a lot of questions for him to answer, but this friend of mine simply kept saying "Just trust in the Lord" or something similar.

I have a very big interest in apologetics in general, especially the works of William Lane Craig, Michael Licona, John Lennox and all the rest. And guess what? All of them are in the "evil denominations".

Now here is the point I want to come to in this post: The LC sees Christianity as degraded (or am I wrong?). That somehow the so-called denominations lost their way and that the LC have found some hidden truth (a characteristic of a cult, by the way, but I won't say more of this here).

What would you choose? This isolated better-than-other-denominations denomination (to be frank) with no interest in truth or reason, with little to no cooperation with other Churches, disturbingly with their own Bible version, with only two "apologists" (Lee and Nee), with a history of controversiality? Or the evil denominations which respect each other, try to find the truth to life's questions through studying hard so as to actually have answers, appeal to many educated people and Bible versions and who allow (and tacitly even encourage) disagreements while still seeing themselves as united?

The apologetic dimension I've mentioned is important to me personally. A few months back a friend of mine lost his faith through reading Nietzsche and journals on evolution. When we finally talked about this, I couldn't answer a single question of his at that time. Afterwards as I went home I walked past the LC. At that moment I recalled what that LC friend of mine said: "Just believe". If this friend of mine who was losing his faith went to the LC, they would NOT have helped. They would not even have tried to help him find answers. He would have went away thinking that Christians are as pathetically ignorant and blind as he thought.

I'd like to hear some thoughts. Keep Lewis's Hall in mind.
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Old 12-05-2016, 11:52 AM   #2
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What would you choose?

1. This isolated better-than-other-denominations denomination (to be frank) with no interest in truth or reason, with little to no cooperation with other Churches, disturbingly with their own Bible version, with only two "apologists" (Lee and Nee), with a history of controversiality?


Or

2. the evil denominations which respect each other, try to find the truth to life's questions through studying hard so as to actually have answers, appeal to many educated people and Bible versions and who allow (and tacitly even encourage) disagreements while still seeing themselves as united?
I don't think the choice is really that simple and clearcut. The evil denomination very often is very, very dead. I once worked on wall street, the pension fund for one of the Episcopal churches in NYC is worth billions. Some of these denominations have not become influenced by the world, they are the world. They serve a purpose to give the appearance of righteousness to the wealthy (think the Godfather).

On the other hand it was not fair to say that the LC (when I was there) had no interest in truth or reason. On the contrary I received an excellent training in the Bible while there. Some may take issue that we were taught a few doctrines that do not stand up to scrutiny, but I doubt that would be any different in any other group. Others have complained of the training fees, but I would have paid more had I gotten this training from a denomination. Witness Lee was a gifted teacher that made studying the Bible enjoyable for a very large congregation of several thousand. That is not easy.

I think your real question is about apologetics, philosophers, Nietsche, etc.
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Old 12-05-2016, 01:46 PM   #3
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Very good topic Distant Star. Your perceptions of the general attitude of Local Church members, especially the leadership of the Living Stream Ministry, are spot on accurate. Of course they have had this deplorable attitude towards the rest of the Body of Christ ingrained in them from the teachings and practices established by Witness Lee. A small percentage comes from the teachings of Watchman Nee.

Here is a excerpt from a booklet distributed in 1978 entitled The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Church:


"We stand outside of and apart from historical, organized, institutionalized Christianity because we regard it as a system filled with unscriptural teachings and practices."

This statement has never been retracted or modified in the slightest. In fact, it is still found within at least one of the Local Church's websites: -http://www.localchurch.org/beliefs/q...tml#question13

Many, if not most, of the members, and all of the leadership, consider Christianity "a system filled with unscriptural teachings and practices". The current leadership is also unapologetic about Witness Lee's teaching that "Judaism is Satanic, Catholicism is demonic, and Protestantism is Christless.” They have also steadfastly refused to retract or modify this outrageous statement in the slightest.

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On the other hand it was not fair to say that the LC (when I was there) had no interest in truth or reason.
Well, to put a finer point on it, it would be more than fair to say that the Local Church had very little interest in truth or reason that did not come directly from Witness Lee.

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Some may take issue that we were taught a few doctrines that do not stand up to scrutiny
Sorry, I would say the opposite - there were only but a few of the major teachings of Witness Lee that stand up to to scrutiny. The vast majority are found wanting.
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Old 12-05-2016, 02:53 PM   #4
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Sorry, I would say the opposite - there were only but a few of the major teachings of Witness Lee that stand up to to scrutiny. The vast majority are found wanting.
-
I did not say "major teachings of Witness Lee", I merely said "doctrines".

Most of what I was taught was fundamental doctrines taught and accepted by all of Christians.

The redemption of Jesus. The incarnation of Christ. Baptism. The Gospel.

Virtually all of the doctrines that were special to Witness Lee are suspect. I have scrutinized them and to my analysis they don't stand up to scrutiny. But, in 20 years in the LRC there was virtually no teaching on the MOTA. In my own experience I heard this from RG in a non official capacity, indicating that this was his opinion and not sanctioned by the leadership as a whole.

The Ground of the church was a crucial teaching, taught more than any other of his special doctrines, and yet over a 20 years period did I really get more than 5-6 weeks of focus on this doctrine? No. On the other hand there was a verse by verse teaching on every verse of the New Testament and every book of the Old Testament.

Yes, many of us took umbrage at Witness Lee's distinction between the Bible that was God's revelation and that was man's opinion, but when you go back through Psalms, Job, James and Proverbs it is very difficult to strain out that much of the offending doctrine. It is there, it is offensive, but it is a very minor portion of those four Life Studies, and that in turn was a very minor portion of his life studies.

As to the cover ups, Sister's rebellion, whitewash, slander and libel you can hardly find it anywhere in the doctrines. That stuff went into special fellowships. Likewise with the decision to sue other Christians. If you were not an elder you could have completely ignored 95% of that stuff.

In my opinion WL's MO was to package his brand of heresy in as much standard, fundamental teaching as he could.

I have tried to post as much of the offending quotes of WL that I can. What I have found is that the elder's trainings are the gold mine, when you read the doctrinal text designed for widespread consumption it is fundamental, vanilla, and hard to strain out the quotes that I remember. You heard his speaking orally much more than I did. When I went through his ministry looking for a reference to Watchman Nee's excommunication I was stunned to learn that it was fully edited out. Unless someone else found it I could not find it anywhere, and we all heard that account numerous times. My point is that what was spoken orally by him is very different from the written, published ministry. The doctrines I was taught came from the written ministry.
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mere Christianity or Degraded Christianity?

Lewis's hall does not exist, it is not real.

Christianity is one big room without any smaller rooms inside. Yet the denominations have constructed the rooms, it is a man made thing.

A person cannot believe in one Lord, one body one Spirit and one baptism and at the same time believe in denominations.

And people can't lose their faith. They can only lose something which they never had in the first place.
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:53 PM   #6
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Sorry DistantStar, I'll do my best to not let this thread get hijacked like some of your others. You have brought up some very legitimate and pertinent concerns regarding the teachings and practices of the Local Church of Witness Lee.

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What would you choose?
This isolated better-than-other-denominations denomination (to be frank)
Good start! The Local Church is indeed a denomination. Over the years they have been rightly dubbed "The Local Church", "The Local Church of Witness Lee", "The Lord's recovery church" and numerous others. They have even filed lawsuits (against other Christians of course) using the name "Local Church".
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with no interest in truth or reason,
Again, there is in fact, no interest in truth or reason apart from the teachings and practices established by Witness Lee. It starts with Lee. It ends with Lee. One need not look any further than a Local Church book room or the curriculum of the Local Church faux seminary, (Full-Time-Training) to understand that all truth and reason comes through the person and work of Witness Lee.

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with little to no cooperation with other Churches,
NO COOPERATION. NONE. ZILCH. NADA. What part of "We stand outside of and apart from historical, organized, institutionalized Christianity" does anybody not understand? These people are serious about this. Witness Lee taught that "Christianity is christless". Period. End of discussion.

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disturbingly with their own Bible version,
The actual translation of the Recovery Version New Testament is relatively good. It's actually very similar to the New American Standard Version. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not. I cannot comment on the Recovery Version Old Testament. I'm not a student of biblical Hebrew. Maybe others can comment on this. Of course the "disturbing" part is the copious amount of footnotes from the teachings of Witness Lee. Many of these footnotes contain the more "questionable" teachings of Lee. Actually, most of the footnotes are simply cliffsnotes of the "Life Studies" - the printed messages of Witness Lee during the various bi-annual trainings and conferences.

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with only two "apologists" (Lee and Nee),
Glad you put "apologists" in parenthesis, because neither Nee nor Lee were anything close to a Christian apologist, except maybe for their own particular teachings and practices. For the reasons listed above, more than one legitimate, bonafide Christian apologist/scholar has intimated that the Local Church shows many of the traits of a personality cult.

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with a history of controversiality?
Man, you have no idea! Of course anybody who bothers to hang around this joint for more than a minute or two can probably pick up on this one.
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I'd like to hear some thoughts.
Well, such as they are...there they are.
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:03 AM   #7
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Lewis's hall does not exist, it is not real.

Christianity is one big room without any smaller rooms inside. Yet the denominations have constructed the rooms, it is a man made thing.

A person cannot believe in one Lord, one body one Spirit and one baptism and at the same time believe in denominations.

And people can't lose their faith. They can only lose something which they never had in the first place.
I have no problem with the analogy of Christianity as one hall with different rooms.

The apostle Paul likens the church to a human body with different members. A finger would look different from a liver and also function differently. But this difference does not matter if the different body parts together make up one human body.

One thing we need to remember: when Paul talks about oneness, he is talking about unity, not uniformity.

If the rooms of an apartment could talk, I agree it would be a problem if the living room claimed it was more important than the bedroom and the kitchen started arguing with the study-room.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:10 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Lewis's hall does not exist, it is not real.

Christianity is one big room without any smaller rooms inside. Yet the denominations have constructed the rooms, it is a man made thing.

A person cannot believe in one Lord, one body one Spirit and one baptism and at the same time believe in denominations.

And people can't lose their faith. They can only lose something which they never had in the first place.
You still miss Lewis's point. You are just another room. That you claim ownership over the entire house does nothing to change this reality.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:28 AM   #9
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The actual translation of the Recovery Version New Testament is relatively good. It's actually very similar to the New American Standard Version. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not. I cannot comment on the Recovery Version Old Testament. I'm not a student of biblical Hebrew. Maybe others can comment on this. Of course the "disturbing" part is the copious amount of footnotes from the teachings of Witness Lee. Many of these footnotes contain the more "questionable" teachings of Lee. Actually, most of the footnotes are simply cliffsnotes of the "Life Studies" - the printed messages of Witness Lee during the various bi-annual trainings and conferences.
I agree that the translation itself may be very good. I just find it nonetheless unnecessary for them to make their own translation. What would be the point thereof? Either you want to update the language or you want to emphasise certain doctrines, or perhaps even change a few things. We should be very wary of the latter two reasons.
I haven't read the NASV, but if it's similar, why didn't they just stick with the NASV (if it was published back then)?

By the way, thank you for your and everyone else's thoughts so far.

And thank you specifically for your work on this forum. I guess you've been here for quite a while.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:44 AM   #10
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Lewis's hall does not exist, it is not real.

Christianity is one big room without any smaller rooms inside. Yet the denominations have constructed the rooms, it is a man made thing.

A person cannot believe in one Lord, one body one Spirit and one baptism and at the same time believe in denominations.

And people can't lose their faith. They can only lose something which they never had in the first place.
In "reality" there is one big hall with no rooms. That is the ideal. But we don't live in the ideal. Even Lee admitted this with his reality of the Kingdom vs appearance of the Kingdom dichotomy.

There are different rooms. That is the practical reality. Appealing that there is only one real room would be fine if you didn't insist that your room is that room. Doing that is worse than there being many rooms. No one is wise enough to insist that his vision of what the one room should look like is correct. Only nutballs do that.

So the practical reality is there are many rooms, small and large. Then there is one little bitty tiny room in the corner. It has one occupant who is busy hammering nails in his walls to make them stronger while insisting his room encompasses the entire hall. This is Evangelical's room. Please try to not let the hammering bother you.
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Old 12-06-2016, 11:35 AM   #11
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Another thing which bothered me was their disinterest in apologetics in general. I recall one instance where I discussed the Biblical account of creation, and the problem of evolution, with one LC member. . . .
At some level, I honestly think that apologetics has been overrated for the past 200 years or so. It was a product of the modern age. While there are references to reason and Paul did some rather fine reasoning, it was not in the way that apologetics are so often done now.

