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Old 07-08-2008, 06:57 AM   #1
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Default Ground of Locality and Generality

When I came to LC, I was really impressed with the teaching on the local ground and the generality in Rom. 14. Whether the LC view is scriptural is another thing. But even the teaching they teach is not practiced. I remember how impressed I was that our oneness is not based on doctrines ad practices. And that our oneness is not based on any particular minister of the Lord. However, present minister of the age teaching contradicts this earlier view. Now you are expected to be one with the minister of the age. If you are not with this particular minister, you are not in oneness with "the Body".
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:57 AM   #2
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Actually, looking back now over 30 years, it is clear to me that most of the "oneness" in the Local Church was based upon the person and work of Witness Lee. As Christians our oneness is actually based in and upon the Person and work of Jesus Christ. When the oneness of any Christian group is based upon the person and work of a mere human being (the "person" representing the believers affection, respect and fear - the "work" representing the believers trust in said person's words, teachings and deeds) then it is bound to develop into something very unhealthy.

Not long ago Ron Kangas publicly declared that one could "be in the church but not in the body". What did Kangas mean by this and what does this look like in practice? To us longtime LCers the meaning was clear: "Stick with the program...get in line...know your place...etc". Kangas was careful with his words. He knows that to say that one could "be in the body but not the Local Church" would be viewed as rather strange and unbiblical, but the simple fact is this is exactly want Kangas meant.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:58 AM   #3
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Without getting into the descriptive v prescriptive view of the churches mentioned in the NT, there is something both appealing and insidious about the ground of locality.

On the one hand, the idea that Christians should not be divided over anything that does not require excommunication (real, not a BB lynch mob) or is not clear heresy sounds so good. If we could just get past all those pesky non-essential issues. But it appears that man has preferences of peripherals, style, culture, and a host of other things that causes them to group with like minds. So within the larger grouping of “Christian” we find sub-groups that have found their “birds of a feather.” I agree that it would be ideal if we could all just meet together, but where I live, that won’t be happening even if we use the grandstands at Texas Motor Speedway (holds a lot more than Texas Stadium). So, if we are going to be meeting in a multitude of groups anyway, why force anyone to become subservient to anyone’s ways. I don’t think mine is the best, just best for me. I would much rather be honest about the differences and have good fellowship with any of them in a mutually agreeable way than ostracize them as “not in the body” or say some of the gross things that the LC has spewed over the years just because they don’t follow my ways.

On the other hand, the idea that there is one way and the group with all the doctrines and forms that they say they don’t have claims to be the only game in town makes a complete mockery of the very claim of “oneness” on any basis other than their narrow sectarian view. They speak of openness and generality, but practice a closed system.

Somewhere over a year ago (probably closer to 2 years ago) I proposed a scenario on the other forum where every Christian in the Dallas area dropped its affiliation and became part of the LC. There were meetings everywhere in all sorts of places. I noted that a meeting in “Uptown” would look a lot like the local population of Yuppies while the group in Highland Park would look like the uber-rich. Uptown uses guitar, drums and bass while the original group on Meandering Way in North Dallas still sticks to the piano. (Forget that the group that is meeting in the old Presbyterian church still looks very Presbyterian.) I suggested that the target of that dialogue lived in Uptown, but was more culturally attuned to the group in North Dallas. Since everything is within the city limits of Dallas (well, technically not Highland Park) is he free to drive up there or is he obligated to attend where he does not like the music? The answer was interesting. In paraphrase, he said that such a situation could not exist in the LC because they would all be alike.

Generality? Where? I don’t think it exists. There is a doctrine of generality, but there is no true practice of it. There is nothing special about the LC or its “ground.” It is just another division cloaked in unity clothing. We can grouse about denominations all we want. Every separate meeting is a separate meeting. Either they are all wrong or the separation, per se, is not the issue. You can’t separate and say separations are wrong. It is an oxymoron.

Either there is a God that transcends our differences and does so for all Christians who understand their oneness in Christ, or we are all in error. I believe that it is the former, not the latter.
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:20 PM   #4
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Generality? Where? I don’t think it exists. There is a doctrine of generality, but there is no true practice of it. There is nothing special about the LC or its “ground.” It is just another division cloaked in unity clothing. We can grouse about denominations all we want. Every separate meeting is a separate meeting. Either they are all wrong or the separation, per se, is not the issue. You can’t separate and say separations are wrong. It is an oxymoron.

Either there is a God that transcends our differences and does so for all Christians who understand their oneness in Christ, or we are all in error. I believe that it is the former, not the latter.
OBW, I've read the book you're content is referring to. I'd say at one time there wasn't anything special about "the ground", but there was something simple where all that was required was to believe. At some point during the years, graudally, a ministry was pushed which became the emphasis for meeting. Not that there's anything wrong with the ministry. My point is not all believers have an appetite for a specific ministry as all believers have an appetite for Jesus Christ. When a ministry becomes the ground, the local churches are more apt to attract those hungry for Witness Lee's ministry, but too narrow to attract seeking believers wanting only Jesus.
OBW, when we come together seeking only Jesus that is when we realize all our differences are transcended.
When we realize there are differences in our backgrounds, we should make an effort not to make non-essentials an essential for meeting.

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Old 07-08-2008, 07:15 PM   #5
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When a ministry becomes the ground, the local churches are more apt to attract those hungry for Witness Lee's ministry, but too narrow to attract seeking believers wanting only Jesus.
... when we come together seeking only Jesus that is when we realize all our differences are transcended.
"When a ministry becomes the ground".

I guess that could just about say it all for my experience. One day I looked around me and I realized that Witness Lee's ministry had become the ground of the local church. When I was a new believer I didn't really notice the inherent problem in this because there was so much material, and I barely knew the OT from the NT, so I kept obliviously busy, but eventually it became clear to me that a ministry had superseded Jesus as our source, our way, and our goal.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:10 PM   #6
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The doctrine of 'the ground of the church" is a\the crucial doctrine of the local churches. It's what proves that we are the real church and you are just a denomination. It's taken a good bit of time to ween myself from viewing non-Local Church churches as less than genuine churches.
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:31 AM   #7
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Somewhere over a year ago (probably closer to 2 years ago) I proposed a scenario on the other forum where every Christian in the Dallas area dropped its affiliation and became part of the LC. There were meetings everywhere in all sorts of places. I noted that a meeting in “Uptown” would look a lot like the local population of Yuppies while the group in Highland Park would look like the uber-rich. Uptown uses guitar, drums and bass while the original group on Meandering Way in North Dallas still sticks to the piano. (Forget that the group that is meeting in the old Presbyterian church still looks very Presbyterian.) I suggested that the target of that dialogue lived in Uptown, but was more culturally attuned to the group in North Dallas. Since everything is within the city limits of Dallas (well, technically not Highland Park) is he free to drive up there or is he obligated to attend where he does not like the music? The answer was interesting. In paraphrase, he said that such a situation could not exist in the LC because they would all be alike.
OBW:

I like your hypothetical. But I wonder if the answer does not lie in questions of "geography" or "culture" but rather individual leading. We might lay out a principle like: "believers should be free to meet according to their local culture or preferences." As long as we say "so long as there isn't a refusal to meet with those of other preferences" I don't see anything inherently unBiblical about this.

However, even that "freeing" principle can be misused by a given individual. John Q. who lives in Uptown prefers the church culture of North Dallas. Thats fine. Does the Lord care one way or the other where he meets (so long as his reason is positive rather than a refusal of something Scripture allows)? Perhaps not. But, is it even possible that the Lord would desire him to meet somewhere contrary to his preferences? Experientially, I'd say yes.

If John Q. doesn't understand that, our newly articulated principle could become a rationale for John Q. to fail to obey the Lord's leading, right? The Lord often leads us into environments that grate against our personal preferences. If our "principle", over time, begins to overemphasize the supposed "holiness" of personal preferences or somesuch, we can likewise create a situation where we ignore the Lord's leading.

Uptown? Northtown? Westtown? Rompin' choir? Rock band? Doctrine heavy? Beats me. What's the Lord want from me? I suspect where we meet may often come more out the specific relationships the Lord desires us to forge than it is about "principles" or "preferences."

Thoughts?

In Love,

Peter
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:55 PM   #8
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The doctrine of 'the ground of the church" is a\the crucial doctrine of the local churches. It's what proves that we are the real church and you are just a denomination. It's taken a good bit of time to ween myself from viewing non-Local Church churches as less than genuine churches.
It's been painfully obvious to many "the ground of the church" has changed over the years. I feel what is needed to go beyond the local church era is to drop this doctrine of locality and make Jesus Christ the sole purpose for coming together. We've become too complicated by all the knowledge we've recieved. What is needed is just be simple.

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Old 07-11-2008, 01:58 PM   #9
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Peter,

I would generally agree with you. When we decide that we are not meeting with certain ones for something less than heresy or gross sin being allowed rather than meeting with others for some valid (even if non-spiritual) reason, then there is something that should be considered. When I say that I do not have any disdain for denominations in general (which I do not think I actually said, but would say), I do not ignore that there are potentially problems with some aspects of our separation. But I do not see any practical way that this will be overcome by one group laying claim the “the” way. This is especially true of the LC.

My point was simply a scenario that stands in the face of the LC doctrine and practice. It requires that the LC take a stance FOR things that are not central to the gospel in running their little sect. And they do it quite well.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:07 PM   #10
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I would suggest that one way to know "where to meet" is to know where God can can use you effectively to nurture others in spiritual growth.
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:46 AM   #11
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To us longtime LCers the meaning was clear: "Stick with the program...get in line...know your place...etc".
Please correct me if I am wrong. UntoHim, were you really with the local church before or just visited some of the local churches only? Many thanks.

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Old 08-06-2008, 03:56 AM   #12
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"When a ministry becomes the ground".

I guess that could just about say it all for my experience. One day I looked around me and I realized that Witness Lee's ministry had become the ground of the local church. When I was a new believer I didn't really notice the inherent problem in this because there was so much material, and I barely knew the OT from the NT, so I kept obliviously busy, but eventually it became clear to me that a ministry had superseded Jesus as our source, our way, and our goal.
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A local church is preserved from being divided by its ground, not by its condition. The unique ground—the unique oneness of the Body of Christ, plus the unique ground of locality—preserves a church from being divided.
I believe your observation has to do with the "condition" of the local church and not with the proper unique ground. The proper unique ground of the local church is stable and cannot be altered. This is fully illustrated by every recognized city that cannot be just ignored from the map of the world.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:40 AM   #13
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Please correct me if I am wrong. UntoHim, were you really with the local church before or just visited some of the local churches only? Many thanks.
Hi Paul.
I was "really with the local church" for about 20 years. Much of that time was spent in Orange County, right near the epicenter in Anaheim. As you may have gathered, I keep up with all the current goings on in the LC to this day. I've got the latest HWMR right here on my desk.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:33 AM   #14
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I believe your observation has to do with the "condition" of the local church and not with the proper unique ground. The proper unique ground of the local church is stable and cannot be altered. This is fully illustrated by every recognized city that cannot be just ignored from the map of the world.
That's it, folks, just ignore the "condition" of the local church. It's all about doctrinal "ground" here. Immutably proved to be right. Look at the lines on the map, not the real situation, the people.

Well, as Igzy made clear in the "impracticality" thread, the ground creates the condition. If you try to shoehorn everyone into your "one" local church you are going to create either a)despotism because everyone joins you, who are "correct", and obeys unquestioningly and is "absolute for the ministry", which follows hard upon your one ground, or b)they are going to be damaged and scattered because they can't "get with" your program.

Your "ground", by definition, creates confusion, division, and damage, which is clearly evidenced by the "condition" we see among the believers today.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:23 AM   #15
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Many thanks, UntoHim.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:43 PM   #16
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I believe your observation has to do with the "condition" of the local church and not with the proper unique ground. The proper unique ground of the local church is stable and cannot be altered. This is fully illustrated by every recognized city that cannot be just ignored from the map of the world.
Paul how would you suggest to remedy the condition of the local church? Is there a course of action that should be taken?
What exactly is the practical unique ground?

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Old 08-12-2008, 11:19 PM   #17
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Paul how would you suggest to remedy the condition of the local church? Is there a course of action that should be taken?
What exactly is the practical unique ground?

Thanks,
Terry
Aron wrote: "I realized that Witness Lee's ministry had become the ground of the local church."

I believe for those who had realized that Witness Lee's ministry had become the ground of the local church, like Aron, should now resist this kind of notion. First, this notion is apart from God's economy. Second, Brother Witness Lee is now with the Lord. However, there are saints who dislike the local church and still insist that the local church ministry is other than the New Testament ministry. As for me, I am looking at the local church New Testament ministry. This helps me a lot that I am not for a person's ministry or group's ministry, but for the New Testament ministry which had been laid to all the saints by the early apostles.

I used to be with a denomination. I realized that there are two things I left from the denomination: (a) the denominational name or being a sect; and (b) the pastoral system or hierarchical position.

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when we leave the denominations, we leave two things behind: (1) We leave the divisive sects, such as the different denominations under the different names, and (2) the main thing we leave behind is the pastoral system. What is the pastoral system? It brings the intermediary priestly class of Judaism to Christianity. Both Catholicism and Protestantism have done this.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:53 PM   #18
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I used to be with a denomination. I realized that there are two things I left from the denomination: (a) the denominational name or being a sect; and (b) the pastoral system or hierarchical position.
Dude, you so need to do some serious self-accounting.

I mean, seriously.

You repeatedly demonstrate that you want to be a teacher but you don't even know what you're talking about.

Brother? Paul?

Please.

If you are in the Local Church, you have both a denominational name and the hierarchy. You left nothing behind. You just made an exchange.

Witness Lee knew that this was the problem with the Local Church, which he himself even helped to build, and while trying to fix things with the "New Way" teachings, he repeatedly warned all the saints about the fact that the entire system was mired in religion but still that machine rolled foward and it still is rolling forward.

Go back and read again carefully Witness Lee's speaking after 1984 and see how concerned he was about the religious system that had grown up in all the local churches and recognize that no one ever got out of that system while still within that system. Lee never really understood why the Local Church had this problem but he surely knew the problem was there. For someone today to deny that the problem even exists just nullifies Lee's teachings and proves the need for the eye salve the Lord has promised you.
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:55 AM   #19
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PaulM you are in the Lee denomination i.e. the Church of Witness Lee. This is just a plain fact. It is like saying I live in America. Or I am Caucasian. Or my car is beige. No biggie. Just admit it and deal with the reality of it.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:32 AM   #20
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Normally, in my practice and understanding, if a brother in my locality (e.g. Tokyo) is with a "denomination" I am considering that brother a member of the Body of Christ and belongs to the "church in Tokyo" though this brother will confess that he belongs to "XYZ International Fellowship Ministry" (a denominational name).

I see all the saints in a locality as a "church in" that locality. This is how the Bible describes the "church" in every city, in each locality, as a local church. The local churches are miniatures or models of the "universal church". When you see the local church you must have seen the universal church. When you touch the local church you must have touched the universal church.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:51 AM   #21
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I used to be with a denomination. I realized that there are two things I left from the denomination: (a) the denominational name or being a sect; and (b) the pastoral system or hierarchical position.
What makes a denomination is not a name but a headquarters, because the Lord's rightful place in the church is displaced by men, not local either.

Many denominations have "right names" i.e. the church in Chicago, the Church of God, The church in Anaheim, the Church of God in Christ, etc. These names mean nothing if the reality does not match.
The LSM churches may not have one man speaking on Sunday such as a pastor, but they have a far worse replacement, the speaking of one man at every meeting.

The LSM churches have a clearly defined hierarchy. To state otherwise is balderdash.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:50 AM   #22
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What makes a denomination is not a name but a headquarters, because the Lord's rightful place in the church is displaced by men, not local either.
I would have to disagree with this, Ohio.

Some purely independent congregations fairly clearly practice a species of denominationalism. There is no requirement to have a regional, national or international headquarters to separate oneself from general Christianity in an exclusive and named group (although, a headquarters does pretty clearly indicate the existence of a denomination!)

The word "denominate" simply means "to give a name".
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:34 AM   #23
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I would have to disagree with this, Ohio.

Some purely independent congregations fairly clearly practice a species of denominationalism. There is no requirement to have a regional, national or international headquarters to separate oneself from general Christianity in an exclusive and named group (although, a headquarters does pretty clearly indicate the existence of a denomination!)

The word "denominate" simply means "to give a name".
Denominations have much more than a "name." They are systems of teachings and practices, unified by a bishopric, which becomes the defacto headquarters over time. In fact, a denomination can exist without a name. The Brethren were famous for being "nameless," yet the exclusives (nicknamed Peebs) became the most pernicious of aberrational sects.

One poster had a great signature line like, "tell me again about the church with no name suing for the rights to a name." LSM has played the "name-game" for decades, ensuring their legitimacy as "God's best." I was tired of that debate. Let's define what denominations really are.

"Purely independent congregations" may practice a "species of denominationalism" when their leaders are bound by inherited traditions and ordinances, but there are no extra-local influences mandating these ordinances upon their members. They can return to the "pure word." They can seek fellowship. They can change. Hence, there is hope.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:53 AM   #24
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Normally, in my practice and understanding, if a brother in my locality (e.g. Tokyo) is with a "denomination" I am considering that brother a member of the Body of Christ and belongs to the "church in Tokyo" though this brother will confess that he belongs to "XYZ International Fellowship Ministry" (a denominational name).
Paul, you are trying to be simple, but you are still adding divisive things. Let me try to make it simpler. You are walking down the street in Tokyo. You meet a man and begin conversing. At some point you mention your faith in Christ. The man either responds by saying, "Yes, I also believe in Jesus" or "No, I do not". He is either a believer, like you, or he is not.

Now, suppose he is in fact a believer, like you. Praise the Lord! Wonderful, right? No, sorry, he has to "leave" the denomination and meet with you on the "ground" to be in "fellowship"....this is an addition, and is divisive. Whatever name you put on it is irrelevant. Window dressings won't save your construction.
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:01 AM   #25
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OK,

Denominate is to give a name. Please identify the problem with a name besides the possibility of some group with a name actually being in error on something. Is the name itself an error?

Denominations have a headquarters. Please identify the problem with a headquarters other than the fact that it can be abused. Is the denomination itself an error?

I believe that to the extent that some actual error can occur in an assembly with a name and/or with a headquarters you will find that in a community in which there is only one actual Christian assembly with no name and only local elders, essentially every error laid at the feet of a denomination, or a free group with a name on a sign can be duplicated with little effort.

Denominations are, as a rule, red herrings. There may be errors in any particular denomination, or in any particular single church with or without a name. There is more error in Lee’s diatribes against them than there is definitional error (if any) of being a denomination. If an independent assembly or a denomination with a headquarters is in error on something, discuss that. Don’t generalize that it has a system of teachings and practices. Even a single assembly eventually has that. Are those teachings in error? Do the practices distract from, or point to God? Does the headquarters of a denomination definitionally lead its group into error? Or is it that when there are a lot of assemblies actually practicing the same error it is obvious that they are unified in their error? Did the hierarchy do it? Did the fact of a headquarters do it? Or did men, with or without such trappings go into error?

I sense that our starting point has tended to be with the position we learned in the LC. Question it all. Don’t start with that assumption. While I realize that the scientific method is not a relevant discussion in this context, it is noteworthy that a good “experiment” seeks to prove that a thing is false and only concludes that it is true when it that assumption cannot be proven. It seems (to me) that we are starting with an assumption of correctness about the way things were analyzed and labeled in the LC.

Jerusalem was a headquarters of sorts. They even sent out an edict telling their emissaries to quit putting OT rules on the gentile churches, but also told those gentiles that they should refrain from certain practices. No. They clearly did not put a manual full of rules onto the other churches, but they felt they had authority to make such edicts.

(I hear the quacking of some sort of headquarters.)

The error of a name is if it is a boundary for “in” and “out” or if it is exalted above that of Christ. In Corinth, the issue wasn’t so much the names, but the exaltation of those names as a way to be superior to others and take sides. It was an attitude of the heart that argued they were following the best teacher. (Seems that even without adding Lee’s name to the LC, the heart of the LC is that they are following the best teacher and that all others are poor.) The error in a denomination is not that there is a hierarchy or a headquarters, but in actual errors that may be added even where no denomination exists.
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:00 AM   #26
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Denominate is to give a name. Please identify the problem with a name besides the possibility of some group with a name actually being in error on something. Is the name itself an error?
Our name is Jesus. We don't refuse others because of a name, but nor do we require a name beyond that. Denominationalism is a red herring used to divide. Jesus is the name that brings us together. Names are irrelevant. "The church in Tokyo" is just as divisive as another; even moreso because it condemns others for what itself perpetrates.

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Denominations have a headquarters. Please identify the problem with a headquarters other than the fact that it can be abused.
The problem with headquarters is it can be abused. Errors don't remain local; they are "universalized" across the fellowship of saints. Errors are a given, the question is, do they remain localized, and contained until the fruit is evident, or are they "metastized" across the system until by the time we realize it we have thousands of saints cut off. Conversely, it stifles local experimentation, because we sit waiting for directives from headquarters. The voice of the Spirit is quenched.

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I believe that to the extent that some actual error can occur in an assembly with a name and/or with a headquarters you will find that in a community in which there is only one actual Christian assembly with no name and only local elders, essentially every error laid at the feet of a denomination, or a free group with a name on a sign can be duplicated with little effort.
True, but the error is localized, and contained until it may be corrected. All believers have error. All groups of believers are partly in error. Only God is perfect. We struggle forward, making mistakes as we go. Do we set up a system where errors become codified and are not allowed to be questioned? That is what some do. Others try to be flexible. I am more comfortable with the latter approach. Headquarters is a step toward codification. I will fellowship with Jerusalem, with Rome, with Anaheim, with Cleveland. But as peers, not as a franchise.

