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Old 10-17-2008, 07:56 PM   #1
Bill W
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Default The Ground Of The Church

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Saints,when I was in the local churches from 1972-1990 I always wondered where in the world they conceived their doctrine "the ground of oneness." This doctrine was one the most distructive tools the enemy of God used to bring into captivity the minds of so many saints myself included.If we read the above verses,then you clearly see what the true "ground"of oneness is between "all" christians.It's the inward reality daily between us and our God,and not some objective doctrinal oneness.

You may have a doctrine of the ground of oneness with all saints,but what if you depart from Christ? Do you have the reality of such oneness as mentioned in John 17,or do you merely have a dead teaching with no reality.We need to be very careful to claim that we are on a ground of oneness because it can change although we have the doctrine.The point I am trying to make is that today I may proclaim to be something ,but tommorrow I may be something else.This is why our oneness with Christ is organic and fluctuates based on where we are today.

For any group of Christians to proclaim that they are on the unique 'ground of oneness"is absurb because it's a daily matter both individually and corporately.Saying something and convincing others that it's the truth doesn't make it true.What makes it true is when I subjectively abide in Christ with other saints based on John 17,then I am positioned to experience the true oneness of Christ.When I am dwelling in unity with all the saints in Him,then I am truly on the real sacred ground of oneness .

Don't let anyone deceive you with flattering words regarding how they alone are on the unique ground of oneness of the Church.Search the scriptures and examine for yourself what the truth in God's Word says about true oneness.Remember the Apostle Paul said that in the last days many shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.Rightly dividing the Word of God and searching the scriptures to measure man's doctrines can keep us and our families from much heartache and misery from those ones whose intentions for us are something other than Christ.This is our responsibility before the Lord,and it is our right to instruct, reproof,and correct saints based on His Word.If fear keeps us from doing this matter,then we become servants of man and his organization and not servants to God and His organic union.Chose today whom you will serve,but as for me and my family we will serve the Lord!Grace and Mercy be with you all amen!

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Old 10-18-2008, 07:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

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Saints,when I was in the local churches from 1972-1990 I always wondered where in the world they conceived their doctrine "the ground of oneness." This doctrine was one the most distructive tools the enemy of God used to bring into captivity the minds of so many saints myself included.If we read the above verses,then you clearly see what the true "ground"of oneness is between "all" christians.It's the inward reality daily between us and our God,and not some objective doctrinal oneness.

You may have a doctrine of the ground of oneness with all saints,but what if you depart from Christ? Do you have the reality of such oneness as mentioned in John 17,or do you merely have a dead teaching with no reality.We need to be very careful to claim that we are on a ground of oneness because it can change although we have the doctrine.The point I am trying to make is that today I may proclaim to be something ,but tommorrow I may be something else.This is why our oneness with Christ is organic and fluctuates based on where we are today.
A question I have is at what point in time did the ground of locality become replaced by ground of oneness?
The application of ground of oneness being nothing more than a facade in presenting a visible united front.

In teaching the ground of oneness would be like trying to capture air in a bottle and market it as your unique product.
Christ is unique, but He is also so general and availalble. At any given moment, when there is the living reality of the oneness as mentioned in John 17:21, it doesn't matter whom our brethren in Christ fellowship with. All that matters is: "That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me."

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Old 10-18-2008, 08:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

Not only is the ground of oneness in expression a fallacy, it is doomed to fail.

As soon as there is the first dissent, then the testimony is lost, leaving the core only one option: to villify the dissenter. It does not matter if the dissenter was "right" or "wrong" in his questioning. To forsake the oneness is sin enough.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

I never understood 'spiritually' the ground of oneness or locality. Notice I wrote SPIRITUALLY!

On the outward..on the surface.....the fact we all...most of us anyway..talked the same..used the same lingo, the same hand expressions, the same body expressions...(very evident in the men in particular)..same dress styles, same hair styles...that we could go 'churching' from one locality to another, take in hospitality, go to a meeting and feel right at 'home'..pray read with the best of 'em...get up and share a testimony or re-enforce the message...sing the same hymns/songs....

THAT my friends was 'ONENESS'....
But...that said, I'm not going to be quick and criticize Lee's vision of that type of ministy.

Look. A Catholic person can go to mass anywhere in the world..even have a mass held in his/her home...and all catholics will feel right at 'home'.

Same goes for those who are die-hard Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, etc... In more recent years, I found myself connecting with the Word-Faith people.

For a time, I got a lot out of it...but I got a LOT out of it because of the foundation I received in reading and studying the Word in my church home in San Diego...back in the 70's. Yes...we were under Lee's ministry but my LORD was/is Christ Jesus. I was 'built' with the saints in San Diego...not with those in Anaheim, Boston or Taipai. When I went to the conferences/trainings in Anaheim & took hospitality, meeting saints from other cities, states and countries, it was awesome. Perhaps I was blessed to be around LIVING SAINTS. Yes, we called on the LORD and Praised the LORD to a fault& pray-read the Word, it seemed...but it was my training GROUND.

It prepared me for what was to lie ahead in the future..which is NOW.
When I connected with the Word-Faith people, the emphasis is confessing the WORD of God...but very few confess the Word of God believing it will transform their way of thinking..from the natural to the spiritual...I mean true spirituality...Explaining true spirituality is a totally different topic I'm not going to discuss here.

Word-Faith takes scriptures and 'faiths' them into their/our being. Of course it makes sense ! After all FAITH is the Substance of things HOPED for..it is the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN. Faith comes by speaking the WORD of GOD until it is birthed in our being.

It WORKS too
!!


Where Word-Faith preachers/teachers are screwing up is they are mainly focusing on speaking FAITH over physical healing and $$$ prosperity $$$.

So...here's my point on the ground of oneness and the ground of locality:
Every branch and every brand of Christianity has it's own 'ground of oneness'.

As for the ground of oneness/locality taught by Lee's ministry: As flaw filled as the ministry was...it gave ME the foundation in the WORD of GOD .."All GET OUT!" I don't necessarily credit Lee's ministry per sae..'cause I read the Word of God a LOT on my own. BUT in my tenure in San Diego, we got together a lot in homes to read the Word, pray the WORD, read messages, fellowship one with another..breaking bread from house to house...as well as going to the meetings.

Was it a perfect locality? NOOOOOO but it was one of the best imho. Those were good years. Did everyone have a good experience in San Diego? No...and obviously, by 1978/79, my season in San Diego and the local churches ended.
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

I always find the derogatory comments on this site regarding the ground of oneness or the ground of locality to be strange. It is as though none of you ever met with a local church, or ever understood the meaning of the oneness there.

My understanding of the ground of locality is simple enough: we are one with every born again believer in our locality. Actually, we are one with every born again believer throughout all time and space -- from Pentecost to the Rapture, and all across the earth. We are just as one with the Apostle Paul as we are with our own spiritual companion. However, the ground of locality makes this oneness practical: we are able to fellowship with any believer we meet, whether or not they agree with us or meet with us, and we are to start right in the city where we live.

The ground of locality takes the onus off the other guy (he doesn't agree with me...!), and puts it squarely on our own shoulders: "As much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men" ~Romans 12:18. It also give me a way to open up my heart to every believer everywhere, whether he prays like me, or looks like me, or reads the Bible the same as me.

It is not (and was never) a matter of agreement in doctrine, practice, vocabulary, or terms. It is (and always has been) a simple matter of the divine life: God is our father and we are all brothers.

I have many children, both sons and daughters. When they were growing up in my house it was not unusual for them to have disagreements, arguments (and even the occasional fist fight). However, despite any disagreement, argument (or fist fight) they were (and still are) all my children, and they were (and still are) brothers and sisters, related in the life received from their parents.

You may, of course, feel free to mock the ground of oneness, or the ground of locality (or whatever term you may choose to use). I think the LSM has given God's enemy ample ground to accuse them (and us by association with them). However, all your mocking and accusations do not take away one whit from the very life of God Himself that has given new birth to every believer, and has made us all wholly one in Him.

Much of our struggle in these days has to do with baby and bathwater decisions. What do we keep? What do we throw away? I do not believe that every experience of Christ for the past 35 years has gone for naught. That doesn't seem like the sort of Christ I have come to know.

However, if there is a profit to be found out of the years of struggle, where do we begin to look? Do we really want to throw out EVERY teaching of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee? What about their teachings on the blood of Christ, or on the divinity of Christ? Where do you want to draw the line?

I have found that the matter of locality has set me utterly free from denominational Christianity (including that of the LSM churches). Thus, in my locality we are beholden to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself personally. We do not receive (nor have we ever received) marching orders from any other locality or headquarters. We are free to receive spiritual help through the speaking or writings of any believer, and though we may fellowship and commiserate with other local churches, we are free to follow the Lord and to seek out fellowship with any Christian we may meet.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

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I always find the derogatory comments on this site regarding the ground of oneness or the ground of locality to be strange. It is as though none of you ever met with a local church, or ever understood the meaning of the oneness there.
[snip]
I have found that the matter of locality has set me utterly free from denominational Christianity (including that of the LSM churches).
Toledo:

My observation is that among those you speak of there is less of a desire to move beyond the Local Church and more of a mere rebellion against it.

In saying so, I think you have implicitly hit the nail on the head of why that might be. So many have not really recognized the LSM denominationalism for what it is and still internally and habitually assent to the claim that the Local Church is the unique expression of the "genuine local church" in every place where it might be found.

Thus, the method of separation is more likely to be based upon exaggerated horrors of doctrine and practice rather than a somewhat disinterested or reluctant distancing on the painfully ironic fact of the Local Church's denominational stands on any number of items.

I received a burned-in vision of the oneness of the believers where I was but it seems pretty clear that the denominational practices in many other places left a large number without the benefit of ever having seen that.
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

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I received a burned-in vision of the oneness of the believers where I was but it seems pretty clear that the denominational practices in many other places left a large number without the benefit of ever having seen that.
I had a burned-in vision of the oneness even before I ever heard of these folks. I got it from the Bible. One God, one Lord and Savior, one faith... etc. It was pretty clear to me. I thought it admirable that someone was willing to take a stand on the ground of oneness, and it was a big reason I threw my lot in with this crew.

To use Toledo's parlance, I also found a lot of sudsy, dirty bathwater in the tub, and it surely needed draining! But the 'baby' of oneness is clearly in God's word, and I keep it. We are one not because we follow Lee's teachings nor because we're united in opposition. We are one because one day we believed, and the light came, the true light which shined into the world.
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

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Word-Faith takes scriptures and 'faiths' them into their/our being. Of course it makes sense ! After all FAITH is the Substance of things HOPED for..it is the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN. Faith comes by speaking the WORD of GOD until it is birthed in our being.

It WORKS too
cmw,

What is the difference between the Word-Faith "speaking the word of God until it is birthed in our being" and the LSM practice of pray-reading the Word?

Did you find any overlap in the two practices? It seems by your description that they are similar.

I always like the enthusiasm I see infused in your posts.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

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cmw,

What is the difference between the Word-Faith "speaking the word of God until it is birthed in our being" and the LSM practice of pray-reading the Word?

Did you find any overlap in the two practices? It seems by your description that they are similar.

I always like the enthusiasm I see infused in your posts.
Hey Aron... THANKS for your heartfelt observation of my posts. I not only write 'enthusiasaticly'... I pretty much live 'enthusiasticly' too. That's because the WORD is really Alive to me... The Word is TRUTH..and it IS living and operative...sharper than any two edged sword!

So...going to the question..GREAT question btw!! For I've been very conscientious in my observations of both practices!

I will do my best to explain. In a peculiar way, there are similarites..

I'm going to take an example of a familiar scripture we all learned in the LC and one that Word-Faith uses. Both ministries use the scripture but use it differently.

The scripture is John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.

As you might know, I got saved in the LC...not having any real bible teaching background. In the 70's, when I got saved and would read/pray read that scripture what was impressed to me was that this LIFE was Eternal..but also 'life giving'. It took me a long time to figure out what was meant by 'life giving'. You remember the song...Life, life the issue is life..

Our meetings and 'speaking' and pray-reading was always done 'differently' than 'Christianity'. We pray-read in a *sing-song* way.
The reason we pray-read with that enthusiasitc sing-song way was to get our 'spirit in gear'. That's what we were led to believe. You might say to 'Birth' the scriptures into us that they would become living & operative in our being.

So we prayed & pray/read...OH! I CAME...Oh I came that You..Oh YOU would have LIFE...Oh THAT I..that IIIIIIIIIII...Oh that IIIIIIIIIIIIII would have LIFE. You get the picture.

Truth be told...we pray read 'enthusiastically' and 'from our spirit'...in that all too familiar LC tone. But how many people really understood what in the world were they really saying !!!! WHAT does it really MEAN that Jesus came that we would have life and have it more abundantly?

Did does that scripture mean (in the LC) that He came we would have eternal life and to pray-read that scripture and every scripture 'enthusiastically' and in a song-song way, 'chewing' on every word or every two words until we knew that scripture or scriptures by heart?

For me... I did not know what the scripture really meant..other than Jesus came that I would have eternal life and that I would learn to speak from 'my spirit', which came by way of emphasizing the words of a scripture, reading scriptures in that strong/song-song way.

For me..That is what I thought John 10:10b was all about. Honest. I can't speak for anyone else in the LC though.

--------------

Now..30 yrs later..after having a private walk with the LORD..WHEN I walked with Him..I repented deeply for having put the LORD in the back-burner all those years, I stumbled into the Word-Faith movement.
Here, the people are confessing the Word of God positively.

So..they take John 10:10b and they're take on it..is that God doesn't want us to be physically sick. He doesn't want us to be poor. He doesn't want us to walk in ignorance. Jesus came that we would have LIFE! Is being sick the LIFE we ought to have? What kind of LIFE is being poor?

NO ! JESUS came that we would be PHYSICALLY Healthy and Financially WEALTHY..and to be happy.

Now...let me also add...that some Word Faith churches do acknowledge there is tribulation in this world..and we will suffer. But by and large...God's promise to us is that we would be WEALTHY..for we are the seed of Abraham.
We (I) learned to take that scripture for instance and speak it positively over my life.

I learned to make my request be made known unto God..make 'sure' it was in alignment with the WORD of GOD & believe that as I delight in the LORD, He would grant me the desires of our/my heart(s), according to Psalm 37:4.

-------------

So when it came to John 10:10b, I learned to take the BEST of both worlds!

I have to believe that Watchman Nee in particular and I suppose Brother Lee perhaps, truly wanted the church to know the LORD JESUS in a deep, profound way..to have a genuine relationship with HIM and with one another. But something was amiss. I think -brother Lee- had a LOT of chinese/catholic/socialist/communist influences mold his idea of the church life...which is why the saints for the most part never truly GREW strong in the LORD and in His Ways.

Then...Word-Faith..takes the scriptures and speak/confess the Word positively...we are speaking FAITH and LIFE into us...but the speaking is incomplete too! The LC's speaking/pray-reading was in complete and the Word-Faith speaking is incomplete too!

I don't know if that makes sense to you or not. I PRAY it does.

To be continued........
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

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cmw,

What is the difference between the Word-Faith "speaking the word of God until it is birthed in our being" and the LSM practice of pray-reading the Word?
Somewhere between the LC pray-reading practice and the Word-Faith practice, the LIGHT came on!

I don't know if you have ever heard about Abraham's FAITH..and how it was 'birthed'. So I'll tell it as I heard it in the Word-Faith movement 'cause I never heard it in the LC.
We know Abraham's name was Abram before God changed it.
While he was Abram, God told him, to look toward heaven, and count the stars, if you are able to count them....so shall your descendants be." Genesis 15:5

But nothing happened for 25 plus years. He and Sarai were childless..even though GOD promised them an heir & then some.
So why were they childless for so long? Word-Faith teaches says it's because Abram didn't speak what God promised him. He merely believed. He didn't take 'action'.

Now watch what happened when God changed Abram's name to Abraham:


Abraham means 'Father of many Nations'.
[And ABRAM fell on his face: God talked with him, saying, As for me, BEHOLD, MY covenant is with you and you shall be the Father of many Nations. Genesis 17:3

Translate Abraham into English....Abraham introduces himself as "Hello. My name is -Father of many Nations-. Everywhere he went, he SPOKE the Word..BELIEVING he was the father of many nations for that is what his name Abraham means.
Thus 3 months later, after God changed Abram's name to Abraham ( I think) He and Sarah conceived Isaac.

Word-Faith says..Abraham and Sarah conceived Isaac because not only did Abraham believe God's promise but he spoke and confessed God's promise. He went around saying 'I AM the Father of many nations'. His confession of Faith then birthed Isaac.
I had NEVER seen that account in that light !!!! HONEST!!

WOW!! It was an AWESOME revelation for me!

I then took scriptures that were inscribed into my being and began to speak the Word of God with FAITH...not in a self-centered, shallow way but with DEPTH..with HEART..that changed everthing for me.

Remember..in the LC we 'knew' the WORD of God. We could pray read it backwards and forwards. WE/I did not know how to apply it practically because everything was focused on the 'ministry' of the church, for the church. It was for the 'building up of the body of Christ'...only we didn't really know how to BUILD UP the Body of CHRIST! That's why so many LC'rs and ex LCr's are screwed up in the head!

Then you have the WORD-FAITH people who 'see' something but it's all too shallow and self centered.. "JESUS came that I would have life and that means, I am to be WEALTHY and HEALTHY. -MEEEE-...Healthy and WEALTHY-- THAT's RIGHT... MEEEEEEEEEEE!!! :rollingeyes2:

WRONGO-PONGO!!!!

Of Course God doesn't want us to live like paupers..and be sickly people..but that's where Word-Faith has failed. Very few Word-Faith people really know how to take hold of the DEPTH of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of GOD!! [Romans 11:33a]

Then..back in the day..and probably still today..the LSM/LC takes the Word of God..pray reads it..chews it, digests it..and they don't know what to do with it! Because they don't know how to have a genuine, true, deep relationship with the LORD GOD JEHOVA and His Son, JESUS and HIS Holy Spirit!

I hope I made some sense. Thanks for reading my posts.
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:36 AM   #11
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

A trend I've noticed:

It also occurs to me that there is perhaps a desire to deny that the word "church" is even properly applicable to the group due to grave allegations of abuse and error. Or perhaps it's because of a desire to preserve the phrase "local church" for general use. But around here they avoid use of the common denominational name "Local Church" that has been used in Christianity for decades. I've noticed this most commonly among those who are most strongly antagonistic to the group. Instead, they prefer to add other words as descriptors such as "system" or "movement" or to make express reference to the denomination's LSM connection, e.g. "LSM-affiliated local churches."

I find that I'm completely comfortable utilizing the denominational name that Christianity Today used in print from at least the early 1980s and that the group itself used in its recent pleadings to the United States Supreme Court, capital letters and singular to boot. This is "The Local Church of Witness Lee" or, more concisely, "The Local Church."

The Local Church is a denomination that got its name on account of their peculiar doctrine of localism which began as a truth concerning the oneness of all believers but eventually became a point of division, as has happened with so many good teachings in so many groups throughout history.
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

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A trend I've noticed:

....around here they avoid use of the common denominational name "Local Church" that has been used in Christianity for decades. I've noticed this most commonly among those who are most strongly antagonistic to the group. Instead, they prefer to add other words as descriptors such as "system" or "movement" or to make express reference to the denomination's LSM connection, e.g. "LSM-affiliated local churches."

A couple of observations using my perspective.

Often times preachers/teachers/evangelists who have never been under Witness Lee or even heard of him use the term local church to refer to congregations who assemble under a particular pastor.

The first time I heard a pastor speak about the local church, many years ago, my ears perked up wondering if he/she was referring to 'THE' local church.

The pastor wasn't.