You gave the example of evolution. I will not defend or refute evolution. But its place in any discussion would seem to be within a study of creation. And when we look at what is written, it should be evident that the account in Genesis 1 is not intended as a historical account of HOW, but a grand statement of WHO. The HOW and the WHEN are not described. But the force that made it happen is stated very clearly.

Beyond theories on the how, we really don't know anything about it other than that God did it. Apologetics is useless because there is nothing that stands to the scientific or pseudo-scientific analysis.

And some parts of the history of God are beyond apologetics. Once you accept certain premises, then apologetics can be used to get somewhere. But those who dismiss those premises supply their own. Or assert that it is irrelevant and just live their lives.

In short, for the most part, you can't argue anyone into salvation. Their eyes have to be opened to something beyond what is known.

Understand that I am a product of modernity, and apologetics, and believe virtually all that the apologists argue for. I am not supposing that we do not need theologians to really study the Word in more detail than the rest of us have time for. I am not saying that the things that the apologists argue for are not true.

But I am saying that with respect to those outside of the faith, when you are living in a world that is turning postmodern, then an analysis of logic within the confines of a book that they have not yet decided is wroth considering possibly true is not worth a lot.

We need a different approach. And when I look at the "preaching" that Jesus did to the publicans and sinners, it would seem that he didn't do much preaching. He lived righteously among them. He ate with them. And our call is not to convince them, but to love them.
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Old 12-06-2016, 01:23 PM   #12
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You gave the example of evolution. I will not defend or refute evolution. But its place in any discussion would seem to be within a study of creation. And when we look at what is written, it should be evident that the account in Genesis 1 is not intended as a historical account of HOW, but a grand statement of WHO. The HOW and the WHEN are not described. But the force that made it happen is stated very clearly.
I agree. That's why we need apologetics: so people will see the reasonability of the Bible in particular and Christianity in general.

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Apologetics is useless because there is nothing that stands to the scientific or pseudo-scientific analysis.
How is it useless? Many people have come to faith through the works of John Lennox, Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias, Nabeel Qureshi, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, etc.

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In short, for the most part, you can't argue anyone into salvation. Their eyes have to be opened to something beyond what is known.
I agree to an extent. All in all, and all the apologists I mentioned realise this: it is the Holy Spirit which has to work in the hearts of people. Facts without God is just... facts.

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And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:2
Yet many people like my friend want to believe, but they cannot in good conscience believe that which seems to them to be a lie. The Christian worldview has to be shown to them to be reasonable. Sure only a minority require such evidence. Yet I think it very noble to reach out to them.
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Old 12-06-2016, 04:16 PM   #13
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The Christian worldview has to be shown to them to be reasonable.
Maybe it is more that the Christian worldview has to be lived by someone to make it more than a theory or ideal with nothing substantial behind it. And if the Christians would live their worldview instead of studying their worldview, then maybe some would see it as something tangible instead of something thought about but not tangible, therefore unable to be grasped.
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:20 PM   #14
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You still miss Lewis's point. You are just another room. That you claim ownership over the entire house does nothing to change this reality.
If the church is a representation of God's kingdom on earth, then can you say which room of heaven is reserved for the Lutherans and which for the Catholics and which for the Baptists and which for us? Do you believe that the "many rooms in the Father's house" refer to the denominations? One room per denomination? (John 14:2).
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:24 PM   #15
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In "reality" there is one big hall with no rooms. That is the ideal. But we don't live in the ideal. Even Lee admitted this with his reality of the Kingdom vs appearance of the Kingdom dichotomy.

There are different rooms. That is the practical reality. Appealing that there is only one real room would be fine if you didn't insist that your room is that room. Doing that is worse than there being many rooms. No one is wise enough to insist that his vision of what the one room should look like is correct. Only nutballs do that.

So the practical reality is there are many rooms, small and large. Then there is one little bitty tiny room in the corner. It has one occupant who is busy hammering nails in his walls to make them stronger while insisting his room encompasses the entire hall. This is Evangelical's room. Please try to not let the hammering bother you.
I understand the difference between practical reality and ideals. I just wonder how many other Christian ideals you ignore.
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:26 PM   #16
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In "reality" there is one big hall with no rooms. That is the ideal. But we don't live in the ideal. Even Lee admitted this with his reality of the Kingdom vs appearance of the Kingdom dichotomy.

There are different rooms. That is the practical reality. Appealing that there is only one real room would be fine if you didn't insist that your room is that room. Doing that is worse than there being many rooms. No one is wise enough to insist that his vision of what the one room should look like is correct. Only nutballs do that.

So the practical reality is there are many rooms, small and large. Then there is one little bitty tiny room in the corner. It has one occupant who is busy hammering nails in his walls to make them stronger while insisting his room encompasses the entire hall. This is Evangelical's room. Please try to not let the hammering bother you.
I think that the ‘hall’ analogy is a good one, and given that C.S. Lewis clearly stated that he was not out to promote his Anglican affiliations, it would be hard for anyone to accuse him of promoting denominationalism or a certain state of Christianity. In his preface, he makes a striking statement: The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable. It is fairly clear that he felt people should embrace what is available rather than to wait around for what they think they want. I would tend to agree with that.

Evangelical tells us that we can’t believe in the Lord and also “believe in” denominations. I’m not sure what to make of this type of reasoning, but one thing I do know is that denominations have been one of the primary ‘faces’ of Christianity. Who is anyone to question the legitimacy of such groups? By questioning the legitimacy of a group, it is also questioning the legitimacy of all of God's people who are involved in such groups. That is what I find to be the most troubling.

Unity is what happens when people find common ground. It doesn’t come by insulting everyone who disagrees with a particular point of view. That is what builds up wall in the first place. I have come to realize that the ideals that seem to be so enticing always turn out to be just out of reach. That is why I think there is wisdom in the advice to just pick a door and make the best of it.
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:30 PM   #17
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I have no problem with the analogy of Christianity as one hall with different rooms.

The apostle Paul likens the church to a human body with different members. A finger would look different from a liver and also function differently. But this difference does not matter if the different body parts together make up one human body.

One thing we need to remember: when Paul talks about oneness, he is talking about unity, not uniformity.

If the rooms of an apartment could talk, I agree it would be a problem if the living room claimed it was more important than the bedroom and the kitchen started arguing with the study-room.
This idea about rooms in a house is a human construct imposed on the Bible ,not something that came from the Bible. The only reference to rooms in the New Testament is when Jesus said there are many rooms in His Father's house, and I'm sure that did not refer to denominations in the church. The concept of locality however is straight from the Bible ,as local churches are plainly evident in the bible and not this "many rooms" nonsense.
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:33 PM   #18
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I think that the ‘hall’ analogy is a good one, and given that C.S. Lewis clearly stated that he was not out to promote his Anglican affiliations, it would be hard for anyone to accuse him of promoting denominationalism or a certain state of Christianity. In his preface, he makes a striking statement: The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable. It is fairly clear that he felt people should embrace what is available rather than to wait around for what they think they want. I would tend to agree with that.

Evangelical tells us that we can’t believe in the Lord and also “believe in” denominations. I’m not sure what to make of this type of reasoning, but one thing I do know is that denominations have been one of the primary ‘faces’ of Christianity. Who is anyone to question the legitimacy of such groups? By questioning the legitimacy of a group, it is also questioning the legitimacy of all of God's people who are involved in such groups. That is what I find to be the most troubling.

Unity is what happens when people find common ground. It doesn’t come by insulting everyone who disagrees with a particular point of view. That is what builds up wall in the first place. I have come to realize that the ideals that seem to be so enticing always turn out to be just out of reach. That is why I think there is wisdom in the advice to just pick a door and make the best of it.
The bible does not mention rooms or doors anywhere in reference to a church which is not a local church. That means if you attend a denomination you have a fake room and a fake door, and a fake church. From God's point of view they are all fake.
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:40 PM   #19
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You still miss Lewis's point. You are just another room. That you claim ownership over the entire house does nothing to change this reality.

I don't care if I miss Lewis's point. You miss God's point. CS Lewis was an Anglican. Anglicanism came about because England had a lusty King. Then the "room" of Anglicanism was created. So originally the church was just one big hall with no rooms. It's funny how this church is a room business didn't start until 1500 years after Christ. Funny how the "room church" of Anglicanism started because of one man's lust (various other reasons of course, but it was mainly a political decision) and not because God said "thus is so".
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:37 AM   #20
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I don't care if I miss Lewis's point. You miss God's point. CS Lewis was an Anglican. Anglicanism came about because England had a lusty King. Then the "room" of Anglicanism was created. So originally the church was just one big hall with no rooms. It's funny how this church is a room business didn't start until 1500 years after Christ. Funny how the "room church" of Anglicanism started because of one man's lust (various other reasons of course, but it was mainly a political decision) and not because God said "thus is so".
I can't tell if this is the genetic fallacy or the ad hominem fallacy (perhaps both). The purpose of that book, and Lewis's belief in the "Mere Christianity" in general, is precisely to give a defense of ALL of Christianity and not just Anglicanism. That's his whole point: to transcend the divisions. He sees them as inevitable and necessary, yet still part of a greater whole.

The LC sees themselves in some siege against all other Christians. As though the LC have the entire house with the rest of Christianity in some dog house outside. That's what bothers me. The mere fact that you differ from other Christians in itself shows that you are a mere part of a greater whole. This doesn't make everyone right or everyone wrong, of course. I just want you to get over this "us vs them" mentality.

A while back I watched this video on YouTube from this one Christian from the CRI where he apologised for them labeling the LC as a cult. He then followed it up with fellowship and respect for the LC members. Yet as I'm sitting here I realise that whereas he sees you (the LC) as part of the Church of Christ, you would see him as being part of a corrupt, degraded Christianity. That man saw you in the hall - he saw you as someone with whom he disagrees on minor stuff, yet still loves as a brother. But you don't reciprocate that.
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Old 12-07-2016, 04:17 AM   #21
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I can't tell if this is the genetic fallacy or the ad hominem fallacy (perhaps both). The purpose of that book, and Lewis's belief in the "Mere Christianity" in general, is precisely to give a defense of ALL of Christianity and not just Anglicanism. That's his whole point: to transcend the divisions. He sees them as inevitable and necessary, yet still part of a greater whole.
That is what Paul said. The divisions are necessary. If it wasn't for the divisions we wouldn't see as clearly that some stuff is "minor stuff" on which we disagree, but not nearly as important as the major stuff which makes us one.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:11 AM   #22
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That is what Paul said. The divisions are necessary. If it wasn't for the divisions we wouldn't see as clearly that some stuff is "minor stuff" on which we disagree, but not nearly as important as the major stuff which makes us one.
You have a very good point.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:45 AM   #23
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I just wonder how many other Christian ideals you ignore.
He who is without sin let him cast the first stone.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:51 AM   #24
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If the church is a representation of God's kingdom on earth, then can you say which room of heaven is reserved for the Lutherans and which for the Catholics and which for the Baptists and which for us? Do you believe that the "many rooms in the Father's house" refer to the denominations? One room per denomination? (John 14:2).
I don't think CS Lewis or any of the posters in this forum are saying that the "many rooms in the Father's house" in John 14 v 2 refer to the many denominations.

Both CS Lewis and Jesus used rooms as analogies, but in different contexts.
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:06 PM   #25
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That is what Paul said. The divisions are necessary. If it wasn't for the divisions we wouldn't see as clearly that some stuff is "minor stuff" on which we disagree, but not nearly as important as the major stuff which makes us one.
I believe it is "were necessary", not "are necessary". Mergers and acquisitions happen all the time in the commercial world. I wonder why it doesn't happen with denominations. Why 500 year old denominations continue to exist, they should have joined the newer improved ones years ago. There's no real difference between Lutheran and Anglican, or Baptist and Presbyterian. I see no necessary division between them.
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:10 PM   #26
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The LC sees themselves in some siege against all other Christians. As though the LC have the entire house with the rest of Christianity in some dog house outside. That's what bothers me. The mere fact that you differ from other Christians in itself shows that you are a mere part of a greater whole. This doesn't make everyone right or everyone wrong, of course. I just want you to get over this "us vs them" mentality.
We also transcend the divisions. We do so when we consider all believers in our city to be part of the one local church. We do not see the denominations in this sense. This is transcendence, and we do it without resorting to room in hall analogies. At the same time, we do not remain in the divisions while transcending them. While Lewis proposes transcending the divisions - we leave the divisions. In our concepts we have transcended the divisions, and by our practice we have left the divisions.