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The error of a name is if it is a boundary for “in” and “out” or if it is exalted above that of Christ. In Corinth, the issue wasn’t so much the names, but the exaltation of those names as a way to be superior to others and take sides. It was an attitude of the heart that argued they were following the best teacher. (Seems that even without adding Lee’s name to the LC, the heart of the LC is that they are following the best teacher and that all others are poor.) The error in a denomination is not that there is a hierarchy or a headquarters, but in actual errors that may be added even where no denomination exists.
The "boundary" is Jesus Christ. The "in" or "out" is faith, or it's absence. Either you believe or you don't. That's it. Now that you have believed, keep from sin, and try to go on.
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:17 AM   #27
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OK,
Denominate is to give a name. Please identify the problem with a name besides the possibility of some group with a name actually being in error on something. Is the name itself an error?

Denominations have a headquarters. Please identify the problem with a headquarters other than the fact that it can be abused. Is the denomination itself an error?
Mike, you make some good points. The problem with denoms are not their name, but the system of bad things which they promote and harden in concrete over time. To me most names are insignificant. They are descriptive of the group. We were made to believe that names were so evil and only we had the "proper name."

"Headquarters," can serve many functions, if they really are serving the churches. The dangers of power and controls (think: power corrupts) just seem too powerful to avoid, and that is why the Bible never promotes them. I do believe WN was right when he stated the "local eldership is the highest court."

Last Sunday I heard a story about a pastor and his congregation which rented a room at the same hotel where their denominational leaders were having their meetings. They were praying against some of the decisions made by their denominational leaders. Decisions which were binding upon every congregation.

These types of decisions are what destroys churches, robbing them of the liberty to follow the Head, and introducing "extras" into God's pure bride. Take away the power of headquarters, and they become servants, and that's a good thing.
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:21 AM   #28
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The problem with headquarters is it can be abused. Errors don't remain local; they are "universalized" across the fellowship of saints. Errors are a given, the question is, do they remain localized, and contained until the fruit is evident, or are they "metastized" across the system until by the time we realize it we have thousands of saints cut off. Conversely, it stifles local experimentation, because we sit waiting for directives from headquarters. The voice of the Spirit is quenched.
It's nice when someone comes along and says it way better than I can.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:09 PM   #29
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The tension point with all this is that we see autonomy in the New Testament and we also see extra-local leaders seeming to lay down the law. So there seems to be a contradiction there.

The question remains: What is the extent of the authority of an extra-local worker?

I would say the answer can only be: as much as others choose to give him, that is, as much as they feel the Lord speaks in the worker's speaking. This is a matter of discretion and is not something the worker can ever insist on.

So, it seems to me the heart of the worker has to be one of complete humility and lack of presumptuousness. The worker, if invited, can minister to a church. And the church can then decide when the Lord speaks in his or her speaking, if at all. The worker has no ground to assume direct authority over the church. He is free to speak the word, but not undermine. The elders are responsible before the Lord to be the gatekeepers of who they let speak to their congregation. And the members are responsible before the Lord to make sure they are meeting in the place in which He wants them.

Ironically, this is model which exists today in Christianity. What's the downside of it? Freedom, basically, as if that's so bad. Some feel that oneness needs to be maintained by restricting freedom. Perhaps the Lord himself does this from time to time. But who are any of us to restrict the freedom of another, even ostensively in the Lord's name?

The whole problem with the LC movement is a warped view of authority, assigning it or insisting on it in inappropriate ways.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:17 PM   #30
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"Authoritarianism in the church is one of the most serious problems that Christian churches face today. Authoritarian regimes and political machines within Christian churches are not only totally unbiblical, but they empower men to take a church anywhere they wish, bypassing the normal checks and balances found in the Bible. A church that has given control to a single man (often called a Senior Pastor) or to a small group of men (often called a board of elders) is helplessly tossed about in very dangerous waves.

"Suddenly churches are turned on a dime according to the whims and agendas of men. If a dictatorial pastor wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and decides to take the whole church off a cliff doctrinally, most congregations just blindly follow, thinking they are helpless to do anything about it, if they even notice or care at all. Christians have been bombarded with the lie that certain men are appointed by God to rule and reign over His people. No, the Bible forbids such things and gives us the solution."

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Old 08-13-2008, 02:25 PM   #31
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The tension point with all this is that we see autonomy in the New Testament and we also see extra-local leaders seeming to lay down the law. So there seems to be a contradiction there.

The question remains: What is the extent of the authority of an extra-local worker?

I would say the answer can only be: as much as others choose to give him, that is, as much as they feel the Lord speaks in the worker's speaking. This is a matter of discretion and is not something the worker can ever insist on.

So, it seems to me the heart of the worker has to be one of complete humility and lack of presumptuousness. The worker, if invited, can minister to a church. And the church can then decide when the Lord speaks in his or her speaking, if at all. The worker has no ground to assume direct authority over the church. He is free to speak the word, but not undermine. The elders are responsible before the Lord to be the gatekeepers of who they let speak to their congregation. And the members are responsible before the Lord to make sure they are meeting in the place in which He wants them.

Ironically, this is model which exists today in Christianity. What's the downside of it? Freedom, basically, as if that's so bad. Some feel that oneness needs to be maintained by restricting freedom. Perhaps the Lord himself does this from time to time. But who are any of us to restrict the freedom of another, even ostensively in the Lord's name?

The whole problem with the LC movement is a warped view of authority, assigning it or insisting on it in inappropriate ways.
Yup.

This is consistent with the apostle's own approach to the situation:

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1Th 2:1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entering in unto you, that it hath not been found vain:
1Th 2:2 but having suffered before and been shamefully treated, as ye know, at Philippi, we waxed bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God in much conflict.
1Th 2:3 For our exhortation [is] not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
1Th 2:4 but even as we have been approved of God to be intrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts.
1Th 2:5 For neither at any time were we found using words of flattery, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness;
1Th 2:6 nor seeking glory of men, neither from you nor from others, when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ.
1Th 2:7 But we were gentle in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherisheth her own children:
1Th 2:8 even so, being affectionately desirous of you, we were well pleased to impart unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were become very dear to us.
1Th 2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
1Th 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God [also], how holily and righteously and unblameably we behaved ourselves toward you that believe:
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:34 PM   #32
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"While God’s Word clearly teaches that we are to submit to police and governmental authorities (who exist in part to minimize crime and keep the peace), God does not permit Christians to have controlling authority over other Christians in the church. (Matt 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-45, Luke 22:24-27, 1Pet 5:3, Matt 23:8-12, etc.)

"Elders have authority to watch, warn and lovingly persuade others to live according to the Scriptures, but they have no authority whatsoever to control, dictate policies or crack out commands. As far as submitting to elders, we are supposed to submit to the Word of God as faithfully conveyed by such men. This is where our submissions to them ends. For this is not really a submission to them personally at all but rather to the Word of God through them. Men have no right to cast a personal vision and demand obedience to their ambitions. But we must all admonish each other towards obedience to God's Word."

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Old 08-13-2008, 02:36 PM   #33
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OK,
Denominate is to give a name. Please identify the problem with a name besides the possibility of some group with a name actually being in error on something. Is the name itself an error?

Denominations have a headquarters. Please identify the problem with a headquarters other than the fact that it can be abused. Is the denomination itself an error?

I believe that to the extent that some actual error can occur in an assembly with a name and/or with a headquarters you will find that in a community in which there is only one actual Christian assembly with no name and only local elders, essentially every error laid at the feet of a denomination, or a free group with a name on a sign can be duplicated with little effort.
Mike, I consider names to be minor mainly because for any assembly, congregation, etc that has a tax id they need a name to be identified for their tax id.
More importatantly are the practices, teachings, etc.
Are teachings leading the assembly to know the Lord more?
Are practices doctrine oriented?
As individual believers once we differentiate ourselves as Christians by where we assemble, isn't that the recipe to be denominated?
Isn't it enough to know one another as a brother or sister in Christ and where we meet or don't meet is definitely not essential?
What is essential is not to take any way of division. My belief is it starts with attitude and practices. Just be general and leave non-essentials at the door.

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Old 08-13-2008, 03:38 PM   #34
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Denominate is to give a name. Please identify the problem with a name besides the possibility of some group with a name actually being in error on something. Is the name itself an error?
I believe so.

Yes.

But I won't debate about it.

I just won't.

I'm not denouncing anything.

I just disagree to approve all the names according to my conscience.

If you feel differently, then fine.

Under the principle of Romans 14, allow me the same freedom as you enjoy, please.

You already know all of the Lee doctrines on this topic, probably better than me, and you can denounce them here, there and everywhere until you are blue in the face for all I care. I agree with them. I'm not foisting them. I'm not insisting upon them. I'm certainly not here teaching them and therefore I'm not defending them. I'm not doing anything with them other than saying I agree with them. But neither will I just acquiesce in what someone else simply insists upon, especially not based upon a mere argument from silence.

If you can't handle that for some reason, I would suggest you check that reason. Go ahead and celebrate all the names if you wish. I do not believe they are entirely meaningless and harmless.

Please feel free now to recite again all the ways you believe Witness Lee was wrong about denominationalism if it will help you gather your thoughts. But I'll let you know that you couldn't possibly change my mind by means of your current approach if that is your intention. And if you'll take my word as a brother in the Lord, I'll really and honestly consider what might persuade me otherwise and let you know what I come up with. Right now, I just don't know what it might be.

I'm really sorry to see this bristling up again but it's obvious to see it's never going to just go away around here.

I recognize that I may be far outnumbered on this point in the present company but I've never been popular anyway.
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:45 PM   #35
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I'm really sorry to see this bristling up again but it's obvious to see it's never going to just go away around here.
You are sorry to see what, exactly? What is never going to go away?
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:49 PM   #36
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You are sorry to see what, exactly? What is never going to go away?
Give it a minute.

Wait and see.
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:57 PM   #37
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Actually, our name is not Jesus. Jesus is the one we serve and worship. He is the one who saves. I am Mike. I follow Him and believe in Him. The name of our assembly, whether or not it has an official name, is not Jesus. It is an assembly.

“Require a name beyond that.” Who said anything about “requiring” a name. Having something identifiable is not about requiring it of others or as a touchstone for inclusion/exclusion unless that aspect is added. It is not inherent.

Denominationalism is not a “red herring used to divide.” Some divide and happen to be meeting within denominations. Some divide and are meeting in free groups with names. Some divide and are meeting in home groups without a name. Some claim to know what oneness is and say they are the ones with it, and as a result, divide from others.

Yes, headquarters can be abused. And local elders can abuse. It is true that if a group with a headquarters goes down the path of a particular error, the result is that all follow the same error. The problem, though, is still the error and not the headquarters per se. Have you found any error that is actually the denomination, or the headquarters? Or is it that places with headquarters and/or names have some problems. As you said, we all have problems. Please make the connection.

While I agree that banding groups of congregations together in any particular fashion, whether formally or informally could result in the spread of error, I also note that it can result in the spread of correction of error through the collection of spiritual resources.

It would appear that we agree on the boundary, “in/out” thing.

My point was not to justify examples of errors that exist and are then further perpetuated because of the banding of assemblies into “denominations.” The point was that the “denomination” was not the actual problem. We are too often busy pointing at clouds in the sky as proof that there is a tornado coming. It ain’t necessarily so.

Actually, ranting about names, denominations, etc., is nothing short of a reason to divide. Lee was not concerned about the true condition of any particular Christians or groups of Christians and whether they were actually being divisive. He simply labeled them based on what I honestly believe is an incorrect application of scripture, or more accurately, a use of linguistics to make scripture apply where it does not actually apply.

I asked for the problem with names and denominations. I should have been more clear. I would like a meaningful analysis of any scriptures that might speak on the subject(s) with attention to what they actually do or do not condemn rather than the stance Lee took of saying that “says ‘I am of Paul’” simply means taking a name in any form. I do not have a preconceived expectation for which I will simply argue. I’ve already said I don’t think it is there. I’ve seen the alleged verses before. But we can look again.

There are plenty of examples of things wrong with certain denominations. There are also plenty of examples of things about denominations that the LC (and many of us who were formerly in the LC) came to believe were problems just because Lee said it was so. Denominations, names, and the rest of Christianity are the boogeyman for the LC. Let’s open the closet door and turn on the light to see if there is really anything in there. Despite Lee’s rants on the subject, I don’t find scriptural problems with groups of assemblies pooling resources and having some of the people that they have decided to support so they can better serve them with the Word of God rather than every little one of us relying on just our own spirit and turning into an “everyman what is right in his own eyes” situation since we have limited time and resources. From the OT right on through the accounts in Acts, those who served the saints were worthy of their wages. “Clergy” was not entirely prohibited. What else did Lee get wrong on this?
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Old 08-13-2008, 04:27 PM   #38
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YP,

Why do you assume I was talking to you? Do you think I am following you around to pick fights with you or something?

You don’t want to discuss it, then don't. Period. I don’t need you or anybody to engage in the discussion. It is there for whoever is interested. If no one is interest, it will die. I think it is worthy. If no one agrees, then it dies. I actually will not get my feelings hurt.

It is not there for whoever wants to make personal remarks. I can accept that you believe it. I was actually responding to something other than your post. I was not talking to you.

Here we are in a thread on "ground of locality and generality" and when I see words in posts that start talking about what makes a denomination "wrong" and therefore problematic relative to the "ground of locality" then it is a worthy topic. I have brought this up before. Both here and the other place. It is a viable issue.

But whatever way you choose, quit your incessant snipping at my person. Stick to the topics or skip the topics.

It honestly seems that certain topics annoy you and you would rather make personal attacks. I have generally agreed with your positions. I probably do not agree with anyone 100%. (That is probably a safe thing to say for everyone here.) But it seems that if I say something that is contrary to something you have said, you don’t engage the subject, you engage me.

Ohio: I may have to go back and stick to what I said in that private note back on the other forum. I think you know the one I am referring to. This is just too much.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:04 PM   #39
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YP,

Why do you assume I was talking to you? Do you think I am following you around to pick fights with you or something?
Admittedly stupid assumption on my part.
You merely quoted my posting while issuing a challenge:

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The word "denominate" simply means "to give a name".
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OK,

Denominate is to give a name. Please identify the problem with a name besides the possibility of some group with a name actually being in error on something. Is the name itself an error?
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:03 AM   #40
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I was actually working from Ohio's post. He did quote that particular line in his. But it was specific things he said that piqued my interest.

If I wanted to specifically talk to you, I would have mentioned you.

BTW. You do not need to respond. If the forum does anyway, then there will be a discussion. You may not want to talk about a particular subject, but that does not mean that it should simply be left alone. If that was the way we operated, then we would quit tlaking about Lee at all when Paul said we were wrong.
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:37 AM   #41
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If I wanted to specifically talk to you, I would have mentioned you.
I apologize.

Won't happen again.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:20 PM   #42
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“Require a name beyond that.” Who said anything about “requiring” a name. Having something identifiable is not about requiring it of others or as a touchstone for inclusion/exclusion unless that aspect is added. It is not inherent.
A name may not be required de jure (letter of the law), but it is, to me, required de facto (in fact, in useage). When I meet a christian, the first thing I am asked is "What church do you go to?", and they expect a name. To have a conversation about assembling together you need to have a name. That is my experience, anyway.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:26 PM   #43
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Denominationalism is not a “red herring used to divide.” Some divide and happen to be meeting within denominations. Some divide and are meeting in free groups with names. Some divide and are meeting in home groups without a name. Some claim to know what oneness is and say they are the ones with it, and as a result, divide from others.
Your speaking is better than mine on this. I was hasty and not clear. I meant "making an issue of denominationalism" is a red herring used to divide. Requiring a name (my group's, natch) in order to fellowship, or decrying names, makes us swerve from the target, which is to believe into Jesus Christ. Going on means not getting tangled in names, either pro or con. When I believed, names was not an issue, believing in Jesus was a BIG issue. It was huge, it was transfer from darkness to light, from death to life eternal. I don't want to get hung up on names. Jesus was the name for me.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:43 PM   #44
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I asked for the problem with names and denominations. I should have been more clear. I would like a meaningful analysis of any scriptures that might speak on the subject(s) with attention to what they actually do or do not condemn rather than the stance Lee took of saying that “says ‘I am of Paul’” simply means taking a name in any form. I do not have a preconceived expectation for which I will simply argue. I’ve already said I don’t think it is there. I’ve seen the alleged verses before. But we can look again.

There are plenty of examples of things wrong with certain denominations. There are also plenty of examples of things about denominations that the LC (and many of us who were formerly in the LC) came to believe were problems just because Lee said it was so. Denominations, names, and the rest of Christianity are the boogeyman for the LC. Let’s open the closet door and turn on the light to see if there is really anything in there. Despite Lee’s rants on the subject, I don’t find scriptural problems with groups of assemblies pooling resources and having some of the people that they have decided to support so they can better serve them with the Word of God rather than every little one of us relying on just our own spirit and turning into an “everyman what is right in his own eyes” situation since we have limited time and resources. From the OT right on through the accounts in Acts, those who served the saints were worthy of their wages. “Clergy” was not entirely prohibited. What else did Lee get wrong on this?
My scriptural basis is the NT, from the gospel cases of disciples (Peter expressing Satan, John & James wanting to be first); these personal lacks (which we all have) being eventually codified in the book of Acts with headquarters and hierarchies and rules being imposed, and through the epistles (Galatians and Corinthians being highlight examples), eventually manifesting fruit in the seven epistles in Revelation and in the Great Harlot riding on the beast.

I was using common sense and experience, both of which I have in very limited quantities, so take it for what it is worth, probably very little. One christian's opinion, no more & less. My personal "interpretive rule" is obviously that, personal.

As far as everyone doing what is right in his own eyes in the absence of formalized leadership, either individually (in gatherings) or collectively (in gatherings of gatherings - i.e. denominations), I don't think that necessarily follows. Because it would behoove seeking ones to follow those who have gone on before. Whether that is formalized is up to the people seeking. Some seek to formalize it, and impose this form on others. With this I respectfully disagree. I reserve the right to not follow when others err. In the strict groups this is not an option. The leaders are by dint of position infallible. This is I think too common, not restricted to the RCC & the Local Churches. This is what I mean when I paint with the broad brush of "hierarchy" and "headquarters". I am not opposed to them per se. I just am allergic to the abuses which often flow from these setups.
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:04 PM   #45
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Ohio: I may have to go back and stick to what I said in that private note back on the other forum. I think you know the one I am referring to. This is just too much.
Mike,

Send me a PM, so I don't assume anything.

Did I start all this trouble? Sorry, guys.

I know many of my posts, if they stood alone, would be too extreme, but in the midst of a discussion on the forum or an environment in the LC, seem to fit well, being balanced out.

It takes some skill to properly post on a forum. I'm still learning, often I forget what I learned. Sometimes a single smiley face can make a world of difference.

I'm having this raging battle over at the other forum, and then I "come home" to this.

Grace and peace in Christ Jesus.
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Old 08-14-2008, 11:50 PM   #46
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Your speaking is better than mine on this. I was hasty and not clear. I meant "making an issue of denominationalism" is a red herring used to divide. Requiring a name (my group's, natch) in order to fellowship, or decrying names, makes us swerve from the target, which is to believe into Jesus Christ. Going on means not getting tangled in names, either pro or con. When I believed, names was not an issue, believing in Jesus was a BIG issue. It was huge, it was transfer from darkness to light, from death to life eternal. I don't want to get hung up on names. Jesus was the name for me.
Aron, absolutely names make us swerve from the target, which is towards Jesus Christ. By our human nature there's some identity crisis which is why there's a need to associate with a group. All I need is Jesus.

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Old 08-15-2008, 01:10 AM   #47
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Paul, you are trying to be simple, but you are still adding divisive things. Let me try to make it simpler. You are walking down the street in Tokyo. You meet a man and begin conversing. At some point you mention your faith in Christ. The man either responds by saying, "Yes, I also believe in Jesus" or "No, I do not". He is either a believer, like you, or he is not.

Now, suppose he is in fact a believer, like you. Praise the Lord! Wonderful, right? No, sorry, he has to "leave" the denomination and meet with you on the "ground" to be in "fellowship"....this is an addition, and is divisive. Whatever name you put on it is irrelevant. Window dressings won't save your construction.
If this brother come along with me where I meet (e.g. church in Tokyo) and looks for the Head only, praise the Lord! If he doesn't, praise the Lord; and in my understanding he still a member of the Body of Christ located in the church in Tokyo, and he is my brother in Christ.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:30 AM   #48
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If this brother come along with me where I meet (e.g. church in Tokyo) and looks for the Head only, praise the Lord! If he doesn't, praise the Lord; and in my understanding he still a member of the Body of Christ located in the church in Tokyo, and he is my brother in Christ.
Praise the Lord for this, brother Paul!

This is truly the attitude for us to have in receiving all the believers.

Except for the part where you made him come to your place.

He can also look to the Head only and NOT come with you to your place.

Going to your place has nothing to do with it.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:49 AM   #49
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Aron,

I would admit that asking a stranger what church they attend could be a matter of being divisive. But it also could be nothing more than a Christian version of the typically meaningless “how are you” to which everyone answers “fine” even if they are not. It would be better if we really meant it when we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Alternately, we should greet with some other more meaningful statements rather than empty clichés.

What I find problematic is that the LC focus on the name was often their own focus. The fact that someone asks where you “go to church” is not clearly some ruse to size you up for disagreement. In a similar manner, I enjoy finding out that the people running the places from which I get lunch are originally from Moldova, Romania, Pakistan, or even Iran. I am not seeking to label the Iranian as some scary person to get the FBI to watch. That is the last thing on my mind.

Do you presume that everyone who asks about your affiliation is out to separate from you? Is it so hard to simply say you meet with a free group that has no name? Even if you meet with the Church in Dallas (which I do not believe to be the case), according to LC doctrine, that is not a name, but a simple fact. So you are essentially a free group with no name. (We’ll ignore the issue of LSM domination for now.)

Your comment about denominationalism being a red herring to divide is still baffling. If it is the reason that they are dividing, then it is not a red herring. It is the fact. I did not suggest that there are not problems with denominations, or at least some denominations (I will not try to paint a one-size fits all situation). What I said was that denominations, or denominationalism, is not the actual problem. Some other actual error, if any, is.