Then when I came to this board, I had to figure out what LSM was. It took some time to figure out the local church as I knew it had splintered and those who followed and parroted Witness Lee's teachings to a Teeeee were the LSMrs..

I think this is why there is such a strong application differentiating the LSM local church from 'THE local church'.

One more caveat....there are probably lurkers who have never been under Witness Lee's ministry but have 'touched' it or have friends/relatives who are in it and to distinguish the different groups is helpful to them.

Have a good and BLESSED day.
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:44 AM   #13
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

I follow you but all denominations tend to cause some confusion in such ways, don't they?

I mean, the Baptists don't really own baptism, do they? Aren't we all "baptists" from a certain perspective? The Church of Christ isn't really THE Church of Christ, right? The Catholic Church isn't really the catholic Church.

Anyways, I was just noticing the tendancy here to avoid the "Capital L Captial C" name that our brothers and sisters in Christianity have generally known this group by for going on 30 years now.

I thought it was kind of odd is all.
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
The ground of locality takes the onus off the other guy (he doesn't agree with me...!), and puts it squarely on our own shoulders: "As much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men" ~Romans 12:18. It also give me a way to open up my heart to every believer everywhere, whether he prays like me, or looks like me, or reads the Bible the same as me.

It is not (and was never) a matter of agreement in doctrine, practice, vocabulary, or terms. It is (and always has been) a simple matter of the divine life: God is our father and we are all brothers.
Toledo,

I like your writing. This is the kind of speaking I love to "meet on the street" where I live. May God grace you on your journey, with your fellows, in your "locality".

Peace to you, and thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:27 AM   #15
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

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I always find the derogatory comments on this site regarding the ground of oneness or the ground of locality to be strange. It is as though none of you ever met with a local church, or ever understood the meaning of the oneness there.

I have found that the matter of locality has set me utterly free from denominational Christianity (including that of the LSM churches). Thus, in my locality we are beholden to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself personally. We do not receive (nor have we ever received) marching orders from any other locality or headquarters. We are free to receive spiritual help through the speaking or writings of any believer, and though we may fellowship and commiserate with other local churches, we are free to follow the Lord and to seek out fellowship with any Christian we may meet.
Toldeo, I see a vast difference between "ground of locality" versus "ground of oneness".
Through the ground of locality there are no barriers in following the Lord and whom we recieve through the Lord.
Through the ground of oneness, it is defined by a select group and subject to change at any given moment. Consider the history of the local churches. The 'ground of oneness" changed through the decades.
Problem is when you endorse both teachings, there is an inherrent conflict of interest.

Terry
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Old 10-25-2008, 01:20 PM   #16
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Toldeo, I see a vast difference between "ground of locality" versus "ground of oneness".
Through the ground of locality there are no barriers in following the Lord and whom we recieve through the Lord.
Through the ground of oneness, it is defined by a select group and subject to change at any given moment. Consider the history of the local churches. The 'ground of oneness" changed through the decades.
Problem is when you endorse both teachings, there is an inherrent conflict of interest.

Terry
Amen, dear brother Terry and all you dear brothers and sisters. I am very thankful to Bill W for starting this thread and for all the fellowship thus far in this thread.

The "ground of locality" really is so simple and so beautiful! How precious it is: Focus and center on Christ, be open to receive all genuine believers, be open to receive help from all genuine believers, do not participate in any divisions, and do not become a division. This view of "the ground" was taught and practiced (at great cost) by dear ones in the 20th century like Simon Meek, Faithful Luke, and Stephen Kaung (co-workers of Watchman Nee), along with dear ones like TAS and Bakht Singh.

This view of the "ground of locality" is very healthy and serves as a real safeguard, since violating any one of the above points means forfeiting the ground of locality. The version of "the ground" taught in the LC, sad to say, has not kept the LC from becoming narrow and exclusive, just as it did not keep the various branches of the Closed Brethren who taught a similar version of "the ground" from becoming narrow and exclusive.

May our dear Lord keep our eyes focused on Him alone and may He keep our hearts enlarged to receive all those whom He has received.
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Old 10-25-2008, 01:51 PM   #17
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Toldeo, I see a vast difference between "ground of locality" versus "ground of oneness".
Through the ground of locality there are no barriers in following the Lord and whom we recieve through the Lord.
Through the ground of oneness, it is defined by a select group and subject to change at any given moment. Consider the history of the local churches. The 'ground of oneness" changed through the decades.
Problem is when you endorse both teachings, there is an inherrent conflict of interest.
I would deny that the ground of oneness can change simply because some group or another wants to define it differently. Our oneness is based upon the oneness of our God Himself. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc. The ground of oneness means that we are one with every believer everywhere at any time. There is never any excuse for division except for open sin.

The ground of locality makes our oneness practical. I am one with every believer in the place where I live. My claim of oneness with the saints in Moscow and the saints in Beijing rings hollow if I cannot be one with the saints in the city where I live.

However, there remains in the ground of locality alone the potential for divisiveness based upon a randomly drawn up city boundary line. The ground of locality by itself would allow the brothers in Livonia to refuse to meet with the brothers in Detroit. The brothers in DC could refuse to meet with the brothers in Silver Springs. The saints in Huntington Beach could refuse to meet with the saints in Anaheim. Watchman Nee warned against the dangers of "localism" which are inherent in the term "ground of locality".

If I am pressed to make a definition, I refer to the ground of oneness expressed in locality. We are in fact one in the triune God. That oneness needs to start in our own locality, but it does not stop there.

As far as a self-selected group of brothers redefining the ground of oneness, there is no such thing. Our oneness is based on Christ alone. Anyone who would add any issue ("one with the ministry"...?) or add any sort of requirement is no longer on the ground of oneness. That's just another name for denomination (e.g. LSM , Baptist, Pentecostal, etc. ).
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Old 10-25-2008, 04:10 PM   #18
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The ground of oneness means that we are one with every believer everywhere at any time. There is never any excuse for division except for open sin.

However, there remains in the ground of locality alone the potential for divisiveness based upon a randomly drawn up city boundary line. The ground of locality by itself would allow the brothers in Livonia to refuse to meet with the brothers in Detroit. The brothers in DC could refuse to meet with the brothers in Silver Springs. The saints in Huntington Beach could refuse to meet with the saints in Anaheim. Watchman Nee warned against the dangers of "localism" which are inherent in the term "ground of locality".
My Bible seems to "amen" these sentiments. "Therefore I judge that we do not harass those from the Gentiles [or from Detroit, or Silver Springs, or Anaheim] who are turning to God, but that we write [fellowship] to them to abstain from the contaminations of idols and fornication and what is strangled in blood." ~Acts 15:19,20.

That word is from James, no less, who seems to be the most "legal" of the bunch. So why should we come along and add rules beyond abstaining from sin?

You either believe or you don't. If you don't, you are "not of us". If you believe, you are "of us". Any demarcations beyond that cause division and loss.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:59 AM   #19
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Abraham means 'Father of many Nations'.
[And ABRAM fell on his face: God talked with him, saying, As for me, BEHOLD, MY covenant is with you and you shall be the Father of many Nations. Genesis 17:3

Translate Abraham into English....Abraham introduces himself as "Hello. My name is -Father of many Nations-. Everywhere he went, he SPOKE the Word..BELIEVING he was the father of many nations for that is what his name Abraham means.
Thus 3 months later, after God changed Abram's name to Abraham ( I think) He and Sarah conceived Isaac.

Word-Faith says..Abraham and Sarah conceived Isaac because not only did Abraham believe God's promise but he spoke and confessed God's promise. He went around saying 'I AM the Father of many nations'. His confession of Faith then birthed Isaac.
I had NEVER seen that account in that light !!!! HONEST!!

WOW!! It was an AWESOME revelation for me!

I then took scriptures that were inscribed into my being and began to speak the Word of God with FAITH...not in a self-centered, shallow way but with DEPTH..with HEART..that changed everthing for me.
cmw,

Great story about Abram/Abraham. I loved it.

I myself also morphed from the sing-songy "pray-reading" to a more personal style of declaring God's word by faith.

Some LC readers might object to my using "personal" to categorize my practice, as if theirs was by comparison "impersonal". But I found the formulaic practices in the LCs to be just that. I was even taught a song: "Oh Lord, Amen, Hallelujah/ that's the way to let Him in". I did see personal variations in the practices of the believers as they prayed over the Scriptures, but these were by far exceptions to the rule. The rule, as I saw/practiced it, was pretty ironclad: "Oh Lord, life... Amen, life... Hallelujah, life...oh Lord, abundant... Amen, abundant life... Hallelujah, abundant life."

All of which, of course, was WONDERFUL for a newbie just coming out of the "silent pews". I had a mouth! I could speak! I could pray! Tremendous!

The practice of praying out loud God's word, of hearing my voice declare God's holy breath into being, instead of the curses and threats and idle boasts of my earlier days, was a phenomenal experience for me. But like many things in the LSM program, this seeming "advance" soon became a cage. The LSM-promulgated practice, in this case praying God's word, became the "recovered" truth/experience/practice, and any different experience or practice or interpretation was considered deviant.

So I guess I'm partly with the LSM program, and partly not. Countmeworthy, thanks bunches for the "Father of many nations" story. Like with "pray-reading", or what I usually term "declaring God's word", sometimes you have to speak something into being. Sometimes you have to lead with your mouth, and your brain and heart can catch up later!!
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:18 AM   #20
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

I find Toledo’s apparent defense of the LC “ground” ─ whether of locality or oneness ─ interesting. Following are some quotes from a couple of his posts (in green).

The ground of locality takes the onus off the other guy (he doesn't agree with me...!), and puts it squarely on our own shoulders: "As much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men" ~Romans 12:18. It also give me a way to open up my heart to every believer everywhere, whether he prays like me, or looks like me, or reads the Bible the same as me.

It is not (and was never) a matter of agreement in doctrine, practice, vocabulary, or terms. It is (and always has been) a simple matter of the divine life: God is our father and we are all brothers.

But the practice was exactly the opposite. The onus was always on the other guy. He had to come to you or there was no fellowship. We testified about our efforts to avoid going to someone else’s assembly, even those of our relatives. If we had to go, we told horror stories about the deadness of the service. The sermon had to be picked apart; the music decried as worldly or dead.

If you fail to toe the line on the primary LC teachings, you might not be a real “local church.” If you individually weren’t on the same page, your testimony received silence, or groans. You might be counseled about the “flow.”

I would deny that the ground of oneness can change simply because some group or another wants to define it differently. Our oneness is based upon the oneness of our God Himself. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc. The ground of oneness means that we are one with every believer everywhere at any time. There is never any excuse for division except for open sin.

Yes our oneness is based on God himself. It is not based on locality. It is not based on Lee’s teachings. I submit that the oneness of my assembly is greater than that of any in the LC ─ even the entire LC put together. As long as oneness rises from the lips, but excommunication is the practice and separation and even derision of other Christians and their assemblies in your proximity continues, it will always be that way.

Pray for the gospel to go out in every place that God’s name is lifted up. Do it aloud together in your assembly on Sunday. Love your neighbor who is not in the LC, and may not even be Christian. Do justice to all who are oppressed.

The ground of locality makes our oneness practical. I am one with every believer in the place where I live. My claim of oneness with the saints in Moscow and the saints in Beijing rings hollow if I cannot be one with the saints in the city where I live.

Amen. But ground has nothing to do with that. You will find that there are many assemblies around you with affiliations, and no affiliation, whose only “ground” is the acreage their building sits upon. But they are one. They are often one across the “separators” of name that you decry, but cannot get across. They join in the gospel. They join in service. They pray for one another. When disaster befalls one group, others with no obvious link step up to help.

Yes, you can find examples of harsh sectarianism. There are preachers that demean every group that does not hold to their pet teaching, or follow their leader. Unfortunately, the LC has a history of the same. The oneness has been with itself and not with all Christians.

There are now exceptions. The movement away from the old LC ways in some of the GLA LCs has been encouraging. I pray for the day that many ─ even all ─ of the LCs drop their sectarianism, admit that they are another denomination, and join the rest (and much bigger part) of Christianity in a true act of oneness. That will be a true testimony of oneness.
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:01 AM   #21
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

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I find Toledo’s apparent defense of the LC “ground” ─ whether of locality or oneness ─ interesting. Following are some quotes from a couple of his posts (in green).

The ground of locality takes the onus off the other guy (he doesn't agree with me...!), and puts it squarely on our own shoulders: "As much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men" ~Romans 12:18. It also give me a way to open up my heart to every believer everywhere, whether he prays like me, or looks like me, or reads the Bible the same as me. It is not (and was never) a matter of agreement in doctrine, practice, vocabulary, or terms. It is (and always has been) a simple matter of the divine life: God is our father and we are all brothers.

But the practice was exactly the opposite. The onus was always on the other guy. He had to come to you or there was no fellowship. We testified about our efforts to avoid going to someone else’s assembly, even those of our relatives. If we had to go, we told horror stories about the deadness of the service. The sermon had to be picked apart; the music decried as worldly or dead.

If you fail to toe the line on the primary LC teachings, you might not be a real “local church.” If you individually weren’t on the same page, your testimony received silence, or groans. You might be counseled about the “flow.”
Hey OBW, nice to see you again!

This little excerpt displays some of the the difficulty of understanding the LC's. Two totally conflicting views of the "ground of oneness." I read Toledo's account, and I agreed. I read OBW's account, and I also agreed. How ironical. The two contradict, yet both are true. How can this be?

This is why I came up with the concept of "early Lee / later Lee." Toledo's post reflects the teachings of WN which impacted the ministry of "early Lee," and which many have espoused, but which have sadly contributed to their also being quarantined over the years. OBW's account reflects the ministry of "later Lee" so staunchly held today by the "beloved blendeds" at LSM.

This highlights the striking differences that exist today between our foundational teachings and our current practices. The extensive writings between the BB's and the CB's, before and after the Whistler quarantine, all too often illustrated this.

True story: one of my younger brothers actually went on TV for his hobby raising rats in our basement. (Oh the stories to tell about that!) You thought your family was strange. Anyways, he went to NYC to film the game show "To Tell The Truth." At the end of the show, they always ask, "Will the real so-n-so please stand up."

Often, during the CB vs. BB debates, I also wondered, "Will the real WL please stand up."
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:36 AM   #22
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Yes, good to see you again OBW.

The odd thing about the local ground is that as soon as you begin to teach it as a required practice the onus immediately goes to the other guy. So I didn't understand Toledo's point at all.

If you are talking about basic spiritual oneness then, yes, the onus is on you in a healthy way. But if you are talking about the local ground teaching then as soon as a group "takes" the ground, they are putting the onus on everyone else to meet with them.

I don't see how you can claim it is any other way. But I'd be open to hearing about it.

So, while I see Ohio's point, I disagree that Nee's version would have resulted in anything different, because once you require the local ground, escalation of the teaching to current intolerance levels is only natural. It's another systemic flaw.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:03 AM   #23
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Hey OBW, nice to see you again!

This little excerpt displays some of the the difficulty of understanding the LC's. Two totally conflicting views of the "ground of oneness." I read Toledo's account, and I agreed. I read OBW's account, and I also agreed. How ironical. The two contradict, yet both are true. How can this be?

This is why I came up with the concept of "early Lee / later Lee." Toledo's post reflects the teachings of WN which impacted the ministry of "early Lee," and which many have espoused, but which have sadly contributed to their also being quarantined over the years. OBW's account reflects the ministry of "later Lee" so staunchly held today by the "beloved blendeds" at LSM.

This highlights the striking differences that exist today between our foundational teachings and our current practices. The extensive writings between the BB's and the CB's, before and after the Whistler quarantine, all too often illustrated this.

True story: one of my younger brothers actually went on TV for his hobby raising rats in our basement. (Oh the stories to tell about that!) You thought your family was strange. Anyways, he went to NYC to film the game show "To Tell The Truth." At the end of the show, they always ask, "Will the real so-n-so please stand up."

Often, during the CB vs. BB debates, I also wondered, "Will the real WL please stand up."
Hello dear brother Ohio,

Ah yes, it is very nice to see dear brother OBW again.

If you will allow me to "muddy the waters" a little, I can see three distinct periods in the "Lord's Recovery" in the 1900's. First there was "early Nee" in the 1920's, 1930's, and the early 1940's. Then there was "later Nee/early Lee", a period which covers from the resumption of WN's ministry in the late 1940's all the way to the mid-1980's. Lastly, there was "later Lee/BB's" which began in the mid-1980's and is still with us today.

You all will undoubtedly remember our time with brother "cuttingstraight" over at "that other forum". It was while I was investigating some issues during debate with "cuttingstraight" that I saw a small, but definitely noticable, difference between WN's speaking in the famous "What Are We?" message and in his book The Normal Christian Church Life, compared to WN's speaking after the resumption of his ministry in 1948, especially in his book Church Affairs. While there is a noticeable hardening toward other Christian groups and toward those who would not completely toe the line in the "Lord's Recovery" in "later Nee", there was a good amount of WN's characteristic big heartedness still in evidence.

Concerning "early Lee" and "later Lee": comparing WL's speaking in the Life Study of James with his Crystallization Study of James, and comparing his speaking on the seven-fold intensified Spirit in the Life Studies of Revelation and Zechariah with his speaking on the same subject during the "high peak" years, while not reflecting directly on the "ground of locality", provides good examples of the noticeable hardening of WL's stances from "early Lee" to "later Lee".

Of course, we can disagree on when exactly "early Lee" became "later Lee" and some could argue that the BB's represent a fourth phase that is even more rigid than "later Lee", but I simply wanted to present what I have found from my own reading of LSM's material.

Grace and peace to you, dear brother.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:08 AM   #24
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If you are talking about basic spiritual oneness then, yes, the onus is on you in a healthy way. But if you are talking about the local ground teaching then as soon as a group "takes" the ground, they are putting the onus on everyone else to meet with them. So, while I see Ohio's point, I disagree that Nee's version would have resulted in anything different, because once you require the local ground, escalation of the teaching to current intolerance levels is only natural. It's another systemic flaw.
WN taught "basic spiritual oneness," and emphasized that Biblical oneness put an end to all divisive things of man. He spoke how nothing should separate believers except geography. What we see practiced by LSM/LC's in no way resembles what he taught ... in fact he would be appalled by what is done in his name. Most of the GLA churches went back several years ago and read TNCCL when LSM began making claims about one publication and teaching differently. Reading his book, I could not believe the present practices so-called based on his teachings.

I have found that the only teaching of WN's which could be considered "suspect," is the matter of "deputy authority." Due to suspicious LSM editorial practices over the years, however, the verdict is still out on that one. I am listening to Hope, though. He has made some comments of note on this topic.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:22 AM   #25
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Ohio,

Maybe. But my theory is that any inkling of legality over the one-church-one-city is the camel's nose under the tent. As soon as you in any way start to insist on it, you are destined to assume an attitude of intolerance.

While I believe Nee's heart was in the right place (for whatever that's worth), I also believe that the whole teaching of one-church-one-city is destined to produce division, no matter how benign it starts out.

Why? Because is so darn cut and dried. Either your in the "one church" or you are not. And if you are not, you are dead wrong to those who are in it. Even though they have neglected to remember that they have no way of knowing for sure whether the group they are in is indeed the one church, or that their elders lead that one church.

In other words, the idea doesn't work.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:49 AM   #26
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If you will allow me to "muddy the waters" a little, I can see three distinct periods in the "Lord's Recovery" in the 1900's. First there was "early Nee" in the 1920's, 1930's, and the early 1940's. Then there was "later Nee/early Lee", a period which covers from the resumption of WN's ministry in the late 1940's all the way to the mid-1980's. Lastly, there was "later Lee/BB's" which began in the mid-1980's and is still with us today.