What about Luther. Would not any protestant not say he was part of a corrupt degraded Roman Catholicism before he left it? Would you say Luther left a wonderful denomination? Does not Protestantism itself have an "us and them" mentality in regards to the believers in Catholicism? I am trying to say that an us and them mentality is not necessarily wrong when it is light versus darkness. In relation to brothers and sisters in Christ we are transcendent and in relation to the corrupt organizations we are "us and them" mentality.
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:26 PM   #27
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Does not Protestantism itself have an "us and them" mentality in regards to the believers in Catholicism?
Well, Protestantism is not a conscious thing with a mentality. And it is not monolithic. But from an evangelical point of view antagonism is toward Catholics is rare these days. Most Christians are trying to find ways to get along. This is not cynical. It's simply doing the best we can with the situation as it is.

I mean, I guess we could do what you do and declare ourselves right and everyone else wrong. But if everyone did that it would be total war. So we'll leave the self-righteous condemnation of other Christians to the fringe groups, and hope the world notices as little of that as possible.

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We also transcend the divisions.
In your dreams.
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Old 12-07-2016, 04:56 PM   #28
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Well, Protestantism is not a conscious thing with a mentality. And it is not monolithic. But from an evangelical point of view antagonism is toward Catholics is rare these days. Most Christians are trying to find ways to get along. This is not cynical. It's simply doing the best we can with the situation as it is.
I mean, I guess we could do what you do and declare ourselves right and everyone else wrong. But if everyone did that it would be total war. So we'll leave the self-righteous condemnation of other Christians to the fringe groups, and hope the world notices as little of that as possible.
In your dreams.
Of course - why we would try to get along with Satan?
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:27 PM   #29
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The bible does not mention rooms or doors anywhere in reference to a church which is not a local church. That means if you attend a denomination you have a fake room and a fake door, and a fake church. From God's point of view they are all fake.
The Bible doesn't mention the FTTA either. So does that make it a fake training???

On a more serious note, I think your concern highlights the point C.S. Lewis was trying to make. Once someone becomes a Christian, they encounter a certain 'state' of Christianity. It might be perceived as good or bad, but what they see in front of them determines what happens next. No one person is responsible for the state of Christianity. Not you nor I.

Regardless of how good or bad the state of Christianity is perceived to be, as Christians, God wants us to be around other Christians. That is the point. What we see in front of us may be confusing. But what we see is not something for us to attack. It's something to be a part of.
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:04 PM   #30
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The Bible doesn't mention the FTTA either. So does that make it a fake training???

On a more serious note, I think your concern highlights the point C.S. Lewis was trying to make. Once someone becomes a Christian, they encounter a certain 'state' of Christianity. It might be perceived as good or bad, but what they see in front of them determines what happens next. No one person is responsible for the state of Christianity. Not you nor I.

Regardless of how good or bad the state of Christianity is perceived to be, as Christians, God wants us to be around other Christians. That is the point. What we see in front of us may be confusing. But what we see is not something for us to attack. It's something to be a part of.
Being around other Christians is definitely what the local churches are all about. Yet it does not mean to be around everything. God does not want us participating in all activities of other Christians, because not all are pleasing. There are things I participate in with Catholics for example, and there are things I do not.
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:51 PM   #31
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A while back I watched this video on YouTube from this one Christian from the CRI where he apologised for them labeling the LC as a cult. He then followed it up with fellowship and respect for the LC members. Yet as I'm sitting here I realise that whereas he sees you (the LC) as part of the Church of Christ, you would see him as being part of a corrupt, degraded Christianity. That man saw you in the hall - he saw you as someone with whom he disagrees on minor stuff, yet still loves as a brother. But you don't reciprocate that.
Evangelical, have you nothing to say about this?

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While Lewis proposes transcending the divisions - we leave the divisions. In our concepts we have transcended the divisions, and by our practice we have left the divisions.
I realise that Lewis is also fallible. But if it comes to authority, I can't help but point out how you would prefer Witness Lee over the likes of C. S. Lewis. That says more than you would ever admit.

I'll just leave these here:

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I am trying to say that an us and them mentality is not necessarily wrong when it is light versus darkness. In relation to brothers and sisters in Christ we are transcendent and in relation to the corrupt organizations we are "us and them" mentality.
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We do so when we consider all believers in our city to be part of the one local church. We do not see the denominations in this sense.
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Of course - why we would try to get along with Satan?
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:47 AM   #32
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Evangelical, have you nothing to say about this?

A while back I watched this video on YouTube from this one Christian from the CRI where he apologised for them labeling the LC as a cult. He then followed it up with fellowship and respect for the LC members. Yet as I'm sitting here I realise that whereas he sees you (the LC) as part of the Church of Christ, you would see him as being part of a corrupt, degraded Christianity. That man saw you in the hall - he saw you as someone with whom he disagrees on minor stuff, yet still loves as a brother. But you don't reciprocate that.

I realise that Lewis is also fallible. But if it comes to authority, I can't help but point out how you would prefer Witness Lee over the likes of C. S. Lewis. That says more than you would ever admit.

I'll just leave these here:
I would see him as part of degraded Christianity and still love as a brother. Not sure why you think the two are mutually exclusive.

Perhaps you have not considered that I would prefer Witness Lee over CS Lewis for reasons other than his view about the "many roomed" church. That is, although I disagree with Lewis's analogy and what it stands for, it is no different to that believed by many in Christianity, and I believed it myself at one stage. There are other more serious reasons why I think CS Lewis to be inferior to Lee.

Please consider the following found at :
http://www.jesusisprecious.org/wolve...is-no_hero.htm

Lewis belittled the Scriptures (just as some here have claimed of Lee in regards to Psalms and James):

“all Holy Scripture is in some sense – though not all parts of it in the same sense – the word of God.”

“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place,” as “certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.” And: “The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance [Mark 13:32] grow side by side. That they stood thus in the mouth of Jesus himself, and were not merely placed thus by the reporter, we surely need not doubt.... The facts, then, are these: that Jesus professed himself (in some sense) ignorant, and within a moment showed that he really was so.”

If people here love CS Lewis so much I should have quoted this one in the discussion I started about the Word and the Spirit:

“It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God.” Not many here agree with that (I do , however).

Lewis possibly believed that other religions lead to God:

“I think that every prayer which is sincerely made even to a false god or to a very imperfectly conceived true God, is accepted by the true God and that Christ saves many who do not think they know Him.”3

Lewis prayed to the dead -
“Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me."

Lewis did not believe in the Creation account of Genesis:

“I have therefore no difficulty accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical.”

I think side by side comparison of Lee's doctrines with Lewis's would reveal Lee to be much more orthodox and in agreement with protestant beliefs than Lewis. For this reason I think you should reconsider your view that Lewis's idea regarding the church is the right one, as it is bound to be in error, which I think it is.
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Old 12-08-2016, 06:18 AM   #33
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Of course - why we would try to get along with Satan?
Well, I might ask the same thing in regards to you. I see Satan working in you and the LCM. I see evidence of Satan in all corners of Christianity. I also see evidence of God. That's just the way it is.

You talk about degraded Christianity, but you ignore your own degradation. You think you are something different. You aren't. We are all in this together.

The Catholic church may have elements of Thyatira, but there is no doubt the LCM is the spitting (ahem) image of Laodicea. I could just as easily ask why should I associate with something the Lord is going to spit out of his mouth. But what would be the point of that other than to wage war?

I understand having a problem with certain beliefs and practices of the Catholics. What I don't understand is why you condemn them for their errors yet give yourselves a pass on your own.

You are strict with others and tolerant of yourselves. That's backwards.
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:39 AM   #34
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I want to point out that Evangelical's extreme position does not reflect the mindset of all LCMers. I have been in contact with several old friends still in the LCM in the last few years. Although they still personally feel the LCM is a proper way, even right way, they did not push that on me.

One elder told me, "We don't have a monopoly on God."

Another friend told me something to the effect that I had the right to follow my conscience and he had no right to demean that.

Another friend chuckled when I mentioned how the LCM calls Christianity "Babylon." He said, "I don't think I've heard the word 'Babylon' mentioned in fifteen years."

Obviously there are different attitudes in the LCM and Evangelical is on the extreme fringe even of that spectrum. His black-and-white, hard-edged dismissal of all groups outside the LCM reads more like a legalistic interpretation of Witness Lee's most intolerant speakings, rather than the reasoned view of a seasoned LCMer.

I wonder what he thinks of Witness Lee's late-life repentance from being so judgmental toward other Christians:

http://www.concernedbrothers.com/rep...edTheMark4.pdf

Witness Lee's words, translated from Mandarin:
"(Concerning the matter of receiving people according to God),…we coworkers in every place all need to learn, the responsible ones in every place all need to learn, the brothers and sisters in every place all need to learn…, too many things cause us to learn. We all made mistakes in this matter in the past, I myself included; I confess that, I had, for this matter and before the Lord, a very painful repentance. I am really sorry…toward the Body of Christ, also really sorry, not only toward the brothers and sisters among us, but even to those in the denominations, also really sorry toward them…(a long pause) You must bring this message back, read it once, read it twice, and come together to fellowship with one another. Then you will see that, we, in the past, were wrong! Of course, denominations are wrong. The sectarianism is what God condemns the most. However, the Lord still hopes that all His children… do not have such condemnation. Such an understanding and analysis will require much effort. I say again, you must, some people, a few people, come together to read, pray, speak and say…"
Please read the commentary in the PDF as well.

I don't really mind that some in the LCM think they have a "better way." That attitude is not uncommon. It's just human nature to think the group you belong to does it better. Why else would you belong to it?

But going beyond that... Claiming that only you are right and all others are wrong, minimizing your own failures and maximizing those of others, goes beyond the pale. Not only is it the wrong spirit, it directly demeans the work of God being done in so many different manifestations of his Body.
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:23 AM   #35
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I want to point out that Evangelical's extreme position does not reflect the mindset of all LCMers. I have been in contact with several old friends still in the LCM in the last few years. Although they still personally feel the LCM is a proper way, even right way, they did not push that on me.
I concur, but, of course, my point of reference in the GLA are those brothers quarantined by the Blendeds.
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:53 AM   #36
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I want to point out that Evangelical's extreme position does not reflect the mindset of all LCMers.
Thanks for pointing this out. What you say is true. Much of what Evangelical says I've not heard at the LC near me. It's just good to get a grip of reality again.

Slightly off topic, but not: Some people say that the Israeli-Arab issue will be resolved the moment both sides wash each others feet.
Reading that quote of Witness Lee made me think about that. Only in humility will there be true unity.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:57 PM   #37
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Well, I might ask the same thing in regards to you. I see Satan working in you and the LCM. I see evidence of Satan in all corners of Christianity. I also see evidence of God. That's just the way it is.

You talk about degraded Christianity, but you ignore your own degradation. You think you are something different. You aren't. We are all in this together.

The Catholic church may have elements of Thyatira, but there is no doubt the LCM is the spitting (ahem) image of Laodicea. I could just as easily ask why should I associate with something the Lord is going to spit out of his mouth. But what would be the point of that other than to wage war?

I understand having a problem with certain beliefs and practices of the Catholics. What I don't understand is why you condemn them for their errors yet give yourselves a pass on your own.

You are strict with others and tolerant of yourselves. That's backwards.
The "others" are illegitimate "churches". Roman Catholicism is not a church, nor Lutheranism, etc. They are organizations of man.

They hold to the teachings but there is no life in them.

We cannot be saved by joining an "ism".
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Old 12-08-2016, 01:03 PM   #38
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I want to point out that Evangelical's extreme position does not reflect the mindset of all LCMers. I have been in contact with several old friends still in the LCM in the last few years. Although they still personally feel the LCM is a proper way, even right way, they did not push that on me.

One elder told me, "We don't have a monopoly on God."

Another friend told me something to the effect that I had the right to follow my conscience and he had no right to demean that.

Another friend chuckled when I mentioned how the LCM calls Christianity "Babylon." He said, "I don't think I've heard the word 'Babylon' mentioned in fifteen years."

Obviously there are different attitudes in the LCM and Evangelical is on the extreme fringe even of that spectrum. His black-and-white, hard-edged dismissal of all groups outside the LCM reads more like a legalistic interpretation of Witness Lee's most intolerant speakings, rather than the reasoned view of a seasoned LCMer.

I wonder what he thinks of Witness Lee's late-life repentance from being so judgmental toward other Christians:

http://www.concernedbrothers.com/rep...edTheMark4.pdf

Witness Lee's words, translated from Mandarin:
"(Concerning the matter of receiving people according to God),…we coworkers in every place all need to learn, the responsible ones in every place all need to learn, the brothers and sisters in every place all need to learn…, too many things cause us to learn. We all made mistakes in this matter in the past, I myself included; I confess that, I had, for this matter and before the Lord, a very painful repentance. I am really sorry…toward the Body of Christ, also really sorry, not only toward the brothers and sisters among us, but even to those in the denominations, also really sorry toward them…(a long pause) You must bring this message back, read it once, read it twice, and come together to fellowship with one another. Then you will see that, we, in the past, were wrong! Of course, denominations are wrong. The sectarianism is what God condemns the most. However, the Lord still hopes that all His children… do not have such condemnation. Such an understanding and analysis will require much effort. I say again, you must, some people, a few people, come together to read, pray, speak and say…"
Please read the commentary in the PDF as well.