As for swerving from the target, it might be that the LC spends more time swerving from the target to attack things that others do not hold as dearly as the LC thinks. The Baptists are there. They are not a mystery. Even if they dropped their name, they would be a group that teaches certain specific doctrines that are not in alignment with every other group out there. If my group, which is not part of any denomination, dropped its name, it would be hard to understand how the LC that meets in Irving could continue as a separate assembly (according to LC doctrine). But there will be some other issue to which the LC would object. It would be the band and music. It would be the manner of seating. It would be the lack of acceptance of “one church one city” as one of the basic tenets of the faith that differentiates Christians from heretics (overstatement). It would be elders chosen by the assembly and not appointed by some “apostle.”

So the name is really nothing. The real issue is everything else. But since we will accept Ray Graver, Benson Phillips, Titus Chu, John Ingalls, Bill Mallons, John Piper, Charles Swindoll, John McCain, and Barack Obama to our Lord’s Table, yet I doubt the Church in Irving would do the same, I wonder who is closer to actually following the LC’s own doctrine of oneness. (I'm willing to accept Obama's profession of faith for the purpose of this argument.)

Peter expressing Satan. Not relevant to the discussion.
John and James wanting to be first. Not relevant to the discussion.
The Great Harlot riding the beast. Not relevant to the discussion.

Scriptural basis? I understand the desire to avoid certain kinds of problems. But it is interesting that Peter did what he did without a name or a denomination. Same for John and James. And the Great Harlot riding the beast is not the church in any form.

I accept that your opinion is what it is. But if the objective of the inquiry is to determine whether the LC’s position on names is simply their opinion, or something founded in scripture and worthy of disdain without any other error being present, neither your opinion or mine is a fact. And the submission of scripture that is not relevant to the discussion is not helpful.

I did not say that having a hierarchy or headquarters will solve the problem of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. I pointed out that, at best, most of us have limited abilities to study the word in a thorough manner. Prior to the printing press, that was essentially a given. It was a requirement that some would devote time to study and teaching. Those ones wisely did not do so on their own (or not typically so). They sought input from others. Yes, that input could come from the past, from others’ writings, etc. But the process of grappling with scripture is not a matter of private interpretation. In the example in Acts 15, even if it is determined that their ultimate edict was flawed, their manner was consistent with the way they were taught, which included the tradition (there’s one of those awful words according to Lee) of joining together to decide and not simply leave it to one.

Yes, setting up an association of assemblies that puts power in the hands of some and causes others to be required to submit is a problem. To the extent that the denominations operate in such a manner there is cause for concern. But until someone is able to point out a scriptural basis for not grouping assemblies or being known in any manner other than “church,” the problem is in what people do with position and power, not just the fact that it exists. Even without official power, influence by people of stature can result in the same thing without their intent. The real issue is in whether the leadership is truly a group of servants or whether they are persons wielding authority. Either happens in any situation, from the largest denomination to the smallest home group. The only difference is that the home group will generally disintegrate while the denomination will perpetuate itself. That does not condemn the fact of the denomination, but it condemns those who wield such authority.

I’m not defending the errors that we see in groups that happen to be denominations, or that have names. I am questioning the basis for the position against names and denominations taken by the LC and considering whether we should continue in that tradition. So far I have not seen the basis for following the LC’s lead.

I believe that the whole issue was created to provide reason to gather around the "one city one church" flag and fight for it.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:59 AM   #50
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YP,

Can we raise a glass to going on in peace? I looked for a "toast" smilie, but this little party is as close as it gets. It's a little over the top.


BTW. I like the new avatar, although it is one of those that would be better if it were about 2x bigger. (My eyes aren't what they used to be, at least close up.) Of course, the old avatar was good too. That puzzled guy looked like how I feel sometimes.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:07 AM   #51
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Did I start all this trouble?
For the public record, no. And as I have now PM'd to you, that comment was really about more than the forum.

For the rest who are eavesdropping, Ohio knows a little about me that is outside of, and has nothing to do with, this forum. It will stay that way since it is not relevant to anyone else in any way. My comment to him was intentionally obtuse for everyone else, and unfortunately was for him as well. I obviously over-did it.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:47 AM   #52
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YP,

Can we raise a glass to going on in peace? I looked for a "toast" smilie, but this little party is as close as it gets. It's a little over the top.


BTW. I like the new avatar, although it is one of those that would be better if it were about 2x bigger. (My eyes aren't what they used to be, at least close up.) Of course, the old avatar was good too. That puzzled guy looked like how I feel sometimes.
I'm all about the peace, my brother.

I've only got a glass of water here and, my miracle skills not being what they perhaps ought to be, that will have to do until I get home this evening...

re: avatar - yes, that particular meeting of alley cats makes me smile for some reason. Lemme see if I can include the larger version here...
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:10 PM   #53
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That picture is great. From the smaller picture, I thought the main cat was Sylvester.
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Old 01-24-2009, 11:36 AM   #54
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Maybe Watchman Nee was not the first to touch this matter of oneness in locality. Watchman Nee had read Otto Stockmayer. This may have been the seeds of what he developed. See the following. The entire book is being published on my web site.


SICKNESS AND THE GOSPEL
By OTTO STOCKMAYER

Chapter 7

According to the Scriptures, the Church of Jesus Christ, as a whole and in its entirety, consists of the united company of His redeemed, those whom He has washed and whom He is perfecting (Eph. 5:23-32), The Church in a place, or, as it is in large cities, the Church of a certain district, consists of the children of God living in that place (Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 1: 2; etc.). The Scriptures everywhere pre­suppose that the children of God, who are members together of one body, most closely knit together for weal or woe, for honor or shame, and continually needing one another (1 Cor. 12:21-27), should, as far as time and circumstances permit, gather together in the same place. In Corinth some sided with Paul, some with Apollos, some with Cephas; others again claimed to be Christ’s in a special manner. Paul grieves for these divisions, and calls the Corinthians “carnal” (1 Cor. 1:10-12; 3:3-7). But bad and deplorable as was the condition of this church (1 Cor. 11:17-20), yet the Epistle to the Corinthians bears no trace of these Christians having thought of separating themselves, according to their several sympathies, into special circles, which would then have been called religious bodies, or congregations. Divisions in the Church cannot be justified by Holy Scripture, whatever the questions may be about which Christians differ, whether of Church government, or of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Wherever there exists a difference of views or convictions, there Phil. 3:15 applies, “If in anything you are otherwise minded (have another view or conviction), God shall reveal even this unto you.”

In our day we are accustomed to see Christ divided (1 Cor. 1:13), and how many children of God in the National Church, in the Free Churches, in Baptist, Methodist, and other communities, pride themselves on the truth or the views they represent, instead of being ashamed of participating in the guilt of dividing Christ’s body, instead of bewailing the reproach and weakness which are thus brought upon the Gospel. Christians meet with satisfaction on the ground taken by the Evangelical Alliance, and congratulate themselves on the respect paid to man-made barriers, and the consideration shown to the creeds for whose sake they separated, instead of rather availing themselves of such precious opportunities: of meeting with each other, in order to bow in repentance and humiliation on account of a state of things which the Lord alone can alter and heal; human attempts to put them right would only aggravate the evil.

The immediate deeply important bearing of such a state of things on the subject of the healing of the sick members of the Church is obvious. Indeed just in the Corinthian Church there were many sick, and many were prematurely carried off by death, because, in the Lord’s Supper, they failed to discern the Lord’s body (1 Cor. 11:29-30); because they did not discern their own condition in connection with it, and did not “judge” themselves (verse 31). But in the Lord’s Supper the body of Christ is to be viewed, not only as broken for us on the Cross, but also as His mystical body, which is the unity of all the redeemed in Christ—they are indissolubly bound together in Him. “We who are many are one loaf (margin, one body)” (1 Cor. 10:17 R.V.). The Lord’s table is the place where this unity of God’s children finds its per­fect expression. Wherever the Church is divided, wherever the believers of a place have separated them­selves into divers communities, founded by man, according to human ideas, and have their Lord’s table closed to each other, there they no longer “dis­cern the Lord’s body,” in a sense different indeed from the Corinthians, but in a manner equally cul­pable. If the Corinthians were sick because of their sin, we in these days have no right to expect that our sick shall be healed at once so long as we are guilty of the same sin. It is also hardly possible to call the elders of the Church as long as we have only elders of communities.
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Old 01-24-2009, 03:42 PM   #55
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

Let me guess: if a Christian gets sick in Detroit they should call Norm or Rick? (Of course both don't even live in Detroit!)
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Old 01-24-2009, 07:23 PM   #56
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

Let me guess: djohnson has a personal problem with Norm and Rick (who was not even mentioned in this post) and wants to make public his disapproval and displeasure with how they are conducting their Christian lives.... emmm, not exactly what an apologetic board is for....
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Old 01-24-2009, 11:00 PM   #57
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I don't recall saying anything about how they are conducting their Christian lives UntoHim. Nor do I have a personal problem with them. How could I? But I do know they don't live in Detroit. If one advances the doctrine of dirt then others can expect them to honor their own doctrine can't they? Let me just say: if I ever get sick in Detroit I won't be calling them because well...for one thing...they don't even live there.
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:06 AM   #58
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Nor do I have a personal problem with them. How could I?
DJ, I seem to remember some past disputes between the three of you that got pretty "personal."

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Nor do I have a personal problem with them. How could I? But I do know they don't live in Detroit. If one advances the doctrine of dirt then others can expect them to honor their own doctrine can't they? Let me just say: if I ever get sick in Detroit I won't be calling them because well...for one thing...they don't even live there.
This is about the dumbest thing I have heard. The church property is in Detroit, near the northern edge. Some of the saints live in the city proper and some in suburban communities. My old friend who just passed away, lived in the city. But ... regardless of where a brother lives, I would expect you to call the church hall for fellowship.

Anyways ... I would hope the church there would screen their incoming calls, knowing that you may be sick, and discerning who wants real fellowship or not. If you do get sick in the Detroit area, let me give you another number to call ... "911."
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:58 AM   #59
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Quote:
"In our day we are accustomed to see Christ divided (1 Cor. 1:13), and how many children of God in the National Church, in the Free Churches, in Baptist, Methodist, and other communities, pride themselves on the truth or the views they represent, instead of being ashamed of participating in the guilt of dividing Christ’s body..."
So the way to "undivide" Christ is to hammer on, mock and insult other Christians, then set up yet another fellowship where people also pride themselves on the truth or the views they represent? What Nee, Lee and their followers (and apparently Stockmayer) never seem to realize is that they are (should be) meeting on the very same ground that most all genuine Christian churches, groups and fellowships meet on... and that is the ground of being the "called out" ones (ekklasia) P L U S a certain set of teachings and practices that follow "the truth or the views they represent".

Theoretically, or should I say ideally, the "plus" part should be simply and purely the words of the Lord Jesus as recorded in the gospels, the teachings of the scripture writing apostles and certain mandatory practices (re: baptism, the Lord's table). Now the fact is that "the local ground" was not mentioned by the Lord Jesus, nor any of the Scripture writing apostles, and for certain we know that it was not a mandatory practice. So djohnson and others are correct in calling this teaching a "doctrine of dirt". It really and truly is a house built upon shifting sand.

We need to stop looking so much at the name on the placard out front and worry more about the teachings that are going on inside. The names on the placards are NOT what is dividing Christ, it is false teachings, the false teachers who teach them, and of course the contantly wondering hearts of God's people.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:27 AM   #60
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Ohio about the dumbest thing I ever heard is: promoting the doctrine of dirt which includes all Christians in a city are in one church under one administration and having that administration not even live in the city of the church they are administrating.

I don't recall having any personal disputes with Norm, Rick or anyone else on this forum. Disagreements about issues yes but not personal disputes.
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:11 PM   #61
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

I guess this quote should have been posted on another thread; probably should have started a new one. The quote was not meant to be a pro or con defense related to the local ground. It is fairly clear where most on this forum stand, one side or the other. This was not to be fuel on that fire.

The book “Sickness and the Gospel” does not purport to be a dissertation on that topic. I read it in relation to my questionings on the practice of healing in the church, which study I began six years ago. Healing was always looked down upon in the “local churches” related to LSM. I have been seeking to have a proper understanding of how it should be part of the Christian life today, for me and for the believers I now meet with.

The quote in my previous post was a very minor point in a book of 90 pages.

Otto Stockmayer, in his day, was a very prominent and world traveled Christian. He had an active ministry in healing and worked with such Christians as Andrew Murray, AB Simpson, DL Moody, Mary E McDonough, and possibly Jessie Penn-Lewis. He spoke at Keswick, Mildmay, and many other know conventions. His writings influenced T Austin-Sparks, Watchman Nee and many others.

When preparing the book for publication on my web site the quoted passage stood out afresh. I did not desire to defend or debunk the local ground. I wished to point out that the thought that Watchman Nee was the originator of such a thought or teaching was not true; that Nee and Lee basically recovered very little. They mainly synthesized many of the thoughts and teachings of their day into one body of teaching.

I prefer research over personal irrational opinion.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:42 AM   #62
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I wished to point out that the thought that Watchman Nee was the originator of such a thought or teaching was not true; that Nee and Lee basically recovered very little. They mainly synthesized many of the thoughts and teachings of their day into one body of teaching.
Norm,

I concur and it is a good point to make. Nee was not so much a seer as a synthesizer. Lee was basically the same with a twist. He took Nee and everone else and adapted their teachings to his own particular view of things (i.e. God's economy is dispensing.)

I was aware that Nee did not orginate the local ground teaching. Several Brethren teachers promoted the idea before him, although it seems it gained no real traction until Nee.

However, I've seen no evidence that the teaching was ever taught in the early church. So it is not so much a recovered teaching as an invented one.
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:01 AM   #63
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It didn’t have to be taught. What was taught was that there was only one body and the division of that one body was judged and condemned. So if there were believers in a certain place…..they were “the one body”….or ….”the church” in that place. That’s why the New Testament is full of references concerning “THE” church at such and such a place………………………………................................. .................................................. .............................................NEVER ……………..”Churches” at such and such a place.
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:18 AM   #64
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It didn’t have to be taught. What was taught was that there was only one body and the division of that one body was judged and condemned. So if there were believers in a certain place…..they were “the one body”….or ….”the church” in that place. That’s why the New Testament is full of references concerning “THE” church at such and such a place………………………………................................. .................................................. .............................................NEVER ……………..”Churches” at such and such a place.
Oregon,

The problem with the discussion about church in city v churches in city is equivocation. You are burdened with the notion that the word we translate as church is exclusively the equivalent of “assembly” and that it is meant exclusively in practical terms, both in the first century and now whenever it is used.

The first place that “church” appears is singular and refers to the entirety of believers. Matt. 16:18 “I will build my church” Here Jesus is making reference to the whole of the church. He is not referring to one city. Someone once suggested this was about Jerusalem, but they were not in Jerusalem at the time. Whether the “rock” was Jesus, Peter, or some physical rock of note in the area they were in, it was not Jerusalem. But neither was he talking specifically about that location. He meant the church. I do not see another way to understand this verse. It is about the church — all of it, not just some location, whether city, county, region, or even just whoever meets together wherever they do.

Two chapters later, Matt.18:17 says “tell it to the church” This would seem to make “church” practical, but it does not define that practicality. Nothing is said to give that boundaries. In this context, there was an incident that made the news in Dallas a few years ago. Seems a man who was a member of a certain church (assembly, whatever) in the area was involved in an affair and had no intention of stopping. This church basically exercised its authority to exclude him from fellowship, and set out to write letters to other churches in the area of their decision. This particular church was not part of some denomination, but rightly considered itself and all others around to be the church.

Throughout Acts there are references that are clearly with respect to certain cities, yet a few are vague and at least one is often translated as singular with respect to all believers in large region. Acts 9:31 “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” There is uncertainty here because some translate this a plural while others as singular. While there is a debate to be had over the correct number for the word “church,” the uncertainty points to an ambiguity as to what “church” generally refers. Is it merely practical assemblies, or is it more about believers?

Then we come to the references to home churches. Three are referenced (Rom 16:4-6, 1 Cor 16:19, Col4:15). While unclear as to actual location (whether within the bounds of the city to which the letter is written, some other city, or elsewhere), they are spoken of positively.

3 John refers to the church without local context. We might presume Jerusalem, but that is not certain.

One more of note is Hebrews 12:23 “the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.” This might be argued as prophetic concerning a future time, but all of the verbs are present tense. But more importantly, we do not see the church referred to in terms of location, but in terms of members.

Even when we take all the opening greeting of Paul’s letters in which he refers to “church in (or “at”) city,” in the light of the totality of scripture’s use of “church” it is difficult to make these into more than a greeting to the believers in and/or around the named city. They are the church whether they meet in one location with one set of elders or in many, including someone’s house(s). If Paul wrote to a city with several small assemblies, as might have actually been the case in Ephesus, being possibly as large as 400,000 to 500,000 population, and asked for the elders to meet with him, whether there was one set of elders that roamed within those assemblies or elders in each one, they were all called. There is nothing in this that defines or requires a singularity such as “one city one church.” In God’s eyes, we are the church regardless of the way we practice.

Besides, what division is there in Christianity? We meet in separate buildings? For those who argue against large assemblies, then large cities would have thousands of small assemblies. What walls divide them? For the most part, all Christians are welcome. Some may require assent to some particular doctrinal statement or creed to be an official member, but that is more political/ governmental than exclusionary. Non-members are welcome and are free to partake of the Lord’s table.

As to divisions condemned, it was really only in one place — Corinth. And they were fighting over who to follow, even excluding from their circle those who followed another. So where does a “one publication” edict fit into this? It makes the LC more like the divisions in Corinth than most of Christianity. We meet separately, but we do not mistreat those who do not follow a particular leader or refrain from speaking on their own.

Much more to say, but will stop here.
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:58 AM   #65
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It didn’t have to be taught. What was taught was that there was only one body and the division of that one body was judged and condemned. So if there were believers in a certain place…..they were “the one body”….or ….”the church” in that place. That’s why the New Testament is full of references concerning “THE” church at such and such a place………………………………................................. .................................................. .............................................NEVER ……………..”Churches” at such and such a place.
Let's see. It didn't have to be taught. Which means everyone knew it. But now, nobody knows it, except a select few, like yourself.

Assuming there are 2.1 billion Christians in the world, and 50,000 who believe the local ground teaching (probably high), then that means that only .0024% of Christians believe this teaching, which was held in such importance by Lee that he practically made it an item of the faith. On the other hand, 99.9976% of Christians don't believe this teaching, practically all of them having never even heard of it.

So we are expected to believe a teaching which was never taught by the Bible, nor the Lord, nor the apostles, nor the early church fathers, but which you say is so important that God has only gotten .0024% of his people to believe in it.

Oregon, sorry, I'm afraid that makes you sound like a crank. And realize that a crank never thinks he's a crank when he is one, and it's the hardest thing for him to admit. I know, I used to be one, and still may be on some subjects. But not this one.
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:28 PM   #66
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It didn’t have to be taught. What was taught was that there was only one body and the division of that one body was judged and condemned. So if there were believers in a certain place…..they were “the one body”….or ….”the church” in that place. That’s why the New Testament is full of references concerning “THE” church at such and such a place………………………………................................. .................................................. .............................................NEVER ……………..”Churches” at such and such a place.
Yes Oregon. The New Testament is full of examples concerning the church. These references were always referring to believers meeting in a particular city. Don't we need to drop the concept that church equals assembly?

How I interpreted what was taught is that a local church/assembly was the sole expression of the church in that city. That where you live, if you wanted to meet in the New Testament pattern, you had to meet with the local church/assembly. That's not to say there aren't other assemblies that meet this way. It's just what was taught in the local churches.

Assemblies that follow Witness Lee's ministry exclusively can no longer say they are the expression of the Church. Rather when you go to one of their meetings, you'll find the speaking an expression of Witness Lee's ministry. I'm not intending to be negative about Witness Lee's ministry, but the general Christian will be seeking Christ and not a man's ministry. This is why I see the LSM local churches having a minimal increase. There are very few Christians that would have an appetite for Witness Lee's ministry while there are many more Christians wanting just Christ.
How I view assemblies that severed ties with LSM, is these places may be trying returning to expressing the Church rather than a man's ministry.

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Old 01-27-2009, 02:54 PM   #67
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Let's see. It didn't have to be taught. Which means everyone knew it. But now, nobody knows it, except a select few, like yourself.

Assuming there are 2.1 billion Christians in the world, and 50,000 who believe the local ground teaching (probably high), then that means that only .0024% of Christians believe this teaching, which was held in such importance by Lee that he practically made it an item of the faith. On the other hand, 99.9976% of Christians don't believe this teaching, practically all of them having never even heard of it.

So we are expected to believe a teaching which was never taught by the Bible, nor the Lord, nor the apostles, nor the early church fathers, but which you say is so important that God has only gotten .0024% of his people to believe in it.

Oregon, sorry, I'm afraid that makes you sound like a crank. And realize that a crank never thinks he's a crank when he is one, and it's the hardest thing for him to admit. I know, I used to be one, and still may be on some subjects. But not this one.
Hello Igzy,

A question or two and a few comments regarding your post and its logic. In recent times there was a slogan "worship at the church of your choice." Should we accept a slogan such as this which was never taught by the Bible, nor the Lord, nor the apostles, nor the early church fathers,

We do know that Paul taught against believers declaring "I am of Paul" etc. Would it be appropriate to say that declaring "I am a Baptist," or "I am a Methodist," or "I am a Catholic" is also not according to the clear teaching of the Bible and such declarations were "never taught by the Bible, nor the Lord, nor the apostles, nor the early church fathers"

It seems to me that if we are fair and condemn Watchman Nee and Witness Lee for teaching that the early practice of the practical local assembly was "the church in _______" then we should be just as strict on the teaching and practice of denominations and sects among today's Christians.

In addition, in John 17 we find a prayer recorded in which the Lord is praying for a oneness of future believers by which the world would be affected. Looking at today's situation, is there any reason to believe this prayer is now obsolete?

A believer in Christ Jesus,

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:53 PM   #68
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Hello Igzy,

A question or two and a few comments regarding your post and its logic. In recent times there was a slogan "worship at the church of your choice." Should we accept a slogan such as this which was never taught by the Bible, nor the Lord, nor the apostles, nor the early church fathers,

We do know that Paul taught against believers declaring "I am of Paul" etc. Would it be appropriate to say that declaring "I am a Baptist," or "I am a Methodist," or "I am a Catholic" is also not according to the clear teaching of the Bible and such declarations were "never taught by the Bible, nor the Lord, nor the apostles, nor the early church fathers"
Hi Hope,

Well, I would not endorse the statement "Worship at the church of your choice." I would say "Worship at the church the Lord leads you to."