You all will undoubtedly remember our time with brother "cuttingstraight" over at "that other forum". It was while I was investigating some issues during debate with "cuttingstraight" that I saw a small, but definitely noticable, difference between WN's speaking in the famous "What Are We?" message and in his book The Normal Christian Church Life, compared to WN's speaking after the resumption of his ministry in 1948, especially in his book Church Affairs. While there is a noticeable hardening toward other Christian groups and toward those who would not completely toe the line in the "Lord's Recovery" in "later Nee", there was a good amount of WN's characteristic big heartedness still in evidence.
KTS, Thanks. I do remember cuttingstraight. How could I forget? We went a few rounds together. He came on board implying that NigelT was a heretic, and I got a little "iritated." He came in like the wind, and left the same way. I miss him.

I guess I view LSM translations of WN with suspicion -- especially the later ones. It's hard for me to believe WN would develop narrow, exclusive tendencies after what he went thru, especially while the communists were taking over the country. You may be right.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Igzy, you may be right. I view pride and religious zeal (think Laodicea) to be far more dangerous to us than the teaching of "one city, one church." Toledo summarized the spirit of WN's teaching quite well. The teaching was proffered to help believers, not hurt them nor divide them. The teaching was basically descriptive, not prescriptive, as it later became. In the opening preface of the book, WN described just such danger.

Personally, I believe that any blessing from the Lord can bring with it some amount of danger. We are so easily puffed up, thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. The dangers lie here, rather than in the teaching. Pride can use the most benign of teachings to cause trouble.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:50 AM   #27
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... my theory is that any inkling of legality over the one-church-one-city is the camel's nose under the tent. As soon as you in any way start to insist on it, you are destined to assume an attitude of intolerance.

While I believe Nee's heart was in the right place (for whatever that's worth), I also believe that the whole teaching of one-church-one-city is destined to produce division, no matter how benign it starts out.

Why? Because is so darn cut and dried. Either your in the "one church" or you are not. And if you are not, you are dead wrong to those who are in it. Even though they have neglected to remember that they have no way of knowing for sure whether the group they are in is indeed the one church, or that their elders lead that one church.

In other words, the idea doesn't work.
One thing I don't like about the one-church-one-city approach is that it's circumscribed by man-made political boundaries. I think this is a direct result of a legal application of the scriptural record.

I live in East Cummerford, and there is a line on the ground where I cross to Waverly. Different politicians, school district, cops, fire dept., etc. But really, on the ground, it is going from Oak Ave. to Maple Ave. Brother Bob down on the next block is "under" the "church" in Waverly. I am subject to "elders", whether chosen by fiat or election, in E. Cummerford.

So when I meet with the saints in Cummerford, I am with the "church in Cummerford", or even I am the "church in Cummerford", but when Bob and I gather we are "blending" ecumenically or some such, even when he and I live closer to each other than to anyone else.

I prefer YP's approach. When you gather with two or three (or twenty or thirty, or whatever) in the Lord's name, He is there. An assembly of believers, any assembly, is just that: an assembly. A city, or town, or hamlet, or a chariot on the south road to Egypt; it doesn't matter. Cutting and pasting based on man-made political jurisdictions is dead from the word "go".
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:42 AM   #28
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One thing I don't like about the one-church-one-city approach is that it's circumscribed by man-made political boundaries. I think this is a direct result of a legal application of the scriptural record.
The assembly wherever you are doesn't have "membership" as far as I can see.

That is most likely where things go off and, in my view, it's related to the "universal church" problem.

I don't believe "church membership" is really a New Testament concept, is it?
The word "membership" doesn't appear in KJV, NASB, RSV, NIV or Darby...
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Old 10-30-2008, 12:18 PM   #29
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Hello dear brothers,

If I may, all of you have alluded to and implied a crucial issue, which is that the best concept of the church does not work without frequent applications of the cross. Without the cross continually working on our natural pride, any point that we feel differentiates us from other believers will become overly magnified and overly emphasized as time progresses. This will lead to the point becoming applied in strict legality (think of the history of baptism by immersion, head coverings, the ground of locality, etc.)

Examining the history of the "Lord's Recovery" as a whole in the 1900's, I see that what was at first a very slight and very gradual diminishing of the importance of the cross, ended up becaming a very big and very noticeable diminishing of the importance of the cross. In one of his last speakings before he went to be with the Lord, WL bemoaned the fact that he had been giving the LC "dumplings without garlic and vinegar", which he explained as giving the LC lots of rich "high-peak" truths without a balancing emphasis on the cross. He warned the LC that receiving the "high-peak" truths without the cross would only produce excessive pride and would end up greatly damaging the LC. Sadly, his words have proven to be very prophetic.

I really need to get back to that thread I started which was discussing TAS's books entitled "That They All May Be One, Even As We Are One". TAS's view on "the ground" was very simple - Simply gather, wherever and whoever you are, centered on Christ alone and outside all know divisions. This is what he saw in the NT as the reality of "the ground". While expanding upon this topic, TAS said something that struck me as very profound: He admitted that even his simple idea of the ground could not be maintained in a particular assembly unless the Lord had gained a group of "solidly-crucified" ones in that assembly. A group of "solidly-crucified" ones - this is what will guard against the otherwise inevitable pride, exclusiveness, and legality. These ones are not "super Christians" or puffed-up ones; rather, they are simply those who have known a lot of the breaking of the cross and thus have had their pride dealt with. Probably, most of their service to the assembly will be on their knees, in their private room of prayer. Their "spiritual noses" will be keen to signs of pride, exclusitivity, and legality whenever they might arise.
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:48 AM   #30
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Default Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Having read through this thread I appreciate the open warmness of all who have posted. My experience in the “Local Churches” has deeply affected my life as I am sure it has yours also. I heartedly embraced the matter of one church in every city from my first days in the local church in 1970. I also, sadly to say, was one of the young boisterous condemners of denominational Christianity. But as the these years have passed, with all the turmoil many of us have passed through, my views have been altered somewhat.

I still believe in one church in every city though……simply because when I open the Word of God and read the record of the early saints in the New Testament, to me, it is still very evident that in the minds of the early saints and the apostles all the believers dwelling in a certain place were “the church” in that particular location. The dividing up of the fellowship of the body on different grounds was strongly condemned by the Apostle Paul. The Word is the Word. What any of us have passed through over the years does not alter it.

The fact that the “Local Churches” have departed from what is revealed in the record of the New Testament does not change the truth of the Word itself. I think most of us would agree that “The Ministry” and how you relate to it….has become the real ground of oneness in the local churches. I still have the desire to gather with other believers in my locality and be nourished with them in the Word and in the Lord’s presence and to practice the assembling together that the Word speaks of.
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:33 PM   #31
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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I’m well aware of the “house” churches in the NT Igzy. In Jerusalem “they continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Thousands were being saved and added to the church…not churches….even though they were meeting from house to house. These thousands of believers were referred to as “ the church in Jerusalem”….not “the churches in Jerusalem.”

Acts 8:1 “the church that was at Jerusalem”

Acts 11:2 “ the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem”

Acts 15:4 “And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and the apostles and elders…”
The church in the house was referred to as the church in the house. This is the side you have neglected. You cannot demonstrate from scripture that the church in the house referred to in the NT is equivalent to the church in the city.

Another problem with your doctrine is that you can't tell us how it is worked out in practice, or how it avoids the incrimination of those who don't submit to the group which "takes the ground." I've demonstrated this several times and no one has been able to answer counter my charges.

Let me demonstrate again. Suppose you and some others "take the ground" in a city. Now suppose another group does, too. Suppose each set of elders thinks the other group's elders are not bona fide. If so, one or both of the set of elders must, if they take their own local ground doctrine seriously and to its logical conclusion, consider the other set of elders, and therefore their followers, in error for not coming over to their side.

In other words, the presumption of being the elders of the "one church" in the city must necessarily lead to the dismissal of every other group in the city, even those which claim to meet on the local ground.

Thus, elders of a group taking the ground must by definition do two things:
  1. Expect every Christian in the city to accept that they are indeed the God-appointed leaders of all the Christians in that city.
  2. Take a position who those that do not submit to them are wrong with God.
Conclusion: Given that they have no way of proving #1, it therefore can be nothing but an unreasonable and unwarranted expectation. Therefore #2 is also unreasonable, unwarranted and therefore sinful. Since one cannot believe #1 without also believing #2, the local ground practice is therefore shown to necessarily lead to sin, and is thus inconsistent and unworkable.


On an even simpler level, there is no way of determing which set of elders who claim to be over the "one church" in the city actually are the true elders. Therefore, the "one church" in the city doctrine is practically unworkable and must be considered superfluous.
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Old 12-06-2008, 04:41 AM   #32
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Hi Igzy,

Firstly:
The word “church” in the NT many times is translated assembly and Paul may just be referring to the fact of saints assembling in someone’s house. Also it seems that there were some localities in the NT where there may not have been many believers and the whole church probably gathered in a single house in that city. I pointed out the fact in the Word of saints meeting in many houses and yet the scripture refers to them as “ the church” and not churches. Why is this? Are you neglecting this point?
I am well aware of the references in the Word of "the church in the house", although these are few and couldn’t even come close to the number of verses referring to the church in the city.

Secondly:
Please don’t think of me as an LSM person dealing with this matter in the way it has been dealt with by them. I am not. I am totally aware of the wrong application of this by certain ones and I believe I pointed this out in a previous post. I remember many years ago Witness Lee telling us that if we went to a locality and there were already some meeting there then we should join with them regardless of their differences from us. I guess you would call this “Early Lee”. I agree with this view. We should gather with the saints whom God had already brought together in that locality. The practice of the LSM saints has been very wrong in this and they have completely disregarded Witness Lee’s word from years ago. Therefore your argument concerning who are the real elders is irrelevant. The fact that some have done wrong in this matter doesn’t negate the truth. If some baptize in an abusive way does that mean that baptism is no longer legitimate?

Thirdly:
Your statement that the local ground practice leads to sin and is inconsistent and unworkable may be logical in your mind but to me it is somewhat ludicrous. The gathering of believers outside of denominationalism simply on the grounds that they are the Lord’s body and not Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans or what have you is something which would be very much in agreement with the Word. How this is practiced by the LSM churches may be in error but it doesn’t change the fact that when you look at the church in the NT what you see is believers assembling together in cities where the gospel had gone to and they are referred to as the church in that city. There is abundant proof of this in the Word……far more proof then the few references to “the church in the house”. If the few verses concerning the church in the house are any persons ground for believing that there can by multiple churches in any city then that ground is very weak indeed.

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:17 AM   #33
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Default Not necessarily

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The church in the house was referred to as the church in the house. This is the side you have neglected. You cannot demonstrate from scripture that the church in the house referred to in the NT is equivalent to the church in the city...
Igzy,

Not necessarily. I have several counterexamples to your logic. In my country, some groups which used to gather separately eventually gathered together after recognizing each other's right ground as the local church in that city. Of course, as you described, there are many cases in which two groups just reject others even after recognizing other's right ground. However, just becase it is not so easy to practice the truth, that does not necessarily follow that we can give up the truth.

As opposed to the general understanding of many posters here, I believe a local church has more chrateristic of unversal church than local because basically, for example, the church in Moscow include all the saints there, regardless of their accepting of the truth of one church - one locality.

My point is that even though one unifying eldership of a local church should be accepted as a valid truth in the Bible, that should not be over-empahsized as to make divisions - as done by "Late Lee." To my understanding, Paul seems that he did not trouble so much from the saints who did not belong to his ministry, those must have been under the other eldership of the specific city than that set up by Paul.

[14] Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. [15] It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. [16] The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. [17] The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. [18] But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (Philipians 1, NIV)

Of course, my conjecture should be confined in the condition that those saints did not promote any other "signboard" like Presbyterian, Mothodist, Baptist etc, as we notice Paul's another warnings not to do so. After all, to have a group's own interprestatoin of a specific truth in the Bible is one thing, and to officailly hang a signboard of that interpretatoin as the way it distinguish themselves from other Christains is another. In that sense, I criticize all the denominations.

The reason why I think the universal charateristic of a local church is more important is that at the end of the day the second coming of our Lord is more related with the produce of overcomers who will be from all the saints, regardless of their acceptance of one church - one city truth. BUT this cannot deny the stern existence of the truth in the Bible ; one church - one city.

To me, seeing how difficult it is to practice the truth just leads me more into the deplorable sigh of how human nature is divisive than into the doubt of how this truth is not plausible.

Gubei.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:05 AM   #34
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Hi Igzy,

Firstly:
The word “church” in the NT many times is translated assembly and Paul may just be referring to the fact of saints assembling in someone’s house. Also it seems that there were some localities in the NT where there may not have been many believers and the whole church probably gathered in a single house in that city. I pointed out the fact in the Word of saints meeting in many houses and yet the scripture refers to them as “ the church” and not churches. Why is this? Are you neglecting this point?
I am well aware of the references in the Word of "the church in the house", although these are few and couldn’t even come close to the number of verses referring to the church in the city.
Hi Oregon,

I'm not neglecting the point. My issue is not that there is not in some sense "one church" in a city in much the same way as there is one church universally. My issue is that once you claim that one church must be organized practically with one set of leaders there is no way to determine who the actual leaders of that church are. The best you can get is people claiming to be the leaders. So if you have two sets of leaders claiming to be the elders over the church in Toronto (which is in fact the case now, as in many other cities) there is no way to resolve the situation. This is being demonstrated in real time as we write.

In Witness Lee's movement (aka The Recovery) he and his co-workers were always the final arbitrators on this point. So if they said a set of elders or an assembly was not the real church in the city, then that was pretty much it. In other words, the validity of a particular church was decided by a movement. This is decidedly unscriptural. I seen nothing in the Bible that gives workers the authority to declare churches valid or invalid. This is in fact the way of Rome.

Quote:
Secondly:
Please don’t think of me as an LSM person dealing with this matter in the way it has been dealt with by them. I am not. I am totally aware of the wrong application of this by certain ones and I believe I pointed this out in a previous post.
So, what exactly is the right application? Please be sure to explain how disagreements on who are the true elders are resolved. When there can only be one church in a city, there are going to eventually be disagreements on this issue, as we indeed see today.

Quote:
Thirdly:
Your statement that the local ground practice leads to sin and is inconsistent and unworkable may be logical in your mind but to me it is somewhat ludicrous.
If it's ludicrous you ought to be able to tell me how the Christians in a city decide who the proper elders over than one church are. For example, who are the real elders over the church in Toronto? The ones over the LSM church or the ones over the CB church? Or none? How does one know? If you cannot answer this then my point is not ludicrous.


Quote:
The gathering of believers outside of denominationalism simply on the grounds that they are the Lord’s body and not Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans or what have you is something which would be very much in agreement with the Word. How this is practiced by the LSM churches may be in error but it doesn’t change the fact that when you look at the church in the NT what you see is believers assembling together in cities where the gospel had gone to and they are referred to as the church in that city. There is abundant proof of this in the Word……far more proof then the few references to “the church in the house”. If the few verses concerning the church in the house are any persons ground for believing that there can by multiple churches in any city then that ground is very weak indeed.
There is nothing wrong with meeting just as a church in the oneness of the Spirit. In fact, this is how most community churches meet these days, including the one I meet with. There is no thought that we are better than anyone or have an exclusive thing going.

The problem comes in with insisting that a group must meet on the ground of the city to be a legitimate church. The Bible does not command us to do this. Also, there are too many verses which may give ground to churches on different grounds other than the city (e.g. the house) to insist on the grounds of the city.

Besides, once you insist on the ground of the city, who is to say the proper group meeting on the ground is the one you happen to meet with? Maybe it's someone else.

Now that there are many cities with more than one group claiming to be the church, it is simply a he-said-she-said situation, with no way to resolve it. This is why recovery churches end up in court. It's an indication of a severe flaw in the practical city church model.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:29 AM   #35
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Igzy,

However, just becase it is not so easy to practice the truth, that does not necessarily follow that we can give up the truth.

My point is that even though one unifying eldership of a local church should be accepted as a valid truth in the Bible, that should not be over-empahsized as to make divisions - as done by "Late Lee."

To me, seeing how difficult it is to practice the truth just leads me more into the deplorable sigh of how human nature is divisive than into the doubt of how this truth is not plausible.
Hi Gubei,

Here you are basically admitting what I've been saying. There is no practical way to determine which of competing sets of elders are indeed the real set. So your solution is to be nice and kind of hope things work out. That's not very practical when push comes to shove (and there has been a lot of shoving going on lately.)

The problem is not human nature. The problem is you are advocating a practical model for which you cannot provide practical instructions.

I can anticipate some responses. E.g. Everyone has to take the cross and all that. But the fact is the set of elders that "win out" didn't have to take the cross. All they had to do was convince enough people they were bona fide, by any means necessary. This is precisely what we have seen.

This is why I cannot accept the idea of one set of elders over one church in a city as any kind of mandate. Because eventually the ruthless will try to control, and the weak have no place to go. This is also the Roman model.


Advocates of the local church model love to speak of it in all its idealized purity. Unfortunately, a practical local church comes down to following one set of leaders, and those advocates never let the other shoe drop and tell us just how to know who those elders are. They just keep harping on the "truth" of one church per city.

Most of them, like you Gubei, lament "human nature" as the barrier to this ideal. This reminds me of the advocates of Communism in the 20th century. They were always pleading that Communism was a great system, just that it had never been done right. They kept blaming the people. It never occured to them that perhaps their ideal was never intended for this world.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:54 AM   #36
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Once you insist on one church per city practically you are effectively advocating one set of elders per city. This in turn gives authority to an arbitrary set of men to insist that every Christian in the city obeys them under threat of being cast out of the church experience in that city.

Gubei talked about the deplorable state of the human tendency to divide. I see that as much less of a threat than the deplorable state of the human tendency to suppress. The former was a characteristic of the Reformation, the latter of the Roman church. Which produced the worse results?
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:30 PM   #37
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Once you insist on one church per city practically you are effectively advocating one set of elders per city. This in turn gives authority to an arbitrary set of men to insist that every Christian in the city obeys them under threat of being cast out of the church experience in that city.

Gubei talked about the deplorable state of the human tendency to divide. I see that as much less of a threat than the deplorable state of the human tendency to suppress. The former was a characteristic of the Reformation, the latter of the Roman church. Which produced the worse results?

Igzy,

Thanks for your analysis of my position. But I have to disagree.

First of all, you are assuming that "one city- one church model inevitably bringing in "conflict" between so called elders, leading to caos. So, the model is bad." However, as I mentioned, there are some counterexamples to your logic and that's what our God wants to see by this truth. Whether it be with this truth or not, there will be conflict between leading brothers in a city because some of them are not mature but divisive. It's the exposing aspect of one city - one church model that can condemn those kind of divisive leaders. Think about this. I do not believe any PROPER elders would conflict with others at the risk of division. In either cases, (harmony or conflict between elders in a city), the truth has a valid functions, especailly in its second function - exposing human nature.

Secondly, communisim itself is not wrong. What's wrong is human nature. According to capitalistic economy, the most basic assumption is that "resource is scarce, but human greed is unlimited." Do you think this human greed is right? According to Acts, we know the early church conducted a kind of communism by the Sprit. And think about this. What does the subprime crisis mean to us? Are you happy with the collapse of economy? If you "officially" deny one city- one church model, that is adding fuel and legalizing Christian divisions.

In conclusion, the truth itself is GOOD and should be preserved and taught as such. And leave them who abuse this truth to suppress others. They are divisive and will be judged by our God. Even without this truth, they would have been divisive anyway.

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Old 12-08-2008, 03:15 PM   #38
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Gubei,

The fact that you have counter examples does not eliminate the problem, it simply shows that in some cases the problem is not manifested. But in any of those situations you speak of the problem is waiting to happen, and you have no solution for it once it does, other than to condemn on group or another. And that solution is not acceptable, since there is no way for you to prove who the real elders are.