I don't really mind that some in the LCM think they have a "better way." That attitude is not uncommon. It's just human nature to think the group you belong to does it better. Why else would you belong to it?

But going beyond that... Claiming that only you are right and all others are wrong, minimizing your own failures and maximizing those of others, goes beyond the pale. Not only is it the wrong spirit, it directly demeans the work of God being done in so many different manifestations of his Body.
This is funny that now you seem to be defending the LCM, and pretending there is a "good side" and a "bad side". You know that your friends would tone down their language in the hope of bringing you back into the fold.

Roman Catholicism et al. is not a "different manifestation of the Body". They don't believe that. We don't believe that. Only people in fantasy land riding their rainbow unicorns believe that all denominations are just different manifestations of the Body.
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:36 PM   #39
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This is funny that now you seem to be defending the LCM, and pretending there is a "good side" and a "bad side". You know that your friends would tone down their language in the hope of bringing you back into the fold.

No, they are just mature. I can't imagine any of them talking like you do. Maybe when they were 20 years old and stupid, but not now.

And I'm not an absolutist. There are many good things about the LCM. I just target the destructive things.
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:41 PM   #40
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The "others" are illegitimate "churches". Roman Catholicism is not a church, nor Lutheranism, etc. They are organizations of man.
Like the "Recovery" isn't an organization of man...

And I'm not defending Catholicism nor Lutheranism. I'm defending the right of congregations to exist and to hold their beliefs in good conscience without people like you telling them they are "false."

Please try to keep up.
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Old 12-08-2016, 04:16 PM   #41
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Like the "Recovery" isn't an organization of man...

And I'm not defending Catholicism nor Lutheranism. I'm defending the right of congregations to exist and to hold their beliefs in good conscience without people like you telling them they are "false."

Please try to keep up.
I know that, you are trying to maintain unity by defending the divisions.
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:14 PM   #42
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I know that, you are trying to maintain unity by defending the divisions.
Igzy just defended your LSM/LC division, and its right to exist and hold its beliefs.

Paul in Romans 16 admonishes us to identify and "mark" those Blended Brothers at LSM who "make divisions and causes of stumbling."
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:31 PM   #43
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Igzy just defended your LSM/LC division, and its right to exist and hold its beliefs.

Paul in Romans 16 admonishes us to identify and "mark" those Blended Brothers at LSM who "make divisions and causes of stumbling."
Why? Who is attacking it? I'm not. I have never said the LSM/LC has no right to exist and hold its beliefs. That view I hold for the denominations.
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Old 12-08-2016, 11:15 PM   #44
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Interesting quotes by Evangelical (feel free to add - it's a work in progress):

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I have never said the LSM/LC has no right to exist and hold its beliefs. That view I hold for the denominations.
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The "others" are illegitimate "churches".
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We do so when we consider all believers in our city to be part of the one local church. We do not see the denominations in this sense.
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I am trying to say that an us and them mentality is not necessarily wrong when it is light versus darkness. In relation to brothers and sisters in Christ we are transcendent and in relation to the corrupt organizations we are "us and them" mentality.
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Of course - why we would try to get along with Satan?
Igzy said that you do not represent the mainstream LC view, yet it seems you dispute that. If that is the case, then the quotes I have above will be enough to show people the hypocrisy of the LC.

By the way, what do you make of the Orthodox Church? As far as I know (I could be wrong as I know little about them) they, especially the official Russian Orthodox Church, believe all other churches to be false. I think they equate them to Satan (though once again I'm unsure). Sound familiar?
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:29 AM   #45
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I know that, you are trying to maintain unity by defending the divisions.
I don't consider them divisions. Division implies animosity. Different names and different ways to meet don't imply division. If they did Paul wouldn't have written Romans 12.

What you seem to miss is that your insistence on your way or the highway is more divisive than the denominations.

Instead of just continuing to repeat the same assertions and acting obnoxious, why don't you try mounting an intelligent argument that actually shows respect for the intelligence of the listener? Like I said, 99.9999% of Christians would not be interested in what you are peddling. Do you think they are all stupid? What, are they just supposed to believe you are right just because you say you are? Where's the evidence, the fruit, that you are correct? I don't see it. I just see a tiny group that is a mixture of good and bad, but has some serious dysfunction, all enabled by some extremely specious reasoning.
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:55 AM   #46
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Igzy said that you do not represent the mainstream LC view.
I would more say that his attitude reflects poorly on many of the more mature and restrained LCMers. But most of them still believe somewhere that they are IT. If they didn't they wouldn't stay there. That's the whole game. Very few would stay in the LCM if they felt they had a choice to leave. So to relieve the cognitive dissonance, the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in and they become staunch defenders of the LCM, "true believers." But their specious arguments give them away, not that they admit it. All this takes place on a mostly subconscious level, as they try to find their place in a group that has convinced them they will "miss the kingdom" if they leave. It's hairy stuff.

So basically you get three type of LCMers here:
  1. The ones who are out or on their way out. These are like people who are waking up from a dream.
  2. The ones who cannot defend the LCM by anything other than repeating what they've heard. They usually don't last long.
  3. The smart ones, like Evangelical. They don't mind arguing and in the process prove they are neither holier, wiser nor more enlightened than anyone else here.
Occasionally you'll see a fourth kind--someone pretty reasonable and intelligent and sincere, like Drake. I can only speculate that these eventually admit to the problems with the LCM, but not necessarily publicly.
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:15 PM   #47
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Interesting quotes by Evangelical (feel free to add - it's a work in progress):

Igzy said that you do not represent the mainstream LC view, yet it seems you dispute that. If that is the case, then the quotes I have above will be enough to show people the hypocrisy of the LC.

By the way, what do you make of the Orthodox Church? As far as I know (I could be wrong as I know little about them) they, especially the official Russian Orthodox Church, believe all other churches to be false. I think they equate them to Satan (though once again I'm unsure). Sound familiar?
Quite a number of denominations believe they are the true church. Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist. The ones that do not claim this today, probably did claim that in past history.

What is "mainstream LC"? Igzy referenced a few of his friends in the LC. I have friends too in the LC, even mature LC people that believe like me. Who exactly is mainstream?
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:19 PM   #48
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I don't consider them divisions. Division implies animosity. Different names and different ways to meet don't imply division. If they did Paul wouldn't have written Romans 12.

What you seem to miss is that your insistence on your way or the highway is more divisive than the denominations.

Instead of just continuing to repeat the same assertions and acting obnoxious, why don't you try mounting an intelligent argument that actually shows respect for the intelligence of the listener? Like I said, 99.9999% of Christians would not be interested in what you are peddling. Do you think they are all stupid? What, are they just supposed to believe you are right just because you say you are? Where's the evidence, the fruit, that you are correct? I don't see it. I just see a tiny group that is a mixture of good and bad, but has some serious dysfunction, all enabled by some extremely specious reasoning.
Division implies separation. Groups do not have to have animosity to be divided. For example, USA and Canada are divided but there is no animosity between them. Seems you struggle with basic English definitions and logic.

Your idea that insisting on unity makes it divisive does not make sense. That is like saying that insisting that a hamburger is not a pizza turns the hamburger into a pizza. You are saying "the hamburger which insists it is not a pizza is the most pizza-like of all!". An idea that insisting on unity is divisive is stupid.
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:24 PM   #49
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I would more say that his attitude reflects poorly on many of the more mature and restrained LCMers. But most of them still believe somewhere that they are IT. If they didn't they wouldn't stay there. That's the whole game. Very few would stay in the LCM if they felt they had a choice to leave. So to relieve the cognitive dissonance, the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in and they become staunch defenders of the LCM, "true believers." But their specious arguments give them away, not that they admit it. All this takes place on a mostly subconscious level, as they try to find their place in a group that has convinced them they will "miss the kingdom" if they leave. It's hairy stuff.

So basically you get three type of LCMers here:
  1. The ones who are out or on their way out. These are like people who are waking up from a dream.
  2. The ones who cannot defend the LCM by anything other than repeating what they've heard. They usually don't last long.
  3. The smart ones, like Evangelical. They don't mind arguing and in the process prove they are neither holier, wiser nor more enlightened than anyone else here.
Occasionally you'll see a fourth kind--someone pretty reasonable and intelligent and sincere, like Drake. I can only speculate that these eventually admit to the problems with the LCM, but not necessarily publicly.
Would you rather I pretend to agree with you? If I am more restrained does this change my beliefs or your beliefs? No. Deep down in their heart the mature and more restrained ones still think they are right and you are wrong. The Catholics do the same thing. Very nice people and tolerant towards other churches but they don't compromise on their core beliefs. Every church that believes it is the true church does the same.
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Old 12-10-2016, 04:04 AM   #50
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Division implies separation. Groups do not have to have animosity to be divided. For example, USA and Canada are divided but there is no animosity between them. Seems you struggle with basic English definitions and logic.

Your idea that insisting on unity makes it divisive does not make sense. That is like saying that insisting that a hamburger is not a pizza turns the hamburger into a pizza. You are saying "the hamburger which insists it is not a pizza is the most pizza-like of all!". An idea that insisting on unity is divisive is stupid.
Until you read the ingredients, and learn that the hamburger and the pizza are the same.
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:37 AM   #51
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Would you rather I pretend to agree with you?
I would rather you acknowledge that your opinion on this matter is of a tiny, obscure minority and is not accepted by hardly any reputable theologians, bible teachers, church leaders or anyone else. Some humility is in order. The onus is on you to prove your case. So you need to come up with something better than semantic games with words like "division" and so forth. It is something kids might fall for, but not people who know better. And you act as if what you believe should be common sense, as if people who don't believe it are either evil or stupid. If you really were onto something real, you'd acknowledge based on history and the situation that selling it is difficult. You wouldn't swagger as you do. You'd be humbly looking for positive ways to spread what you believe.

That's what's funny about the LCM. If they really wanted to spread their ideas they would take a much different approach and attitude.

It just doesn't smell right.
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:40 AM   #52
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Until you read the ingredients, and learn that the hamburger and the pizza are the same.
Right. Meat, cheese, carbohydrates and vegetables. Same essential ingredients, just presented a different way. Good analogy, Ohio.
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:23 AM   #53
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Your idea that insisting on unity makes it divisive does not make sense.
In my opinion what you are insisting on is not true unity.

Don't you see? Anything can become a point of division. If you and I see "unity" as meaning different things it becomes just another source of division. That's the catch you don't see, or don't want to see.

So what do you do when such a disagreement exists? In my experience the problem is almost always on the extremes. And as I've said the LCM represents an extreme and obscure position. There is nothing close to a consensus that you are correct, your argument doesn't hold water and you tend toward arrogance. So why should I believe you?

You are only going to win people over by showing positive fruit. That includes humility and a genuine care for others.

I'm preaching to myself, too.
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Old 12-11-2016, 01:52 AM   #54
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I do not insist that someone come over to my side or change their view. I believe that even to try to "win someone over" when they are already part of the Body of Christ is itself a divisive act. However I must state the truth as I understand it, rather than mix it with the error and call it a compromise. Mutual agreement and understanding is a kind of compromise. For example, Catholic and Protestant may sympathize with each other and understand each other's point of view. But that does not stop them staying on their sides of the fence. That stalemate situation will only change if one of them realizes the other is correct and decides to jump over the fence.
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Old 12-11-2016, 09:00 AM   #55
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However I must state the truth as I understand it, rather than mix it with the error and call it a compromise.
How much have you actually prayed about this matter? In my experience people in the LC don't pray much about these things. They just get won over by the "logic" of it and run with it. Have you truly prayed for the Lord to show you his heart about unity? Have you prayed about your approach, attitude and demeanor in the matter?

I remember once asking a LCer to pray about the things he so self-assuredly declared. His response? "I don't need to pray." Does that sound like the Spirit to you?

At some level you must realize that it is highly unlikely you are correct, given the record of lack of acceptance of your view down through history and the lack of growth of the movement you are in.

I challenge you to sincerely pray for one month every day for 15 minutes asking the Lord to show you what is true regarding unity, what attitude to have about it and how to go forward with it. Put everything on the table in prayer. I'd be willing to bet your beliefs and approach change.
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Old 12-11-2016, 05:23 PM   #56
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How much have you actually prayed about this matter? In my experience people in the LC don't pray much about these things. They just get won over by the "logic" of it and run with it. Have you truly prayed for the Lord to show you his heart about unity? Have you prayed about your approach, attitude and demeanor in the matter?