But neither would I endorse the statement, "Worship at the church of my choice," which is, whether they admit it or not, what Nee and Lee said.

I would correct someone who says he is a Catholic or Baptist in an exclusive way, in the way of saying everyone should be what they are. But I have little interest in correcting someone who says he is a Catholic or Baptist simply in a descriptive way.

Quote:
In addition, in John 17 we find a prayer recorded in which the Lord is praying for a oneness of future believers by which the world would be affected. Looking at today's situation, is there any reason to believe this prayer is now obsolete?
No, there is no reason to believe that oneness which issues in the world believing is obsolete. However, I'm firmly convinced that the way to achieve a oneness which causes the world to believe does not include pushing for one church per city in any kind of organizational way. And saying that the oneness which issues in the world believing will be necessarily realized in city churches is jumping to a conclusion anyway.

If you want to believe in the pattern of city-churches in the New Testament, then you have to concede that the one-church-per-city model was absolutely spontaneous, as there is absolutely no record of anyone teaching it as a doctrine. That being the case a return to such a expression would also have to be spontaneous. In fact, given the problems I've spelled out on the subject (who are the elders, etc) I don't see any other way it could be worked out. And even if it could be worked out, what would we do when the Lord wanted to move the church in a different direction than the entrenched elders want to move? You are right back to the problem of the elders being able to hold the Lord hostage and nobody being able to do anything about it.

The ironic thing about the local ground is that it is supposed to be practical. But without fail when people start to defend it they are anything but practical. Rather they appeal to an ideal to which they cannot provide a path, and so accomplish not much but throwing a wet blanket on the corporate experience of any who do not appreciate their ideal.

I've asked a very simple and practical question. How do we figure out without question who the elders of the church in (name a city) really are? No one has even attempted to answer it. I mean, if you can't even answer that basic question then the whole idea of city churches is moot. You might as well be talking about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
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Old 01-27-2009, 04:12 PM   #69
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Why is "eldership" is the sine qua non of an assembly?

Didn't assemblies exist before Paul appointed anyone?
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:00 PM   #70
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Why is "eldership" is the sine qua non of an assembly?

Didn't assemblies exist before Paul appointed anyone?
There you go speaking pig latin again.
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:05 PM   #71
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It seems to me that if we are fair and condemn Watchman Nee and Witness Lee for teaching that the early practice of the practical local assembly was "the church in _______" then we should be just as strict on the teaching and practice of denominations and sects among today's Christians.
It's only fair to be just as strict. However I see the criticism not so much the practice of the practical local assembly, but what the practice has become. For example within the local churches, is it truly expressing Christ through the local assembly? In the mid-1980's it was. In a practical local assembly one should feel unhindered from inviting people to visit or to meet. Now, one would have to think twice. How would their visitor receive the ministry?
My next question is the church in ________ the only expression of the church in that city?

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Old 01-27-2009, 07:42 PM   #72
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Mike, Igzy, Oregon, Terry, YP0534 and any others interested in this topic,

Now comes the definitive answer which will put to rest the whole question of “church.”

Mike has presented an excellent article using verses that mention the church and has promised more. Igzy has raised some interesting issues based on the 21st century. Igzy, if I understand correctly sees two fatal flaws in the local church practice: that is the one church, one city teaching and the authority structure versus the freedom of the Spirit and the leading of the Lord with every believer. YP0534 has an issue with the Universal Church and the authority structure. Oregon had a good experience with the church in Moses Lake and perhaps Spokane and believes the simple fact of the church in a city is practical and can be very glorious. Terry grew up in various local churches and received a positive experience and still holds to many of the experiences but not to the LSM and BBs. He currently is comfortable assembling with Christians who do not claim to be “the church in _______.” He believes the church in ______ can be expressed by more than one assembly.

Here is the answer. Are you ready? Well the church is both Spiritual and practical and after 1,976 years since the ascension of Christ things are more than a little complicated.

In Durham, we happen to be caring for some unbelievers who are open to the gospel and are comfortable being around us. We have taken the approach of a seekers class with them. We are planting seeds of the good news and trusting the Spirit to supply the conviction. We are seeing some fruit and are very encouraged. But one issue that has come up with them is the state of the church. It is an issue we are seeking to avoid and are concentrating on presenting Christ Jesus as Savior, Redeemer, Life Giver and Lord etc.

This matter of the church and how we practice seems to be always changing. Check with any Bible Church, Community Church, etc regarding when they started. 98.4% will give a date since 1970. Igzy, it seems like many believers were being lead to move on and in many cases it was because the clergy of their denomination as you have stated, “what would we do when the Lord wanted to move the church in a different direction than the entrenched elders want to move? You are right back to the problem of the elders being able to hold the Lord hostage and nobody being able to do anything about it.”

Go back to the early 1960s. Many dear believers were yearning to move on with Christ but felt trapped by the denominations. The sheep fold of John chapter 10 seemed to apply. Then along came The Normal Christian Life and The Norman Christian Church Life by Watchman Nee. Then his co-worker Witness Lee seemed to almost miraculously appear. Did we hear the Lord calling us out of the sheepfold? We did!! And just like the LSM hierarchy and cadre protested when we had problems with the structure of the LSM and left, so did the entrenched clergy of the traditional denominations. There was no fare thee well when we left but a good amount of curses and hope that we would all fail.

It is imperative to recognize the evolution of the local churches and the evolution of the role of Witness Lee in the United States. Initially I was in two churches that considered themselves churches yet there was no official elders or eldership. Witness Lee was a far away person who we saw occasionally. No one went around declaring “Brother Lee said.” There was no LSM, no hymn book, no Recovery Version, no Life Studies almost nothing but the Bible, the Spirit and the Believers. There were no elders but there was the church. There was no work or thought of a universal church with a unique flow or move on the earth. We read many authors and brought our own labor in the Word to the gatherings. Many testimonies were given about wonderful believers we had met and the encouragement we had received. Can you believe it??

Mike, when you came to the church in Dallas in 1973-74 can you recall George Whitington going around declaring “brother Lee said?” I cannot. Igzy down in Austin did you hear George spouting “Brother Lee said?” How about Don Looper?

I can recall distinctly in the 60s and early 70s attending conferences in LA. On the Lord’s Day evening of the first week-end we would have a meeting where different ones from many places would speak of the Lord’s work in their place. No one had the thought that there would be some kind of report from an LSM franchise but all looked forward to some unique experiences that that church was experiencing.

Witness Lee never referred to himself as an apostle. He shunned being so addressed. I can remember him on more than one occasion refusing to be addressed as an apostle. He never discouraged reading other authors and mentioned several to us as a good source. He lived very meagerly in a one bedroom apartment in central LA. His small kitchen table was his office. He owned two identical suits and an ancient green Ford compact car.

Well, anyway things changed. From the time of the first national elders-co-workers meeting in January, 1974 things moved in the direction that so many of the posters have identified. A lot of the change came out of a desire for a stronger gospel life among us. Max Rapoport was instrumental in this and given the job by Witness Lee to help the churches in the gospel. Max was the first of the prominent brothers to promote Witness Lee as the man of faith and power for this hour. He was the first to promote a notion of the one work in a unique universal church. He was so effective in building up Witness Lee and the universal church that he himself eventually had no place. Things changed more and more rapidly until you find what the posters describe. Corruption, abuse, error, narrowness, oppression, etc. Yes, a decent Bible Church looks pretty good compared to the LSM/LC.

But I for one believe there is more to the Church and a real living Church Life than just a decent Bible Church. I love the phrase in 1 Corinthians chapter 16 regarding Stephanas, 1 Cor 16:14-17, Let all that you do be done in love. Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for service to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.

Would not it be wonderful if the common characteristic of the members of a practical assembly would be that they devoted themselves to service to the saints. I fear far too much attention is paid to the “position” of the church than to the “condition” of the day to day church life. Look at the LSM/LC. Look at the condition. We have read post after post about the sad state of affairs among their members and even among the families. One thing I hear on the two forums is that the local church paid attention to position and correct activities rather than to the condition of the assembly and the welfare of the individual members. This was the focus in the early days. For a few years we did have a blessing and very fresh experience of life but it was short lived as we became universal with a strong authority structure and central administration and leader. Frankly, in my recollection the teaching of one church, one city faded far into the background. I recall once in Raleigh in the late 1980s I was asked to share the word. I was very concerned about the usurpation of the LSM over the local churches and shared regarding the church in the city and there being no authority higher than the local church. One of the elders in Raleigh gave a testimony about how good it was to hear about the local church after so many years.

Please posters feel free to comment. As if you might not.

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple,

Hope, Don Rutledge

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Old 01-28-2009, 12:05 AM   #73
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Sorry I don't buy it Hope. Witness Lee had a history prior to meeting Max Rapoport. Any person who has read Against the Tide and knows his history in the Far East knows this. Sounds like Rapoport was used as a convenient scapegoat when Lee's plans didn't work out. Just like in the late 1980s when Ingalls, Mallon etc were the scapegoats. This idea that everything was pure and wonderful prior to a certain date or prior to Rapoport etc. is ridiculous. Lee was the source of the problems. Lee. In the Far East and in America and in Europe. Lee.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:31 AM   #74
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I heartily agree with you Don. My experience doesn’t go back as far as you but it does go back to the spring of 1970 and things were very different back then. I remember the first young peoples conference I went to in Elden Hall that Spring. It was overpowering. I can’t remember how many were actually there…..maybe 400 or so…but I had never touched anything like it in my life. The meetings all started long before the official starting time. You could hear those wonderful enlivened young people singing and praising the Lord out on the side walks on the way to the meeting. John So gave us some stirring words.

I remember in those days we had a big map of the USA on the wall in the entry of the house with colored pins in each place where one of the churches were. There were only between 10 to 15 pins on the whole map The organizational structure of the “local churches” today simply didn’t exist back then. There was no Recovery Version…..no Life Studies….no Morning Revival booklets etc. But there were a scattering of seeking believers that saw the truth of the oneness of the body in their locality and wanted to practice it.

Things did change as the years progressed. 1974-1975 has always stood out in my memory as the beginning of the decline. When the Life Studies came in and the emphasis to follow Aneheim……..verses in the Word that supposedly told us all to “Speak the same thing” were pushed heavily….over time the local aspect of the church diminished.

Before this I remember many times there would be a moving of the Lord over certain matters in Spokane and we would call the brothers in the other churches in Washington State…..mainly Moses Lake and Seattle…..and the same moving of the Lord was happening with them concerning the same issues spontaneously…..none of us having had any correspondence with each other concerning the matter previously. It was just the Spirit speaking to the churches.

If you were not there in those early days you simply can’t relate it to the LSM church life of today…no comparison. When I read different posts on this forum concerning the
BB’s ….one publication….etc…..that’s not the church life that I believe in or promote.

As to being a “Crank” Igzy…….I don’t care what you call me. I know that there is a wonderful reality of the church-life where the Sprit of the Lord can move in and among His people ……where the saints can speak freely and minister Christ to one another…..and I’m all for that.
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:03 AM   #75
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As to being a “Crank” Igzy…….I don’t care what you call me. I know that there is a wonderful reality of the church-life where the Sprit of the Lord can move in and among His people ……where the saints can speak freely and minister Christ to one another…..and I’m all for that.
Oregon,

I also believe there is a wonderful reality of the church-life where the Lord can move in and among his people. I'm experiencing it right now where I meet and among the believers I know. But tell me, what does that necessarily have to do with the local ground teaching? That's a genuine question.

As to being a crank, do you know what the word means? It means an eccentric person who is overly enthusiastic for a questionable idea. Like, for example, someone who won't stop talking about the universal benefits of barley fiber, or mother ships, or a flat tax, or something. To me, any Christian teaching which at this late date is only accepted by .0024% of Christians and by no reputable theologians is automatically very questionable.

You've heard the definition of a fanatic, right? Someone who won't change his mind and won't change the subject. Gosh, I admitted I'd been a crank, the least you could do is admit you've been one, too. Every local churcher has been one. Why do you think they get regularly accused of being in a cult?

I'm not casting aspersions. I really believe that. And I believe the sooner you believe it the happier you will be. Take it for what it's worth. May be none of my business, but this is a public forum.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:08 AM   #76
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Sorry I don't buy it Hope. Witness Lee had a history prior to meeting Max Rapoport. Any person who has read Against the Tide and knows his history in the Far East knows this. Sounds like Rapoport was used as a convenient scapegoat when Lee's plans didn't work out. Just like in the late 1980s when Ingalls, Mallon etc were the scapegoats. This idea that everything was pure and wonderful prior to a certain date or prior to Rapoport etc. is ridiculous. Lee was the source of the problems. Lee. In the Far East and in America and in Europe. Lee.
djohnson,

You don't buy what? Who said everything was pure and wonderful? I said it was different and that things changed. I never said that Witness Lee did not have a history.

You need to check with your friend regarding Max Rapoport. He visited us in Dallas several times. He was there to help with the gospel. He was there to line up the local elders with Anaheim with himself as the touch point. He gave us a time in which he received calls from the various local churches. He shared when he was in Anaheim that at 7 A M he began every morning to take calls from the local elders through out the world on what they should do regarding local affairs and in regard to coordinating with the ministry. This was completely new. He gave testimony regarding various local churches and elders who were on board with the coordination of the one new man. His associates declared to us often and loudly that Max was the universal coordinator of the one new man. They declared that he was Peter. He was the leading apostle who would succeed Witness Lee. He was the real son of Witness Lee. Only Max knew what was in Witness Lee's heart etc.

Now, did Witness Lee drop Max when he saw Max as a rival? Yes he did. Did Witness Lee toss John Ingalls and others under the bus when they pushed back? Yes, he did. It seemed that he was conditioned to expect close co-workers to "rebel." Does this go all the way back to Chee Foo? Yes it does. Does all that mean nothing of Christ was going on in the local churches before 1974? No it does not. Does it mean that Witness Lee had no portion of Christ or ministry? No it does not. Does it mean that Max Rapoport had no portion of Christ or ministry? No it does not.

djohnson, since you are only an interested outsider, I am amazed at your inability to be objective and at least admit that there is more to the local churches than just poison from the beginning.

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:18 AM   #77
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Hope Rapoport did what Lee told him to do. Lee was behind it from day one. And that local elders were calling him to find out what to do is a reflection on them and not just Lee and Rapoport. The LCS is a sick system.

Do I think there are some things that are good about the LCS. Of course and have stated it numerous times. And I think that about the RC too.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:56 AM   #78
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Hope Rapoport did what Lee told him to do. Lee was behind it from day one. And that local elders were calling him to find out what to do is a reflection on them and not just Lee and Rapoport. The LCS is a sick system.

Do I think there are some things that are good about the LCS. Of course and have stated it numerous times. And I think that about the RC too.
djohnson,

You have got my curiosity up.

1.)How could you know that Rapoport did what Lee told him to do?

2.)Did I ever say that Lee was not behind it from day one? How could you know that Lee was behind it from day one. And what do you mean by the "it" which Lee was behind from day one. How would you know what Rapoport was doing in Dallas for example?

3.)Have you interviewed Rapoport and asked him questions about what he was doing from day one which Lee was behind? Are you trying to tell me that a man like Max Rapoport had no ideas of his own? He was a doer and a man full of initiative. How many times I heard him scold elders for trying to imitate Witness Lee and being so worried about the form rather than the results. I was right with him on this. It is a reflection on the elders if they feel the need to check in with headquarters.

4.)I guess I missed it. Please remind me what specifically was good about the LSC.

5.)It would be interesting to know what you think is good about the RC. Could you enlighten me?

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:18 AM   #79
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Thanks, Hope, for your summary and definitive "answer." That was a good overview.

My issue on this local ground matter is two-fold. First, I think the teaching shipwrecks Christians, or at least spoils them to any other experience. I mean spoils in a bad way. Local grounders seem quite unwilling to consider that the experience they had way back when could be comparable to any non-local ground experience today. They seem like fuddy-duddies. Though I'm sure they see themselves as pure and faithful and of a high standard.

Obviously, I use words like "crank" and "fuddy-duddy" to be a bit provocative. But honestly it's what I see when I listen to local grounders. It's interesting that local grounders often harken to the good old days of the LC movement--presumably in order to cement a connection between their local ground doctrine and that experience--but they forget that a leading value of those days was to be "fresh and living" and "not religious."

But few things sound more plodding, lifeless and religious than someone arguing that the boundaries of a city must be the boundaries of a church. I mean, no offense, but did anyone read Gubei's arguments for the local ground? They sounded like an LSM accountant had escaped his office and started writing for AFaithfulWord.org.

My second issue is that I'm totally fascinated about how no one can answer any practical questions about the teaching. It's kind of fun to keep asking the same questions and keep getting no answers. The longer the silence the more I'm convinced I have a valid point.

Do I seem a bit rude? If so, please forgive me, but I don't think my rudeness is anything compared to the crime of those who would torpedo Christians' perfectly valid corporate experiences in the name of a teaching they can't even answer any practical questions about.
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:37 AM   #80
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Your statistical data Igzy really doesn’t carry any weight with me. There are 100’s of millions of Catholics today that believe we should pray to Mary….does that make it true. Down the road from me there is an area jokingly called “the devils triangle” because it has a large Morman “church”…a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom hall and a Seventh day Adventist “church” all within a few blocks of each other. Ten’s of millions of people all believing very different things. Does their numbers give credibility to what they are?
The matter of all the believers in a city in the NT has way more evidence than the flip side. Why don’t you start using the scriptures to prove that many so called churches in a city is God’s will. I’d like to see it. All you can do is point out a few random mentionings of “the church in the house”….an extremely weak argument.
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:49 AM   #81
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Hope I think it is clear from my posts in this forum and elsewhere that I have done my homework.

(For any poster interested: the Rapoports live in Riverside, CA and I'm sure with some effort you can find their contact information and ask them for yourselves.)

I guess you did miss it Hope. Below is not exhaustive:

1. good about the LCS: respect for Communion and having it once a week, hymnology, community life

2. good about RC: some of their theological work on Christology and the Trinity and other issues, their charitable work for the poor
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:00 AM   #82
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The matter of all the believers in a city in the NT has way more evidence than the flip side. Why don’t you start using the scriptures to prove that many so called churches in a city is God’s will. I’d like to see it. All you can do is point out a few random mentionings of “the church in the house”….an extremely weak argument.
Someone once pointed out that there are 26 references to city churches in the Bible and four references to house churches. Not sure if the numbers are correct but they'll do.

By way of a swan analogy, here's your logic, Oregon.
There are 26 white swans and 4 black swans, therefore there are only white swans.
Now that's a weak argument.

Secondly, please show me the verse than commands only one church in a city. Please don't show me patterns, especially ones which in order to work must leverage the white swan logic illustrated above. And that's a Biblical argument, whether you admit it or not.

Assuming there is one church per city: Where is it, where does it meet, who are the elders, how do we know? You can't answer these questions because your teaching is just a theoretical doctrine, it's not practical, even though it claims to be about practicality. How strange is that?

All you have, Oregon, is a way to say everyone else is wrong but you. Sure you can go on and on about how you think you are right and how you think the Bible backs you up till you turn blue, but you haven't given anyone anything, because you don't have a way to work it out. What's the point? Could it be your Bible interpretation is wrong, hmmmm?

Bottomline: If you can't tell people how to practically practice the local ground doctrine then please stop telling them to practice it. Doing so is an absurdity in case you can't figure it out for yourself.
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:19 AM   #83
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Your statistical data Igzy really doesn’t carry any weight with me. There are 100’s of millions of Catholics today that believe we should pray to Mary….does that make it true. Down the road from me there is an area jokingly called “the devils triangle” because it has a large Morman “church”…a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom hall and a Seventh day Adventist “church” all within a few blocks of each other. Ten’s of millions of people all believing very different things. Does their numbers give credibility to what they are?
Your analogy here doesn't really fit. I'm not talking about something a bunch of people believe in being true, because an even bigger number of people don't believe it. I'm talking about something which almost no one believes (the local ground). Surely that must mean something.

Give me another example of something that only .0024% of people believe in that is actually true.

Surely, if there were any important substance to the local ground teaching a lot more Christians would believe it by now. I mean, what do you think God is waiting for?
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:52 AM   #84
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Give me another example of something that only .0024% of people believe in that is actually true.
By the way, .0024% is 1 in 42,000. So you would have to come up with a belief, in addition to the local ground, which if you asked 42,000 people, no more than 1 would say they believe it. Or is the local ground teaching the only one?


And a general question: Have you ever really sat down and prayed about this teaching, and asked the Lord to show you whether it was valid? Or did you just accept it at face value the way I did and how I suspect most LCers did? You might consider praying about it.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:00 PM   #85
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There are 26 white swans and 4 black swans, therefore there are only white swans.
Or, put another way:
There are 26 white swans and 4 black swans, therefore all the black swans are white swans.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:11 PM   #86
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Don,

I generally concur with your assessment of the way things were back in the early days. But there has been something I recalled recently that the following quote brought back once again.
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Mike, when you came to the church in Dallas in 1973-74 can you recall George Whitington going around declaring “brother Lee said?” I cannot. Igzy down in Austin did you hear George spouting “Brother Lee said?” How about Don Looper?

...

Witness Lee never referred to himself as an apostle. He shunned being so addressed.
I cannot say that I heard a lot of “Bother Lee said” but the status of Brothers Lee and Nee as apostles was made clear enough. How can I say this? Within about 2 months of severing ties with the AOG (which I have elsewhere identified as essentially Jan 1, 1973) I was asked to take several things we had found around the house that belonged to First Assembly back up to the church. There I ran into a couple of guys who worked with the youth, including an intern from the AOG school down in Waxahachie. I made some comment to them about following today’s apostles.