Further, the fact that two sets of leaders disagree is not necessarily a point of weakness or immaturity, at least not one for which we can decide for everyone which is wrong. The disagreement may be on a substantial and important points, at least in their minds. For example, one group believes Lee's ministry represents the essence of the Bible, the interpreted word, and so must be adhered to. Another group does not believe this. Each is not necessarily acting badly, they are acting as their conscience dictates, at least it is easy to imagine a situation where that is the case. Each are being, ostensibly, as pure as they can be, they simply disagree on a point that they cannot get around or find common ground on.

So how does one decide which one is right? The old-fashioned way, you pray and make up your mind. Someone else's claims to being right are more or less meaningless. You have to decide for yourself. So if there are two groups claiming to be the leaders of the one church, I might pray and go along with one group; and you might pray and go along with the other. But because I am convinced in my mind that I'm right, does that mean I can say you are then not following the true elders? I don't see how anyone can make that case. And so if neither of us can decide for the other, the idea of a genuine single eldership is theoretical, it is not practical. Yes, we might all go along and make it happen, but what if my conscience won't let me go along? You have no solution for that either.

As I've said before, you have not given me a practical way of how do determining for everyone in a city in a way that can be enforced who the elders of that city are. Therefore, despite the fact that you can point to instances where everyone in a city are under the same elders (and I don't think you can; all you can show is a group of recovery members who are all under one set), your model is still theoretical.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't say I thought it was necessarily a bad thing for all the Christians in a locality to be under one eldership. The problem comes in when for example a subgroup decides the elders have gone off the deep end and leave (and they are within their right in doing so) and those elders proceed to condemn them, as if they have franchise rights over the city or something.

This is the LC mentality and I would say it is a problem which lurks latently in every single LC church. It's built into the model whether you admit it or not. It cannot not be. Why because once a group is convinced their elders are necessarily the unique leaders of the city-church, then they must believe that those who don't follow them are wrong in some way, otherwise they don't really believe it, in which case the point is moot.
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:20 PM   #39
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In conclusion, the truth itself is GOOD and should be preserved and taught as such. And leave them who abuse this truth to suppress others. They are divisive and will be judged by our God. Even without this truth, they would have been divisive anyway.
Of course the truth is good. Your problem is you have assumed for everyone else that the local ground is indeed the truth. Yet you cannot answer practical questions about it. This is a warning flag for me and should indicate to you that perhaps you should rethink things. I know it's hard, I was indoctrinated once myself.
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:26 PM   #40
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Igzy,

Thanks for your analysis of my position. But I have to disagree.

...

Secondly, communisim itself is not wrong. What's wrong is human nature. According to capitalistic economy, the most basic assumption is that "resource is scarce, but human greed is unlimited." Do you think this human greed is right? According to Acts, we know the early church conducted a kind of communism by the Sprit. And think about this. What does the subprime crisis mean to us? Are you happy with the collapse of economy? If you "officially" deny one city- one church model, that is adding fuel and legalizing Christian divisions.

In conclusion, the truth itself is GOOD and should be preserved and taught as such. And leave them who abuse this truth to suppress others. They are divisive and will be judged by our God. Even without this truth, they would have been divisive anyway.

Gubei
Dear Brother Gubei,

Better leave the discussion of economic to others. Where did you get this cockeyed notion about capitalism? Capitalism works on the principle that if resources are scarce the market will develop new resources or more efficient ways to use the available resources. Because an entrepreneur's efforts will be rewarded then the capitalist is willing to risk his time, effort, thought and capital. Communism calls this greed and hopes men would risk time etc to meet a common need with no thought of reward. Yet the Lord Himself will return with rewards for the faithful servants and praises those who multiplied their talents. Communism is wrong for it puts no premium on profitable labor. Sharing is not communism. The early church did not practice communism.

So better leave economic discussions to those who know economics. Your argument is invalid. Contend for one church one city from the truth of the Bible and dissect any failure directly. I am holding my fire on the subject.

Here is a question. How is it that there are four local churches in Chee Foo, China all claiming the ground of the church and all claiming to be in the line of Watchman Nee’s teaching? Chee Foo was Witness Lee’s home town.

Hope, Don Rutledge

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Old 12-08-2008, 08:47 PM   #41
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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So, what exactly is the right application? Please be sure to explain how disagreements on who are the true elders are resolved. When there can only be one church in a city, there are going to eventually be disagreements on this issue, as we indeed see today.
Igzy, There is a principle in the Bible. There may have been periods where there seemed to be a right application, but the pride in man always sunk what seemed good. We have it in local church history, Brethren istory, etc. It's because of disagreements and pride, that brings about denominations in all Christianity. As a result of disagreements is there an inability to recieve brothers and sisters.
About one church in a city, we should be clear between church and assembly. Couldn't there be many assemblies in a city, but one church as the expression? Not to be confused with one single assembly claiming to be the sole expression, but many assemblies.

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Old 12-08-2008, 11:05 PM   #42
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Of course the truth is good. Your problem is you have assumed for everyone else that the local ground is indeed the truth. Yet you cannot answer practical questions about it. This is a warning flag for me and should indicate to you that perhaps you should rethink things. I know it's hard, I was indoctrinated once myself.
Igzy,

1. I do not promote the way LSM are using and implementing the teaching of one-city, one-church.

I cannot understand why you seem to think I'm for LSM in this matter. I serveral times said that I do not agree with LSM on this matter.

2. Practice of one-city, one-church is very difficult as you said.

Igzy, I fully agree with you in that point. Practically, I do not believe this truth will be satisfactorily practiced before our Lord comes back. Not because the truth is wrong but because of human nature.

3. Why did God give us this kind of so impractical truth in the Bible?

a. Mosaic Law

Igzy, please think about it. Why did God give Isralites the Mosaic Law?
That's for exposing man in their inability in keeping God's law. Is Mosaic Law WRONG? Absoultely NOT. MAN IS WRONG.

b. Trinity

Also, think abut this. Trinity is really difficult to understand. That's why there have been so many heretical teachings in church history, even now. Is Trinity WRONG?

Igzy, it is one thing to be in the Bible as a truth and it is another how practical that truth is or easy to understand.

4. There is a BIG difference between just disagreeing and promoting another group in a city.

Please think about this. As you said, you can deny other eldership in a city than that you accept for some reason. You may meet with some saints who are on the same page with you. It's okay to me. But think this serious picture you are watching everyday in your city. A lot of signboards reading "Baptist Church", "Holy of Holies", "Presbyterian Church" and so on and so forth. Is that biblical?

5. My practical remedy

You are arguing that I'm wrong because I did not give you practical remedy.
Here it goes.

Let others meets themselves without criticizing them UNLESS
a. they theach obvious heretical things
b. they promote their "signboards"

And Let's pray for them and for us to be one (even PRACTICALLY).


My last question. Please explain to me your model which is according to the Bible BEFORE YOU REPLY MY POINTS ABOVE. You must have yours judging from so confident tone of your speaking.

BTW, if you want to talk with me about "the appointment of elders", which unavoidably is related with the matter of apostleship, you can refer to my posts in the Berean forum by searching my name. If it is not convenient to you, I will clarify this another important issue once again for you later in this forum.

Gubei
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:25 PM   #43
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Dear Brother Gubei,

Better leave the discussion of economic to others. Where did you get this cockeyed notion about capitalism? Capitalism works on the principle that if resources are scarce the market will develop new resources or more efficient ways to use the available resources. Because an entrepreneur's efforts will be rewarded then the capitalist is willing to risk his time, effort, thought and capital. Communism calls this greed and hopes men would risk time etc to meet a common need with no thought of reward. Yet the Lord Himself will return with rewards for the faithful servants and praises those who multiplied their talents. Communism is wrong for it puts no premium on profitable labor. Sharing is not communism. The early church did not practice communism.

So better leave economic discussions to those who know economics. Your argument is invalid. Contend for one church one city from the truth of the Bible and dissect any failure directly. I am holding my fire on the subject.

Here is a question. How is it that there are four local churches in Chee Foo, China all claiming the ground of the church and all claiming to be in the line of Watchman Nee’s teaching? Chee Foo was Witness Lee’s home town.

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.
Hope, I received my "cockeyed notion about capitalism" from my MBA school and a lot of textbooks. Even thoug I have a lot to say about this, I admit this anaology is not so good for discussing the issues at hand.

Getting back to your question.

The churchi in Chee Foo, which is a bit away from where I'm living now as a foreigner in this country, includes ALL THE SAINTS in that city. Not only the four groups, but also all other Christians in that city are members of the church in Chee Foo.

If the four groups are respectively claiming that only they are the church in Chee Foo, they all are wrong. Anyone who claims that any subset of the church in Chee Foo is the church in Chee Foo, he is wrong. And the relevance with WN or WL is not a deciding factor at all.

I'm not sure I'm answering to your question after having understood rightly.
Please clarify anything you want for further answer from me.

Gubei
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:55 AM   #44
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Igzy,

I cannot understand why you seem to think I'm for LSM in this matter. I serveral times said that I do not agree with LSM on this matter.
I never said you were for LSM.

Quote:
Igzy, I fully agree with you in that point. Practically, I do not believe this truth will be satisfactorily practiced before our Lord comes back. Not because the truth is wrong but because of human nature.
If the Lord wanted us to practice the local ground, since it is a practical matter he would have given us the practical tools to do so. A primary issue with the city church model is knowing who to follow. Since you cannot give me a way of determining who the elders actually are, the model can't even get out of the gate, and I have to conclude it is actually impractical and therefore superfluous.

Quote:
Igzy, please think about it. Why did God give Isralites the Mosaic Law?
That's for exposing man in their inability in keeping God's law. Is Mosaic Law WRONG? Absoultely NOT. MAN IS WRONG.
The law gives us specific and direct commandments. There is no commandment to practice the local ground, so your point does not work here.

Quote:
Also, think abut this. Trinity is really difficult to understand. That's why there have been so many heretical teachings in church history, even now. Is Trinity WRONG?
Differences on interpreting the Trinity do not necessarily lead to contention. Differences on interpreting the local ground necessarily do lead to contention. Practicing it requires everyone agree on exactly what it means and how it is carried out. This will never happen, thus trying to force it is a distraction and even a detriment to the Lords' work of saving people. Let's get back to what the Lord commanded us to do.


Quote:
Please think about this. As you said, you can deny other eldership in a city than that you accept for some reason. You may meet with some saints who are on the same page with you. It's okay to me. But think this serious picture you are watching everyday in your city. A lot of signboards reading "Baptist Church", "Holy of Holies", "Presbyterian Church" and so on and so forth. Is that biblical?
I'm a lot more worried about a group claiming to be the one true church in the city than I am about signs. Signs are bad if they confuse or divide, but those that simply identify are not a problem. Denominations are losing membership. The community church movement is skyrocketing. Most CC's simply use signs and names to identify. I see the trend going in the right direction.

Quote:
You are arguing that I'm wrong because I did not give you practical remedy.
Here it goes.

Let others meets themselves without criticizing them UNLESS
a. they theach obvious heretical things
b. they promote their "signboards"

And Let's pray for them and for us to be one (even PRACTICALLY).
Implicit in your remedy is the assumption that you are right and others are wrong. This is precisely the problem that is built into the LC model. You cannot "take the ground" without assuming others are wrong. The LC model even says that other groups which meet on the ground (like the other three in Cheefoo that Hope talked about) are wrong. Four community churches in a city will fellowship, meet and pray with each other freely. Four "local churches" in a city will not. They will at best pretend the others don't exist. Usually one or all will condemn the others. Hope can tell you about how this occurs in Raleigh.

Quote:
My last question. Please explain to me your model which is according to the Bible BEFORE YOU REPLY MY POINTS ABOVE. You must have yours judging from so confident tone of your speaking.
My model is to meet with believers and receive all Christian believers and groups. Oneness is shown by our willingness to receive others and to acknowledge that the Lord may be working in ways better than our own in a group meeting just a few miles away. In other words, the attitude of oneness is one of receiving, love, graciousness and humility--esteeming others as better than ourselves. Since the Bible never insists that we meet on the "ground of locality" I have no right to insist on it either.

Quote:
BTW, if you want to talk with me about "the appointment of elders", which unavoidably is related with the matter of apostleship, you can refer to my posts in the Berean forum by searching my name. If it is not convenient to you, I will clarify this another important issue once again for you later in this forum.
Appealing to apostleship is just kicking the can down the road. Like elders, there is no way for us to determine who the real modern apostles are. It all comes down to opinion, and as we know, if you insist on your opinion you create contention. This is exactly what has happened when some insist Witness Lee was a apostle. Appealing to apostleship just creates more problems.


So, again, please tell me. Who are the elders of the church in Toronto? The LSM-following elders or the CB-following elders, or someone else? And how do you know? I need to know who to meet with when I visit there. This was the question I asked you to answer.
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:07 AM   #45
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Hope, I received my "cockeyed notion about capitalism" from my MBA school and a lot of textbooks. Even thoug I have a lot to say about this, I admit this anaology is not so good for discussing the issues at hand.

Getting back to your question.

The churchi in Chee Foo, which is a bit away from where I'm living now as a foreigner in this country, includes ALL THE SAINTS in that city. Not only the four groups, but also all other Christians in that city are members of the church in Chee Foo.

If the four groups are respectively claiming that only they are the church in Chee Foo, they all are wrong. Anyone who claims that any subset of the church in Chee Foo is the church in Chee Foo, he is wrong. And the relevance with WN or WL is not a deciding factor at all.

I'm not sure I'm answering to your question after having understood rightly.
Please clarify anything you want for further answer from me.

Gubei
Gubei,

Respectfully, this answer does not help anyone decide who to meet with. I thought the local church was supposed to be practical. Your answer is completely impractical. It's just theory.

(Removed last paragraph)
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:42 AM   #46
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Igzy, There is a principle in the Bible. There may have been periods where there seemed to be a right application, but the pride in man always sunk what seemed good. We have it in local church history, Brethren istory, etc. It's because of disagreements and pride, that brings about denominations in all Christianity. As a result of disagreements is there an inability to recieve brothers and sisters.
About one church in a city, we should be clear between church and assembly. Couldn't there be many assemblies in a city, but one church as the expression? Not to be confused with one single assembly claiming to be the sole expression, but many assemblies.

Terry
Excellent point Terry.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:01 AM   #47
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Igzy, There is a principle in the Bible. There may have been periods where there seemed to be a right application, but the pride in man always sunk what seemed good. We have it in local church history, Brethren istory, etc. It's because of disagreements and pride, that brings about denominations in all Christianity. As a result of disagreements is there an inability to recieve brothers and sisters.
I think believing everyone needs to be following the same set of elders over a whole city is detrimental to receiving the believers in that city. Seems to me we have to also acknowledge that the Lord is working among them in the groups they happen to be in, perhaps in some ways better than our own, even if those groups are not organized the way we'd like.

Quote:
About one church in a city, we should be clear between church and assembly. Couldn't there be many assemblies in a city, but one church as the expression? Not to be confused with one single assembly claiming to be the sole expression, but many assemblies.
Well, seems like this is just making the city church a sort of mini invisible, city-wide "universal" church. This is fine, I suppose, assuming you don't insist on one set of elders over the whole city.

The problem, as you can surmise from my posts, is not the idea there is one church in a city. The problem comes in when you try to organize that ostensive church with a specific set of elders and make the claim "these are the elders over the whole city." As I have said ad nauseum, how do you know that? My posts on this have probably grown tiresome to some, but that annoyance could be solved by providing an answer. No one has.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:03 AM   #48
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

I both enjoy and despise this discussion.

I enjoy it because it puts the spotlight on those who claim to be “the” ones with “the” elders. This is an excellent way to cast a cloud over the very teachings that the LC promotes, most notably one church in one city under one set of elders. When there is a group who has that position then some splinter away and then try to wrestle the title away from the others, the foolishness is put on display. Thankfully there have been some who have realized that such a claim is hollow and have allowed the splinter group to have their precious name.

But the most despised part of the discussion is that in every case, any argument between two or more groups about who is “the” church with “the” elders ignores the many existing assemblies that were there before any such exclusive group came along and claimed to have the Holy Grail of churchism. They come with a formula of doctrines that they say are the proper ones and dismiss the reality of the church that is expressed in the lives of Christians who already gather in assemblies all over some large cities. They scoff at so-called divisions as they add one more to the mix while saying that they are not a division because they say they are the one church for the city. On whose authority? Not on scripture’s.

What a joke. This is the height or arrogance ─ or is it ignorance. Probably both. I agree that the tactic of framing the “one city one church” doctrine debacle in terms of a disagreement between two groups as to which one it should be points to the emptiness of their claims. But I can only barely stomach it because it starts by presuming that such a non-biblical teaching is actually correct.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:47 AM   #49
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I both enjoy and despise this discussion.

I enjoy it because it puts the spotlight on those who claim to be “the” ones with “the” elders. This is an excellent way to cast a cloud over the very teachings that the LC promotes, most notably one church in one city under one set of elders. When there is a group who has that position then some splinter away and then try to wrestle the title away from the others, the foolishness is put on display.
Amen, OBW. Amen.

Quote:

What a joke. This is the height or arrogance ─ or is it ignorance. Probably both. I agree that the tactic of framing the “one city one church” doctrine debacle in terms of a disagreement between two groups as to which one it should be points to the emptiness of their claims. But I can only barely stomach it because it starts by presuming that such a non-biblical teaching is actually correct.
I totally understand you revulsion, OBW. But often the best way to disprove a point is to start by assuming it is true and then show that if it is true it must be false, in other words that it is self-contradicting. This is what I have attempted to do and I believe I have succeeded.

It seemed to me this might be one way to jostle the thoughts of the hard-core local grounders, and get them to think outside their box for a change. If they are honest they have to come to grips with the fact that they cannot tell me how to determine for sure who the elders over a city are, and so they have to consider that perhaps their model is really just a nice theory which has no enduring practical application.

In the meantime we should all consider getting back to the business of cooperating with any and all Christians we encounter to spread the truth of the Lord to a lost world. We all should stop making the good the enemy of what we think is the best.
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:15 AM   #50
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Hello Gubei, and others

Could be your MBA text books gave a spin that gave you a distorted view of how capitalism actually works. Over the years I have hired several young graduates from top business schools with majors in finance. They all have told me that they started from scratch with us in learning how the economy and investments actually work. Sometimes I have a similar thought about the LSM and all of their trainings etc. The BBs such as Ron Kangas, Andrew etc. really do not have a clue as to how God’s economy actually works. I brought up the Chee Foo situation to illustrate that something is way off in somebody’s practice and understanding.

May we assume for a moment that the description of the church in Ephesus etc could be practical and is preferred to what we find today. Good ole IGZY has put his finger on the deal breaker. That is the issue of authority. The whole notion of “the Work” and “Deputy Authority” creates a fertile ground for the flesh of man, (as you, Gubei have been appealing to for an explanation for the problems) to create more division while cloaking itself in spiritual talk and reasons.

The New Testament urges us to walk in humility and endeavor to keep the oneness of the S/spirit and to arrive at the oneness of the Faith. We are not admonished to be under the authority of the right set of elders, who where appointed by the right apostle, who is a co-worker in the right “work,” which is under “the Apostle of the Age.”

One thing is certain. In the New Testament “elders” were not bosses. I am including some teaching on what is a biblical elder in my book on the LC history. Maybe that would be a good discussion for this forum and contrast that with the LSM version of eldership?

By the way I admire how both Igzy and Gubei have hung in their with their views and concerns. Prov 25:2, It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. NASB May we all search out the truth and practice of the oneness of the Body of Christ.