I remember once asking a LCer to pray about the things he so self-assuredly declared. His response? "I don't need to pray." Does that sound like the Spirit to you?

At some level you must realize that it is highly unlikely you are correct, given the record of lack of acceptance of your view down through history and the lack of growth of the movement you are in.

I challenge you to sincerely pray for one month every day for 15 minutes asking the Lord to show you what is true regarding unity, what attitude to have about it and how to go forward with it. Put everything on the table in prayer. I'd be willing to bet your beliefs and approach change.
That person may have been so convinced that he does not need to pray. When God's will is known, the question does not need asking. For example, I don't need to ask God whether I should come to work today, or whether I should wear pants. For this person, it seemed unnecessary for him to ask God whether he needs to meet with the saints on the ground of locality. I don't think you should be quick to judge him/her for that.

From a mathematical perspective I might agree however the truth is not based upon probability and likelihoods. If I was to approach the matter of the church from the point of view of logic, I would choose Orthodox or Roman Catholic, as they are clearly the most historical, oldest and most apostolic churches around. But numbers can be misleading. It would have been unlikely that Jesus and the disciples were correct as compared to the mainstream religion of the time. Yes I prayed about it much when I was in denominations, for at least a year, and the Lord led me out and into the Recovery. At one point I was attending both and it was the attitude of the denomination I was in and the revelation God gave me that led me to leave and just attend the Recovery alone.

I believe that every week we should pray about where God wants us to attend church, or whether we should attend church at all or just stay at home. We need to just follow His leading. We also need to learn the difference between God's voice and our own thoughts and feelings.
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Old 12-12-2016, 06:22 AM   #57
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That person may have been so convinced that he does not need to pray. When God's will is known, the question does not need asking. For example, I don't need to ask God whether I should come to work today, or whether I should wear pants. For this person, it seemed unnecessary for him to ask God whether he needs to meet with the saints on the ground of locality. I don't think you should be quick to judge him/her for that.
Well, to me it comes across as an arrogant assurance that is not in keeping with the proper Christian spirit. What could be the harm of praying? Why would anyone say "I don't need to pray?"

No, to me it's symptomatic of religious fervor. One of the problems with groups like the LCM is they lend themselves to a kind of mindless don't-confuse-me-with-the-facts determination. I know, I was there. Muslim zealots have this problem. They are so convinced they are supposed to be right, and the pressure is so high to be absolute, that their minds can't handle it and they go a little crazy. Some go a lot crazy. You see that over and over with people in fringe groups, which is one reason their groups are fringe.

If the LCM was really interested in unity, why not reach out to everyone in a humble and reasoning way. Why not take a step-by-step approach, instead of expecting everyone just to close their doors and join "the Recovery," which is never going to happen.

The reason is they aren't interested so much in unity as in doing things their way and remaining in control. Plus they enjoy the heady feeling of being "the remnant." It's a no-lose situation. They can remain in their fantasy of being "God's unique move" and never require any proof of it. All failures to grow and spread can be rationalized away, as you have done.

LSM must keep up the perception that Lee was the MOTA. This is about control and keeping the cash cow going. Imagine the drop off in ministry sales if they admitted to his errors and failures.

Again, i don't hate Lee or anyone in the LCM. But I do hate a system that uses the fear of judgment and loss to hold Christians in its grip. And that's what the LCM does. It's time to fess up. It's time to repent.
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:45 AM   #58
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When God's will is known, the question does not need asking. For example, I don't need to ask God whether I should come to work today, or whether I should wear pants. For this person, it seemed unnecessary for him to ask God whether he needs to meet with the saints on the ground of locality. I don't think you should be quick to judge him/her for that.
Terrible example, I know people who are alive today because they prayed about whether or not to go to work. They were bothered, did not know why, but it was enough to keep them out of the twin towers.

I have heard a lot of wonderful testimonies of people who did pray about this. There was a brother in China, he was very bothered in his spirit until he could stand it no longer so he rang the bell for the miners in the mine to come up, hours before their shift ended. When they did come up they were incensed and about to fire him when the mine collapsed.

It is arrogant and ignorant to think that we do not need to pray on a daily basis.

I also had an experience similar to this on my job.
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:35 PM   #59
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Terrible example, I know people who are alive today because they prayed about whether or not to go to work. They were bothered, did not know why, but it was enough to keep them out of the twin towers.

I have heard a lot of wonderful testimonies of people who did pray about this. There was a brother in China, he was very bothered in his spirit until he could stand it no longer so he rang the bell for the miners in the mine to come up, hours before their shift ended. When they did come up they were incensed and about to fire him when the mine collapsed.

It is arrogant and ignorant to think that we do not need to pray on a daily basis.

I also had an experience similar to this on my job.
Well after praying about whether we should get out of bed, brush our teeth, eat breakfast, go to work, there won't be much time left for anything else.
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:44 PM   #60
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Well, to me it comes across as an arrogant assurance that is not in keeping with the proper Christian spirit. What could be the harm of praying? Why would anyone say "I don't need to pray?"

No, to me it's symptomatic of religious fervor. One of the problems with groups like the LCM is they lend themselves to a kind of mindless don't-confuse-me-with-the-facts determination. I know, I was there. Muslim zealots have this problem. They are so convinced they are supposed to be right, and the pressure is so high to be absolute, that their minds can't handle it and they go a little crazy. Some go a lot crazy. You see that over and over with people in fringe groups, which is one reason their groups are fringe.

If the LCM was really interested in unity, why not reach out to everyone in a humble and reasoning way. Why not take a step-by-step approach, instead of expecting everyone just to close their doors and join "the Recovery," which is never going to happen.

The reason is they aren't interested so much in unity as in doing things their way and remaining in control. Plus they enjoy the heady feeling of being "the remnant." It's a no-lose situation. They can remain in their fantasy of being "God's unique move" and never require any proof of it. All failures to grow and spread can be rationalized away, as you have done.

LSM must keep up the perception that Lee was the MOTA. This is about control and keeping the cash cow going. Imagine the drop off in ministry sales if they admitted to his errors and failures.

Again, i don't hate Lee or anyone in the LCM. But I do hate a system that uses the fear of judgment and loss to hold Christians in its grip. And that's what the LCM does. It's time to fess up. It's time to repent.

I'm just saying there is another side to this. That was your experience. That was not everyone's experience. There are issues with your approach as well. You have recounted a story whereby you asked them to pray about a matter, they didn't, and then you have basically judged him for being self-assured and taken it as a sign that he is not spiritual.

Your approach is like the one some folks tried with Jesus, "tell us if you are the Son of God or not". Maybe you would ask Jesus "have you prayed about whether or not you truly are the Son of God?". In my view the correct response to those types of questions is to remain silent, as Jesus did.
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Old 12-12-2016, 06:04 PM   #61
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Your approach is like the one some folks tried with Jesus, "tell us if you are the Son of God or not". Maybe you would ask Jesus "have you prayed about whether or not you truly are the Son of God?". In my view the correct response to those types of questions is to remain silent, as Jesus did.
Nice try, but it doesn't fit. Jesus had nothing to gain from telling them he was the Son of God because they wouldn't have believed him anyway. But sincere prayer by himself, for himself, would help himself, as it would help anyone.

I asked him to pray for his own good, not mine. He must have a highly suspicious mind to be wary of his own prayer.

Put another way, if you asked me to pray more about LCM, I would. Or at least I'd say, "I'll might just do that." I wouldn't say, "I don't need to pray."
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Old 12-15-2016, 02:57 AM   #62
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Your idea that insisting on unity makes it divisive does not make sense.
But it does make sense. Why not rather be defrauded than seek your version of justice? Because your version is not God's. Your mind is not His, nor your heart. Only God is good.

By contrast, we see outward, enforced conformity, based on dissatisfaction, weakness and fear. "Unless everyone does exactly what I want, I'll be unhappy." Friend, you are unhappy now and you always will be, at that rate.

The unity of Babel is enforced. Everyone must bow to the same image.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:19 AM   #63
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But it does make sense. Why not rather be defrauded than seek your version of justice? Because your version is not God's. Your mind is not His, nor your heart. Only God is good.

By contrast, we see outward, enforced conformity, based on dissatisfaction, weakness and fear. "Unless everyone does exactly what I want, I'll be unhappy." Friend, you are unhappy now and you always will be, at that rate.

The unity of Babel is enforced. Everyone must bow to the same image.
Christianity is already divided, and has been for some time now. By insisting on unity we cannot make the division worse. It seems you are more interested in maintaining the status quo of "unity in division" than striving for perfection. The unity you speak of is a unity in division. It is saying "we are all divided, we are all the same, so we are in unity". It is a unity of compromise and mediocrity. It is a kind of false unity which is not unity at all. The dictionary definition of unity is "the state of being one; oneness". Today Christianity is not in a state of oneness but of manyness.
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:53 AM   #64
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Christianity is already divided, and has been for some time now. By insisting on unity we cannot make the division worse. It seems you are more interested in maintaining the status quo of "unity in division" than striving for perfection. The unity you speak of is a unity in division. It is saying "we are all divided, we are all the same, so we are in unity". It is a unity of compromise and mediocrity. It is a kind of false unity which is not unity at all. The dictionary definition of unity is "the state of being one; oneness". Today Christianity is not in a state of oneness but of manyness.
The Pharisees strove for perfection, too. We know what Jesus thought of them.
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:28 AM   #65
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Today Christianity is not in a state of oneness but of manyness.
I am not talking about the manyness of today's Christianity. I am talking about the sound of many waters. It's a beautiful sound. You can hear it anywhere. Even occasionally in Christianity.

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The unity you speak of is a unity in division.
Of course I offer my opinion and nothing more. But the unity of which I speak is the unity of the Son and the Father. "Even as we are one, they shall be one" The way to get to that unity is not to look at our disunity but to look at their unity. Fix one's consciousness on it, resolutely. It is the kind of heavenly vision that Paul told Agrippa he was faithful to, to the very end.
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Old 12-15-2016, 10:25 AM   #66
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The primary thing which drove me away was the thought that, by making an us-vs-them distinction, the LC was in effect making themselves another part of the division that they so desperately hate.

Here's a thought: how about the Local Church dissolve itself, then we're one step closer to having a unity in practice as well? I know this is unlikely to ever be achieved. But why increase the division that you hate so much?
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:04 PM   #67
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I am not talking about the manyness of today's Christianity. I am talking about the sound of many waters. It's a beautiful sound. You can hear it anywhere. Even occasionally in Christianity.



Of course I offer my opinion and nothing more. But the unity of which I speak is the unity of the Son and the Father. "Even as we are one, they shall be one" The way to get to that unity is not to look at our disunity but to look at their unity. Fix one's consciousness on it, resolutely. It is the kind of heavenly vision that Paul told Agrippa he was faithful to, to the very end.
Unfortunately, the "many waters" includes "gay marriage is okay" and other such things. You are speaking of polluted waters. You must include all denominations in your assessment of Christianity, including the ones that marry homosexuals. If you don't, then you would be just like us, drawing a distinction between degraded Christianity and genuine Christianity.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:05 PM   #68
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The Pharisees strove for perfection, too. We know what Jesus thought of them.
Not because they sought perfection, but because they rejected Christ. In the Recovery Christ is mentioned and appreciated 100 times more than in the denominations.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:28 PM   #69
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Not because they sought perfection, but because they rejected Christ. In the Recovery Christ is mentioned and appreciated 100 times more than in the denominations.
The Pharisees were hypocrites long before Christ came along. Your second statement deserves no reply. It's an insult to this board and the people outside the LCM who love the Lord.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:40 PM   #70
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The Pharisees were hypocrites long before Christ came along. Your second statement deserves no reply. It's an insult to this board and the people outside the LCM who love the Lord.
It's a fact, in a typical denomination I could count the number of times Christ is mentioned on my right hand. Soon, the majority of Christians will be "loving the Lord" by decorating a tree and singing Jingle Bells.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:01 PM   #71
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Unfortunately, the "many waters" includes "gay marriage is okay" and other such things. You are speaking of polluted waters. .
No the sound of many waters comes from heaven. It can occasionally be heard in Christianity. It's less often heard in the LC, rife as it is with judgmentalism, superiority, scorning, and despising one's fellow.

In my former LC assembly we met as the church in that town but wouldn't talk to our neighbour Christians who weren't meeting on the proper ground (so we said). So we met as the church but despised the church. We had theory, weak as it was, but no practical expression. And the same 15 or 22 people met there, year after year, congratulating ourselves on our purity. Eventually I got tired of it and left. I didn't think the ideas were bad at all, but there was no reality.