You must understand that by this time, we had been truly “in” the LC no more than 2 months, and had visited some, mostly Sunday evenings, for 2 or 3 months prior to that. There was nothing in my upbringing that would have caused me to think in terms of present-day apostles. So it could have only come from the LC within that short time. I don’t think I had ever seen Benson. There was only you and George and whoever else (that I can’t remember) as leading ones in Dallas. Is it possible that it was just in the testimonies and not challenged? I'm pretty sure that I would not have said this based on hearing it once in a private conversation unless that person had been rather substantial.

In relative terms, you are probably right that things were not as extreme as they quickly became after that, but I think that everyone’s memory about how pure a lot of it was is flawed. If nothing else, this one example says so.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:14 PM   #87
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Things did change as the years progressed. 1974-1975 has always stood out in my memory as the beginning of the decline.
Oregon, that's been my belief. My experience is quite different and for various reasons. After the summer training of 1974, my family suffered an upheaval. The family life became secondary to "the ministry".

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Old 01-28-2009, 01:35 PM   #88
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Hello Mike,

At that time, it was WL who did not like to refer to himself as an apostle. I am sure many of the members in the church in Dallas would have refered to him as an apostle but not as "the apostle." What I do not recall is the standard of quoting WL or saying "brother Lee said." In my post, I did not say many of us did not consider him to be an apostle. I know I did but according to my definition as a traveling minister who preached the gospel, taught the Word of God, established churches and perfected the members that the members could function to build up the church.

I did not see an apostle as someone who had authority over churches. In fact as the authority of Witness Lee grew and also that of Benson Phillips I had a problem with what I heard being stated by many. The reason I can draw a line in our history is because seeing Benson or WL as having some kind of authority over several churches did not match my understanding of the teaching and practice of an assembly.

Please drop the thought of "how pure a lot of it was." I think that is the wrong adjective. I prefer just to attempt to report on the state of affairs not if they were pure or impure. We were surely imperfect in many ways.

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Old 01-28-2009, 02:27 PM   #89
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Someone once pointed out that there are 26 references to city churches in the Bible and four references to house churches. Not sure if the numbers are correct but they'll do.

Assuming there is one church per city: Where is it, where does it meet, who are the elders, how do we know? You can't answer these questions because your teaching is just a theoretical doctrine, it's not practical, even though it claims to be about practicality. How strange is that?

All you have, Oregon, is a way to say everyone else is wrong but you. Sure you can go on and on about how you think you are right and how you think the Bible backs you up till you turn blue, but you haven't given anyone anything, because you don't have a way to work it out. What's the point? Could it be your Bible interpretation is wrong, hmmmm?

Bottomline: If you can't tell people how to practically practice the local ground doctrine then please stop telling them to practice it. Doing so is an absurdity in case you can't figure it out for yourself.
Igzy,

A few thoughts for you to consider. Have you ever discussed the concept of one church one city with a catholic clergy? In one of my conversations this came up. The catholic priest said that is what the RC believes and practices. Each city has one bishop. The one bishop represents the one church in that city. Thus you cannot have more than one bishop per city. This idea does seem to be similar to your concept about the one church per city being tied to one eldership per city.

You have pointed out in another post how this teaching of one church one city has damaged some believers. You pointed out that it spoiled them for fellowship etc with other Christians or Christian groups.

Please journey back with me to the days we talked about paying attention to Life and not right and wrong. On several occassions with the young people on the college campus' in the Dallas area and with the church, I spoke about others may be actually keeping the oneness of the Spirit and practicing the reality of the local church and we can be in the mere dead letter and actually be practicing division. In Austin, were you ever admonished in this way?

Finally for now. I have found this teaching to be very practical and very easy. It is almost like falling off a log. You just meet in the Lord's name only. Receive all whom God has received. That is all believers in the Savior Redeemer Son of God Jesus Christ. If some of the believers want to eat meat and some do not, then let Christ be their Lord. If some are weak then bear them up and assist them in whatever way you can. Do not quit on folks just because they go through a hard time.

The leadership seems to take care of itself and we do not need any little lords anyway. Everyday you need the Living Christ and the active Lordship of Christ to keep you going. It is really no worries mate. It is very simple, sort of like Rom 14:17-19, for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. NASB

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Old 01-28-2009, 02:47 PM   #90
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I grappled much with the thought of one city one church after all the contention we passed through.

Once in a meeting I addressed it in this manner.

There is one church in the city. There are many fellowships within that one church breaking bread within the city, they gather according to their revelation from Christ. The particular fellowship we are participating in is a small fraction of that one church. We meet as we do because we feel we have received a particular commission from the Lord which we are to carry out in this city. We receive whoever the Lord has received into our fellowship, with no other requirement other than regeneration, and the members are free to participate in whatever fellowship they believe brings spiritual profit to them.

Basically we see the oneness of all the believers in this city.
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:20 PM   #91
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Which city are you referring to Norm i.e. the city where God has given you a commission to carry out?
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:04 AM   #92
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Finally for now. I have found this teaching to be very practical and very easy. It is almost like falling off a log. You just meet in the Lord's name only. Receive all whom God has received. That is all believers in the Savior Redeemer Son of God Jesus Christ. If some of the believers want to eat meat and some do not, then let Christ be their Lord. If some are weak then bear them up and assist them in whatever way you can. Do not quit on folks just because they go through a hard time.
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There is one church in the city. There are many fellowships within that one church breaking bread within the city, they gather according to their revelation from Christ. The particular fellowship we are participating in is a small fraction of that one church. We meet as we do because we feel we have received a particular commission from the Lord which we are to carry out in this city. We receive whoever the Lord has received into our fellowship, with no other requirement other than regeneration, and the members are free to participate in whatever fellowship they believe brings spiritual profit to them.
I wanted to address these two together.

To Hope, this is pretty much what I believe and practice. If we recognize the oneness of the Body and receive all believers and don't force our agenda on anyone and pray that the Lord causes us to love God and love people to work out the salvation of the lost and the building up of believers then things work out pretty well in my experience. When you do this you find the church everywhere, you see and experience the universal church (sorry, YP) in a local and practical way.

When you have such a mindset, you still see some of the shortcomings of "Christianity" but they don't blind you to the wonderful things God is doing among his people because you don't have an organizational agenda to impose on everyone (i.e. one organized church per city) and to judge them by.

This is in keeping with the way the Lord describes "the kingdom of heaven" in his parables. Alongside his heavenly, perfect descriptions he gave earthy, imperfect descriptions. And it's interesting that he didn't say, "Now this is bad and this is good." He just described. We can appreciate the heavenly aspects of his Church while recognizing the shortcomings.

To Norm, this is kind of what Gubei said, that there is one church per city expressed in many assemblies. But I'm not sure there is much difference between saying this and saying "There is one universal Church on earth and many assemblies," except that it gets confusing when you ask, "Okay, is our group a genuine church?" However, I think I understand that this is a natural stepping stone for someone who has been under LC influence.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:06 AM   #93
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

I once met in a Bible study with some people at work. One of the believers there was a Christian whose beliefs forced him to believe none of the rest of us were saved. I asked him once, "You don't think we are saved, yet you are experiencing fellowship with us. How can that be?" He couldn't answer.

Die-hard local grounders who have left LSM are kind of like that. They've split from the one church in the city, and so have violated the "oneness," yet they still hold out for one church per city. Yet they realize they must "go on" somehow, and so make the best of where they are. Eventually, like Norm, some concede that they must modifiy their views because necessity demands it.

The theoretical model of one church per city does them no good, someone else already claims to be that church. So they must either claim the title themselves and discount the rival, find an unoccupied city, or simply live and let live.

The first option is arrogant, the second is stupid, the third denies the local ground teaching. So pick your poison, I guess.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:30 AM   #94
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When you do this you find the church everywhere, you see and experience the universal church (sorry, YP) in a local and practical way.
I'm OK with this phrasing, Igzy.

I know you really mean the Body of Christ.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:41 AM   #95
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The first option is arrogant, the second is stupid, the third denies the local ground teaching.
OK, maybe we're getting somewhere here at last.

How is "live and let live" a denial of "the local ground teaching" as articulated by Norm as "we see the oneness of all the believers in this city"?

Isn't he essentially saying, we live and let live because we are all one assembly here?

Norm, correct me if I've misunderstood you.

I mean, isn't it at least preferable if not incumbent upon all the denominations in an area to emphasize interdenominational activities over celebration of divisive doctrines?

That's clearly not the Local Church definition of localism, of course, but if the Jews in Corinth only meet with the Jews and the Greeks in Corinth only meet with the Greeks, does Paul err if he writes "to the assembly of God which is in Corinth"?
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:51 AM   #96
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OK, maybe we're getting somewhere here at last.

How is "live and let live" a denial of "the local ground teaching" as articulated by Norm as "we see the oneness of all the believers in this city"?

Isn't he essentially saying, we live and let live because we are all one assembly here?
It's not a denial of Norm's modified view. It's a denial of the traditional LC teaching, that says all Christians in a city should be following one set of elders who stand on the ground of locality.

My point was that the necessity of "going on" forces a denial of the teaching, even though people like Oregon who have left LSM and possibly their local LSM church, seem to cling to it. So it seems the teaching is somewhat absurd, sort of like my friend who had fellowship with Christians even though he thought they weren't saved.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:41 AM   #97
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It's not a denial of Norm's modified view. It's a denial of the traditional LC teaching, that says all Christians in a city should be following one set of elders who stand on the ground of locality.
I'm not at all interested in contrived claims of spiritual authority or divisive doctrines and practices, so, the Local Church can keep that stuff for their own amusement. But the sorts of things that would happen behind every Billy Graham crusade are what come to mind for me at this point and the fact that the Local Church people would cluck their tongues and stand apart and aloof in that context kinda proves how far off the mark they've gone.

If you think you've got something great to contribute to the Body of Christ, you should do so and not judge Another's household servant who is doing their best under the light and leading they've received.

And definitely don't do it in a way to just build up your own separate version of "universal church"!
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:48 AM   #98
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YP0534,

Let me put "live and let live" in Scriptural terms: "be faithful to the heavenly vision" you feel you have received of the Lord; and, "do not judge your brothers" or "do not beat your fellow slaves" if they appear to walk according to a different vision, give them the liberty to walk before the Lord as you exercise that liberty in your walk.

For one we will each stand before the Lord and He will judge use according to what He had committed to each of us individually. I need to bring forth fruit that will please Him in that day and also pray that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would be empowered to do the same.

If Christ has place them in the Body where it pleases Him who am I to show displeasure at His preference.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:15 AM   #99
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I agree with Norm's view on this issue and I think many other Christians would too i.e. all Christians in a city are one church and to think they will all come together under one admin and one kind of expression is ludicrous. However they may come together to do various work projects e.g. help with an evangelical city wide campaign etc. However this leads to question: it would seem to me that calling a group, for example, "the church in Detroit" would imply to many including myself that those in that particular group and their admin think they are the only group with any legitimacy in a city. If it does not imply this what does it imply?
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:55 AM   #100
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djohnson,

By now there are probably 100s of groups in the USA and around the globe that use this terminology. I have met ones from "the church in Livonia", "the church in Grand Rapids", "the church in Port Huron", "the church in Wellington", and others. They do not feel that "they are the only group with any legitimacy in a city." They only feel that from the Scriptures that is how they should refer to themselves. They have never been in the LC/LSM system.

That this would "imply to many including myself that those in that particular group and their admin think they are the only group with any legitimacy in a city" tells me something. One, either, they themselves were in the LC/LSM system at one time, had a bad experience, and now flip out whenever they hear the term. Or, number two, they were never in the LLC/LSM system but had a run-in with them in the past, touched there exclusive attitude and this has left them with a bad taste for the terminology.

I doubt if outside of that any would have a reaction to the term. Otherwise, why would so many groups be willing to take the designation to describe themselves and yet maintain open mutual fellowship with other Christian groups and be received by other Christian groups? Check out this web site http://www.cng.org/Greetings.htm

Only when you have run into the body of teaching and the deformed practices of those in the LC/LSM system would you arrive at such a conclusion that the phrase "the church in (city) is exclusive. It is the toxic additives to the phrase that turn believers off.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:40 AM   #101
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djohnson,

Many have passed through our gatherings in the last two years, I doubt if any would go away with the feelings you are describing.

I also meet with a number of Christians in the area and they know the designation we use at our place of fellowship and they have no problem with it. They are happy to invite me to their fellowship functions and some times I participate.

It is really enjoyable when the toxic elements can be discharged.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:47 AM   #102
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Norm I am happy and encouraged to hear of your positive experiences with other Christians.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:32 PM   #103
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Norm is probably too modest to point this out, but he gives a great summary of his beliefs on the local ground at the beginning of this audio message, at least the website says it's Norm:

http://www.churchindetroit.org/audio/Norm%20Minahan_Gospel%20to%20one_2008_09_07.mp3

Be sure to right click and choose "Save Target As...", save the file on you computer, then open it in your audio player.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:02 AM   #104
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I doubt if outside of that any would have a reaction to the term. Otherwise, why would so many groups be willing to take the designation to describe themselves and yet maintain open mutual fellowship with other Christian groups and be received by other Christian groups? Check out this web site http://www.cng.org/Greetings.htm
Norm, I appreciated the link you've provided. It is encouraging to know there are other places endeavoring to meet by the New Testament pattern. Not all the Church in ______ have had origins in the recovery.

A question I'd like to pose to the forum is suppose you see a church in LSM fellowship really has LSM as the ground rather than locality. Is it proper to seek to re-establish the proper ground of locality and generality in that same city or town?
I am curious what everyone else's opinion on the topic is.

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Old 02-08-2009, 06:42 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Terry;5716...
A question I'd like to pose to the forum is suppose you see a church in LSM fellowship really has LSM as the ground rather than locality. Is it proper to seek to re-establish the proper ground of locality and generality in that same city or town?
I am curious what everyone else's opinion on the topic is. Terry

I wouldn't try, unless you ENJOY lawsuits...or the Lord has clearly spoken to you to do so.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:35 AM   #106
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I wouldn't try, unless you ENJOY lawsuits...or the Lord has clearly spoken to you to do so.
No, I wouldn't. Only recommend to seek other Christians who meet in the New Testament pattern.

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Old 02-08-2009, 10:58 AM   #107
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Terry,

I understand your preference for meeting around no externally ordained creed, distinctives, etc. But when we say “according to the New Testament pattern,” are we saying that we meet, or are we saying that we meet somewhat the way the Local Churches did before the corruption surfaced and made it clearly unholy?

If you mean that we meet, then it is not hard to find people all over any city — small or large — who meet. You may argue that each grouping takes on some preference of doctrine or practice, but doesn’t the group that seeks to act like the first century Christians with small numbers have a preference relative to other groups, and relative to the century in which they live?

I am not saying that would be a bad thing for those who so desire. I am saying that it is merely one more “way to meet” with a less-defined but no less real doctrinal preference in a sea of other such groups. The unity is not in giving up your preference on what you will focus your practice and what doctrines you do not want to argue about (the reason for the separation is not to fight about doctrine, but to avoid the fight about doctrines), but it is found in the understanding that those who choose to meet differently and understand certain doctrines differently are still your Christian brothers and sisters with whom you can have fellowship and even join in communion at any assembly.

If we think that our way is better than others to the extent that we consider them poor Christians (or not at all) or if we think our position on certain doctrines makes us better than the others, then we have a problem. But I am willing to argue some point of doctrine with you, then when we have finished without either budging, take you to dinner and pay the tab, followed by going to meet at either place and partaking of the Lord’s table. (I may admit to having a problem with partaking in a RCC place, but that may be something I need to deal with as much as I think they need to deal with it. I’m not sure.)

The only reason I go through this discussion (actually repeated several times in different ways over the past years) is that I see in some people the sense that, although the LC as we knew it is no more, many still believe that the general way they met is somehow “God ordained” and would argue that as a point of contention. I believe that even having that thought undermines the very claim of what they think meeting their way would bring — unity. Unless all Christians everywhere agree at once, it can only bring division because it set itself up against all others.

Meet that way if you choose. Be clear that it is a preference. Do not hold it as a yardstick against your brothers and sisters. Be at peace with all men, especially those of the household of faith.

Last, for everyone reading, I am not really arguing wtih Terry. While I do not know exactly how he stands, I am not presuming that this is to somehow correct him, but to add an additional angle to the "ground of locality" discussion by springing from his words.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:49 PM   #108
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I understand your preference for meeting around no externally ordained creed, distinctives, etc. But when we say “according to the New Testament pattern,” are we saying that we meet, or are we saying that we meet somewhat the way the Local Churches did before the corruption surfaced and made it clearly unholy?

The only reason I go through this discussion (actually repeated several times in different ways over the past years) is that I see in some people the sense that, although the LC as we knew it is no more, many still believe that the general way they met is somehow “God ordained” and would argue that as a point of contention.
OBW, when I say New Testament pattern it is in the receiving unconditionally. I'm sure there are some assemblies where receiving is conditional upon becoming an official member of that assembly. In the LSM based local churches, receiving is conditional based on ones standing with the eldership.
This ground of locality remains an emphasis for some. That there are assemblies that take a name which is considered meeting in division. Same can be said for assemblies that don't take a name. An insistence on a certain flavor.
When you or I say to take the ground of locality, what exactly does that mean? You have to take the name of "the Church in ______". To call an assembly "the Ecclesia in _____" or the "______ Assembly" are considered to be taking a name? I still go back to a post on another thread where each assembly that has a tax id has to be registered by a name.

http://dor.wa.gov/content/doingbusin...ty=#brdResults

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Old 02-09-2009, 05:16 AM   #109
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When you or I say to take the ground of locality, what exactly does that mean? You have to take the name of "the Church in ______". To call an assembly "the Ecclesia in _____" or the "______ Assembly" are considered to be taking a name? I still go back to a post on another thread where each assembly that has a tax id has to be registered by a name.
It is not obvious whether you are taking a position just asking questions. And I like where those questions lead. So, not necessarily to you but to any who argue a “ground” requirement, if the first assembly of any type in the city of Dallas was of a flavor or doctrinal/practical slant that we would call Methodist, or even RCC, then does their existence in the city, whether with or without name except to the extent necessary to register with the government, make them “the church” for that city? Are they, by definition, the church in Dallas and every other group that starts up afterwards a division? Add to that fact that the city of Dallas as we now know it grew from a small community on the Trinity River to encompass the majority of a county that is nearly 900 square miles plus a little of the county to the North. As it grew, it took in smaller communities, even some that were organized cities. Would the one assembly in Renner, which we will argue looked very Baptist as we know it cease to exist and become part of that Methodist-looking group in Dallas when it voted to join and become part of Dallas? Even if they maintain their separate meeting places and styles, does the Renner group relinquish its separate charter, bank account, and elders to be subservient to the original Dallas group, or at least to be a joint operator of this single enterprise? If their separate styles and meetings are OK as long as they are functionally one (as all Christians should be) does the separate existence of the groups change the nature of the relationship, or just provide something for a “oneness” theology to complain about as they seek to proselytize all others to their way?

My problem with the “ground of the church” being anything except Christ is that any other required ground is sectarian. Any claim of standing for all Christians in a city is hollow if you are refusing to actually stand with at least part of what is already there, but instead separate one more time to create the latest group in town then argue that everyone else should do the same and come to you. Whether that new group aligns behind the person of Witness Lee, or merely aligns behind a doctrine of one practical church/assembly per city, the basis is not Christ, but some other doctrine, teaching, or teacher.

Further, while much is said about being one in Christ, scripture never says that we are to be one in city. It says the church is built on Christ, not on dirt, boundaries, or politics. No matter how you sell it, the “ground of the church” as taught be Lee was an extrapolation from verses that prescribed nothing, were not the only ones describing the term “church” (we see churches in cities, houses, and even some translations refer to the whole of Judea and say “church” in the singular), and do not provide any indication that there is anything that the church is built upon but Christ. Lee was fond of saying that a foundation must be on the ground somewhere, so he used the “to the church in” verses to claim that it was declared to be cities. But the scripture only requires a foundation of Christ. There is nothing beneath that in terms of a metaphor of a building. If we need to have some ground below the foundation, then it must also be Christ because Christ is not held up by something else — dirt, ground, or cities — but He is the one thing that upholds the entirety of the universe, both physically and spiritually.

I will acknowledge that some groups do require that you actually be a member of their congregation, or at least their denomination, to partake of communion. But other than being told that is true, I do not know which groups those are. So for those who like to point to that as the reason that Christianity is divisive and the LC is not, your point is made upon what might be argued to be exceptions rather than the rule.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:03 AM   #110
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

As I've asked before I like to ask again: How many people here who lean toward believing in the local ground teaching have spent any appreciable time praying to God asking Him to shed light on the teaching? And how many simply have taken Lee's doctrine and run with it?

As I've asked before: How many really have a clue as to how to practice this teaching? And how many got that clue from God as a result of praying to him about it?

As I've asked before many times: If there is only one practical church in the city, where are the practical elders and how do you know who they are?

Even though many local grounders have probably barely prayed about the doctrine, I have to presume that if they moved to a city with two groups claiming to meet "on the ground" they would have no choice but to pray to ask God which one to meet with.

But suppose both you and I prayed and each of us got different leadings as to which group to meet with. Now where does your belief in one practical church stand?


Either:
  1. I got the wrong leading, in which case you have to form an opinion that I am wrong and therefore divisive.
  2. You got the wrong leading. (How you resolve that is up to you.)
  3. There is some third group both of us missed.
  4. The "truth" of the doctrine is not the truth you thought it was.
A believer in the one practical church per city teaching has no choice but to presume that everyone must be led to meet under the same set of elders. Therefore, he must either reject the leading others get which conflicts with his, or he must put into doubt the whole idea of the veracity of one practical church per city. There is no middle ground.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:28 AM   #111
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Either:
  1. I got the wrong leading, in which case you have to form an opinion that I am wrong and therefore divisive.
  2. You got the wrong leading. (How you resolve that is up to you.)
  3. There is some third group both of us missed.
  4. The "truth" of the doctrine is not the truth you thought it was.
Since the one practical church per city doctrine forces the adherent to reject others' personal leadings of which group to meet with which conflict with the one he holds to be correct, the doctrine is by its very nature sectarian. The adherent cannot both believe that he is following the right eldership and honor the leading of someone else in the city who feels led to follow another eldership, even if both elderships meet on the "ground," because there can be only one practical church and so only one practical eldership. So the adherent must either at some level consider all others divisive, or admit that he is still not clear who the eldership is, or reject the doctrine of one practical church per city.