I certainly appreciate the sentiments of OBW shown below. This topic does make you want to throw up your hands or wind your watch or jump through a hoop backward due to the frustration. I have spent many years considering, searching and trying to figure out how to proceed. I probably have a ways to go yet. Please posters, weigh in. We all can learn and be perfected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I both enjoy and despise this discussion. ...

I enjoy it because it puts the spotlight on those who claim to be “the” ones with “the” elders. ...

But the most despised part of the discussion is that in every case, any argument between two or more groups about who is “the” church with “the” elders ignores the many existing assemblies that were there before any such exclusive group came along and claimed to have the Holy Grail of churchism.

They scoff at so-called divisions as they add one more to the mix while saying that they are not a division because they say they are the one church for the city. On whose authority? Not on scripture’s.

Hope, Don Rutledge

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

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Old 12-09-2008, 09:17 AM   #51
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Let me stress that the question "who are the elders" is not just a means of argumentation. It is a real question which Christians associated with the LCs all over the world have been asking. Many of them have been tormented by this question. All the ostensive elders can do is claim "we are" and condemn the other set. This leads nowhere but to escalated accusations. And so the followers continue in their confusion and misery. No one has an answer for them. How tragic.

Well, I'm attempting to give them an answer. I'm attempting to show them that they don't need to follow the model because the model, ultimately, does not work. You can be free to follow the Lord where he leads you to meet. The church was not intended to be a prison, but a pasture. And if the Lord sets you free you shall be free indeed.

If you happen to enjoy an idyllic situation where all the Christians in your city meet together and are happy to follow one set of elders, then more power to you. I hope the Lord uses your church to save many. But realize you may have no plan B when your elders go bad but continue to insist that they still lead the one church and that all who don't follow them are outside the Lord's will. That's when you'll see the dark side of this thing.

BTW, great post, Hope. Deal breaker indeed.
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:49 AM   #52
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Igzy,

I agree that taking on their position is an excellent way to show its fatal flaws. It's just that this particular position is so retched that I feel as if I am having to put on waders to work in a sewer system.

In any case, keep up the good work.
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:06 AM   #53
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Well, seems like this is just making the city church a sort of mini invisible, city-wide "universal" church. This is fine, I suppose, assuming you don't insist on one set of elders over the whole city.
An excellent articulation of what I'm often struggling to say!

The assembly in a place is "a sort of mini invisible, city-wide 'universal' church...[without] one set of elders over the whole city."

That's really wonderful!
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:52 PM   #54
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Igzy,

I still need to clarify my position to you. Despite your negation, I believe you are thinking of me as one of LSM-type advocate of the truth.

1. Actually, we are envisioning the same practice of church life in mind.

Did you notice that? Your model is what I have thougt in mind.

You wrote
"My model is to meet with believers and receive all Christian believers and groups. Oneness is shown by our willingness to receive others and to acknowledge that the Lord may be working in ways better than our own in a group meeting just a few miles away. In other words, the attitude of oneness is one of receiving, love, graciousness and humility--esteeming others as better than ourselves."

I could not agree with you more on this.

2. what I mean by the "ground of locality"

As opposed to somepeople who abuse the truth, the ground of locality should be used to unify Christians. Please look at the below two examples in which an elder is giving teaching to a new comer.

Elder A : Brother Tom, welcome to the house of God. We are God's unique expression in this city. We are following the truth of the ground of locality which is in the Bible. As you may notice, there are a lot of Christains in this city who have been deviated from this crucial truth in the Bible. They are wrong. It is God's will for you to come to our meeting.

Elder B : Brother Tom, welcome to the house of God. According to the Bible, all the saints in a city was called the church in that city. This truth is referred to as the ground of locality. As you know, there are a lot of saints in this city. And we love them as our brothers and sisters. We should accept them according to the truth in the Bible.

Igzy, I basically believe the ground of locality means more accepting other brothers and sisters without condition than administratoin. In other words, despite the word "locality", the gound of locality means more universality than locality. If God is omnipresent (or out of the limitation of time and space), locality means little to Him.

3. the ground of locality has two phase

You wrote
“If the Lord wanted us to practice the local ground, since it is a practical matter he would have given us the practical tools to do so. A primary issue with the city church model is knowing who to follow. Since you cannot give me a way of determining who the elders actually are, the model can't even get out of the gate, and I have to conclude it is actually impractical and therefore superfluous.”


Igzy, you are thinking that the ground of locality means one unitary eldership in a city. But, when I use the term the ground of locality (or one city – one church), I have in mind the situation that every saint accept others in that city (as described by your wonderful expressions). Of course, the next phase – one unitary eldership in that city - is not unimportant. As we know, according to the Bible, in the early churches, there were the situation in which even this second phase – one unitary eldership in a city – was rightly conducted. However, I already made concession on this matter. Due to human nature and the big size of modern city, practically, it is very difficult to have one unitary eldership in a city in this 21 century, if not impossible. So, I even suggested that the ground of locality is more for exposing human nature in its functioning.

Furthermore, even as WL admitted, the local church is not directly related with the second coming of our Lord. Overcomers, who will be from any Christian groups, is related with the long-awaited event among Christains. In that sense, one unitary eldership (or administration) seems to me not to be so critical at least in terms of our Lord's second coming.

You can be a good American even though you are not in line with the administrative policy of American government. Americans are not for administratoin, but administration is for Americans.
As you know, the problem with LSM-model is that they force saints to follow administration.

But, I think you have gone too far with the word “superfluous.” Just as the Mosaic Law is not superfluous, “one unitary eldership is a city” is not superfluous. That is a truth originally revealed in the Bible. What’s impossible to man is possible to God. Who knows one day the church in Toronto goes back to this original situation by the work of the Spirit. Let’s not be in such haste in giving up the truth, at least for the time God might make them one.


4. Not every descriptive in the Bible is without prescriptive authority



You wrote
“The law gives us specific and direct commandments. There is no commandment to practice the local ground, so your point does not work here.”

As some theologians, including WN and WL, claim, we should not take only the prescriptive portion in the Bible as prescriptive. We also should take some descriptive portion in the Bible as prescriptive according to our interpretation. Some times, we should not take prescriptive portion in the Bible as prescriptive. We do not pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands when those commit sins.

5. “Necessarily” means “without counterexamples”, but there are some.


You wrote.
“Differences on interpreting the Trinity do not necessarily lead to contention. Differences on interpreting the local ground necessarily do lead to contention. Practicing it requires everyone agree on exactly what it means and how it is carried out. This will never happen, thus trying to force it is a distraction and even a detriment to the Lords' work of saving people. Let's get back to what the Lord commanded us to do.”

Yes, differences on interpreting the Trinity do not necessarily lead to contention. But it leads to contention really so frequently and so many times. That’s what I said.
Differences on interpreting the local ground necessarily do lead to contention? I already said that “not necessarily.” How can you deal with some counterexamples in which scattered groups gather together giving up their former position?

6. We are on the same page on the fact that denominations are wrong.

You wrote
“I'm a lot more worried about a group claiming to be the one true church in the city than I am about signs. Signs are bad if they confuse or divide, but those that simply identify are not a problem. Denominations are losing membership. The community church movement is skyrocketing. Most CC's simply use signs and names to identify. I see the trend going in the right direction.”

Despite your negation, at least to me, you seem to allude that I’m in for LSM’s position of the ground of locality by saying that “I'm a lot more worried about a group claiming to be the one true church in the city than I am about signs.” As I already made it clear, the one true church in a city includes ALL THE SAINTS in that city. And you seem to deny denominations as I do. It’s good. About community church, I do not have much knowledge.

7. The church in Chee Foo includes ALL THE SAINTS in that city

You wrote
“Implicit in your remedy is the assumption that you are right and others are wrong. This is precisely the problem that is built into the LC model. You cannot "take the ground" without assuming others are wrong. The LC model even says that other groups which meet on the ground (like the other three in Cheefoo that Hope talked about) are wrong. Four community churches in a city will fellowship, meet and pray with each other freely. Four "local churches" in a city will not. They will at best pretend the others don't exist. Usually one or all will condemn the others. Hope can tell you about how this occurs in Raleigh.”

Once again you seem to allude that I am for LC model by saying the example of Chee Foo. But I already replied to Hope by saying the four so called local churches in Chee Foo are WRONG. If four community churches fellowship each other, it’s really good! The only concern I have about them is that why they use the word “community” in front of “church.”

By the way, one question. Do you think you are right and I am wrong in the matter of ground of locality? I expect yes. That’s why you and I exchange this long postings each other. Then, why can some not think others are wrong?

8. A more difficult issue - apostleship

You wrote
“Appealing to apostleship is just kicking the can down the road. Like elders, there is no way for us to determine who the real modern apostles are. It all comes down to opinion, and as we know, if you insist on your opinion you create contention. This is exactly what has happened when some insist Witness Lee was a apostle. Appealing to apostleship just creates more problems.”

As I told you in my previous post, let’s talk about this later. BTW, you do not seem to look up my postings in the Berean forum. I know that is not convenient to you. Yesterday (in China time), I found my writings about this matter in doc format, which was written 1 and half year ago in my Laptop. Let’s fellowship later.

BTW, please give me your definition of apostle in one or two sentences. That will be helpful for our later discussion. I had a really hard time in discussing this issue with a brother who cannot deal with what comes by the simple difference of definition.

9. Tronto?

You wrote
“So, again, please tell me. Who are the elders of the church in Toronto? The LSM-following elders or the CB-following elders, or someone else? And how do you know? I need to know who to meet with when I visit there. This was the question I asked you to answer.”

You are asking too much to me who has never been to Toronto.  I’m so sad to see the situation. Why should I, who were born in a really small country in Asia and now living in China for some reason, confirm who are elders and who are not in Toronto which is really far away from my place? But if you insist I will after posting the aforementioned my doc file in this thread.

BTW, can you tell me where you are living now? That will be helpful for me to better understand you.

Let’s keep in touch.

Gubei
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:21 PM   #55
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I think believing everyone needs to be following the same set of elders over a whole city is detrimental to receiving the believers in that city. Seems to me we have to also acknowledge that the Lord is working among them in the groups they happen to be in, perhaps in some ways better than our own, even if those groups are not organized the way we'd like.



Well, seems like this is just making the city church a sort of mini invisible, city-wide "universal" church. This is fine, I suppose, assuming you don't insist on one set of elders over the whole city.

The problem, as you can surmise from my posts, is not the idea there is one church in a city. The problem comes in when you try to organize that ostensive church with a specific set of elders and make the claim "these are the elders over the whole city." As I have said ad nauseum, how do you know that? My posts on this have probably grown tiresome to some, but that annoyance could be solved by providing an answer. No one has.
Igzy,

I read this wonderful expressons only after I completed my previous post.

"a sort of mini invisible, city-wide "universal" church"

That's what I was trying to say. But still I have "one set of elders" over the whole city in mind.

I will explain like belows.

1. Let's suppose that there are 3 Christain groups in Mumbai

For the convenience' sake, let's dub the 3 groups as group A (100 saints), group B (200 saints), and gorup C (300 saints) except elders in that number of saints. And each group has a few elders each. So,

- group A : 5 elders + 100 saints
- group B : 4 elders + 200 saints
- group C : 3 elders + 300 saints

The total number of saints in Mumbai = 5+4+3+100+200+300=612 saints

2. How many saints in the church in Mumbai?

My answer = 612 saints = ALL SAINTS IN MUMBAI

3. How many elders in the church in Mumbai?

It depends on who is answering this question.

a. most saints in group A = 5 elders
b. most saints in group B = 4 elders
c. most saints in group C = 3 elders
d. some saints who think group A, B, C are all God's house = 12 elders (5+4+3)

Let's suppose our God recongnizes only 2 among 5 in group A, 1 among 4 in group B, and 1 among 3 in group C as qualified elders according to His heart, the answer should be 4 elders (=2+1+1). Furthermore, if there is brother Tom, who is doing the function of elder accordding to the standard of God, even though he is not offically accepted as elder in any groups, the number of elders in Mumbai should be 5 (4+1).

Now I have "one set of elders" in Mumbai, which number is 5. In most of the case, I do not know the fact there are 5 elders in Mumbai because I'm not as omniscient as God. But I know there are one set of elders who are according to God's heart regardless of my knowledge of the exact number of elders in Mumbai. And of course, "the one set of elders" are not organized according to human way.

4. Are The church in Mumbia and the elders "visible"?

God sees the church in Mumbai and elders every second.
God sees there is one church in Mumbai and 5 elders there.

I want to see as God sees.

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Old 12-09-2008, 05:41 PM   #56
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I think believing everyone needs to be following the same set of elders over a whole city is detrimental to receiving the believers in that city. Seems to me we have to also acknowledge that the Lord is working among them in the groups they happen to be in, perhaps in some ways better than our own, even if those groups are not organized the way we'd like.
Igzy, the idea of a model where there's elders over an entire city-church is impractical. It could only work in a town whether is only one assembly.
I propose in a given city there is (x) number of assemblies. Each assembly have elders only for that specific assembly. All the assemblies collectively are the church in that city. Any given assembly could be Lutheran, Brethren, Baptist, Presbyterian, LSM, or a Community assembly. One key item is the capacity and willingness to receive and acknowledge one another in expressing Christ in that city.

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Old 12-09-2008, 05:43 PM   #57
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I know there are one set of elders who are according to God's heart regardless of my knowledge of the exact number of elders in Mumbai. And of course, "the one set of elders" are not organized according to human way.
Amen. Of course, "not organized according to the human way" would seem like a contradiction to most, but God is in charge.

But it is worth noting that the stone in Daniel chapter 2 is "cut [shaped, formed] not with human hands"...this stone pushes off the fallen human arrangements and eventually becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth.

This stone is not formed with human hands. My view is that when we try to arrange ourselves, even with a biblical or scriptural template, our hands inevitably get on the stone.

God knows who is who. It is sufficient for us to receive one another. Let God do the sorting out.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:08 AM   #58
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Dear Gubei,

I don't have the time to address each of your points, but let me say I see you making several important ones. And let me say again that I don't see you as an LSM-sympathizer.

However, I do not see how expecting only one set of elders over a whole city does not open the door to abuse. And again, you cannot tell me how we know for sure who those elders are.

When I asked you about the church in Toronto, I was wasn't expecting you to know anything specific about that situation. However, if you cannot give me general principles for how to know who the one set of elders are, then you wouldn't be able to tell me who the elders actually were in any city, whether you were intimately familiar with it or not. Since you cannot give me general principles, then the ideal of one eldership is unsustainable. (As I said, appealing to apostleship just kicks the can down the road. We can't know for sure who the genuine apostles are either.)

My point is not to say that striving for practical oneness is a bad thing. My goal is to say once you start expecting one eldership over one city you have actually built walls, not torn them down.

In other words, one eldership has a dark side of contention and oppression lurking. Christians need to have the freedom to move and meet as the Lord leads. The idea that they necessarily in the Lord's eyes need to remain under one eldership (which as I've said we have no way of clearly identifying) means they must endure whatever abuses those elders dish out. This is the LC legacy. Oh, they wax spiritual about how such an arrangement "deals with the flesh," and so forth. However, a lot of things deal with the flesh. Having typhoid deals with the flesh. But that doesn't mean I'm going to go out and try to contract it.

Besides history has shown the Lord doesn't work that way. He always has worked with groups which have thrown off the bonds of oppressive leaders and followed HIM alone. A doctrine of one eldership does not allow for this. I cannot believe that he expects us in this age to live under a system which practically guarantees that corruption in leadership cannot be reformed.



Three facts about the local ground:
  1. The Lord didn't prescribe it.
  2. The apostles didn't prescribe it.
  3. The early church fathers didn't prescribe it.
So why would anyone else prescribe it?

Imagine this scenario. Suppose the Bible plainly prescribed the local ground. Suppose there was a verse that commanded "There should be one set of elders over one and only one church in each city." This is basically how the LCers think; they act like there is such a verse. But suppose there were? What would have happened when the Catholic church got control of the churches? Each local church would have been Catholic, directed by Rome. The leaders of those churches would have had the strong Biblical ground to suppress and condemn any other gatherings. And reformers would have been less likely to have the boldness to break away. Or they would have had to declare themselves the one church in the city. And there would have been a mad rush to be "king of the hill" in each city. The Reformation either wouldn't have happened or would have occurred much differently.

No. I have concluded that the Lord was very wise in not commanding one church per city. As I said, the Bible doesn't insist on it so God forbid that anyone else should either.
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:04 PM   #59
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Igzy,

It is very clear we are seeing the same thing just differently. You are more concerned about a negative aspect of the truth (i.e. oppression and abuse) and I'm more concerned about the other negative aspect of the truth (i.e. de facto legalizing division). But I'm sure we are in the same camp in God.

Just for more clarification,

1. I do not think we should strive for one set of eldership in the way of make or break. The one set of eldership is there ALWAYS regardless of our recognition of it. This is my general principle. As I wrote in the previous post, the only case this one set of eldership over a whole city is easily accepted is when there was no existing church in that city. So, Paul was able to set up a lot of churches and elders in his journeys without difficulties in terms of eldership. But, as you said, this 21 century gives us a totally different picture. For example, in NYC, there were a lot of Christians even before WL and LSM set up their group. As I said, the church in NYC should includes all the saints there. Thus, WL or LSM -appointed ones cannot represent the whole Christian body in NYC. So, they cannot claim they are in charge of NYC. However, they can present the early church model and fellowship the application of the truth in NYC to other Christian groups. The outcome of this kind of so called "NYC Conference with all responsible brothers" could be positive or negative. Even though the outcome is not so satisfactory, that kind of trying is not without meaning. At least they can be reminded of the importance of oneness.

But as you and I repeatedly pointed out, WL and LSM's approach was not like this. They just started their meeting and proclaimed they are legitimately in charge of NYC. This is, as you said, oppression and abuse.

2. How to identify one set of eldership. Igzy, there is no perfect or practical way unless we are omniscient. The same "problem" happens when we talk about how to identify who is an apostle. And there is no guarantee that yesterday's elder or apostle is today's elder or apostle. So, asking who is your elder of apostle is, in a sense, meaningless.

3. You are right when you say my model is not 100% practical. My model assumes an ideal situation. My belief is that God may have not expected this model to be fully kept by Christians, but must have wanted to set a ideal model (which is as perfect as He is) before us for us to consider our situation againt that model. In that sense, the function of the truth is same with the Mosaic Law.

Igzy, please give me about one week before I post my writings about apostleship. I'm very time-pressured now for personal affairs. Thanks.

Gubei
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:31 PM   #60
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Gubei,

The main problem I see with your analysis is that it puts too much emphasis on a boundary of human politics as being important to the body of Christ. Elders are not according to cities, they are according to assemblies. To presume a singleness of elders over all assemblies within one human political boundary (a function of the kingdom of the world) is to presume a hierarchy that is not supported by scripture.

Even if you argue that without causing several separate groups to become joined under a unified eldership that is seen by God but not seen or acknowledged by man, what is the point? Since these elders do not necessarily confer with each other, the fact of the oneness and acceptance as elders at God’s level has no bearing on the conduct of the separate assemblies. There is nothing prescriptive about that, even if in the heavenly view it is true.

This would be true if we simply allow that each assembly is a separate assembly with its own leadership which is headed by Christ. Since man is at least partly responsible for the existence of that leadership, there may be some that are not true spiritual leaders while others are. We still do not “see” this standing or lack of standing before God, but He does.

So the emphasis on “ground” is meaningless to this analysis. Whether we will have a single assembly in each city, in each neighborhood, and a few small cities joined together, or grouped as we do throughout the cities of the world, we are all assemblies that are headed by Christ. We may have differences in flavor, in emphasis, and in some other “minors” but we are one as Christians. The totality of our leadership within whatever arbitrary geographic area you choose is the leadership for that area, but it is not according to Nee’s or Lee’s formula that springs from “one city one church.”
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:54 PM   #61
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Gubei:

It seems you see the "ground of locality" as prescribed in the scriptures (though the practice may lag behind). My question is:

Is the prescription "one city-one church" or would it equally comply with the Scriptureal mandate if we had "one region-one church" or "one-nation, one church" or "one-neighborhood, one church" etc...?