Maybe it's different where you are, I don't know. Today I don't even like the idea. It smacks of elitism, which is the worst sin of all.

But if you insist on pointing out the "pollution in Christianity", by rights we should include the crimes of the Lee family: the sexual predation, the money laundering, the lies and the railroading of witnesses. But I don't, typically. I still receive the LC Christians as brothers and sisters in faith, same as the rest. Because we are all one. And only God is good.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:50 PM   #72
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It's a fact, in a typical denomination I could count the number of times Christ is mentioned on my right hand. Soon, the majority of Christians will be "loving the Lord" by decorating a tree and singing Jingle Bells.
The Christ mentioned so often in the LC is a made-up concoction from the Nee & Lee fantasy factory. One who despises the poor, ignores the weak, goes after the 'good building material', who has no good works but only rhetoric. A Christ who is needy, manipulative, controlling, who elevates some members over others - 'spiritual giants', anyone? - and generally behaves very much like the Gentiles do, which should be no surprise because he is their product.
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:49 PM   #73
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Evangelical, You should have called yourself Javert. It would have been more fitting.
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:17 AM   #74
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But if you insist on pointing out the "pollution in Christianity", by rights we should include the crimes of the Lee family: the sexual predation, the money laundering, the lies and the railroading of witnesses. .
Now you may think I'm waxing hyperbolic about the crimes of the Lee family. Here follows a testimony of one who was there, front row.

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Thanks for asking about my "excommunication". In an attempt to help a young brother that I brought to the church in OKC who was under condemnation for his personal failings I told him all have sinned and come short of the glory of the Lord and even our dear Bro. Lee had done illegal acts and the Lord had forgiven him and was still using him. This helped the brother and we prayed and he left.

The next day he apparently shared his testimony with another brother who immediately reported to James Barber that I had said Bro. Lee had done illegal acts. James called an emergency meeting of the elders and called me to come meet with them. Upon arrival James informed me that what I said was a lie and unless I repented I would be excommunicated. Of course what I had said was the truth regarding Bro. Lee committing illegal acts was absolutely true and I had been intimately involved in helping Francis Ball prepare his legal defense had he been caught (in retrospect what I said about Lee repenting may have been wrong) but suffice it to say I was in a real quandary. If I am to stay in Fellowship then I must say what I said was a lie when in fact it was the truth. I did not have the peace to uncover the sins of Bro. Lee even though I knew he was guilty so I reflected inwardly and said Lord I choose You and the Spirit of Glory fell upon me.

I said nothing in my defense and James pronounced my excommunication and the other elders nodded in agreement(two of whom I had brought to the church the other two appointed by Benson. Only James had spoken and thus I was excommunicated from the church in OKC that had been birthed in my heart and started in my home
When I said they railroaded witnesses, I meant just that.

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1 railroad somebody (into something/into doing something) to force someone to do something before they have had enough time to decide whether or not they want to do it
Example: "I will not be railroaded into signing something I don't agree with."

2 railroad something (through/through something) to make a group of people accept a decision, law, etc. quickly by putting pressure on them
Example: "The bill was railroaded through the House."

3 railroad somebody to decide that someone is guilty of a crime, without giving them a fair trial
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:42 AM   #75
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When I said they railroaded witnesses, I meant just that.
There was a elder in Austin who was a little older than me. I had lived with his family while going to college, so I knew him pretty well. This was the account he gave to me of his excommunication.

Back around 1990, he began to be more and more troubled about what he saw happening in the "Recovery": The rallying around Lee after the Philip Lee's scandals, the increasing power of LSM, the financial hanky-panky. He said that as an elder you see things and that he saw money laundering.

He loved the church and wanted to see reforms. He told his fellow elders simply, "I cannot follow Witness Lee exclusively anymore." Not that he couldn't follow Witness Lee some, just not exclusively. How unreasonable is that? It was very reasonable and rational given the circumstances. The only thing more so would have been to cut ties with LSM altogether.

Their response? They asked him to either recant or resign. He resigned.

To put it in terms you guys that defend the Recovery might understand, "What is this??" Leave alone for the moment that following anyone exclusively amounts to being "of" that person, in violation of 1 Cor 3. Don't you see the utter corruption that comes from elevating someone to the status and power that Lee had and which LSM still has? Don't you understand the compromise and conflict of interest those reporting to him are subject to? It's amazing to me how obtuse you choose to be to about all this.
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:43 AM   #76
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It's a fact, in a typical denomination I could count the number of times Christ is mentioned on my right hand. Soon, the majority of Christians will be "loving the Lord" by decorating a tree and singing Jingle Bells.
"For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:01 AM   #77
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It's amazing to me how obtuse you choose to be to about all this.
Are you comparing them to the warden in the Green Mile?
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:28 AM   #78
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Are you comparing them to the warden in the Green Mile?
Close. "The Shawshank Redemption". Maybe that's what you meant. Both movies about prison from stories by Stephen King.

Not that I was comparing them. But I remember the line. Got Andy Dufresne sent to solitary for two months. Glad the Blendeds don't have that power or I'd be there with Andy.
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:51 AM   #79
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There was a elder in Austin who was a little older than me. I had lived with his family while going to college, so I knew him pretty well. This was the account he gave to me of his excommunication.

Back around 1990, he began to be more and more troubled about what he saw happening in the "Recovery": The rallying around Lee after the Philip Lee's scandals, the increasing power of LSM, the financial hanky-panky. He said that as an elder you see things and that he saw money laundering.

He loved the church and wanted to see reforms. He told his fellow elders simply, "I cannot follow Witness Lee exclusively anymore." Not that he couldn't follow Witness Lee some, just not exclusively. How unreasonable is that? It was very reasonable and rational given the circumstances. The only thing more so would have been to cut ties with LSM altogether.

Their response? They asked him to either recant or resign. He resigned.
History tells us that reformers are the enemy.

Especially those who plan to "drain the swamp."

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When the GLA was being "quarantined" by LSM Blendeds, I was corresponding with a number of GLA brothers I knew, and each felt the time was ripe to enact a good number of reforms within the GLA, meaning that they felt TC would be willing to change. Many brothers were hopeful. I had already left the LC's, and was skeptical, but open-minded. One couple I happened to run into said, "you should reconsider, the church life is really improving."

Before too long, I heard all of them had left. Neither LSM nor TC could ever really change their "top-down management style."
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:57 AM   #80
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History tells us that reformers are the enemy.

Especially those who plan to "drain the swamp."
Demagogues come to power by creating crises that only they (so they will say) can defuse. They're here to rescue us from ourselves. Lee was a master at this. The "storms" didn't weaken him; on the contrary they were the basis of purges and consolidations. The remaining sheep would huddle tightly around him, and the sheep-pen walls rose higher still.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:03 AM   #81
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Demagogues come to power by creating crises that only they (so they will say) can defuse.
But here I was speaking of noble minded reformers who sincerely desired improvements on behalf of the sheep.
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:38 PM   #82
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"For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7
That's like saying if your wife cheats on you it's okay as long as she loves you in her heart.
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Old 12-16-2016, 03:37 PM   #83
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That's like saying if your wife cheats on you it's okay as long as she loves you in her heart.
No, it's like saying it's okay to be divisive as long as you meet "on the local ground."
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Old 12-16-2016, 05:09 PM   #84
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That's like saying if your wife cheats on you it's okay as long as she loves you in her heart.
Your analogy has no connection to reality. Try to think about what you saying.
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Old 12-17-2016, 05:06 AM   #85
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That's like saying if your wife cheats on you it's okay as long as she loves you in her heart.
Evangelical, do you think that you (or anyone else in the LC) ever does anything as displeasing to the Lord as singing 'Jingle Bells'?
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Old 12-18-2016, 01:22 AM   #86
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Evangelical, do you think that you (or anyone else in the LC) ever does anything as displeasing to the Lord as singing 'Jingle Bells'?
I'm sure we do or have done. We are no better than anybody else.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:14 AM   #87
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I'm sure we do or have done. We are no better than anybody else.
Yet somehow, that's not what you convey.
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Old 12-25-2016, 05:06 PM   #88
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During the time I questioned the LC, I was reading books by C. S. Lewis. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he told of how he was very much influenced by two... Catholics... The one was G. K. Chesterton who I really admire for his brilliant wit, and the other was J. R. R. Tolkien, his friend (he authored The Lord of the Rings.

C. S. Lewis did not become a Catholic, yet he did consider these two as Christians.

In his book, Mere Christianity, Lewis talked about how new converts to Christianity are standing in the Hall of Christianity. In the hall there is no discussion and fire and interaction. All of those are found in the rooms, with the rooms representing denominations, whether Catholic or Protestant or whatever.

The goal of this book of his was to give a defense of the Christian faith which all Christians; Catholic, Protestant and others, hold. He tried to find the middle ground. To give an account of the "Hall". In other words, that which all Christians believe, the "Mere" Christianity.

In my posts so far I've tried to show how, as others pointed out, normal Christians will often worship and support each other, regardless of their nominal denomination. In fact, I've seen increasing respect between Catholics and Protestants in general. .
I grew up Protestant, son and grandson of Protestants. I was saved in a Baptist altar call. So I'm somewhat biased, prejudiced by my experiences.

But I see Protestantism with two basic issues that it never seems to shake (there are surely exceptions: I paint the grand generalization here). First is that it is 'me' centered. "So subjective is my Christ to me/Real in me and rich and sweet" wrote Witness Lee. Subjective faith was the focus. But that was the expense of Jesus. Our faith, so crucial to our walk, became in the work, the move, the latest revelation, the leadership's burden. Our faith became in whatever Christ we built. The one in the Bible was secondary; trumpeted when we could align Him, and (often, it seemed) ignored when not needed, or unhelpful. Our focus was 'our' faith, not the faith of Christ. We were seduced.

The second problem with Protestantism is that it's based on rejection. Luther rejected the RCC, the Baptists rejected the Lutherans, the Brethren rejected the Wesleyans, etc. Nee rejected everyone else, and then his spiritual heirs (Dong, Chu, Philips) rejected each other. The Vineyard rejected the Calvary Chapel, Hillsong rejected the Vineyard; everytime someone gets a 'move' or 'burden' or 'leading' or 'vision' it leads to another split.

Take for example the New Apostolic Reformation. Supposedly the problem with Protestantism is that it lacked apostles! So a bunch of candidates step to the fore (Lee among them; the Apostle of the Age, even). Each 'apostle' thinks that he or she is the new center. Subjectivism, again. But if apostleship were the issue, then Luther should have stayed in the RCC! To me it's just a whirlwind, spinning round. Same with the 'church' issue. If recovering the True Church were all it was about, then we should all be in the Ethiopian or Coptic church. But that's not it. Jesus is it. Always is, always will be.

By so little we're led away, and snares encompass us. But I remain a Protestant. Like Paul cried out, "I am a Pharisee, son of Pharisees!" Like Paul, I'm a Pharisee who's seen the light. But I'm still a Pharisee. "In whatever you were called, in this remain", was his counsel. Today I feel that I understand this word.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:42 AM   #89
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Protestantism. . . is 'me' centered. "So subjective is my Christ to me/Real in me and rich and sweet" wrote Witness Lee. Subjective faith was the focus. But that was the expense of Jesus. ... Our focus was 'our' faith, not the faith of Christ. We were seduced.
What I meant was that we're easily seduced by the experiences of self. The institutional church, with all the writings of the Fathers, is a bulwark against that. With the Reformation, every visionary could draw others along as they chased their subjective response to their own personal interpretation. So we got innumerable splinter cells. "Sola Scriptora" became Me and My scripture and My interpretation and My group who I've convinced (seduced) to think like Me. The Church of Me.

The ironic proof of this is that among the many Post-Protestant splinter groups, we see numerous "One True Church" sects, each with their own Apostle of the Age; dozens even, I'd warrant. The LC is not an isolated incident - in fact it's spawned a half-dozen One True Church variants of its own, if you count the Mainland Chinese as I do.

My solution is Jesus Christ. Instead of focusing on OUR experience of Christ (as we imagine Him, usually [NOT trustworthy!!]) we can instead see Him in Scripture, and HIS experiences of the Father ("I come to do Thy will, O God; behold in the roll of the book it is written concerning Me") as the NT writers did (see the many OT quotes in the NT text), as the Fathers did in turn, and so forth through the ages. Jesus Christ alone is trustworthy, He alone is called the True and Faithful Witness. Every other witness is suspect at best.