So either all others are sectarian, or the local ground adherent is sectarian. Again, there can be no middle ground.
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:01 PM   #112
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So either all others are sectarian, or the local ground adherent is sectarian. Again, there can be no middle ground.
What determines the local ground? Where I live there is no Church in _____. There are community churches, _____ Bible Church, etc. Hypothetically, I would need to blend with the local church in the community where I live. In the past brothers and sisters who live in cities/towns where there is no Church in _____, they will drive 20-30 minutes to the nearest Church in _____. Those that observe the ground of locality, wouldn't that be denominational? A claim to meet on the ground of locality, but one won't meet with Christians in one's community. To really practice on meeting on this ground of locality, one would need to set aside concepts and ministry preferences and meet in the community one lives. Anything other makes the local ground a sectarian practice.

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Old 02-09-2009, 01:34 PM   #113
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Since the one practical church per city doctrine forces the adherent to reject others' personal leadings of which group to meet with which conflict with the one he holds to be correct, the doctrine is by its very nature sectarian. The adherent cannot both believe that he is following the right eldership and honor the leading of someone else in the city who feels led to follow another eldership, even if both elderships meet on the "ground," because there can be only one practical church and so only one practical eldership. So the adherent must either at some level consider all others divisive, or admit that he is still not clear who the eldership is, or reject the doctrine of one practical church per city.

So either all others are sectarian, or the local ground adherent is sectarian. Again, there can be no middle ground.
...Or everyone is wrong. Seems to me that, by the very nature of being divided, or chosing to separate oneself from the "mainstream," there is no way to consider oneself "undivided." it's a double-edged sword: Either you accept that all of Christendom is divided and believe that God honors that, or commit the same perceived sin of dividing yourself by standing on a "ground," a principal of unity which you believe is true.

The only solution, then, is doing what the Roman Catholic Church has advocated Protestants do for centuries: Return to the "Mother" church. Of course we all know that won't work. So what did the Roman Church do to rectify that problem: In recent history they simply said, "They are all part of the Roman church, whether they acknowledge it or not."
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Old 02-09-2009, 03:17 PM   #114
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...
The only solution, then, is doing what the Roman Catholic Church has advocated Protestants do for centuries: Return to the "Mother" church. Of course we all know that won't work. So what did the Roman Church do to rectify that problem: In recent history they simply said, "They are all part of the Roman church, whether they acknowledge it or not."
Welcome tasteslikegold,

I don't know how 'recent' the RCC made this statement..but in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI publicly said Christian denominations outside the Roman Catholic Church were NOT full churches of Jesus Christ. He added the churches are "wounded" since they do not recognize the primacy of the pope.

Does it have an errie ring to it or not?
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:00 PM   #115
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Welcome tasteslikegold,

I don't know how 'recent' the RCC made this statement..but in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI publicly said Christian denominations outside the Roman Catholic Church were NOT full churches of Jesus Christ. He added the churches are "wounded" since they do not recognize the primacy of the pope.

Does it have an errie ring to it or not?
An eerie ring? Not really, since most, if not all, Christians groups recognize among themselves some form of supremacy over others, and use them as means of criticizing those other groups. In our battle against the enemy there are far more casualties as the result of "friendly fire."

I was actually referring to the "Dominus Iesus," in which it states the following:
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The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity — rooted in the apostolic succession53 — between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church: “This is the single Church of Christ... which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth' (1 Tim 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.54 With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57

17. Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.58 The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.59 Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.60
With regard to the bolded portions, it appears what this is saying is, "although we are the true church, the 'churches' [ie, all who are not Catholic] are connected to us." Despite the obvious offensiveness of the statement that the churches "suffer from defects" the RCC is acknowledging the fact that Protestants derive our "fullness of grace" from them.
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“Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.66
(SOURCE: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/co...-iesus_en.html )
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:10 PM   #116
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...since most, if not all, Christians groups recognize among themselves some form of supremacy over others, and use them as means of criticizing those other groups. In our battle against the enemy there are far more casualties as the result of "friendly fire."
tasteslikegold, you are aware that this is 2009, and not 1959? Seriously, Witness Lee's ranting about "Christianity" may have had some (and I mean some) basis in reality back 50 years ago, but what Local Churchers don't seem to realize is that while Lee and his followers spent the past 4 or 5 decades hunkered down in their meeting halls, spinning their wheels, "poor, poor Christianity" has been preaching the real gospel to millions upon millions in every corner of the earth, feeding the hungry, teaching the Word and just in general attempting to fulfill the Great Commission.

Over the past 15 years or so, I have been in many different churches of all different stripes, flavors and sizes, and I have not run into ONE SINGLE church or church group or ministry that "recognize among themselves some form of supremacy over others". This kind of thought is absolutely foreign to every Christian Church or ministry that I have come in contact with since leaving the Local Church.

Yes, in the wider "battlefield" of the world around us there is some "friendly fire" among Christians, and this is indeed unfortunate. But it is is more of an exception then the rule. Your Roman Catholic Church stuff is a big, fat red herring.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:22 AM   #117
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Frankly, UntoHim, I am alarmed at the hostile tone of your response. Am I your enemy? Have I done something to offend you? Honestly, I think that if some amount of profit is to come to either of us through our discourse together, a mutual respect and courtesy for one another should be laid as a foundation. Otherwise, neither of us will convince the other of their argument, or even so much as a single point.

Now, while, you may certainly have experienced a wide variety of "churches" over the past 15 years, I would trust that you have not experienced all of the estimated 40,000+ Christian denominations/ministries in the world. So your comment cannot speak to the general condition of the whole of Christendom. I would venture to guess that while your experience of Christendom has been quite rosy, others' experiences may not have been. The number of years you have experienced the wonderful, positive and all-inclusive messages of the ministries you explored over the past 15 years are no more or less valid than someone else who has been soured on messages from various Christian groups over the same course of time.

Besides, the law of entropy and the principal of apostasy present in the earth run against your argument. From 1959 to present, in general, things have gotten worse, not better, in Christendom. Just check the statistics concerning the number of confessed Christians in Western society that believe in a literal heaven/hell, and who read their Bibles regularly. I'd be happy to cite some of those if you like.

BTW: Actually what you deem to be a "big fat red herring," is only a minor aside from the main point I made above with regard to denominations. That would make your comment here a "red herring," unless you specifically address my argument.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:26 AM   #118
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His tone is no better, no worse than yours.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:13 AM   #119
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His tone is no better, no worse than yours.
I appreciate your feedback. Do you have any opinion on the subject matter I presented?
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:17 AM   #120
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Frankly, UntoHim, I am alarmed at the hostile tone of your response. Am I your enemy? Have I done something to offend you?
Not to worry, don't confuse my over-the-top, colorful language with a "hostile tone". No we are not enemies, we are just two members of a discussion forum discussing!

Quote:
...I would trust that you have not experienced all of the estimated 40,000+ Christian denominations/ministries in the world.
Of course not. But I would trust that if I have "experienced" 20, then that is about 19 1/2 more then the average Local Churcher. Look, I listen to Christian radio, watch a little tv, read magazines and papers, obviously I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet and yes I even visit (gasp!) churches on an occasional basis, all to "keep in touch" with whats going on out there. The fellowship I attend only has a few hundred believers and that is only a very small percentage of the Christians in my metro area, much less the whole country or world.

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So your comment cannot speak to the general condition of the whole of Christendom.
And neither did Witness Lee's, nor yours. Oh, and just keep in mind that if there is something called "Christendom" then The Local Church IS PART OF IT. If there is something called "Christianity" then The Local Church IS PART OF IT.

Quote:
Besides, the law of entropy and the principal of apostasy present in the earth run against your argument.
And I suppose that The Local Church has been able to escape the affects of this law and this principal? I'm sure you have been following along over the past number of years - the more people get to know the history of the Local Church, the more we find out just how much the law of entropy and the principal of apostasy has affected the movement from the very beginning. But this is taking us off topic.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:35 AM   #121
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Igzy:
As I've asked before I like to ask again: How many people here who lean toward believing in the local ground teaching have spent any appreciable time praying to God asking Him to shed light on the teaching? And how many simply have taken Lee's doctrine and run with it?

As I've asked before: How many really have a clue as to how to practice this teaching? And how many got that clue from God as a result of praying to him about it?

As I've asked before many times: If there is only one practical church in the city, where are the practical elders and how do you know who they are?

Hi all,
Just some observations about my experiences concerning the "ground." For me it has passed from a requirement to an aspiration.

In my time before the Lord, as long as I aspire to meet with all christians in my community, a sweet fellowship confirms this is pleasing to the Holy Spirit. I believe this simple blessing is based on the reality that is present in such gatherings: we are not in any position either over or under one another, but equal in our position as believers with Christ as our head.

As soon as I consider "the ground," I may feel I have something, but what I have places me above others of my brothers and sisters and when such a thought is allowed to remain, the sweet fellowship vanishes. I may have the teaching, but if reality has not come into being yet, the teaching becomes empty and divisive.

The fact is that as long as there are different groups within a city, the reality of the ground cannot be realized; and therefore can only aspired to. As long as there is a claim of the ground, it immediatly dissolves any attempt at oneness with all the believers of that city.

"The ground" is not an impossible dream however, for if a community practices the aspiration of all believers being one in a city, it is possible to see "the ground" taken in that city, but this will not happen by teaching, only by the reality of the Spirit manifest in all the belivers of that city.

To sum up then, The "ground" will not be taken by a teaching, but by the practice of each believer yielding to the Spirit in simplicity and generality.

Shawn

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Old 02-10-2009, 02:27 PM   #122
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To sum up then, The "ground" will not be taken by a teaching, but by the practice of each believer yielding to the Spirit in simplicity and generality.

Shawn
Thank you Shawn.
I have been attacked by many sides over "the ground".
For me it was always a simple teaching that all believers are one...from God's point of view.
I've had people take me aside and say..."Do you believe in THE GROUND?" A simple yes from me would draw furtive eye rolling.

It's all from God's perspective and I don't have all of that yet.

When God looks at us He sees the blood...not our name.

In Him we are one...period.

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Old 02-10-2009, 03:45 PM   #123
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Igzy:

As I've asked before: How many really have a clue as to how to practice this teaching? And how many got that clue from God as a result of praying to him about it?

As I've asked before many times: If there is only one practical church in the city, where are the practical elders and how do you know who they are?

Hi all,
Just some observations about my experiences concerning the "ground." For me it has passed from a requirement to an aspiration.
In my time before the Lord, as long as I aspire to meet with all christians in my community, a sweet fellowship confirms this is pleasing to the Holy Spirit.
Hi Shawn,

You expressed yourself very well. Now..do you read Lee's material pretty much exclusively? Do you listen to Christian Radio..or watch Christian TV...(And I'm not saying EVERYTHING in CR or CTV is good. Some of it is HORRIBLE and makes me wonder how some of it gets on there!) But among your home group fellowship meetings, do you exclusively read from the HWMR or the RcV. Have you ever taken a book on the Holy Spirit...or the Blood or any topic you wish to fellowship over..that is not LEE or Nee?

And please don't think I'm saying for you NOT to read from the HWMR or Lee's footnotes..or books..but God didn't speak or write solely through Lee!
...and in fact, if you begin to study the Word of God in depth, you will find SOME of Lee's teachings are incorrect. If you discovered something that was incorrect, would you feel free to fellowship and discuss it without you being labeled divisive ? I've brought up some things I have respectfully disagreed with regarding a particular subject matter taught by Lee & the response I get is "For the sake of ONENESS...it doesn't matter whose right..we are just ONE."

Well...that's scary.

Sometimes I'll share something the Lord has shown ME on a given scriptures and the LC person will check the footnotes on the RcV on what Lee had to say...and then it's like " THAT'S EXACTLY what the footnote says!' Oh Please. Well...what if Lee wrote something different..and he's wrong?

See...this is what we're challenging: the Lee mentality....the practicality of the church in 'one city' is fine as long as it's done the Lee's way..using the RcV and the HWMR..and the webcasts, and trainings, and conferences.

What if a brother invited you to a Christian conference..that had nothing to do with the LC. Would you go with a receiving spirit? Would you even GO?..with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. "I'll go to your meeting if you come to mine"
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:52 PM   #124
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Of course not. But I would trust that if I have "experienced" 20, then that is about 19 1/2 more then the average Local Churcher.
I think that's a presumption sourced in bias. What makes you think that "the average local churcher" is less "churched" than you?

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Look, I listen to Christian radio, watch a little tv, read magazines and papers, obviously I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet and yes I even visit (gasp!) churches on an occasional basis, all to "keep in touch" with whats going on out there. The fellowship I attend only has a few hundred believers and that is only a very small percentage of the Christians in my metro area, much less the whole country or world
I don't see your point. Are you saying that somehow, by virtue of your listening to Christian radio, watching television, reading papers, etc., you are more "in touch" with the world than the "average local churcher?" What basis do you have for forming such a high opinion?

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And neither did Witness Lee's, nor yours. Oh, and just keep in mind that if there is something called "Christendom" then The Local Church IS PART OF IT. If there is something called "Christianity" then The Local Church IS PART OF IT.
Sorry....I don't recall where I made the argument that the local church is not a part of Christendom. I'm sure that you are aware that the terms "Christendom" and "Christianity" have different connotations. "Christendom" is a term that generally refers to all Christians collectively, whereas "Christianity" refers to the religious system, with its various religious tenets, practices, etc. Whereas I believe that the local church - the local churches - are a part of Christendom inherently, I certainly do not blame them for wanting to differentiate themselves - even separate themselves - from the religious system called "Christianity."

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And I suppose that The Local Church has been able to escape the affects of this law and this principal?
I did not make that argument or point

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I'm sure you have been following along over the past number of years - the more people get to know the history of the Local Church, the more we find out just how much the law of entropy and the principal of apostasy has affected the movement from the very beginning. But this is taking us off topic
Of course it is, because you have an interest in doing so.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:36 PM   #125
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What makes you think that "the average local churcher" is less "churched" than you?
In the local churches it had been taught anything else is "Babylon", "illegitimate", "poor poor Christianity" etc. In the local churches everything from the Bible has been recovered so there is no need to look anywhere else.

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Old 02-10-2009, 09:42 PM   #126
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In the local churches it had been taught anything else is "Babylon", "illegitimate", "poor poor Christianity" etc. In the local churches everything from the Bible has been recovered so there is no need to look anywhere else.

Terry
Ah! So then that puts local churchers at a disadvantage?
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:01 AM   #127
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Ah! So then that puts local churchers at a disadvantage?

When it's NOT TRUE, yes...it puts the LC at a disadvantage...for the Anointing and the Presence of God is not there...only dead works..dead teachings from the pulpit of the LSM/LC.
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:54 AM   #128
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Hi CMW,

I am more the exception than the rule, I started a concecrated life at about the summer of '86 with an Inndependent Baptist group using the Scofield reference Bible (mainly the Brethern teaching), which led me very easily into brother Lee's expounding of the Word, around the winter of '88.

Since then I have been a LC'er going through whatever storms arose; but insulated from the direct corruptions as described by many that happened in the churches from CA and TX, as my home is Pittsburgh, PA.

I guess I have always appreciated brother Lee's ministry (and still do), but have never lost the realization that it is just one of many ministries given by God to perfect us. My concept has never been brought into question by my brother and sisters in Pittsburgh and, as such, has allowed me to have a healthy pursuing of our Lord, without the "LSM only" trappings.

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Old 02-11-2009, 07:16 AM   #129
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Hi CMW,

I am more the exception than the rule, I started a concecrated life at about the summer of '86 with an Inndependent Baptist group using the Scofield reference Bible (mainly the Brethern teaching), which led me very easily into brother Lee's expounding of the Word, around the winter of '88.

Since then I have been a LC'er going through whatever storms arose; but insulated from the direct corruptions as described by many that happened in the churches from CA and TX, as my home is Pittsburgh, PA.

I guess I have always appreciated brother Lee's ministry (and still do), but have never lost the realization that it is just one of many ministries given by God to perfect us. My concept has never been brought into question by my brother and sisters in Pittsburgh and, as such, has allowed me to have a healthy pursuing of our Lord, without the "LSM only" trappings.

Shawn
Thank you for your post Shawn. It was heartfelt. I, like many of us here, consecrated ourselves to the Lord Jesus while in the LC...& to the church. The problem most of us realized after we declared our consecration to the church..was that we are pledging our allegiance solely to Lee's ministry...not really to building up the entire body of Christ whereever we meet..or 'don't meet'. Of course, my experience there was not as harsh as others. Others did not have good experiences at all..especially if they were raised by parents in the LC.

So for me, as I've stated time & time again, I am very THANKful for having been saved in Christ Jesus through the LC ministry. It was my foundation in the Word and it was there I learned to fellowship & study the Word.

In MY opinion, had we just remained faithful to reading and studying the Word..without the emphasis of Brother Lee in everything, and without the puffed up attitude that the LC was better than poor, poor Chrisitianity..God could have used that ministry MIGHTILY.

Of course, Satan saw the threat to his career shortened and thus did everything to delay his judgment.

If more people would stop elevating men of God..or women of God and placing them on pedestals..God could use us all in a most Glorious Way..mightily..

Well...it is still in the works. God doesn't give up on us and we are not giving up on HIM! Praise the Lord.

He began a most excellent work in us, through our Salvation and the Blood of the Lamb, and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit on us, He will finish what He began. Thank You Lord Jesus!
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:40 AM   #130
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When it's NOT TRUE, yes...it puts the LC at a disadvantage...for the Anointing and the Presence of God is not there...only dead works..dead teachings from the pulpit of the LSM/LC.
Therefore it stands to reason that whenever the various Reformers and those generally considered "pillars" within Christianity have criticized the apostate condition of our faith, they were also promoting dead works and dead teachings from their pulpits.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:58 AM   #131
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Therefore it stands to reason that whenever the various Reformers and those generally considered "pillars" within Christianity have criticized the apostate condition of our faith, they were also promoting dead works and dead teachings from their pulpits.
No, it doesn't stand to reason. Sounds like you are trying to sharp shoot inconsistencies in others' arguments. But you are not doing a very good job because I don't see the connection nor the point you are trying to make.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:39 AM   #132
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No, it doesn't stand to reason. Sounds like you are trying to sharp shoot inconsistencies in others' arguments. But you are not doing a very good job because I don't see the connection nor the point you are trying to make.
Maybe you're not getting it, which doesn't make my point any less valid. CMW made the point that Lee's statements with regard to the "poor, fallen, blind, etc." state of Christianity (Which is in reference to the apostate condition of Christianity) is not true, and that by virtue of that "local churchers" are at a disadvantage. He furthermore stated that because of this charge God's presence and anointing are not in the local church (That in and of itself is a very serious charge).

Therefore it must follow that whenever another Christian teacher historically leveled the same or similar charge, God's presence and anointing left that teacher and those that followed their ministry. By virtue of such a charge, then, the works and teachings of that ministry were made dead.

Not only were the Reformers of the early Protestant revolution era generally prone to pointing out the apostate condition of the faith, but many acknowledged Christian theologians did the same in their writings. Andrew Murray, for example, wrote of "the sad state of the church of Christ on the earth" (Absolute Surrender). Therefore, if "It's not true" that Christianity is in a fallen state, blind, poor, etc., then those Reformers and teachers who spoke the same things, in their own various ways, are just as dead, and have not God's presence or anointing.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:53 AM   #133
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Therefore it stands to reason that whenever the various Reformers and those generally considered "pillars" within Christianity have criticized the apostate condition of our faith, they were also promoting dead works and dead teachings from their pulpits.
Some..YES!....not all.. That's why we are called to be Bereans..and to test the spirits. We know one another by the Fruit of the Spirit....not merely from quoting the scriptures..or putting out a good 'message' or sermon.
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:09 PM   #134
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Therefore it must follow that whenever another Christian teacher historically leveled the same or similar charge, God's presence and anointing left that teacher and those that followed their ministry. By virtue of such a charge, then, the works and teachings of that ministry were made dead.
TLG,

You're on the right track. A person can be very GIFTED in teaching but they can lose the anointing and the Presence of God., YET retain the GIFT to teach, to 'fellowship', to heal or whatever their particular gift is...until eventually the LORD will touch their thigh and humble them as He did Jacob.

It happened even to little ole' ME. I have always loved to tell people about Jesus. I have brought many people to the LORD....even when I was in rebellion to the Word of God. Oh..I paid a heavy duty price....no doubt. But that sin of disobedience brought me to deep repentance and brokenness.

I learned it is better to OBEY than to sacrifice........for sure.

God WILL NOT be mocked.

I now know the ABSOLUTE, mighty power of repentence and I know the power of brokenness and I know the power of the Blood of the Lamb.

And btw... even though in Christ there really is no male or female, I am a SHE..not a he.
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:26 PM   #135
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Ok guys, we're wondering away from the topic at hand here. Let me try to get us back on track by re-posting the first entry in this thread.

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When I came to LC, I was really impressed with the teaching on the local ground and the generality in Rom. 14. Whether the LC view is scriptural is another thing. But even the teaching they teach is not practiced. I remember how impressed I was that our oneness is not based on doctrines and practices. And that our oneness is not based on any particular minister of the Lord. However, present minister of the age teaching contradicts this earlier view. Now you are expected to be one with the minister of the age. If you are not with this particular minister, you are not in oneness with "the Body".
This kind of reminds me of what the apostle Paul told the Galatians 6:13:
"For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh"

It seems to me the "ground of locality" is not only "a doctrine of dirt" but also a work of the flesh, and just as circumcision as no place among God's people in the age of grace and faith, neither does any artificial, forced oneness. Like the song says... "they will know we are Christians by our love" - not by our huddling together in one particular plot of land so that we can all be under one particular minister or ministry.
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:34 PM   #136
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TLG,

You're on the right track. A person can be very GIFTED in teaching [B] but they can lose the anointing and the Presence of God., ...
CMW,

Not to get too far off the subject, but just prior to this post you wrote that we are "called to be Bereans." Without disputing your understanding of whether we are all called to be Bereans or not, I am wondering where, given this claim, it can be found in Scripture that "the anointing and Presence of God" can be lost.