I ask this question only because you don't include the "one set of elders" in your rubric as a practical matter, only as a heavenly matter. Thus, I'm not sure why one would limit the geographic region. If having one eldership is not practical (i.e. we can't really know who the TRUE elders are, to whom to submit), then why limit the prescription to "one city, one church?"

In Love,

Simeond
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:27 AM   #62
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Titus 1:5 “ For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you…”
Acts 14: 23 “ And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom thy believed.

In Paul’s day all the believers in a locality where Paul preached and people were saved…..they all were the church in that city. The elders that were appointed in the church were the same elders that were appointed “in every city”.

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Old 12-11-2008, 04:47 AM   #63
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The main problem I see with your analysis is that it puts too much emphasis on a boundary of human politics as being important to the body of Christ. Elders are not according to cities, they are according to assemblies. To presume a singleness of elders over all assemblies within one human political boundary (a function of the kingdom of the world) is to presume a hierarchy that is not supported by scripture.
W. Nee also wrote of the practical limitations of one church, one city and in his book TNCCL, he mentions something like postal districts as a potential boundary. Hence, if the "one city" model was impractical for a megacity like London, then smaller units would be acceptable. This view seemed more "workable" to me by allowing numerous congregations in a city, as long as they don't overlap. This is the one requirement of any paradigm based on "ground." We can negotiate the size of the geographical unit, but once the boundaries "overlap," then we have --by definition -- a division.

This is probably, at least to me, the root of the dilemma. Once we have two congregations in the same geographical unit, but not under the same eldership, we have a division. This, in a nutshell, defines the "law of locality." And ... for so many of us, who idealized the notion of the one true N.T. church, this model initially seemed to fit. It seemed to explain the problems of divisions and seemed to provide a better way, a scriptural way. In practice, however, all attempts to implement this model have failed in some way. That is why the Bible never prescribed it in the first place. Like having "all things common" -- it happened, yes, but don't try to duplicate it, because it will never work.

Regarding one eldership in one city, I remember reading a word study years ago, which studied "shepherd / pastor." One comment was notable, which highlighted the inherent bond between "pastor" and "flock." This relationship is totally lost with the requirement for one set of elders in a city. The inherent bureaucracy is impossible to avoid. The truth of "little flock" is gone. London to the exclusives, and Taipei to the Recovery, were always supposed to be the big city "models" for this paradigm. They never worked properly, with the negatives far outweighing the positives. Both places became work centers and de facto headquarters. In an attempt to solve this problem, in one day WL appointed 80 new elders in Taipei. Supposedly all these brothers were already shepherding districts and halls. Hence, a move partly in the right direction, but still handcuffed by requirements to "fellowship" all together as one presbytery.

It seems the Spirit has told us many things which were "wrong," but never prescribed the right "way," leaving open many "ways" which He could later bless according to His leading to meet the need of God's children in some place at some time. I see the danger in attempting to duplicate patterns which were blessed elsewhere. In contrast to LSM "one city, one church" entrenchments, the GLA made numerous attempts, even traveling around the world, to find "the way" which God was blessing, and then duplicating it locally. It seems that paradigm is also doomed to fail.

Church history shows us only one model that is blessed, believers seeking the Lord, obedient to the word, preaching the gospel, caring for others, etc. What that looks like is up to the Spirit of God. God in His ingenuity has used an untold diversity of ways. All of them were fruitful for a season. None of them should be considered the "God ordained way."
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:10 AM   #64
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At what point in time did division of the body become acceptable? It was condemded in Paul's day but now it is OK because to practice the oneness of the body is unworkable and therefore not necessary. So it is no longer important to God,. A simple hand shaking while we all stay in our practicle divisions is the current move of God on earth.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:23 AM   #65
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Titus 1:5 “ For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you…”
Acts 14: 23 “ And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom thy believed.

In Paul’s day all the believers in a locality where Paul preached and people were saved…..they all were the church in that city. The elders that were appointed in the church were the same elders that were appointed “in every city”.
Oregon,

Respectfully, the verse does not say only one set of elders were appointed in every city. The supposed parallel you see is not supported strongly enough by the text to be a point of doctrine. Your second paragraph is simply a presumption.

As I said:
  1. The Lord never taught the local ground.
  2. The apostles never taught the local ground.
  3. The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:27 AM   #66
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That is why the Bible never prescribed it in the first place. Like having "all things common" -- it happened, yes, but don't try to duplicate it, because it will never work.
Amen, Ohio. Also, I would add it will not only not work, it will do more damage than good, as history has shown. Just ask the ones torn apart by the fights to be "king of the city."

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Church history shows us only one model that is blessed, believers seeking the Lord, obedient to the word, preaching the gospel, caring for others, etc.
Another gem.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:28 AM   #67
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The main problem I see with your analysis is that it puts too much emphasis on a boundary of human politics as being important to the body of Christ. Elders are not according to cities, they are according to assemblies. To presume a singleness of elders over all assemblies within one human political boundary (a function of the kingdom of the world) is to presume a hierarchy that is not supported by scripture.
Excellent point, OBW.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:47 AM   #68
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At what point in time did division of the body become acceptable? It was condemded in Paul's day but now it is OK because to practice the oneness of the body is unworkable and therefore not necessary. So it is no longer important to God,. A simple hand shaking while we all stay in our practicle divisions is the current move of God on earth.
Respectfully, Oregon, in the first place, it's your definition of division, not the Bible's. In the the second place, the local ground model of non-division produces division. As I said, it's self-contradictory, and so it is an absurdity.

Why does the local ground model produce division? Because it is practically based on expecting everyone to agree on who the elders over the city are. Since who they actually are cannot be proven, to expect everyone to agree about it is unreasonable and thus contentious and divisive.
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:55 AM   #69
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Gubei,

Thank you for your comments on the matters of oneness and leadership. I agree that striving for oneness is not unimportant.

However, insisting on oneness (particularly of a specific manifestation) can actually be divisive itself. This is almost paradoxical, which is one reason it is so hard to come to grips with. Yet we know God is not the God of confusion.

Either the local ground is a matter of the faith and thus required of everyone, or it is not and should not be required of anyone. The local ground cannot be some special "truth" which is not a matter of the faith but still must be adhered to by everyone as if it were. This is actually the way WL and the LCs treat the teaching, which is doublemindedness, which is confusion, which leads to division.
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:58 PM   #70
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The main problem I see with your analysis is that it puts too much emphasis on a boundary of human politics as being important to the body of Christ. Elders are not according to cities, they are according to assemblies. To presume a singleness of elders over all assemblies within one human political boundary (a function of the kingdom of the world) is to presume a hierarchy that is not supported by scripture..
OBW,

I'm going to clarify my position as follows;

1. Elders are according to cities

According to the Bible, elders are simply according to cities, not assemblies. And the definition of city is well given by Watchman Nee in his book "Rethinking the work." I believe he effectively dealt with the matter of the boundary of a city. Please let me know if you are not familiar with WN's teaching on this matter.

2. The Bible does not prescribe "elders according to assemblies."
If the Bible had prescribed the "eldership according to assemblies", the issue would have been really easy. So, please let me know of verses which obviously prescribe "eldership according to assemblies."

3. Is Trinity mentioned prescriptively in the Bible?
Trinity is a crucial Truth in the Bible. But, the Bible does not give us any prescriptive verses on this. That's why theologians have drawn "prescriptive common elements as to Trinity" from a lot of "descriptive verses as to Trinity."
The same thing can apply to the truth of one city - one church.

4. Practicality is a subtle word.

Impracticality to human eyes is not so important to God. As you know, we, Christians, died with Christ 2000 years ago. To our human eyes, is it possible? How were we able to die with Him even before we were born? That is very impractical to our human eyes. But we know we really did by our spiritual eye. With the same spiritual eye, we can see a city as being under
"one set of elders." In that sense, it is very meaningful.

I feel I have to point out now one thing that is not fair to me in dsicussing this issue. As you may have read, Igzy gave me his model saying

""My model is to meet with believers and receive all Christian believers and groups. Oneness is shown by our willingness to receive others and to acknowledge that the Lord may be working in ways better than our own in a group meeting just a few miles away. In other words, the attitude of oneness is one of receiving, love, graciousness and humility--esteeming others as better than ourselves."

Do you think his model is "practical?" I have never objected his model, and I could not agree with him more. BUT, we do not see this kind of nice situation happen now. If his model has worked so nicely, we all do not need to discuss this issue spending a lot of time. If that "ideal" state is so prevalent among Christains, what's the use arguing this is right or that is right? As you and I see now, on the countrary, there are a lot of divisions among Christians, especially promoting some "names - denominations." That was the point where WN began to scrutinze the Bible and he gave us his findings.

So, I hope you and Igzy give me another "practical" model under the condition that Christains do not accept each other.

5. Moving position
BTW, eldership and apostleship is a moving position. As long as you are out of Christ, you are not qualified elder at that very moment despite the fact that you were an elder before. Just as the Bible is not God's word when you just catch objective information from the Bible (as some theologians do), an elder is not an elder when he does not doing his function according to God.

6. WL's error
Have you ever heard the dispute between WL and TAS about this matter? I've heard WL criticized TAS for not following the one city- one church model. It is said that at that time TAS more emphcized the spritual aspect of the church. Now I think that TAS was mentioning the spritual (or universal) aspect of a local church (i.e. mini unversal church, if I can borrow Igzy's word). I think WL was in error at that time by just adhereing to the administration aspect of a local church.

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Old 12-11-2008, 08:02 PM   #71
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1. Elders are according to cities
According to the Bible, elders are simply according to cities, not assemblies. And the definition of city is well given by Watchman Nee in his book "Rethinking the work." I believe he effectively dealt with the matter of the boundary of a city. Please let me know if you are not familiar with WN's teaching on this matter.
Where in the Bible are elders according to cities? I see them as being shepherds of the flock. As overseers of the church.

Acts 14:23 reports the appointment of elders in each church, not in each city.

Acts 16:4 makes mention of elders in Jerusalem. But this does not make their position according to the city. It is only their location.

James 5:14 makes reference to calling the elders of the church.

1 Peter 5:1 says "to the elders among you." "You" is the church, not the city. For the most part, the city is heathen.

Only Titus 1:5 makes reference to appointing elders in every town. But given the wording of the other references, this is easily understood as referring to the churches that were in those towns, and not to the towns themselves. The towns probably had elders (according to the local political system(s)). To presume that this one is the key and the others must be re-read to match it would be nothing short of spiritual myopia. You do not read the majority in line with the exception — you read the exception in line with the majority.

So besides Nee's or Lee's extra-biblical edicts, where is this "according to the Bible?"
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:06 PM   #72
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Gubei:

It seems you see the "ground of locality" as prescribed in the scriptures (though the practice may lag behind). My question is:

Is the prescription "one city-one church" or would it equally comply with the Scriptureal mandate if we had "one region-one church" or "one-nation, one church" or "one-neighborhood, one church" etc...?

I ask this question only because you don't include the "one set of elders" in your rubric as a practical matter, only as a heavenly matter. Thus, I'm not sure why one would limit the geographic region. If having one eldership is not practical (i.e. we can't really know who the TRUE elders are, to whom to submit), then why limit the prescription to "one city, one church?"

In Love,

Simeond
Thanks for your questions.

1. Prescription vs. Description
Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1, NIV)

This verse is prescriptive in form, and we take this verse as prescriptive in meaning as well.

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:29, NIV)

This is prescriptive in form, but we do not take this verse as prescriptive in meaning, because we do not gouge it literally.

Trinity is not supported by prescriptive verses in the Bible like "You should believe the truth of Trinity", but we think the truth is there in the Bible as prescriptive by a lot of descriptive verses about Trinity.

2. The boundary of city
In the Bible and the time when the NT was written, a "city" means a group of people with a distinctive geographical area, which is distinguished by other city by geographical distance. In other words, a city means a time and space limitation which has been applied to a group of people and area. Man is under time and space limitation. God is not under time and space limitation. The ground of locality is nothing other than the declaration that all the saints are not separated at all EXCEPT time and space limitation, which necessitates man arranging physical Christian meetings and some administrative affairs to be done in that constraints.

Region is larger than city in that the notion contains several cities in it. Nation is much larger. Neighborhood is smaller than city. The right size for practical Christian life is city by definition.

3. You do not need to bother to find a exhaustive name-list of elders in a city
We cannot and need not to know that name-list. If you find one or two elders who you think are really according to the standard of God, just follow them. This is very practical.

4. The ground of locality is not for one set of elders.
I do not understand why many posters here criticize me for insisting "one set of elders."
The goround of locality is more about every saints in a city confessing he or she is just a Christian living in that city, less about those saints confessing he or she is under a authority of administration of a specific group of elders. So, I said there are two phases in the truth of the ground of locality. The second phase in which practically we have one set of elders who are accepted by all the saints in a city is really hard to achieve, if not impossible. However, what is impossible is possible with God. We should not give up any possible chance on grounds that our human perceptions do not match.

Please think about this. I'm not saying the second phase now. I'm saying the first pahse. How many Christians in your city are saying that they are just Christians in that city? Contrarily, I see really a lot of Christians say that they are saints in the Presbyterian church, Baptist church, etc.
The truth of locality has a exposing funcution of human nature. That's not without worth.

Thanks.
In love
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:56 AM   #73
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Where in the Bible are elders according to cities? I see them as being shepherds of the flock. As overseers of the church.

Acts 14:23 reports the appointment of elders in each church, not in each city.

Acts 16:4 makes mention of elders in Jerusalem. But this does not make their position according to the city. It is only their location.

James 5:14 makes reference to calling the elders of the church.

1 Peter 5:1 says "to the elders among you." "You" is the church, not the city. For the most part, the city is heathen.

Only Titus 1:5 makes reference to appointing elders in every town. But given the wording of the other references, this is easily understood as referring to the churches that were in those towns, and not to the towns themselves. The towns probably had elders (according to the local political system(s)). To presume that this one is the key and the others must be re-read to match it would be nothing short of spiritual myopia. You do not read the majority in line with the exception — you read the exception in line with the majority.

So besides Nee's or Lee's extra-biblical edicts, where is this "according to the Bible?"
OBW,

Thanks for your question.

Let's look at some verses in Philippians.

Phi 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (ASV)

Phi 4:15 And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; (ASV)

To all the saints in Christ Jesus - The common appellation given to the church, denoting that it was holy; (Barnes)


In phi 1:1, the epistle of Paul's recipient is ALL THE SAINT in Philippi. And in Phi 4:15, Paul's words actually equate "you Philippians, which are the saints there" with (the) "church" there. Therefore, the church in Philippi include all the saints in Philippi. It is very obvious that there is only one church in Philippi according to Paul's understanding. Barnes' interpretation is in line with my explanation.

Then, let's look at a verse in Romans.

Rom 1:7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ASV)

To all that be in Rome - That is, to all who bear the Christian name. Perhaps he here included not only the church at Rome, but all who might have been there from abroad. Rome was a place of vast concourse for foreigners; and Paul probably addressed all who happened to be there. (Barnes)


Barnes' interpretation is that ALL THE SAINTS in Rome, whether they be Romans or other ethnic group, are the Church at (or in) Rome.

Now I believe the verses you mentioned can be interpreted as saying
"elders according to cities."

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Old 12-12-2008, 07:22 AM   #74
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Gubei,

Thank you for your comments on the matters of oneness and leadership. I agree that striving for oneness is not unimportant.

However, insisting on oneness (particularly of a specific manifestation) can actually be divisive itself. This is almost paradoxical, which is one reason it is so hard to come to grips with. Yet we know God is not the God of confusion.

Either the local ground is a matter of the faith and thus required of everyone, or it is not and should not be required of anyone. The local ground cannot be some special "truth" which is not a matter of the faith but still must be adhered to by everyone as if it were. This is actually the way WL and the LCs treat the teaching, which is doublemindedness, which is confusion, which leads to division.
Igzy,

with respect,

Despite your repeated denial, you are using WL's teaching and practice on the ground of locality, over and over again, in order to blur my model. This is only time you look in agreement with me on the issue of one set of elders, but immediately, you are talking about how wrongly "WL and LCs" practice the truth. I already, several times, admitted that. Why do you repeat the same thing to me? What do you think you are talking about - my model or WL's model?

And you did not reply my questions about your assertion that the ground of locality necessarily leads to conflicts. Do you remember the fact that I asked you how you can deal with the counterexamples where two groups gather together after recognizing their proper ground?

Additionally, you showed me your model by saying

"My model is to meet with believers and receive all Christian believers and groups. Oneness is shown by our willingness to receive others and to acknowledge that the Lord may be working in ways better than our own in a group meeting just a few miles away. In other words, the attitude of oneness is one of receiving, love, graciousness and humility--esteeming others as better than ourselves."

I'd like to ask you this. Do you think this is a model which includes any practical things such as boundary of Christain groups, administration etc?

Whenever you evaluate my model, you just adhere to the matter of "eldership" - the second phase of my model, which I have not even insisted at all, neglecting the first phase of my model in which all saints just confess they are not separated Christians, which is exactly the same as your model.

The reason your model cannot be evaluated in terms of practice is that you did not show us any thing which is related to practices such as the boundary of Christian groups, administration, eldership etc.

So, I hope you clarify your model by answering the following questions.

In your model, there is eldership? If any, how to confirm the eldership? How do we know Brother A is an elder or not?

Gubei
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:56 AM   #75
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W. Nee also wrote of the practical limitations of one church, one city and in his book TNCCL, he mentions something like postal districts as a potential boundary. Hence, if the "one city" model was impractical for a megacity like London, then smaller units would be acceptable. This view seemed more "workable" to me by allowing numerous congregations in a city, as long as they don't overlap. This is the one requirement of any paradigm based on "ground." We can negotiate the size of the geographical unit, but once the boundaries "overlap," then we have --by definition -- a division.

This is probably, at least to me, the root of the dilemma. Once we have two congregations in the same geographical unit, but not under the same eldership, we have a division. This, in a nutshell, defines the "law of locality." And ... for so many of us, who idealized the notion of the one true N.T. church, this model initially seemed to fit. It seemed to explain the problems of divisions and seemed to provide a better way, a scriptural way. In practice, however, all attempts to implement this model have failed in some way. That is why the Bible never prescribed it in the first place. Like having "all things common" -- it happened, yes, but don't try to duplicate it, because it will never work.

Regarding one eldership in one city, I remember reading a word study years ago, which studied "shepherd / pastor." One comment was notable, which highlighted the inherent bond between "pastor" and "flock." This relationship is totally lost with the requirement for one set of elders in a city. The inherent bureaucracy is impossible to avoid. The truth of "little flock" is gone. London to the exclusives, and Taipei to the Recovery, were always supposed to be the big city "models" for this paradigm. They never worked properly, with the negatives far outweighing the positives. Both places became work centers and de facto headquarters. In an attempt to solve this problem, in one day WL appointed 80 new elders in Taipei. Supposedly all these brothers were already shepherding districts and halls. Hence, a move partly in the right direction, but still handcuffed by requirements to "fellowship" all together as one presbytery.

It seems the Spirit has told us many things which were "wrong," but never prescribed the right "way," leaving open many "ways" which He could later bless according to His leading to meet the need of God's children in some place at some time. I see the danger in attempting to duplicate patterns which were blessed elsewhere. In contrast to LSM "one city, one church" entrenchments, the GLA made numerous attempts, even traveling around the world, to find "the way" which God was blessing, and then duplicating it locally. It seems that paradigm is also doomed to fail.