As we focus on Jesus Christ, plainly and repeatedly revealed in Scripture, three things will happen. First is that we get the Father. Christ leads us to the Father. Always. Second is that we get the Spirit. The Spirit reveals the Son to us. Always. Third is we get fellowship - if we're on earth, seeing the Son, He'll bring fellowship. Always. Our vision is not for ourselves, it's to share, to feed, to heal, to build, to encourage, to comfort. And the church (ekklesia/fellowship/oversight) will prune our vision, and keep us from being seduced by our subjective fancies and wandering off the plantation.

Again, the danger of the Protestant Reformation, though it was good, and necessary even, is that thereafter, every person is in danger of following his or her own "revealed truth", away from the flock, and drawing others along after them. We'll indeed see visions, and dream dreams; the acid test is: will these visions and dreams and voices pull us all together, or lead us apart?

I think the verdict of history is in on the Nee/Lee vision. It's had 100 years to play itself out. Storm after turmoil after quarantine after division. Because we were distracted, and took our eyes off of Jesus; and placed them on the subjective Little Flock/LC "Christ-and-the-church" Christ. It is truly "sinking sand": like Peter on the water, we began to look around, and we sank. And I was there, and did it too, but hopefully I'll learn from bitter failure. Peter failed, repeatedly, but eventually he learned.
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Old 12-26-2016, 11:36 AM   #90
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"Sola Scriptora" became Me and My scripture and My interpretation and My group who I've convinced (seduced) to think like Me. The Church of Me.
C. S. Lewis had a point on this as well, though in this instance he referred to prayer. In the Screwtape Letters he talked about how we tend not to pray to God - the external God who actually is - but to some image we have of him, or some object on the wall we look at when we pray. We tend to forget that God is outside of our perceptions. Thus when we pray (and to tie in with your point in general) we need to realise that God, though he resides in us, is not just some picture or subjective image we have, but a very real objective being outside of us.
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:11 PM   #91
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C. S. Lewis had a point on this as well, though in this instance he referred to prayer. In the Screwtape Letters he talked about how we tend not to pray to God - the external God who actually is - but to some image we have of him, or some object on the wall we look at when we pray. We tend to forget that God is outside of our perceptions. Thus when we pray (and to tie in with your point in general) we need to realise that God, though he resides in us, is not just some picture or subjective image we have, but a very real objective being outside of us.
Re: "a very real objective being outside of us" - the Bible says God is inside of us.
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:32 PM   #92
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...we need to realise that God, though he resides in us, is not just some picture or subjective image we have, but a very real objective being outside of us.
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..the Bible says God is inside of us.
Brother Evangelical, please slow down a bit and try not to give such knee-jerk reactions. DistantStar has been a very deliberate and thoughtful poster, and he is also the starter of this thread. (C.S. Lewis was also a very deliberate and thoughtful writer). I do understand and appreciate that you are here defending a certain side of things and a certain viewpoint (don't forget most of us were also in such a position for many years), but try not to take so many shots in the dark before you even know what your shooting at. Fair enough?
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:44 PM   #93
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Brother Evangelical, please slow down a bit and try not to give such knee-jerk reactions. DistantStar has been a very deliberate and thoughtful poster, and he is also the starter of this thread. (C.S. Lewis was also a very deliberate and thoughtful writer). I do understand and appreciate that you are here defending a certain side of things and a certain viewpoint (don't forget most of us were also in such a position for many years), but try not to take so many shots in the dark before you even know what your shooting at. Fair enough?
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Even though God is external to us, we will always view Him through the lens of our subjective reality. That is how our brains work, that is how we were created.
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Old 12-27-2016, 02:58 AM   #94
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Re: "a very real objective being outside of us" - the Bible says God is inside of us.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory", and "The Spirit witnesses with our spirit" are the kind of verses subjectivist and experientialist defenders might use. But that wasn't my point. My point was, what is our focus?

If the focus is " Christ in me", then the "me" part will eventually remove the "Chist" part. Focus on our participation in the divine becomes a chimera. Self will intrude. Witness Lee asked the Shanghai elders, "How did you feel?" when they expelled Watchman Nee. God had become a sensation to them.
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Old 12-27-2016, 08:17 AM   #95
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Even though God is external to us, we will always view Him through the lens of our subjective reality. That is how our brains work, that is how we were created.
We also view God, whether good or bad, thru the teachings we receive, which tend to shape "our subjective reality."

Lee's views were narrow and judgmental towards outsiders. That same "subjective reality" can be seen in his followers.
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Old 12-27-2016, 08:21 AM   #96
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"Christ in you, the hope of glory", and "The Spirit witnesses with our spirit" are the kind of verses subjectivist and experientialist defenders might use. But that wasn't my point. My point was, what is our focus?

If the focus is " Christ in me", then the "me" part will eventually remove the "Chist" part. Focus on our participation in the divine becomes a chimera. Self will intrude. Witness Lee asked the Shanghai elders, "How did you feel?" when they expelled Watchman Nee. God had become a sensation to them.
Like the old 70's adage, "if it feels good do it."

To Lee and his adherents, they must always "sense life and peace."

What happens when "life and peace" opposes righteousness and the Lord's commands?
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:03 AM   #97
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That same "subjective reality" can be seen in his followers.
"So subjective is my Christ to me", Lee famously wrote in a hymn. We all sang those lines over and over, vicariously absorbing his 'experience of Christ'. The Protestant legacy has been one of rampant subjectivism. Watchman Nee, Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Billy Sunday, Aimee Semple McPherson, Ellen White, Brian Houston (Hillsong); on and on the flock gathers round the stage, watching the charismatic's dramatization of his/her personal salvation story. It's all about the experience.

And the experience includes Jimmy Swaggert crying, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's financial pyramid scheme, etc etc. Suddenly Daystar doesn't seem so odd.

Only Jesus Christ's experience with His Father will never fail. It will never fade, it will never be shaken. "I will not be moved" - only one Person in history could say that. This is the rock on which we stand. Not ourselves. "Everything which came into being came through Him, not one thing came into being apart from Him." Jesus is the singularity. Everything that is real flows from Him.

God's economy, the Body (i.e. ChristandtheChurch, the feeling of the Body and so forth), the vision of the age, the ground of oneness, the Processed Triune God, and the rest of it, are all the issues of subjectivism writ large. They're slender reeds, untrustworthy. Jesus alone reigns.
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Old 12-27-2016, 02:06 PM   #98
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When we talk about subjective reality we are not talking about emotional or sensational experiences. We are talking about spiritual experiences. What no one really teaches in the denominations is the difference between the soul and the spirit. "Subjective reality" is just another way of saying a personal relationship with Jesus. Well, a bit more than that, as it emphasizes that this is an inward relationship not an outward one. In the Recovery the objective truths are also taught as well as the importance of consulting other saints, the objective truths in the Bible, and considering our environment. In the Bible we find that every genuine believer had a subjective experience of Christ without knowing much doctrine. Of course, a sinner can have a subjective experience of Christ as well - a subjective experience is not a measure of God's favor. The focus on subjective reality is to counter the strong emphasis on objective facts, teaching and head knowledge prevalent in today's denominations, and in the evangelical world in particular. We can feel there is no life there. The charismatics balance it with the emotions as a counter to the problem with objective facts, but still this is not of life but of emotions. No denomination emphasizes the exercising of the spirit as the Recovery does by which we can experience life.
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Old 12-27-2016, 04:24 PM   #99
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When we talk about subjective reality we are not talking about emotional or sensational experiences. We are talking about spiritual experiences. What no one really teaches in the denominations is the difference between the soul and the spirit. "Subjective reality" is just another way of saying a personal relationship with Jesus. Well, a bit more than that, as it emphasizes that this is an inward relationship not an outward one. In the Recovery the objective truths are also taught as well as the importance of consulting other saints, the objective truths in the Bible, and considering our environment. In the Bible we find that every genuine believer had a subjective experience of Christ without knowing much doctrine. Of course, a sinner can have a subjective experience of Christ as well - a subjective experience is not a measure of God's favor. The focus on subjective reality is to counter the strong emphasis on objective facts, teaching and head knowledge prevalent in today's denominations, and in the evangelical world in particular. We can feel there is no life there. The charismatics balance it with the emotions as a counter to the problem with objective facts, but still this is not of life but of emotions. No denomination emphasizes the exercising of the spirit as the Recovery does by which we can experience life.
What is under scrutiny is not the existence of subjective/'spiritual' experiences, or even a need for the individual to have such experiences, it's the claims which arise that are rooted in subjective things, particularly when subjectivity is given precedence, or is seen as being a level above objectivity.

WL taught that discernment can be based upon the "sense of life," however, all too quickly that kind of focus becomes a convenient excuse to ignore objective facts. And I'm not saying that's what always happens, but there are plenty examples of that being the case. Imagine if someone were to come along and attempt to tell everyone that even though we know the sky is blue, we shouldn't think about it, we shouldn't get "into our minds" about it. According to the "sense of life" we know that even though the sky is blue, "according to our experience" it's really green.

It's that kind of absurdity which has prompted people to speak out. If someone claims to have a subjective experience or to have a certain 'sense' about something, it's not my goal to contradict that claim. But by the same token, there should be the willingness among LC members to defend claims made which are rooted in subjectivity. For example, Ron Kangas publicly called a member here a “man of death,” based upon a supposed Ron getting a “sense of death” from reading his writings. It’s a claim which Ron has not been willing to defend, instead he chose to go hide under a rock. So, when there is such a lack of transparency, isn’t it then reasonable to place subjectivity under particular scrutiny? I think if LC members were more forthcoming, and also weren’t claiming that the subjective experiences found in the LC to be better than anywhere else, then there wouldn’t be so much resistance to what is being claimed.
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Old 12-27-2016, 04:56 PM   #100
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What no one really teaches in the denominations is the difference between the soul and the spirit.
And the reason probably is that when you look at the verses that supported Nee's original teachings on the difference, it was evident that there was nothing clear about it. He said it was clear, but it was not. In one place, a particular attribute was declared to be of the soul and in another, a slight restatement of the same attribute was declared to be of the spirit and different. What I kept finding when I read the list is that there is a reason that it takes a sharp sword to divide them. They are so intrinsically intertwined that it is clear that this one little verse about the Word as a sword was not intended to suggest that the Bible provides the answer to divide them because the very verses that Nee wanted to use couldn't do it.

So it is very sound that the dreaded denominations do not teach "the difference." Why? Because it isn't there. It is more like two aspects of the same thing than two separate "organs." Yes, the Spirit can differentiate. But the difference was not left laying on the ground in the form of a list of verses.

Meanwhile, Lee's followers are busy trying to find their spirit, turning every reference to the word into their private land of us v them.
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Old 12-27-2016, 05:31 PM   #101
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Yes, the Spirit can differentiate. But the difference was not left laying on the ground in the form of a list of verses..
The matter of listing proof-text verses, or even strongly suggestive verses, and then saying "this shows us that" is itself a subjective exercise. Those you get there early in the process, and make a long list, and say "this shows us that" will often get followings, as Nee and then Lee did.

But lists do not reality make.

This of course is my own subjective assessment, and colored by dark and hidden things, no doubt. The Lee followers wrote once that I had ambition and had been thwarted, and was now lurking in cyberspace, muttering in streams of murky self. Yes, but that is my point. So was Nee, so was Lee, so are we all, at least to some degree.

Jesus alone needs no perfecting, no training, no rebuking or correction. His relation with the Father was perfect. The Father delighted in Him. If you tell me that this is merely my soul, then I laugh. No, it is the Word. It is not about my subjective experiences, it is about Jesus. It is about His experiences of the Father. Who can plumb them? So if we cannot suss out the heights and depths and breadths, then why go anywhere else?

What teaching, what training, what revelatory truth can push Jesus off the table? None. So I remain a Protestant, and son of Protestants, but am probably less likely to be distracted by the snake oil salesmen than before. Now I "see Jesus", as the writer of Hebrews said we could.