The Bereans tested What Paul and Silas taught in the synagogue by, "examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." What I understand of "the anointing" is that it is generally believed by certain Pentecostal groups and especially the Word-Faith movement in America, to be an ethereal substance given by God to carry out certain commissions, healings, baptisms, and spiritual experiences. "The anointing" is sometimes referred to as "dripping" or "pouring out" of the person/preacher/pastor to whom it has been imparted.

With regard to "the Presence of God." If it is as I understand it, the presence of God is His, "literal presence of Person in every aspect and degree, freely given without precondition," how is it that such can be removed? The Lord Jesus promised that He would be, "with [us] until the end of the age," and He also promised that, through His presence, the Father would also be with us." So how is it that God's presence can be removed?

As one who is called to be a Berean I am interested in the Scriptural foundation for both of these expressions.

Thanks
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:05 PM   #137
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Maybe you're not getting it, which doesn't make my point any less valid.
No, it just makes it unclear. Which is why I asked you to clarity.

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CMW made the point that Lee's statements with regard to the "poor, fallen, blind, etc." state of Christianity (Which is in reference to the apostate condition of Christianity) is not true, and that by virtue of that "local churchers" are at a disadvantage. He furthermore stated that because of this charge God's presence and anointing are not in the local church (That in and of itself is a very serious charge).

Therefore it must follow that whenever another Christian teacher historically leveled the same or similar charge, God's presence and anointing left that teacher and those that followed their ministry. By virtue of such a charge, then, the works and teachings of that ministry were made dead.
No, it still doesn't follow. You are trying to imply the existence of a general rule based up a CMW's specific observation. I don't think CMW stated a general rule applied. I think her point was is that Lee/LSM/LC were arrogant to an extreme fault and that caused their downfall.

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Not only were the Reformers of the early Protestant revolution era generally prone to pointing out the apostate condition of the faith, but many acknowledged Christian theologians did the same in their writings. Andrew Murray, for example, wrote of "the sad state of the church of Christ on the earth" (Absolute Surrender). Therefore, if "It's not true" that Christianity is in a fallen state, blind, poor, etc., then those Reformers and teachers who spoke the same things, in their own various ways, are just as dead, and have not God's presence or anointing.
Again, you are trying to create a rule where none was implied.

Lots of preachers and teacher sometimes point out the (ostensive) sad state of the Church. My own pastor does it from time to time. But that's not what Lee was solely doing. Lee was wholesale condemning and invalidating the whole of contemporary Christianity, Christendom or whatever you want to call it, with the view that his movement was God's only viable alternative. It was a black and white issue with him. Either one was in Babylon or one was in the Recovery (which, not coincidentally, he happened to have founded and lead). There is a huge difference here. Let's try to keep things straight.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:06 PM   #138
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CMW,

Not to get too far off the subject, but just prior to this post you wrote that we are "called to be Bereans." ....As one who is called to be a Berean I am interested in the Scriptural foundation for both of these expressions.

Thanks
TLG,
Let's start a totally different thread on a subforum..for we are getting away from the topic.

IF I can't come back to this today as I have a few commitments today/tonight, I'll do my best to answer your questions tomorrow.

Receive the Lord's blessings He has for and on you for you are a Son of the Most High God...a king and priest to co-heir with Christ the KING.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:27 PM   #139
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To sum up then, The "ground" will not be taken by a teaching, but by the practice of each believer yielding to the Spirit in simplicity and generality.
Shawn I like what you had to say. This is where I see present and past problems in the recovery:
"The ground" being made a doctrinal teaching, but not reality. The ground being more "the practice of each believer yielding to the Spirit in simplicity and generality." I would not be surprised if many in the local churches are feeling compressed because there isn't the liberty to yield to the Spirit in simplicity and generality.

Terry
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:30 PM   #140
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I'm quoting TLG here from a portion of his Brotherly Love thread post because it should be addressed here.

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I think this is more related to the other thread, the one concerning the ground of oneness. There appears to be no practical solution to the matter of our division. Therefore, it appears that all believers simply accept our divisions as inevitable products of humanity. This, to me, appears as a grand exercise in fatalism. If one group branches off from another it is received as somewhat problematic, but then again, "What the heck, they're Christians just like us, so we'll just accept the division as inevitable and continue as if God approves." Well, when one group stands on a particular tenet of oneness and claims that it is proper to meet in this way, they are labeled "sectarian." Both Nee and Lee made a standing in such a way. Of course, in so doing they fell to the same type of fatalism, but in a way that was clearly unpopular.
TLG,

The problem with your claim is that you have a definition of division which is based on a definition of oneness which is not even defined in the Bible.

Your thinking is circular. You have an ideal--one church per city--and then you judge everything by that ideal. What you fail to realize is you have a very weak premise. (1) The Bible never commands one church per city, so you are never going to convince anything but a very small minority of people it is a requirement, and (2) even if you could convince a large number of people you still couldn't answer even the most basic questions about the organization of the thing, like, for example, how do we determine who the elders over the whole city are.

So the idea is dead before it even gets out of the gate. This isn't fatalism, it's realism. If you want your ideal to become real then get practical. Until then you don't have much to offer people but guilt.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:41 PM   #141
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No, it just makes it unclear. Which is why I asked you to clarity.
Noted. Thank you.

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No, it still doesn't follow. You are trying to imply the existence of a general rule based up a CMW's specific observation. I don't think CMW stated a general rule applied. I think her point was is that Lee/LSM/LC were arrogant to an extreme fault and that caused their downfall.
Perhaps. But that yet stands to be proved.

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Again, you are trying to create a rule where none was implied.
I think there was an implication, but now that point appears to be moot.

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Lots of preachers and teacher sometimes point out the (ostensive) sad state of the Church. My own pastor does it from time to time. But that's not what Lee was solely doing. Lee was wholesale condemning and invalidating the whole of contemporary Christianity, Christendom or whatever you want to call it, with the view that his movement was God's only viable alternative.
I disagree. The concept of locality was formulated in whole by Watchman Nee. I do not believe that Lee carried Nee's concept to an unreasonable extreme. Nee said, "this is the pattern of locality in the Bible, which should be followed for this reason." Lee said, "This is the pattern as Nee said said it, we practice it, and others should as well." Witness Lee never stated or implied that "salvation is only in the local churches," which is what you have implied here. I have no qualms whatsoever of either Nee or Lee condemning the widespread acceptance of religious division in Christendom (I'll address this in a little more detail with my next response to CMW).

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It was a black and white issue with him. Either one was in Babylon or one was in the Recovery (which, not coincidentally, he happened to have founded and lead). There is a huge difference here. Let's try to keep things straight.
I'd like to. Well, sin is a pretty black and white issue, wouldn't you agree? As such, that which is sourced in the flesh of man should also be a black and white issue. Therefore, if a person perceives something to be sourced in the flesh (ie. divisions), then it pretty much would amount to a black and white issue with them. The problem, then, may not necessarily be that such a vision is sectarian - different from the norm so as to be strange - but that an established acceptable paradigm is offended. See, Watchman Nee claimed that denominations were essentially of the flesh and soul, and that offended some. Witness Lee claimed that the local ground is the ground upon which Christ affirms the church, and that offended many.

As a side note (and one which I find particularly fascinating) one of the main items of contention between Witness Lee (That is, his teachings) and his detractors is the footnote in Rev. 17 which identifies the sects in Christianity as the harlots. For a few hundred years Protestants had absolutely no problem with the identification of the mother of the Harlots, Babylon, as being the Roman Church (in fact Martin Luther taught this very thing). Yet when it came to Lee's identification of the harlots as being, "all the different sects and groups in Christianity that hold to some extent the teaching, practices, and traditions of the apostate Roman Church," the issue became something entirely different. How dare Witness Lee call Protestant Christianity a bunch of harlots (Despite the fact that he clearly identified them as being those who "hold to some extent the teaching, practices and traditions of the apostate Roman Church")! This, in and of itself, smacks of hypocrisy.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:47 PM   #142
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TLG,
Let's start a totally different thread on a subforum..for we are getting away from the topic.

IF I can't come back to this today as I have a few commitments today/tonight, I'll do my best to answer your questions tomorrow.

Receive the Lord's blessings He has for and on you for you are a Son of the Most High God...a king and priest to co-heir with Christ the KING.
I'd be glad to start such a thread with my question to you as the lead-off. However, I am confused as to which may be the most appropriate forum. Perhaps Fellowship Hall?
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:58 PM   #143
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I'd be glad to start such a thread with my question to you as the lead-off. However, I am confused as to which may be the most appropriate forum. Perhaps Fellowship Hall?
Hi TLG.. and everyone ...WHEW! I had a close call with my PC today. It almost crashed! Thankfully, I have a computer savvy brother who walked me through "dis-infecting" the viruses that sneaked in!

Just like the enemy.......when you least expect him..he rears his ugly head.

........back to topic...

I looked at the different sub forums..and thought this 'apologetics' sub-forum is still appropriate....since I'm sure we'll be discussing Nee & Lee's..(mainly Lee's viewpoints/teachings vs others or finding a middle ground.

We just have to start a new thread on this same Apologetics forum..unless UntoHim finds a better fit.

Thanks..
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:05 PM   #144
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

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I'd like to. Well, sin is a pretty black and white issue, wouldn't you agree? As such, that which is sourced in the flesh of man should also be a black and white issue. Therefore, if a person perceives something to be sourced in the flesh (ie. divisions), then it pretty much would amount to a black and white issue with them. The problem, then, may not necessarily be that such a vision is sectarian - different from the norm so as to be strange - but that an established acceptable paradigm is offended. See, Watchman Nee claimed that denominations were essentially of the flesh and soul, and that offended some. Witness Lee claimed that the local ground is the ground upon which Christ affirms the church, and that offended many.
You continue to talk about "denominations" as if everyone outside of the LC is in one. But the fastest growing segment of Christianity for a long time is the community church movement, which cannot, generally, be included as another denomination. I know it helps you case superficially to continue to use the term "denominations" in a broader way than you should. But it's unfair to do so.

I would agree that setting oneself apart from others based upon doctrine is of the flesh. That's what some denominations do wrong. But simply forming a church is not wrong. Forming one which basically says all are wrong except people which think like us is the problem.

The problem is not holding certain doctrines as important. We all do that. The problem is how we use them to view others. Do we view those doctrines as "for man" (as the Lord viewed the most important Jewish doctrine, the Sabbath), or do we view man as for them (as the Jews viewed "man for the Sabbath.") Local churchers manifestly believe man is for the local ground, rather than the correct way, if there is any way, which is the other way around. So in essense, the local church is doing exactly what denominations are doing wrong, just with a unique and different doctrine.

The LC claimed to have the best collection of doctrines ever. They claimed to have a treasure comparable to no other. So what did they do with this "treasure?" Did they try to bless others with it? No, they used it to prop up their identity as "God's best." Rather than condescend and try to minister to a world which they must have thought dearly needed what they had, they became self-enclosed and self-serving, and still are.

Why couldn't the LC try to share the truth of oneness in locality with the rest of Christians? Firstly, I honestly I don't believe they ever really wanted to. I think they more wanted to maintain control of the movement and define it under their terms. They didn't want to lose their culture. They liked their identity as a remnant, as something special. If everyone joined them they would lose control and they wouldn't be special anymore.

Secondly, I think they knew the doctrine of the local ground could never hold up under wide public scrutiny, as it requires a tightly spun web of required arbitrary presumptions to operate. You first have to accept someone as the apostle, and few believe in apostles anymore. You secondly have to get people to accept an arbitrary set of elders in each city. This is relatively easy to do when you've got a small, isolated and tightly controlled group of people believing in some heirarchy of authority which comes down from the "apostle." In other words, an enclosed, inbred group operating under fear of excommunication. But it's not going to work with a huge number of people who sooner or later are going to wonder and ask why the emperors are wearing no clothes.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:27 PM   #145
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

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As a side note (and one which I find particularly fascinating) one of the main items of contention between Witness Lee (That is, his teachings) and his detractors is the footnote in Rev. 17 which identifies the sects in Christianity as the harlots. For a few hundred years Protestants had absolutely no problem with the identification of the mother of the Harlots, Babylon, as being the Roman Church (in fact Martin Luther taught this very thing). Yet when it came to Lee's identification of the harlots as being, "all the different sects and groups in Christianity that hold to some extent the teaching, practices, and traditions of the apostate Roman Church," the issue became something entirely different. How dare Witness Lee call Protestant Christianity a bunch of harlots (Despite the fact that he clearly identified them as being those who "hold to some extent the teaching, practices and traditions of the apostate Roman Church")! This, in and of itself, smacks of hypocrisy.
Well, when someone starts saying that everyone is a harlot except the group he founded then people are going to get indignant. And I don't recall Lee saying the daughter harlots were offshoots which hold to RC stuff. I recall him saying that all Protestant churches were harlots and "free groups" were the fornicating daughters of Moab. But his group was the pure and spotless Bride. Well, how convenient.

If Lee had said something like "we all are harlots" or "we all have been harlots from time to time" then maybe people would have listened. But he said "you're a harlot and I'm not." Who is going to listen to that? Self-righteousness is not a convincing platform from which to persuade skeptics. It usually just makes people want to tell you to stick it.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:55 AM   #146
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

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Well, when someone starts saying that everyone is a harlot except the group he founded then people are going to get indignant. And I don't recall Lee saying the daughter harlots were offshoots which hold to RC stuff. I recall him saying that all Protestant churches were harlots and "free groups" were the fornicating daughters of Moab. But his group was the pure and spotless Bride. Well, how convenient.
Yeppers...I was there for those meetings too. My 'eyes' were really 'opened'.

To build on what Igzy wrote, there may be truth to the denominations/non denominations being an offshoot from the mother harlot...BUT, many people left because they saw through the RCC...The clergy laity system has been around 'forever' too...nothing WRONG with teaching people from the Word of God, God desires a pure and spotless Bride...and WILL get his Pure and Spotless Bride.

But Lee had a very arrogant attitude with his presentations. He manipulated people in the LC to believe the LC under HIS MINISTRY was 'God's ordained way'...and it was through the LC, the Lord was going to get His Bride. He put a FEAR factor onto people. "Wow...if I leave the LC, I won't be part of the Bride!' That's why people were and are afraid to leave the LSM/LC today. Does God want some people to be in the LSM/LC...sure..He has has His reasons...God uses people in every sector of Christianity out there. When their job is complete, God lets them know and releases them.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:11 AM   #147
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

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The LC claimed to have the best collection of doctrines ever. They claimed to have a treasure comparable to no other. So what did they do with this "treasure?" Did they try to bless others with it? No, they used it to prop up their identity as "God's best."
And that is when the Presence of God leaves...the anointing of the Holy Spirit, that is the Power of God..leaves. When people prop themselves like a Peacock showing off its feathers, the Blessing of God is removed.

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Rather than condescend and try to minister to a world which they must have though dearly needed what they had, they became self-enclosed and self-serving, and still are.
Exactly...It's all about what 'Brother Lee' wrote and saw. Hello? Does God not reveal His WORD to His servants of today? If WE ALL studied the Word of God, built our relationship and Fellowship with HIM through the Word, the anointing, the Power of God, the Love of God would spill over...no body would point to any one 'church'. For we would all be One just as the Son is ONE with the Father.

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Why couldn't the LC try to share the truth of oneness in locality with the rest of Christians?
PRIDE !

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I think they more wanted to maintain control of the movement and define it under their terms. They didn't want to lose their culture. They liked their identity as a remnant, as something special.
Exactly. That is why the LC's terminology is different from most Christians'. That's why they 'looked' different..especially in the 70s. Many of the older die-hard saints still do.

Igzy...I like the way you think! Good job in explaining your thoughts!
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:32 AM   #148
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

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I do not believe that Lee carried Nee's concept to an unreasonable extreme. Nee said, "this is the pattern of locality in the Bible, which should be followed for this reason." Lee said, "This is the pattern as Nee said said it, we practice it, and others should as well." Witness Lee never stated or implied that "salvation is only in the local churches," which is what you have implied here.
Well, let's see. I know Lee said that there could be "overcomers" outside the LC. But his implication was that those were the ones who loved the Lord and served him purely but had never "seen" the local ground. Once you'd "seen" it, meaning understood the teaching, you were on the hook for it and meeting in any other way was to willfully engage in a grievous error. This was the thought he put in the minds of his members. So effectively he told his members that for them practical growth and salvation could only be experienced in the local churches. To leave the LC was to shipwreck oneself. This was what we were taught.

Benson Phillips stated that no one who has ever left the local church movement has gone on to be a great spiritual Christian (as if he would know for sure.) He also stated, publicly and infamously, that if you leave the local church the sanctification process effectively stops. Now, has BP ever stated anything publicly that he didn't get directly from Witness Lee? No, it's his boast that he endeavored to in all things imitate Lee, so surely he got these thoughts from Lee as well.

Sorry, TLG, but your claims above just do not hold up to scrutiny.

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I have no qualms whatsoever of either Nee or Lee condemning the widespread acceptance of religious division in Christendom
Condemning things is easy. The world is full of critics. Coming up with a viable solution for the problem is hard. They failed to do so. Rather they seemed to have simply raised up a generation of critics who when pressed can't answer simple questions about the so-called "solution."
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:33 PM   #149
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

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Ah! So then that puts local churchers at a disadvantage?
Brothers and sisters meeting in the local churchers are at a disadvantage when local churches exclusively receiving Living Stream Ministry, cut themselves off from the rest of the Body of Christ. There is much to be gained in mutual fellowship.

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Old 02-14-2009, 07:20 AM   #150
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

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TLG wrote:
The concept of locality was formulated in whole by Watchman Nee. I do not believe that Lee carried Nee's concept to an unreasonable extreme. Nee said, "this is the pattern of locality in the Bible, which should be followed for this reason." Lee said, "This is the pattern as Nee said said it, we practice it, and others should as well."
Wow! How did we miss THIS!??!

There in lies a HUGE LC problem!!! NEE formulated the concept of locality. Lee followed suit..Nee said it therefore it must be.

Not anywhere in this statement does it say GOD formulated the pattern of locality. Everything here is about Nee & Lee...the Leading of the Holy Spirit is never mentioned. The Holy Spirit never gets credit.

The credit is going to Nee & Lee.

Ok...so you might say "Well...obviously Nee got it from the Bible & I stated it right there in my post." True. But that doesn't mean diddly squat. Lots of people use the Bible to formulate their own agendas. That is how cults using Christian theology are born.

Now before you get all your feathers ruffled TLG, I am NOT saying there isn't truth about the church, the body of Christ being ONE in your statement. Neither am I saying the LSM/LC is a cult. Although imho, it has cultish/sectarian elements to it...especially in the 70s when I was in it! We looked the same, dressed the same, talked the same, followed only LEE's ministry. That's MY opinion. And I'll say it again, I am thankful for my short time in the LC. I needed the structure to help me lead a more disciplined life, so that I could be used more effectively in the service of the LORD for the preaching of the gospel.

P.S. I'm starting a new thread at this time.
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:35 PM   #151
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

It's hard to ruffle my feathers, CWM.

Above you quoted me as writing that the concept of locality was formulated by Nee. But then you turn this statement against me by saying that nowhere in my statement does it state that "God formulated the pattern of locality." This is a subtle attempt at creating a straw man argument. Because I did not state outright that, "Nee saw something in the Bible through the revelation of the Holy Spirit and formulated the concept of locality as the most practical means for the carrying out of God's divine administration on the earth," you presumed that I meant to imply that locality was entirely formulated out of thin air by Watchman Nee. You couldn't be further from being accurate in that sense. Inasmuch as [i]you believe[/b] based upon a certain pattern in the Scriptures that there is a such substance as "the anointing," I believe that there is a clear patten of locality in the New Testament, and that, because of the Bible's revelation, locality is the most practical means of carrying out God's divine administration on the earth.
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:52 PM   #152
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You continue to talk about "denominations" as if everyone outside of the LC is in one. But the fastest growing segment of Christianity for a long time is the community church movement, which cannot, generally, be included as another denomination. I know it helps you case superficially to continue to use the term "denominations" in a broader way than you should. But it's unfair to do so.
I believe that I stated the irony of denominationalism in a post above. Even the "community church movement," inasmuch as it is a "movement" becomes unavoidably a sect, a division, a denomination of Christianity. This movement is, by the way, somewhat connected with the Emergent Church movement, and Saddleback Community Church headed by Rick Warren. I have personally experienced the phenomenon of the "mega churches." My personal opinion is that they are riddled with "Corinthian" issues.

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I would agree that setting oneself apart from others based upon doctrine is of the flesh. That's what some denominations do wrong. But simply forming a church is not wrong. Forming one which basically says all are wrong except people which think like us is the problem.
But that's traditionally been the basis for forming "new churches." Were it not for the fact that groups of people naturally (in their natural selves) desire to form relationships with other like-minded persons, there would be no divisions at all. Church groups are not formed by single persons - "pastors" - who say to themselves, "Okay, now that I've graduated from seminary I can go out an market my own church." They are formed by groups of like-0minded persons who seek out like-minded pastors to lead them.

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The problem is not holding certain doctrines as important. We all do that. The problem is how we use them to view others. Do we view those doctrines as "for man" (as the Lord viewed the most important Jewish doctrine, the Sabbath), or do we view man as for them (as the Jews viewed "man for the Sabbath.") Local churchers manifestly believe man is for the local ground, rather than the correct way, if there is any way, which is the other way around. So in essense, the local church is doing exactly what denominations are doing wrong, just with a unique and different doctrine.
I think I made that point earlier. It's a sticky wicket for any group. But what's the solution? We should accept as inevitable that we are forever doomed to division, or we should take a stand and make our best attempt at following the Bible's example?

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The LC claimed to have the best collection of doctrines ever.
No, they didn't. :rollingeyes2:

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They claimed to have a treasure comparable to no other.
No, they didn't.

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So what did they do with this "treasure?" Did they try to bless others with it? No, they used it to prop up their identity as "God's best." Rather than condescend and try to minister to a world which they must have thought dearly needed what they had, they became self-enclosed and self-serving, and still are.
While you are free to your opinion, this is not evidenced in fact at all. You are merely showing your prejudice here.