Church history shows us only one model that is blessed, believers seeking the Lord, obedient to the word, preaching the gospel, caring for others, etc. What that looks like is up to the Spirit of God. God in His ingenuity has used an untold diversity of ways. All of them were fruitful for a season. None of them should be considered the "God ordained way."
Ohio,

I want to add my opinions.

The definition of division is not whether saints are under one set of elders or not. The definition of division is "being out of the Spirit of oneness."

"The ground of oneness" and "the ground of locality" are not the same thing. The ground of oneness is the uniting Spirit. The expression of this oneness among Christians is the local practice of church life where all the saints in a city receive each other only on the ground each is their brothers and sisters.

As opposed to the first impression of the word "locality" - distinguishing people by their home town, the meaning of locality in this context is universality because locality here means that the only separating element of Christians is "time and space" which was given to finite man from the infinite God. In other words, "the ground of locality" is a great proclamation that there is NOTHING which can divide Christians EXCEPT man's innate limitation (the constraints of time and space) which was given by God for creation of the world.

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Old 12-12-2008, 08:04 AM   #76
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Igzy,

with respect,

Despite your repeated denial, you are using WL's teaching and practice on the ground of locality, over and over again, in order to blur my model. This is only time you look in agreement with me on the issue of one set of elders, but immediately, you are talking about how wrongly "WL and LCs" practice the truth. I already, several times, admitted that. Why do you repeat the same thing to me? What do you think you are talking about - my model or WL's model?
Gubei,

You misunderstand me. My issue in this thread has never been you or your model. So I'm not trying to blur it because I'm not addressing it. You seem to think I'm contending with you. I'm not. I'm contending with the problem of the idea that one set of elders over one city is sustainable. I don't believe it is. And I believe I have shown that logically.

My issue has always been to show that whenever anyone insists on one set of elders over a whole city that immediately problems are created, because there is no ground to expect everyone to know and therefore agree on who those elders are.

I did address your model. I said it was fine as long as you don't insist on one set of elders. You seemed to say that you indeed don't so I have no issue with it. Several others pointed out that your contention that there are one set of elders even if we can't know for sure who they are is kind of meaningless, and I'd agree with that, but I didn't feel to pursue it.

Quote:
And you did not reply my questions about your assertion that the ground of locality necessarily leads to conflicts. Do you remember the fact that I asked you how you can deal with the counterexamples where two groups gather together after recognizing their proper ground?
I'm sorry but I didn't feel you ever explained your counter-examples well enough for me to understand the point you were trying to make.

Quote:
I'd like to ask you this. Do you think this is a model which includes any practical things such as boundary of Christain groups, administration etc?
Yes, mutual respect between groups and for the group one meets with takes care of these matters.

Quote:
The reason your model cannot be evaluated in terms of practice is that you did not show us any thing which is related to practices such as the boundary of Christian groups, administration, eldership etc.

So, I hope you clarify your model by answering the following questions.

In your model, there is eldership? If any, how to confirm the eldership? How do we know Brother A is anelder or not?

The issue of boundaries, administration etc. of multiple Christian groups in one city is different from that of the one church per city model precisely because the boundaries vary and so must be recognized based upon mutual recognition and respect. The freedom to leave relieves the pressure of disagreement about leadership or direction. If a group of Christians which meet on the corner recognize their pastor or elders, who am I to come in and tell them otherwise? But if some of them disagree and feel before the Lord that there is something wrong with the leadership, they are free to leave. Whether their reason for leaving is acceptable to the Lord is between them and the Lord. It's not anyone else's business. Nor is it anyone's place to condemn them for doing so.

Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads.

Most community churches these days start small. Perhaps a person or group feels called to start a church in a particular part of a city. They begin to meet in a modest setting, like a home. Either the Lord blesses them with growth and confirmation or he doesn't. If the group does flourish, as it does the leadership becomes more solidfied and official.

Since newcomers are not bound to meet with the group by some arbitrary requirement (e.g. one-church-per-city) they have no reason to join unless they feel the Lord is personally leading them to do so, which likely means they like the direction the leadership is taking. If they don't they simply don't join. There is no reason to contend with leadership since they are not compelled to be there anyway.

If the leadership goes bad the Lord can "remove the lampstand?" How does he do that? Well, he doesn't open the earth and swallow it. The members simply vote with their feet, and become former members.

Does this answer your questions?
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:23 AM   #77
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Hi Ohio,

I understand your statement and where you are in your thoughts somewhat. Firstly....I'm not an LSMer. I would never support the actions and views of what the "Local Church" has become. Nor am I of Lee. But to go as far as some of the posters have on this site is simply too much. The word gives us more than just a picture of the "early" church. There may not be literal commandments in the NT regarding one church in every city but to just say that such a situation didn't exist in Paul's day is almost purposeful denial.

I have gone to many meetings of dear saints not meeting as "local churches" and have been ministered to by God many times. I would never judge our fellow believers meeting in various denominations and independant fellowships. But to say certain things are not in the Word as some promote here is just going way to far. It's almost like making a statement such as....."the bible doesn't say anything against smoking marijuana therefore it's OK."

Do you think that if the apostolic church woud have divided itself in those early years and put names up saying...."The Church of This" or "The Church of That" that it would have been just fine. There's no way I'm going to believe that.
Oregon, I think the issue is that your principled positions seem to not provide you with a course of action. In other words for example, you don't believe in signs or names. What action are you going to take because of that? Condemn people who do? What do you think that will accomplish?

Or you believe that the pattern of one church in the city is plain. Okay, so what action are you going to take based on that? What action do you expect others to take?

Do you expect everyone in a city of a million simply to agree on who the elders are in order to serve some overriding principle of "oneness?" What if some in their conscience can't do that. What then?
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:27 AM   #78
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UntoHim I'll agree with you on your statement concerning the minister of the age and one publication,

Your statement concerning Nee reading something into the bible that is not there is a clear example of some of the extreem statements made on this site. Waaaaaaaaaaaaay out in left field.
UntoHim, I believe, is talking about the city boundaries as a requirement. This is plainly not in the Bible. If you want to assume such a requirement exists, that's your business. But you have no right to hold others to it. The commandment simply isn't there, and there are plainly possible exceptions to the pattern of it in the NT.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:48 AM   #79
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And you did not reply my questions about your assertion that the ground of locality necessarily leads to conflicts.
Let me address by analogy the issue of one eldership (not ground of locality) necessarily leading to conflicts. (Ground of locality without one eldership is pretty meaningless.)

Suppose you have a person with no immune system. As long as no disease germs come along, he's going to be just fine, it will seem his system works perfectly. But if germs do come along, and they are sure to, he is not going to survive.

Now a city with one church and one eldership is precisely like that man with no immune system. As long as no problems come along, well, the system seems to work. But if any kind of problem comes along where the leadership's over-all-the-city authority is challenged, the system does one of two things:

It either turns mean and becomes oppressive, which is a kind of conflict. Or, if the leaders are actually godly, like those in Columbus, they don't assert themselves and allow the disgruntled to leave and meet where they want, in which case they are assenting that they actually aren't over all the city in the first place.

Since disagreements with leadership, legitimate or otherwise, are bound to happen eventually, the model is bound to break down in one of two ways, one which shows the dark side of the arrangement, the other which assents to an alternative model.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:36 AM   #80
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Gubei,

It seems that one could substitute "oneness of the Spirit" for your definition of "ground of locality" and get the same meaning you have for it.

Also, one issue in this discussion is the definition of division. Division means more than simply meeting in different places, or having different leaders. Division means an unwillingness to fellowship, or as Rick Warren says, "ceasing to listen." So if I meet here and you meet there, if we are still willing to fellowship we are not divided.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:23 AM   #81
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Let me address by analogy the issue of one eldership (not ground of locality) necessarily leading to conflicts. (Ground of locality without one eldership is pretty meaningless.)

Suppose you have a person with no immune system. As long as no disease germs come along, he's going to be just fine, it will seem his system works perfectly. But if germs do come along, and they are sure to, he is not going to survive.

Now a city with one church and one eldership is precisely like that man with no immune system. As long as no problems come along, well, the system seems to work. But if any kind of problem comes along where the leadership's over-all-the-city authority is challenged, the system does one of two things:

It either turns mean and becomes oppressive, which is a kind of conflict. Or, if the leaders are actually godly, like those in Columbus, they don't assert themselves and allow the disgruntled to leave and meet where they want, in which case they are assenting that they actually aren't over all the city in the first place.

Since disagreements with leadership, legitimate or otherwise, are bound to happen eventually, the model is bound to break down in one of two ways, one which shows the dark side of the arrangement, the other which assents to an alternative model.
Igzy,

Thanks for your clarification. This seems to be my last comments on this issue.

You wrote
"Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads."

Igzy, now I understand what you are saying. It seems that the end-image of yours is almost similar to mine. But your approach is quite different than mine. I still believe that elders are appointed by apostles. Your model does not explain how the official leader is appointed based on the Bible.

I'm going to post my writings on apostleship soon.

You wrote
"Let me address by analogy the issue of one eldership (not ground of locality) necessarily leading to conflicts. (Ground of locality without one eldership is pretty meaningless.)"

Igzy, so your definition of the ground of locality is one eldership, which equation I have over and over again been opposing. Basically, the ground of locality is not on one eldership.

Furthermore, there is a causality problem in your illustration of the no immune system. The cause of problem is not the no immune system (the ground of locality) but the gem (divisive human nature which can be sometimes in the form of even "insisting" the ground of locality – as we have seen in the case LSM). And contrary to the name of "no immune", the system has an ability to unite saints by exposing their real state. Once again, what causes problem is not the ground of locality itself but the divisive human nature, even if that disguise itself as "insisting" the ground of locality. I believe we need to know this subtle distinction.

In the Lord,

Gubei
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:31 AM   #82
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

If the ground of locality does not require one eldership then what is the point of it? If the point is to indicate that believers in a geographic area should meet together, what is the size of the area? I mean, at what point do you say "These believers are close enough together to meet together but aren't so there is a problem. " This is the problem with drawing stark lines like locality. Just what does locality really mean? If you simply mean that it's a general principle to show we should be willing to meet with any believers possible then I have no problem with that.

The oneness of the Spirit means that whenever we encounter Christians we should receive them. It doesn't matter if the geographic area we share with them is the neighborhood, the burrough, the city or the county. We still should receive them and, if the situation warrants, meet with them. So locality is a bit superfluous here, in that it is vague anyway, and so doesn't say more than the oneness of the Spirit says.

In a 5-mile by 5-mile square in my city, I would guess there are at least 25,000 Christians. These Christians are close enough to assemble together. But doing so is not practical due to the sheer numbers. So what do you believe is their obligation to each other in that area and how is that practically fulfilled?
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:35 AM   #83
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Let's look at some verses in Philippians.

...

Then, let's look at a verse in Romans.
I will not quote all of your post. I read the verses. They indicate that Paul wrote to or about all the believers in the particular cities. While we can presume that at that particular time all were, in some form or fashion, meeting together at least some of the time, and Phil 1:1 actually mentions the elders, there is nothing about that fact that makes the elders "according to cities." This is an overlay not provided in the scriptures.

It is almost like when my wife used to complain that the fact that a game for our boys resided on the hard drive of our computer was responsible for her email not working right. It is true that the game is on the hard drive. And it is true that her email was having problems. But the game was no more responsible for the email troubles than the email was responsible for the game being present on the hard drive.

There is nothing in the verses mentioned, or in any others that I can find, that dictates elders according to cities. It can only be seen in a couple of places that elders were mentioned as being in a city (descriptive) and not that their office was related to the city. Their office was related to the believers with whom they met. I note that there were never elders appointed in cities where no believers lived and met.

I know you want it to be true, but the scripture just does not support it.
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:36 AM   #84
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Igzy,

Furthermore, there is a causality problem in your illustration of the no immune system. The cause of problem is not the no immune system (the ground of locality) but the gem (divisive human nature which can be sometimes in the form of even "insisting" the ground of locality – as we have seen in the case LSM).
Since the ground of locality in practice insists on making people agree on things which no reasonable person could expect them to agree on (e.g. just what "locality" means, who are the elders, etc), it therefore invites contention, and so is a problem itself.
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:36 PM   #85
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Your model does not explain how the official leader is appointed based on the Bible.
Not true. The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.

BTW, the pastor of my church was not appointed by an apostle. Does that mean if you came to meet with us that you would not recognize his authority? If you would, where does his authority come from?
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:15 PM   #86
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Not true. The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.

BTW, the pastor of my church was not appointed by an apostle. Does that mean if you came to meet with us that you would not recognize his authority? If you would, where does his authority come from?
This requirement that "only apostles appoint elders" has done more to destroy the character of "local" churches than perhaps anything else. Since the apostles have been gone for almost 2,000 years, do we have no more elders, and thus no more churches?

WL comes on the scene and basically says this, "no other church apart from us is legitimate. Only I can appoint elders, so I must be the only true apostle, and the elders I appoint are the only true elders, and the churches under them are the only true churches." Of course, he would never be so candid to say this plainly, but what part of this did he not imply repeatedly?

This matter of appointing elders only by apostles has no prescription in scripture. Once you use Titus 1.5, then I ask how is Titus an apostle? Who are today's apostles? I have concluded that much of this practice has the underlying motive of Chinese culture top-down management style. Often times these appointments of elders have no concern for the feelings of the saints, no concern for who are the real shepherds, no concern for genuine spiritual maturity. Instead they appoint elders from afar who are loyal and subservient to the appointer, who in turn maintain their special status amidst the church as the sole apostle.

I surely agree with Igzy and Paul in Acts 20.28, who placed the flock of God first "among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God."
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:40 PM   #87
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I will not quote all of your post. I read the verses. They indicate that Paul wrote to or about all the believers in the particular cities. While we can presume that at that particular time all were, in some form or fashion, meeting together at least some of the time, and Phil 1:1 actually mentions the elders, there is nothing about that fact that makes the elders "according to cities." This is an overlay not provided in the scriptures.

It is almost like when my wife used to complain that the fact that a game for our boys resided on the hard drive of our computer was responsible for her email not working right. It is true that the game is on the hard drive. And it is true that her email was having problems. But the game was no more responsible for the email troubles than the email was responsible for the game being present on the hard drive.

There is nothing in the verses mentioned, or in any others that I can find, that dictates elders according to cities. It can only be seen in a couple of places that elders were mentioned as being in a city (descriptive) and not that their office was related to the city. Their office was related to the believers with whom they met. I note that there were never elders appointed in cities where no believers lived and met.

I know you want it to be true, but the scripture just does not support it.
OBW,

I want to elaborate on my logic as follows for your understanding.

You wrote

"Acts 14:23 reports the appointment of elders in each church, not in each city."

In short, your point is that the appointment of elders is in each church, which is not necessarily tantamount to the boundary of cities. Thus you concluded that "Only Titus 1:5 makes reference to appointing elders in every town. But given the wording of the other references, this is easily understood as referring to the churches that were in those towns, and not to the towns themselves. The towns probably had elders (according to the local political system(s)). To presume that this one is the key and the others must be re-read to match it would be nothing short of spiritual myopia. You do not read the majority in line with the exception — you read the exception in line with the majority."

The best way to point out the shortcomings of your interpretation is to show that there was one church in one city at the time the Bible was written by Paul. If I am successful in that task, the boundary of a church can be equal to the boundary of the city where the church is. Subsequently, the appointment of elders in each church means the appointment of elders in each city. So, I quoted

Phi 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (ASV)

Phi 4:15 And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; (ASV)

What do you read when you see "all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi?" in Phi 1:1. Those are the recipients of this epistle. They are referred to as "ye Philippians" in Phi 4:15, followed by the juxtaposition of "church" and "ye". This means that

All the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi = ye Philippians = the church in Philippi
-> There was just one church in Philippi. This was the understanding of Paul.

My interpretation is in line with Barnes.

To all the saints in Christ Jesus - The common appellation given to the church, denoting that it was holy; (Barnes)

WN and WL were not alone. As opposed to your comment that "While we can presume that at that particular time all were, in some form or fashion, meeting together at least some of the time", I was trying to prove that Apostle Paul equated "all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi" with "the church in Philippi", meaning only one church in Philippi.

And you wrote
"There is nothing in the verses mentioned, or in any others that I can find, that dictates elders according to cities. It can only be seen in a couple of places that elders were mentioned as being in a city (descriptive) and not that their office was related to the city."

I already several times clarified that actually prescriptive vs. descriptive dichotomy is not so useful. Please tell me. Is Trinity prescriptive or descriptive in the Bible? Definitely, Trinity is descriptive. Then, can you argue that Trinity is not legitimate truth because there is no prescriptive verse in the Bible?

Furthermore, there are two critical verses.

(Acts 14:23) 『Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.』

(Titus 1:5) 『For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:』

Please show me any as prescriptive verses in the Bible, saying "elders are not according to cities" as these two verses. Which interpretation does the Bible support?

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Old 12-12-2008, 11:04 PM   #88
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This matter of appointing elders only by apostles has no prescription in scripture. Once you use Titus 1.5, then I ask how is Titus an apostle? Who are today's apostles? I have concluded that much of this practice has the underlying motive of Chinese culture top-down management style. Often times these appointments of elders have no concern for the feelings of the saints, no concern for who are the real shepherds, no concern for genuine spiritual maturity. Instead they appoint elders from afar who are loyal and subservient to the appointer, who in turn maintain their special status amidst the church as the sole apostle.
Hi Ohio. I would like to touch the matter of appointment of elders. It is difficult to generalize when relating to the elders. I believe many do care for the saints, there are real shepherds, and there is care for genuine spiritual maturity. However it is not at the cost of loyalty to the appointer or to their peers. It is through the teaching of deputy authority, does the feelings of the saints, the shepherds, and concern for genuine spiritual maturity become secondary.
What is primary? It is loyalty to the appointer whatever the cost may be.

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Old 12-12-2008, 11:10 PM   #89
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In a 5-mile by 5-mile square in my city, I would guess there are at least 25,000 Christians. These Christians are close enough to assemble together. But doing so is not practical due to the sheer numbers. So what do you believe is their obligation to each other in that area and how is that practically fulfilled?
Igzy, I would agree it would be impractical for all these Christians to meet in place. Rather there would be multiple assemblies. It would be unrealistic to think each would be non-denominational. Some would be non-denominational and some would be denominational. Each assembly would have elders unique to their own assembly.

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Old 12-12-2008, 11:13 PM   #90
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Since the ground of locality in practice insists on making people agree on things which no reasonable person could expect them to agree on (e.g. just what "locality" means, who are the elders, etc), it therefore invites contention, and so is a problem itself.
Igzy,

with respect,

Once again, you must be thinking that the ground of locality is insisting one set of eldership in a city. However, the ground of locality is pahse 1 + phase 2

phase 1 = accepting other Christians unconditionally as described by your wonderful expressions

phase 2 = one set of eldership (not by insisting but by the Spirit)

Therefore, the ground of locality does not include "insisting one set of eldership", but you are thinking that the ground of locality is insisting one set of eldership. You are thinking the problematic practice of LSM or some local churches in mind whenever you write your posts to me.

And as another practical remedy for phase 2, you gave me your model.
You wrote.
"Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads.

Most community churches these days start small. Perhaps a person or group feels called to start a church in a particular part of a city. They begin to meet in a modest setting, like a home. Either the Lord blesses them with growth and confirmation or he doesn't. If the group does flourish, as it does the leadership becomes more solidfied and official.

Since newcomers are not bound to meet with the group by some arbitrary requirement (e.g. one-church-per-city) they have no reason to join unless they feel the Lord is personally leading them to do so, which likely means they like the direction the leadership is taking. If they don't they simply don't join. There is no reason to contend with leadership since they are not compelled to be there anyway."