I remember the song, "Jesus only, Jesus ever" (Hymns, #511). In the LC we sang it, then promptly forgot it. Why - because the oracle wanted to talk hermeneutics, or the latest move or flow, or the revelation of the church, or some other doctrinal wind of teaching. But Peter pointed out Jesus only Jesus ever in Acts 2. And Peter never left the Shepherd. But the oracle in the LC wasn't interested. Paul pointed out Jesus only Jesus ever in Acts 13, using the same source (vv 34-37)! And Paul never lost the vision of Jesus. It was about "this Jesus", and nothing else. (Acts 2:32)
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Old 12-27-2016, 05:34 PM   #102
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The charismatics balance it with the emotions as a counter to the problem with objective facts, but still this is not of life but of emotions. No denomination emphasizes the exercising of the spirit as the Recovery does by which we can experience life.
How do you know the difference between your "spirit and life" and the charismatics' "emotions"? From my vantage point, and having been in both, I see little more than manufactured enthusiasms. Occasionally genuine, occasionally not, and with no guide past the subjectivity, save our own subjective assessments.
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It bothers me that some brothers among us still put out publications. According to my truthful observation there is no new light or life supply there. They may contain some biblical doctrines, but any point of life or light has been adopted from the publications of Living Stream Ministry. There is nearly no item of life or light that has not been covered by our publications. Based upon this fact, what is the need for these brothers to put out their publications? Because all the publications are mine, it is hard for me to speak such a word. But I am forced to tell the truth. By putting out your own publication, you waste your time and money. You waste the money given by the saints, and you waste their time in reading what you publish. Where is the food, the life supply, and the real enlightenment in the other publications among us? Be assured that there is definitely at least one major revelation in every Living Stream Ministry publication. (ELDERS' TRAINING, BOOK 08: THE LIFE-PULSE OF THE LORD'S PRESENT MOVE, Chapter 11, Section 2, Witness Lee)
How do we know this was Lee's "truthful observation"? Because he told us. How did we know what was "Life and light"? Because Lee said it was. Self-absorbed subjectivity. No objective reality. Welcome to the post-Protestant age, where every man is a king. There are Watchman Nee's popping up everywhere.
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Old 12-27-2016, 08:06 PM   #103
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How do you know the difference between your "spirit and life" and the charismatics' "emotions"? From my vantage point, and having been in both, I see little more than manufactured enthusiasms. Occasionally genuine, occasionally not, and with no guide past the subjectivity, save our own subjective assessments.


How do we know this was Lee's "truthful observation"? Because he told us. How did we know what was "Life and light"? Because Lee said it was. Self-absorbed subjectivity. No objective reality. Welcome to the post-Protestant age, where every man is a king. There are Watchman Nee's popping up everywhere.
You cannot prove God to someone objectively. There is actually very little we can prove to someone objectively when it concerns religion. Everything is subjective. The Bible is a written record of the author's subjective realities. Paul's gospel came to him from subjective revelation. One person's objective reality is another person's subjective reality. You may not realize this but you are using similar arguments that atheists/agnostics use against religion. If they were to ask you "how do you know God exists" you could revert to your subjective experiences. Or you could say "because the Bible tells me so" which will end up being circular reasoning.
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:15 AM   #104
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Everything is subjective. The Bible is a written record of the author's subjective realities.
All true, and all good points. But you miss something: Jesus' subjective realities, plainly pointed out in the NT by the apostles, are our focus. Not our own experiences and sensations. The first is trustworthy as a stand-in for objective reality, to the believer. The second should not be. My comment has been that the error of Protestantism is to lean upon subjectivism, and be led astray. Not always; not everywhere. But it is a danger. Then the rejection of one's neighbour as the "other" - in the LC, called "fallen Christianity" - in turn leads to isolation, derangement, and perversion. And the last state becomes worse than the first.

By contrast, look at the subjective experiences of Jesus.

~Zeal of Thy (the Father's) house has eaten Me (the Son) up.

~You (the Father) will not let My flesh (Jesus) see corruption.

~My God my God, why have You (the Father) abandoned Me (the Son)?

Our subjective response rests solely on the response of Jesus, and the Father's response (delight, rescue from death, exaltation). We love because He first loved us. We see His atoning blood and we repent. We see His obedience and we hear His voice saying, "Follow Me".

The danger is instead following a subjectivism unhinged, where the supposed "leading" and the so-called "flow", based on one person's impressions, determine our current experience, even objective reality itself. Then, for example, the so-called "oracle of God" downplays scripture en masse as "fallen" and "natural". Dong Yu Lan teaches the same thing in Brasil: that Paul is "judicial" and is less than John, who is "organic". This kind of rampant subjectivism I find to be odious. The crowd jumps up and down and shouts repetetively, then they can be led anywhere. Even away from the Bible, and from the safety of 2,000 years of Bible reception.

That's why I showed Peter in Acts 2 and Paul in Acts 13 using the same source. They used what was already established as fact by the Jewish society, that David was an oracle of God, and the apostles then used it to point to Christ.

Paul said to Timothy, "I remember your tears". (2 Tim 1:4). But it is Jesus' tears that save us, not our own. That's all I'm trying to say. The danger of Protestantism is that we focus on our own tears, our own joys, and we miss His.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:09 PM   #105
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The danger is instead following a subjectivism unhinged, where the supposed "leading" and the so-called "flow", based on one person's impressions, determine our current experience, even objective reality itself. Then, for example, the so-called "oracle of God" downplays scripture en masse as "fallen" and "natural". Dong Yu Lan teaches the same thing in Brasil: that Paul is "judicial" and is less than John, who is "organic". This kind of rampant subjectivism I find to be odious. The crowd jumps up and down and shouts repetetively, then they can be led anywhere. Even away from the Bible, and from the safety of 2,000 years of Bible reception.
This is the same point that I tried to make yesterday. Subjectivity/spirituality is fine, as long as it's rooted in something, and as long as it doesn't contradict objective facts. That's where the problem is. The LC likes to criticize the Pentecostals for what are seemingly bizarre displays of spiritual ‘experiences’, but yet when anyone attempts to call into question the subjectivity found in the LC, they claim that without subjectivity, Christians are doomed to have a ‘dead’ experience in all the denominations.

DYL's teaching about some scripture being 'judicial' and some being 'organic' bears such a striking resemblance to what WL taught. It's the whole mindset of there being some hidden way to distinguish scripture which is known only to one person, the one has that 'discernment'. People in the LC don't seem to realize that DYL was just another manifestation of the exact same mindset as WL. If they really feel to call into question what DYL taught, then they should also question what WL taught.

I don't think the LC has set out to be purposely esoteric, but that is the end result when subjectivity is given precedence. They start with the claim that objective facts are just "dead doctrine," and that certainly resonates with some people, because doctrine is not 'exciting'. But once the subsequent claim is made that the subjective experiences found in the LC represent something far greater than the objective, then there are problems. It starts to seem okay for the subjective to contradict objective facts, and that is the point where everything becomes muddled.

Doctrine and theology serve to help develop an understanding of the guiding principles for Christians, so it should go without saying that a study or focus of such things is not going to be exciting. But a focus is necessary in order to know which direction to head. Without any kind of guiding principles and understanding, people can make any claim they please.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:28 PM   #106
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This is the same point that I tried to make yesterday. Subjectivity/spirituality is fine, as long as it's rooted in something, and as long as it doesn't contradict objective facts. That's where the problem is. The LC likes to criticize the Pentecostals for what are seemingly bizarre displays of spiritual ‘experiences’, but yet when anyone attempts to call into question the subjectivity found in the LC, they claim that without subjectivity, Christians are doomed to have a ‘dead’ experience in all the denominations.

DYL's teaching about some scripture being 'judicial' and some being 'organic' bears such a striking resemblance to what WL taught. It's the whole mindset of there being some hidden way to distinguish scripture which is known only to one person, the one has that 'discernment'. People in the LC don't seem to realize that DYL was just another manifestation of the exact same mindset as WL. If they really feel to call into question what DYL taught, then they should also question what WL taught.

I don't think the LC has set out to be purposely esoteric, but that is the end result when subjectivity is given precedence. They start with the claim that objective facts are just "dead doctrine," and that certainly resonates with some people, because doctrine is not 'exciting'. But once the subsequent claim is made that the subjective experiences found in the LC represent something far greater than the objective, then there are problems. It starts to seem okay for the subjective to contradict objective facts, and that is the point where everything becomes muddled.

Doctrine and theology serve to help develop an understanding of the guiding principles for Christians, so it should go without saying that a study or focus of such things is not going to be exciting. But a focus is necessary in order to know which direction to head. Without any kind of guiding principles and understanding, people can make any claim they please.
Pentecostals focus on an emotional experience. We focus on a spiritual one, that is the difference.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:42 AM   #107
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I'd like to hear some thoughts. Keep Lewis's Hall in mind.
I googled "Protestantism" and "Subjectivity" and this was on the page. I will make some comments on how this relates to Lewis' Hall after the quote.

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The logic of the principle of justification by faith, in its subjective aspect . . . testifies clearly to the strange power of Protestant institutions, built up on the original system, to eliminate altogether the religious insights it was considered to subserve. Here, as we have already observed, the reaction against its negative possibilities came much sooner than elsewhere, since it was aroused in Luther himself by the anarchical excesses of the Anabaptists of Muster, who, however, had only taken literally some of this expressions on the subject of “faith.” Hence his insistence on a church where the authority of the temporal ruler should replace that of the bishops, and whose laws, framed in the spirit of purest absolutism, should replace the Canon Law of tradition. In this way the Lutheran church soon became a wholly bureaucratic church, one among other departments of the modern State, with the absolute ruler directly governing men’s souls.

The Calvinist church, for its part, escaped that danger. But, to the extent that Calvin or his imitators in Scotland and Holland succeeded in what they aimed at, it represented a form, no less severe, of spiritual regimentation. In order to restrain the anarchy and counter the dispersion of the various subjectivisms, it tried simply to authorize and impose on all the subjectivism of the founder. The Calvinist church, and artificial construction to ward off the effects of the dissolution of the Church of tradition, where Protestantism, on plea of reform, had destroyed it, was but a particular ideal of Christianity, stamped in every detail with the genius of Calvin, and made a norm for all.

However, this is not true only of those systems erected as a result of a reaction, prompted by prudence, against the element of anarchical subjectivism introduced by Luther in his preaching of personal religion. It applies equally in cases where this reaction was not present, though in forms less obvious or at any rate less naively displayed. In fact, apart from the extreme case of absolute subjectivism, resulting immediately in the rejection of any organized church, whenever a Protestant church is set up, it must be on a basis of subjectivism, particularly when organized in opposition to another and to the traditional elements it retains. A person who makes his own ego the ultimate norm of this religious beliefs and practice can obviously not feel at ease in a church that holds to any objective criterion. The church, however, that he himself founds will soon become far more oppressive for other people, being based on his particular brand of subjectivism. This is the reason for the ceaseless multiplication of Protestant sects, which, once started, gathers speed, since each new foundation is as a rule established on a narrower base than its predecessor. Hence, too, those doctrinal formulations, carried to the extreme of theological subtlety, that the churches, desirous of putting a stop to this crumbling process, come to impose on their members. The two processes seem antagonistic and are so, historically; but they both spring from an individualism that either carries the protest against any form of objectivity still further, in the name of freedom or else creates an ersatz objectivity out of tyrannical individualism. Experience shows that the human mind is prone to oscillate continuously between these two tendencies; the ego is correspondingly less respectful of other as it is more preoccupied with itself..

From, The Decay of the Positive Principles of the Reformation
My point is that experiences are good and even necessary. But if we trust them we will be driven out of Lewis' Hall. Only that which passes through the Bema of Christ is real. He is risen, glorified, and real. Something of His Spirit is indeed here. But we shouldn't trust our experiences as ontological entities in their own right. Do not trust the gift, but the Giver. Then you will always have food for those in the Hall. If you trust the gift, a truth or doctrine or experience, you will be led away.

The subjective impressions of Nee and Lee became the bases of a delusional, oppressive Protestant sect. We should learn from this. It's a warning. Nee and Lee and their captive flocks are not alone in this regard.
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Old 12-29-2016, 12:38 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by aron View Post
I googled "Protestantism" and "Subjectivity" and this was on the page.
Very interesting indeed. You are right, only trusting experience can by dangerous. I think at least being conscious that we are all, even after these hundreds of splits, still a part of the "Mere Christianity" will help us to remember not to dwell in our own subjective experiences. It will help us foster respect for other views and perhaps even lead to greater unity.

As I've pointed out, from my experience, there seems to be increasing respect between denominations in general and between Protestants and Catholics as well. This cooperation will hopefully in part prevent further fracturing.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:38 AM   #109
aron
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Default Re: Mere Christianity or Degraded Christianity?

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Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Pentecostals focus on an emotional experience. We focus on a spiritual one, that is the difference.
This is the kind of "tyrannical individualism" that I quoted from Louis Bouyer. The charismatic founder of the Protestant spin-off sect has some kind of subjective revelation, then persuades others that this is a stand-in for objective reality itself. All sorts of nonsense follows.

When the charismatic founder's acolytes jump up and down, shout and wave their arms it is being spiritual, when any others do it, it's being emotional. And what is the basis of such a bald statement? Nothing other than the subjectivity of the speaker. This is the reality they want, therefore it is reality.

As the FTTT trainers told the concerned brothers, "When others do it, it's hierarchy, but when we do it, it's not hierarchy."

When Lee or his blended lieutenants critique, it's a correction, or an adjustment, or a rebuke. But if anyone reciprocates that is an attack.

When Lee saw something, it was a revelation, a truth. If anyone else saw something, that was an opinion.
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