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Why couldn't the LC try to share the truth of oneness in locality with the rest of Christians?
They did, and do. All the printed material is freely available to the public and there is a large internet presence with all of this information available.

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Firstly, I honestly I don't believe they ever really wanted to. I think they more wanted to maintain control of the movement and define it under their terms. They didn't want to lose their culture. They liked their identity as a remnant, as something special. If everyone joined them they would lose control and they wouldn't be special anymore.
Well, isn't that the case for everyone? Ask yourself why it is the Jews aren't so freely open the gospel. When you can answer that question you will realize the answer to your quandary about the LC's exclusiveness (or at least your perception of it).

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Secondly, I think they knew the doctrine of the local ground could never hold up under wide public scrutiny, as it requires a tightly spun web of required arbitrary presumptions to operate. You first have to accept someone as the apostle, and few believe in apostles anymore. You secondly have to get people to accept an arbitrary set of elders in each city. This is relatively easy to do when you've got a small, isolated and tightly controlled group of people believing in some heirarchy of authority which comes down from the "apostle." In other words, an enclosed, inbred group operating under fear of excommunication. But it's not going to work with a huge number of people who sooner or later are going to wonder and ask why the emperors are wearing no clothes.
This is insulting. Inbred? What should compel me to answer this diatribe?
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:56 PM   #153
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Well, when someone starts saying that everyone is a harlot except the group he founded then people are going to get indignant. And I don't recall Lee saying the daughter harlots were offshoots which hold to RC stuff. I recall him saying that all Protestant churches were harlots and "free groups" were the fornicating daughters of Moab. But his group was the pure and spotless Bride. Well, how convenient.
Complete quotations with citations, please. I've evidenced what the footnote clearly states. If you don't recall it, then you weren't paying attention.

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If Lee had said something like "we all are harlots" or "we all have been harlots from time to time" then maybe people would have listened. But he said "you're a harlot and I'm not." Who is going to listen to that? Self-righteousness is not a convincing platform from which to persuade skeptics. It usually just makes people want to tell you to stick it.
Untrue. If a person - any person - interpreted the verse and said, "these are the harlots," and then "here's how we can avoid being the harlots," then people may or may not listen, depending upon how they are apt to receive the message. The simple fact of the matter is that "God hates our religion." Both Nee and Lee were unapologetic about saying so in a variety of ways. Some of those ways offended popular Christianity, so that made them "cult leaders." How long did it finally take for "popular Christianity" to see the error of their ways and acknowledge the valid point these two brothers had? More then 30 years.
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:58 PM   #154
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Brothers and sisters meeting in the local churchers are at a disadvantage when local churches exclusively receiving Living Stream Ministry, cut themselves off from the rest of the Body of Christ. There is much to be gained in mutual fellowship.

Terry
I agree. So long as it's based upon Christ, not religion.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:08 PM   #155
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TLG,

When a group declares they have "the ministry of the age," they have "the completed expounding of the Bible" and you "only need to read their publications", I don't think Igzy is too far off on his assessment.
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Old 02-14-2009, 06:17 PM   #156
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

TLG,

You said “Above you quoted me as writing that the concept of locality was formulated by Nee. But then you turn this statement against me by saying that nowhere in my statement does it state that "God formulated the pattern of locality." This is a subtle attempt at creating a straw man argument.

I would agree that you did not quite say what CMW has said, but in the grand scheme of this discussion, it is not really a straw man argument. While we will easily agree that you did not intend to say that Nee or Lee made up the ground of locality teaching from thin air, since no one has successfully provided a prescriptive scriptural base for it, as a required doctrine, even stated by Lee in The Speciality, Generality, and Practicality of the Church Life as being one of the basic tenets of the faith.

Now we all say that scripture specifies that we are one in Christ, and therefore there is unity. It does not need to be prescribed. Whether we actively experience it, it is true. But the “ground of locality” is an artificial oneness that is not defined in scripture. It is dreamed up from the air.
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Old 02-14-2009, 06:21 PM   #157
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TLG,

When a group declares they have "the ministry of the age," they have "the completed expounding of the Bible" and you "only need to read their publications", I don't think Igzy is too far off on his assessment.
And THAT'S ADDING to the Word of God, TLG! That is what extra-biblical IS. When people replace the HWMR & the RcV footnotes with the pure Word of God....the church is treading on un-holy ground.

I've heard plenty of messages given by the Blended brothers..in recent years and I fellowship daily with an LSMr/LC too.

Anyway...keep your eyes and heart on JESUS..the author and perfector of our Faith, for no one comes to the Father God but through Him. This is a word for all of us...not only you TLG. I have to adjust the Helmet of Salvation, the Breast Plate of Righteousness...why I have to straigten out the Full Armour of God that's on me--DAILY with the Holy Spirit's help.

The enemy likes to mess with it you know..but flees when he sees the BLOOD of the Lamb on me!

Hasta manana amigos.
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Old 02-14-2009, 07:34 PM   #158
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This is insulting. Inbred? What should compel me to answer this diatribe?
The fact that I'm telling the truth. And you should know it. Denying the LC claims to have to have the best set of teachings going (or even that are possible, since "everything's been recovered") doesn't put you in very good stead with the facts.

The LSM/LC is not interested in any teaching that does not come through Witness Lee. This means they are talking to each other and reinforcing the same information over and over, with no new "DNA" coming it. That's the definition of inbred.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:46 AM   #159
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I believe that I stated the irony of denominationalism in a post above. Even the "community church movement," inasmuch as it is a "movement" becomes unavoidably a sect, a division, a denomination of Christianity. This movement is, by the way, somewhat connected with the Emergent Church movement, and Saddleback Community Church headed by Rick Warren. I have personally experienced the phenomenon of the "mega churches." My personal opinion is that they are riddled with "Corinthian" issues.
Almost all churches have problems. In Revelation, six of the seven have problems. Having problems does not make a church not a church. Until the Lord "takes the lampstand away."

(BTW, has anyone ever considered what that means, to take the lampstand away? It probably doesn't mean all the Christians leave the city, since that is not likely to happen. So the idea that there is one church per city even if no one is meeting that way is called into question right there. It probably doesn't mean everyone just stops meeting totally, since that is not likely either. What it likely means is the Lord removes his presence and the group becomes empty and dead.)

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But that's traditionally been the basis for forming "new churches." Were it not for the fact that groups of people naturally (in their natural selves) desire to form relationships with other like-minded persons, there would be no divisions at all.
False. Groups sometimes feel the need to split because the leadship they follow has become sectarian itself. (See local church movement).

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Church groups are not formed by single persons - "pastors" - who say to themselves, "Okay, now that I've graduated from seminary I can go out an market my own church." They are formed by groups of like-0minded persons who seek out like-minded pastors to lead them.
Where did you get this idea? The church I meet with definitely was formed by a pastor and his wife who felt called to start a group. You seem to think it's easy to just start a group and have success if you just attract like-minded people. But leading a church is hard work. I don't know how anyone could do it without a strong feeling of calling backed by intense prayer. Most church leaders feel called to do what they are doing. They couldn't survive long without that conviction. Maybe some go "O la de dah, I think I can do this better than my pastor so I'll start and church." But they don't last long.

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I think I made that point earlier. It's a sticky wicket for any group. But what's the solution? We should accept as inevitable that we are forever doomed to division, or we should take a stand and make our best attempt at following the Bible's example?
Right, I was looking for a solution. But as I've pointed out the solution Lee came up with is doomed to fail because to operate it depends on the required universal acceptance of arbitrary assumptions (who are the elders) to operate. This arbitrary assumption is bound to eventually conflict with the convictions of some, especially when these arbitrarily presumed elders begin to deviate from the truth. (As they have in the LC movement). When this happens the model has no means of correction, no star to steer by, and a meltdown ensues. (As it has in many cities in the LC movement.)

It's silly to ask people to make their "best attempt" when you don't have a plan for success for them to attempt, but rather offer a plan that has been shown to eventually even set family member against family member.

Like I've said, if you don't have a plan, don't try to make people feel guilty for not following it. I suggest you take a different approach to the problem of oneness. How about praying about it? Have you ever done that, or just, like most LCers, been running with a teaching they've never even sincerely taken to the Lord?
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:13 PM   #160
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What's the difference between a community church and a local church?

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Old 09-30-2009, 10:59 PM   #161
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Where I've been meeting, it does take a name but the focus is 100% Christ, Family, and Community. Gospel begins in the home. It's the parents responsibility to speak the gospel to their children. Saints in the congregation and the Children's ministry are a tool. It's not their responsibility. As for community, there are times there's no Lord's Day bible study before the service. Instead taking time to clean up the playground at the nearby Elementary School, or taking time to clean up litter in the neighborhood, or passing out baked goods to the neighbors. During the summer, there's a weekly get together at a public park (S.N.A.P. Sunday Night at the Park). A time to play games, mingle, and perhaps speak a word to a stranger.
The service itself is singing traditional & contempary songs while giving God the glory with a 20 minute sermon in between. Scripture is emphasized, not any doctrine, teaching, or ministry.

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Old 12-02-2009, 12:47 PM   #162
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Default Taking the Ground

Last night I was speaking with an older brother who came in during the migrations. He explained to me before a church was raised in a given city, Christian groups within that city were visited to see if there's a practical expression of the church. If there wasn't the ground was taken. Has this practice been abandoned?
The more current method of taking the ground appears to be along the lines of 19th century midwest America, where you'd have a race to place a stake in the ground. Taking the ground using this method, one would then say if you want to meet practically as the expression of the church in this city, you have to meet with us. If this is the thought, not one specific ministry must be emphasized but Christ. Anything else is choosing the path of denominations.

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:46 PM   #163
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The more current method of taking the ground appears to be along the lines of 19th century midwest America, where you'd have a race to place a stake in the ground. Taking the ground using this method, one would then say if you want to meet practically as the expression of the church in this city, you have to meet with us. If this is the thought, not one specific ministry must be emphasized but Christ. Anything else is choosing the path of denominations.
So what do you have if there is already only one group in town and they emphasize what you believe to be erroneous teaching?

Further, others come along later, and because of this "error" they begin to meet separately. Neither group considers the other to be an abomination or not Christian. They just have a particular (and important) difference of theology. They talk to each other, have spirited debates/discussions about what it is in scripture that drives them to their conclusions and why they don't feel comfortable being seen as proclaiming this particular thing that they consider error. Then they shake hands and all break bread together, both in meal and in the Lord's table.

I've presented a very unique scenario that could only happen in what is otherwise uncharted non-Christian territory. But does the fact that we are what we are and where we are make any one group or thought clearly the "right" one. And if we truly do stand together as Christians even if we choose to meet practically based on preference of music, liturgy, doctrinal emphasis, etc., have we broken true oneness? Or have we only broken the artificial oneness that requires everyone to be on the same page? (and it happens to be my page)
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:06 AM   #164
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Default Re: ground of locality and generality

This was an interesting meeting to say the least...the ground of the Church, (oneness based on locality ) is more important than the Church's condition. I've never heard so many amens to things like we don't have a name and those who don't meet according to this are in division. ..I almost left. ..
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:42 PM   #165
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This was an interesting meeting to say the least...the ground of the Church, (oneness based on locality ) is more important than the Church's condition. I've never heard so many amens to things like we don't have a name and those who don't meet according to this are in division. ..I almost left. ..
It's a contradiction to say "those who don't meet according to this are in division". The ground of the church as local churches currently practice is based on a ministry and not oneness based on locality.
Not only that, how can you say "the church in _____" is not a name. How many times have a seen Facebook posts of a brother visiting different churches with a pose next to the localities meeting hall which clearly displays there is a name.

On the phrase "oneness based on locality", one is more likely to find that in a community church than in a local church
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Old 01-19-2016, 04:21 PM   #166
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This was an interesting meeting to say the least...the ground of the Church, (oneness based on locality ) is more important than the Church's condition. I've never heard so many amens to things like we don't have a name and those who don't meet according to this are in division. ..I almost left. ..
The truth of the matter is that members need this kind of constant reinforcement to feel that the LC is right. Here is the way that I think about it: if LC members really feel that their standing is an improvement in comparison to everyone else, then why must they constantly obsess themselves with that notion?

If the LC really represented something so much better, then you would think that they would also move onto better things. There is just a tremendous amount of irony in them comparing themselves to something that they believe to be so fallen and degraded.
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:22 PM   #167
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Watchman Nee "In reading these three portions of the Scripture, we notice that the believers are one in Christ. In the Lord there is no distinction of past status. In the new man and in the Body of Christ, there is no difference whatsoever. If we introduce these man made distinctions into the church, the relationship among the brothers and sisters will be shifted to the wrong ground.” Watchman Nee

www.twoturmoils.com/ShiftingtoWrongGround.pdf
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:08 AM   #168
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Watchman Nee "In reading these three portions of the Scripture, we notice that the believers are one in Christ. In the Lord there is no distinction of past status. In the new man and in the Body of Christ, there is no difference whatsoever. If we introduce these man made distinctions into the church, the relationship among the brothers and sisters will be shifted to the wrong ground.” Watchman Nee

www.twoturmoils.com/ShiftingtoWrongGround.pdf
There is a well-known hymn with a line that says "On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." What if those in the LC chose to make Christ alone their 'ground'?

It is a shame that no one in the LC took heed to WN's word about man-made distinctions. Cities, counties and the associated municipalities are all man-man. Why distinguish believers according to these man-made things?
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:41 AM   #169
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There is a well-known hymn with a line that says "On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." What if those in the LC chose to make Christ alone their 'ground'?

It is a shame that no one in the LC took heed to WN's word about man-made distinctions. Cities, counties and the associated municipalities are all man-man. Why distinguish believers according to these man-made things?
Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and John Darby all sounded similar in their formative days. They all spoke against the man-made traditions of their day, and sought to return solely to the scriptures. Their early writings all abound with these kinds of orthodox principles. Of course they were sincere, and for sure they were all gifted ministers who labored inexhaustibly. They all were much blessed by the Lord. Eventually, however, power at the top of the heap catches up with every man, whether Christian or not. And that was their common failure ... fighting to be on top.

As each of these leaders solidified their power base and slowly transitioned for the worse, the minds and consciences of their loyal adherents were neutralized by the "vision" laid forth in those early writings. For sure, they all spent time questioning the shifting direction over time, but "Who is like our leader, and who can prove that our leader has really changed?" Each and every generation faced this dilemma. That's why their followers all endured continual "storms" or quarantines, or whatever words were used to spin the words of the prophets who rose up to speak for the Lord.
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:01 AM   #170
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Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and John Darby all sounded similar in their formative days. They all spoke against the man-made traditions of their day, and sought to return solely to the scriptures. Their early writings all abound with these kinds of orthodox principles. Of course they were sincere, and for sure they were all gifted ministers who labored inexhaustibly. They all were much blessed by the Lord. ...As each of these leaders solidified their power base and slowly transitioned for the worse, the minds and consciences of their loyal adherents were neutralized by the "vision" laid forth in those early writings.
Ultimately the quest for human power becomes synonymous with "building the church", and people will kill each other, thinking they are serving God.

Witness Lee inadvertently exposed the whole sham when he looked at his disciples and said that they were not operating by the spirit of life but by the spirit of human power. I think it was in one of the Elder's Trainings messages.

Gee, I wonder how that happened? How come all the man-pleasers and wanna-be lorders of men gathered around Lee? Hmm... what a mystery. Unfathomable, really, that such a thing could have occurred. (insert dripping sarcasm icon here)
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:26 PM   #171
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Gee, I wonder how that happened? How come all the man-pleasers and wanna-be lorders of men gathered around Lee? Hmm... what a mystery.
Though I am more familiar with the history of Darby and Lee, initially all types of brothers gathered around the precepts which characterized these three ministers in their early days. Many of these dear brothers would honestly testify that they never followed a man, never became a man-pleaser, never lorded it over others, and neither were they forced to ... in the beginning. Things then changed over time, and all three leaders forced their loyal followers to make the hard choices.

For example, Darby publicly shamed Newton first, and then proceeded with George Muller. These three at the time were the most prominent men in the movement. On the surface it was a dispute over eschatological and ecclesiastical teachings, but actually it was just a power struggle. Actually only one of these three was "playing the game." Those who don't want to play this "game" eventually leave, but the "winner" who stays gets to write the story about the "battle for the truth of God." Those who remain and choose sides with this "winner," may or may not know the real story, and thus remain until the next "storm" arrives.

This happened to me. I lived thru the "Max-storm" of the late 70's and the "Ingalls-storm" of the late 80's without ever knowing the truth about what happened. Then with the "Titus-storm" on the horizon, I began researching our "beginnings" back in 1825 with the Brethren movement. That was an incredible eye-opener in so many ways. What I learned about the Brethren, about Lee in those early storms, and what I had already witnessed regionally and locally all began to gel. One day, considering all these stories spanning 3 continents and 3 centuries, it dawned on me that the program I had devoted my best 30 years to, transformed "beloved brothers into bullies." It was time to leave.
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Old 01-21-2016, 01:04 PM   #172
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Ultimately the quest for human power becomes synonymous with "building the church", and people will kill each other, thinking they are serving God.
The errant Catholic ecclesiastical paradigm saw Peter as the N.T. vicar of Christ, while the equally erroneous Protestant model viewed Paul as the minister of the age. Both were wrong, and both have long used distorted oneness to bring the church of God under subjection to their lust for power. I'm sure all of these brothers initially meant well, but their teachings concerning leadership and oneness set the stage for succeeding generations to go further astray. Every exclusive system follows the same pattern of events elevating leaders and their teachings above Christ and His word.

I grew up in Catholicism and could not believe the atrocities in history perpetrated by them in the name of God. I studied Brethrenism and could not believe how different today's Brethren are from their earliest days. I lived in the LC's and what I see today cannot compare with what I saw in my first meetings. They all are spiraling down the same path, and where they are today is determined only by how far they have traveled on that path.

Eventually in every excessively legalistic system, only loyalty and steadfast determination are required of their members. Items like genuine faith, Jesus Himself, and God's word have long since been discarded as troublesome nuisances.
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:41 PM   #173
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Default Re: Ground of Locality and Generality

Reviewing the past day of posts, I see two that I will add comments to:

Indiana quoted Nee as saying:
Quote:
In reading these three portions of the Scripture, we notice that the believers are one in Christ. In the Lord there is no distinction of past status. In the new man and in the Body of Christ, there is no difference whatsoever. If we introduce these man made distinctions into the church, the relationship among the brothers and sisters will be shifted to the wrong ground.
The introduction of various doctrinal differences over the years has created a problem with certain aspects of the oneness of the body. But not all aspects.

Added to all that went before is the problem of "ground." It has always been differences of opinion. And Nee's "ground" is just one more opinion which came along to separate us into yet another (or more) new group. Devising another disputed doctrine called "ground" does not cause the position on it to rise above any other difference of opinion and put the blame upon everyone else.

Then a few posts later Ohio astutely said:
Quote:
The errant Catholic ecclesiastical paradigm saw Peter as the N.T. vicar of Christ, while the equally erroneous Protestant model viewed Paul as the minister of the age. Both were wrong, and both have long used distorted oneness to bring the church of God under subjection to their lust for power.
The one thing that is exceptional here is the observation that no one is free from error. The Catholics took a rather strange understanding of a simple declaration by Jesus and declared a pope while the Protestants turned Paul into the author of their gospel raising the question of where you find the primary source of their teachings — Jesus or Paul. I fear that the tendency often is to read Jesus in light of Paul rather than real Paul in light of Jesus. I find little to no fault in Paul — except where it is used as the primary source of teaching that does not really follow after Jesus very well (if at all).
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:26 PM   #174
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The introduction of various doctrinal differences over the years has created a problem with certain aspects of the oneness of the body. But not all aspects.

Added to all that went before is the problem of "ground." It has always been differences of opinion. And Nee's "ground" is just one more opinion which came along to separate us into yet another (or more) new group. Devising another disputed doctrine called "ground" does not cause the position on it to rise above any other difference of opinion and put the blame upon everyone else.
The subject of oneness is a tricky issue, and I think that you have a good point here. Divergence in opinions/doctrines is something that divides, that is a given. The caveat to that hopefully that none of us are naive enough to think that somehow we can all be organized to be 'one', or that there is even a simple solution to the problem. Is it unfortunate that Christians have so many disagreements? Yes. Is it avoidable? I don't think so.

When Jesus prayed for oneness in John 17, the goal was a simple one, that the world may believe that He had been sent by the Father. Oneness is for the sake of testimony. It is not for the sake of proving or validating a certain practice or method of organizing people.

The missing part of the equation, is of course how to be 'one'. I do not have the answer to that and I don't even presume to completely understand what that means. I do know what won't create oneness. Insisting on practices will never create anything close to oneness. Where I think oneness starts with is not purposely instigating differences of opinions or divisions, kind of like not sticking your hand in a beehive. Those in the LC have long felt that they have developed practices necessary for oneness and thus proceeded to force such practices. Whether or not those practices were good was overshadowed by the fact that they were mandated.

With that in mind, I want to address the following statement that WL made:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Witness Lee
THE GROUND OF LOCALITY BEING FOR ONENESS NOT FOR DIVISION

I regret to say that some of the saints who have read our publications concerning the ground of locality have used them to cause division. Some have said that they are taking the ground of locality in a certain city and that they do not want to have fellowship with others. This is a true division. The ground of locality is for oneness, not for division. If we take the ground of locality as a standing to be independent from other believers, we are divisive.

Witness Lee, Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 13
This an interesting statement by WL, because here he admits that practicing the ground of locality can and has caused division. Granted, he didn't attribute any of the blame to himself (and this should have been done before anything else), but the division that he speaks of needs to be at least taken to be a possibility by those in the LC.

I take no issue with WN or WL seeking after oneness or even thinking that they had the prescription to make it work (had I been in their shoes I would have been no less naive). Although WL's statement can be taken as a much needed admission, it still contains the implication that somehow there is a correct way to practice locality that will produce oneness. It is time for those in the LC to start considering the misplaced blame and why this practice has failed to accomplish what it was intended to accomplish.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:40 PM   #175
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