Your logic is such that if it is the Lord's will, we can freely move to other groups. My question is how do you know that is Lord's will? Don't you think there could be some saints who are divisive and "freely" move here and there on the grounds that that is Lord's will? Your model is also very vulnerable to the divisive saints. And if we follow your model, we have no choice but to confirm their "free moving." However, if we follow the ground of locality, we can condemn them.

Igzy,

Please rethink our whole discussions thus far. I know you are a very considerate fellow Christian. I know no model is perfect. But, at least, any model should be based on the Bible. I cannot find any verse in the Bible which confirms "free moving" of saints.

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Old 12-12-2008, 11:29 PM   #91
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Gubei,

If the ground of locality does not require one eldership then what is the point of it? If the point is to indicate that believers in a geographic area should meet together, what is the size of the area? I mean, at what point do you say "These believers are close enough together to meet together but aren't so there is a problem. " This is the problem with drawing stark lines like locality. Just what does locality really mean? If you simply mean that it's a general principle to show we should be willing to meet with any believers possible then I have no problem with that.

The oneness of the Spirit means that whenever we encounter Christians we should receive them. It doesn't matter if the geographic area we share with them is the neighborhood, the burrough, the city or the county. We still should receive them and, if the situation warrants, meet with them. So locality is a bit superfluous here, in that it is vague anyway, and so doesn't say more than the oneness of the Spirit says.

In a 5-mile by 5-mile square in my city, I would guess there are at least 25,000 Christians. These Christians are close enough to assemble together. But doing so is not practical due to the sheer numbers. So what do you believe is their obligation to each other in that area and how is that practically fulfilled?
Igzy,

The boundary of a city is its political boundary. In the big city like London, the administration can delegate elders' function and authority to some extent to its district level responsible ones for the convenience of affairs, but The church in London is just one. And the nomenclature should be based on this simple method. BTW, why do you think we should gather together "physically" if we follow the ground of locality? You do not need to.

You several times mentioned "community churches." I higly evaluate their open-mindedness. But, the nomenclature should be based on the Bible.

Igzy, I already several times defined what the locality means - time and space limitations given to man by God.

As opposed to the first impression of locality - different people who live in their home town, locality means ,in this specific context, universality among Christians EXCEPT the innate limitations given to the finite man by the infinite God for the purpose of creation of the world.

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Old 12-12-2008, 11:32 PM   #92
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Not true. The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.

BTW, the pastor of my church was not appointed by an apostle. Does that mean if you came to meet with us that you would not recognize his authority? If you would, where does his authority come from?
Igzy,

Eldership cannot be fully discussed without discussion on the matter of apostles. I hope we will have another round of good fellowship on this matter soon. I will post my former writings very soon. Thanks.

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Old 12-12-2008, 11:42 PM   #93
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This requirement that "only apostles appoint elders" has done more to destroy the character of "local" churches than perhaps anything else. Since the apostles have been gone for almost 2,000 years, do we have no more elders, and thus no more churches?...
Ohio,

With respect,

But everything in our Christian life is by the Spirit, not only the matter of appointing elders. We are discussing "practice" now. By practice I mean some visible and physical action of man. Please do not equate my model with WL's. I even did not post my former writings here.

I know my model is not perfect. But I hope we have a good fellowship. And I promise I will be corrected by you and Igzy or any other posters here who will indicate my errors. Actually that's the purpose of my posting my model.

In Christ,
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:33 AM   #94
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But everything in our Christian life is by the Spirit, not only the matter of appointing elders. We are discussing "practice" now. By practice I mean some visible and physical action of man. Please do not equate my model with WL's. I even did not post my former writings here.

I know my model is not perfect. But I hope we have a good fellowship. And I promise I will be corrected by you and Igzy or any other posters here who will indicate my errors. Actually that's the purpose of my posting my model.
Brother Gubei, I understand we are discussing "practices." But, where the Bible has none, and we mandate one, then we create a nightmare of problems. Thus the record of church history.

What is your model? Which post was it that I did not read thoroughly?
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:31 AM   #95
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Please show me any as prescriptive verses in the Bible, saying "elders are not according to cities" as these two verses. Which interpretation does the Bible support?
This is the primary problem with your whole argument. There were, at the time, not clearly any more than one assembly in any city, although there are mentions of churches in someone’s house which does open some uncertainty on that assumption. But nowhere does scripture clearly associate the existence of a church (an assembly) exclusively with a city with no others present. It merely notes that there was one at the time by writing to that one. And even if there was, the writing to those in a particular city by the singular word does not become uncertain. The writing would be to all of them.

Jesus didn’t say “I will build one church in each city.” He said “I will build my church.” This overarching reference to “assembly” or ‘church” in such a universal way does not support “one city one church.” It merely establishes a oneness among believers that transcends time and space without making any comment on the realities of time and space.

You can say that there is no scripture denying your position. But there is also no scripture that denies the use of modern music styles rather than music that was modern to someone else’s generation. But nowhere does it say that we must use modern music. Or 17th century music. Or simply two-generations-old music. There is no doctrine on the subject. We have no such tradition in our assemblies. Do you?

Same here. The “one city one church” is already established as a prescription of Lee not supported by scripture. It is not a bad idea. But it is not prescribed. But it is also not denied. That is not an opening through which you are permitted to drive a requirement.

Lack of denial is not support for requirement. You have made no case by taking such a position. It is an argument that is not supported by scripture or logic. And don’t fall back on “spiritual discernment” as some others have done in the past. Spiritual discernment is not contrary to scripture.

If you are unable to do more than show descriptions of what was and extrapolate from descriptive to prescriptive, then this discussion is over. I will not keep going on it. The rational debate is over. If you want to hold to something not supported by scripture, you are free to do so. But you cannot make a claim that it is a requirement applicable to the rest of us.
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:38 AM   #96
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The “one city one church” is already established as a prescription of Lee not supported by scripture.
MikeH, the way I have understood this teaching is one city one expression. Meaning in a city there could be only one expression of Christ, but more than one assembly. Let's take Seattle for example. For years the LC church in Seattle had two assemblies, but one expression. Practically one assembly was for the English speaking and the other for the Chinese speaking.
The fallacy behind the LC concept is they are the legitimate expression of Christ in any given city. Any assemblies apart from them are illegitimate.
It is simply ludicrous to say an assembly needs to be affiliated with a specific Christian publisher/ministry in order to be considered legit.

For example usually on Saturday nights I meet with a group of Christians in Bellevue, Wa. With each of us our only common connection are brothers and sisters in Christ. However since it's not a LSM/LC home meeting, I have been told our meetings are illegitimate.
I disagree with such a divisvie concept. Rather all Christians who meet in a given city are the expression of Christ regardless whether they meet with lcers, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc.

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Old 12-14-2008, 10:01 AM   #97
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Four community churches in a city will fellowship, meet and pray with each other freely. Four "local churches" in a city will not. They will at best pretend the others don't exist. Usually one or all will condemn the others.
A telling observation...
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:55 AM   #98
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

OBW,

I fully understand what your saying. Also I cannot go on this discussion for the same reason you said. If you cannot give me any verse that says "one city - one church is not right" in the Bible, you also cannot claim.

Thanks.

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Old 12-15-2008, 05:21 AM   #99
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

Are you trying to replace Lee? That is just the kind of logic he would use. He would start, as you did in the first of three, by saying something preposterous with no support, yet in a manner that causes the listener/reader to be compelled to accept it. Then he would argue by saying scriptural-sounding things and linking them together as if the various things were controls for one another. But note that you actually only referenced one passage — 2 Cor 12:12. And this one does not establish anything concerning your main points. Instead, it establishes the uncertainty of your point. The rest is opinion as to what it means because unrelated things that are extrapolated from unmentioned passages are strung together as if they are fact. This is how Lee created his doctrine of the economy of God. There are only 2 verses in chapter 1 of TEOG where he defines the doctrine, and he doesn't even understand them properly (generous) or he intentionally misrepresented what they said (more likely). The doctrines of "ground of locality" or "ground of oneness" are no different.

Discussing doctrines must be done in the light of the actual scriptures available. They cannot be based upon the words supplied by the very person whose doctrines are being questioned. That would be Lee. You must start with the scripture, and from the scripture establish what scripture actually says and rest on that. Lee started with his concept and found scriptures that he could twist to say what he felt was true. His claim of being an apostle was his justification for saying non-scriptural things. He called non-scriptural as scriptural.
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Old 12-15-2008, 05:27 AM   #100
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MikeH, the way I have understood this teaching is one city one expression. Meaning in a city there could be only one expression of Christ, but more than one assembly. Let's take Seattle for example. For years the LC church in Seattle had two assemblies, but one expression. Practically one assembly was for the English speaking and the other for the Chinese speaking.
The fallacy behind the LC concept is they are the legitimate expression of Christ in any given city. Any assemblies apart from them are illegitimate.
It is simply ludicrous to say an assembly needs to be affiliated with a specific Christian publisher/ministry in order to be considered legit.

For example usually on Saturday nights I meet with a group of Christians in Bellevue, Wa. With each of us our only common connection are brothers and sisters in Christ. However since it's not a LSM/LC home meeting, I have been told our meetings are illegitimate.
I disagree with such a divisvie concept. Rather all Christians who meet in a given city are the expression of Christ regardless whether they meet with lcers, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc.

Terry
Well, based upon my recent observations of posters on this site, I'd say, paraphrasing someone else, you're merely kicking the can down the street. Soon enough there will be groups of Christians arguing that they are the only genuine representative of the "expression" and then you'd have some others claiming that there are obviously multiple "expressions" in the city.

I have previously advocated for use of the better translation when referring to the unique group all the believers in a place and relegated the poor translation of "church" to whoever wanted to use it. But if there are now to be multiple "assemblies" within a single place, well, you'll soon enough have multiple "expressions" as well.

Obviously, no one can control the vocabulary used to describe the different sects and denominations. They are "churches" or "assemblies" or "expressions" or whatever people want them to be. So, those who contend for the oneness of the Spirit clearly cannot be hung up on the vocabulary.

Grace be with us all today!
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:31 AM   #101
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Don't you think there could be some saints who are divisive and "freely" move here and there on the grounds that that is Lord's will? Your model is also very vulnerable to the divisive saints.
In the first place, it's none of my business what others' motives are. I'm not their policeman. In the second place, a divisive saint is someone who sows discord, not someone who decides to meet somewhere other than where I think he should.

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And if we follow your model, we have no choice but to confirm their "free moving."
Right. And that's as it should be. Now, we might have some reservations about someone's decision to do something, but that's far from condemning them.

It's just not our place to decide for someone else that they are not following the Lord when it comes to where they meet. Like I said, how do we know where we meet is really the place for everyone?

Gubei, it sounds like your model lends itself to being suspicious of every motive except the "approved one." You sound more like LSM than you think.

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However, if we follow the ground of locality, we can condemn them.
There's the seed of the problem. The ground of locality boils down to knowing who to condemn. I already knew that, but I'm glad you confirmed it. This exposes it's purient nature. This is exactly what I was talking about, Gubei. The doctrine of locality has a dark side. You've just confirmed it. It cannot exist without condemning someone.


Here's the thing we need to realize about his matter, Gubei. God didn't make us or anyone else the policeman of other people's motives. Whether people are being led by the Lord or by they own selfish motives is really not much of our business. Besides, none of us has the discernment to consistently read peoples' motives.

Practically the entire Catholic Church condemned Martin Luther. Most of them went into eternity thinking they had sided with God on that issue. What a surprise they must have had! Now in the light of history, do you really think God has given us a church structure so that we can know who to condemn?

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Please rethink our whole discussions thus far. I know you are a very considerate fellow Christian. I know no model is perfect. But, at least, any model should be based on the Bible. I cannot find any verse in the Bible which confirms "free moving" of saints.
I have rethought it. Many times. And the more I think about it the more I believe that any attempt to enforce "locality" is wrong. Believe it all you want. But once you try to enforce it (i.e. by "condemning" people who don't conform the way you think they should) you are out of bounds.

And if saints cannot "freely move," what, exactly can they do? Where can they meet? And where does the Bible say they cannot freely move?

This is the problem with your input here, Gubei. The other shoe never drops. You never give us practical guidelines for practicing your model. You say the ground of locality tells us who we can "condemn" (oh boy!) but then don't give us specifics. That's like giving a loaded gun to a blind man and telling him to try to shoot the apple off your head.
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:52 PM   #102
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So, those who contend for the oneness of the Spirit clearly cannot be hung up on the vocabulary.

Grace be with us all today!
YP0534, clearly there's no getting around the denomination issue. Until the Lord returns, this is the environment we're faced with. What we can do is have the right heart in order to pursue the oneness of the spirit.
For example in my old neighborhood there was a community church, 7th Day Adventist, Lutheran, Prebyterian, Baptist, etc. I don't advocate practices of any particular assembly/congregation/metting place, but when I meet an individual from one of these congregations I can seek a oneness in the Spirit. We each have the Bible as our one unique standard.
Am I making sense?

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Old 12-15-2008, 01:37 PM   #103
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YP0534, clearly there's no getting around the denomination issue. Until the Lord returns, this is the environment we're faced with. What we can do is have the right heart in order to pursue the oneness of the spirit.
For example in my old neighborhood there was a community church, 7th Day Adventist, Lutheran, Prebyterian, Baptist, etc. I don't advocate practices of any particular assembly/congregation/metting place, but when I meet an individual from one of these congregations I can seek a oneness in the Spirit. We each have the Bible as our one unique standard.
Am I making sense?

Terry
Yes. Total sense.

A fundamental problem with the LCs is that, for all their talk, they never really had the courage of their convictions.

If they had really been for the practical oneness they envisioned, they would have ceaselessly contacted all the Christian groups, patiently explained their beliefs, and encouraged practical oneness, doing whatever it took to break down barriers. They would have been more than willing to turn over leadership (like in that old LC legend that the leadership was offered in return for oneness in China). They would have constantly prayed for fellowship and favor with other Christians.

Instead the LC movement settled for moving into cities, setting up shop, ignoring the rest of the Christian community, raising barriers, and acting beligerantly, like they were ipso facto the kings of the hill. In other words, they thought they were special. Most LCers are hooked on being special and above the rules. They can't imagine a Christian life where they aren't some kind of elite Christian group. This desire is, in fact, of the devil.

To address Toledo's problem, of how former LCers can go on, I think a big part, Toledo, is to forget about being something special. We need to see how thinking we are special actually isolates us from people and alienates them, the very ones we are called to serve. How can you serve when you are constantly angling for a reason to think you are better than all those poor saps out there. When you don't think you are special you don't judge people.

Jesus was a great example of this. To paraphrase, although he was God he didn't think of equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself.

Now, substitute "being in God's unique move" for "equality with God" and ask yourself if LCers saw that as a thing to be grasped. If they did, ask yourself if they thereby expressed Christ.
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:23 PM   #104
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Gubei,

Are you trying to replace Lee? That is just the kind of logic he would use. He would start, as you did in the first of three, by saying something preposterous with no support, yet in a manner that causes the listener/reader to be compelled to accept it. Then he would argue by saying scriptural-sounding things and linking them together as if the various things were controls for one another. But note that you actually only referenced one passage — 2 Cor 12:12. And this one does not establish anything concerning your main points. Instead, it establishes the uncertainty of your point. The rest is opinion as to what it means because unrelated things that are extrapolated from unmentioned passages are strung together as if they are fact. This is how Lee created his doctrine of the economy of God. There are only 2 verses in chapter 1 of TEOG where he defines the doctrine, and he doesn't even understand them properly (generous) or he intentionally misrepresented what they said (more likely). The doctrines of "ground of locality" or "ground of oneness" are no different.

Discussing doctrines must be done in the light of the actual scriptures available. They cannot be based upon the words supplied by the very person whose doctrines are being questioned. That would be Lee. You must start with the scripture, and from the scripture establish what scripture actually says and rest on that. Lee started with his concept and found scriptures that he could twist to say what he felt was true. His claim of being an apostle was his justification for saying non-scriptural things. He called non-scriptural as scriptural.
OBW,

Basically, I am trying to say that WN or WL's teachings should be considered one of diverse teachings in fundamentalists' camp. I know there are some questionable teachings or practices in them, but I do not think they have really gone far as to be called "heresy."

Getting back to the ground of locality, what matter is that you cannot say the truth is unbiblical any more than you can with Trinity. I recognize your right to reject that truth, but I do not recognize your right to call it "unbiblical" as long as you accept Trinity on which really a lot of understandings exist among sincere Christians and a few descriptive verses exist.

OBW, please think about this. How many crucial truths in the Bible are supported by "prescriptive" verses? The Bible is not a well-written systematic theology textbook or US Constitution-type mandate. They are histories, epistles, and so on an so forth, but not least so prescriptive as Wesminster Confession.

One error of some Christians is that they do not distingush between having different interpretations which are still in the boundary of fundamentalists' camp and calling other fundamentalists' interpretations "unbiblical, heretic etc." Of course, WL himself repeated this error. As I alrerady several times made it clear, "the ground of locality" is not an essential element in our Christians life. Any Christian who even belongs to Catholic can be a overcomer for God who will expedite the second coming of our Lord Jesus.

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Old 12-15-2008, 03:36 PM   #105
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And if saints cannot "freely move," what, exactly can they do? Where can they meet? And where does the Bible say they cannot freely move?

This is the problem with your input here, Gubei. The other shoe never drops. You never give us practical guidelines for practicing your model. You say the ground of locality tells us who we can "condemn" (oh boy!) but then don't give us specifics. That's like giving a loaded gun to a blind man and telling him to try to shoot the apple off your head.
Igzy,

Your answer is not directly related to my original question.

The base on which you have over and over again reject the ground of locality was the fact that the truth has no "prescriptive" verses in the Bible.

And you finally showed us your "practical model" which basic element is saints' free moving depending on the Lord's will.

So I asked the same question you asked as to the ground of locality.
- Tell me what prescriptive verses are there supporting "saints' free moving depending on the Lord's will."

But you are answering the question by saying that "And if saints cannot "freely move," what, exactly can they do? Where can they meet? And where does the Bible say they cannot freely move?" Your answer is not based on the Bible, but your human logic, which you have so many times used to reject the ground of locality.

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Old 12-16-2008, 09:03 AM   #106
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Gubei,

The Bible says nothing restricting saints from moving from church to church. Are you suggesting that if the Bible doesn't explicitly allow something that it therefore disallows it? If not, then why are you asking me to provide the Biblical permission for something the Bible does not mention?

BTW, there's nothing wrong with logic. After all, you are employing it as well. You can't interpret the Bible without it. Neither could WL. You attach the word "human" to my logic as a means of dismissing it. That's straight from WL's playbook. His logic was "divine"; everyone else's was "human."

So please don't condescend. I'm not employing logic in a vacuum. I'm using it in the light of the Bible, history, experience and my sense of the Lord's leading. Hopefully you are not doing any differently.

So, again, please tell me how saints moving around is supposed to be policed. Who has the authority to condemn or excuse such movement? Who judges? If you can't answer these practical questions then your model is not practical and is bound to fall apart.

How do you decide who to "condemn?" For example, suppose there are two "local" churches A and B, in city C. Saint S decides the Lord has led him to move from A to B, and the elders of B have no objection. How do you know, if you are in A (or anywhere else) whether you should "condemn" S? Can you do it because:
  1. A and B are too close together, and therefore violate locality?
  2. A and B are too far apart, and so S is not eligible to be in B.
  3. S did not get permission from the elders of A whether he could move? (As if they are his lords.)
  4. B does not follow the right apostle, and so B is not a genuine church?
  5. Something else?
I'm waiting to hear the rules of how to condemn a saint because condemning saints is a serious matter and you have stated that being able to do so is one of the great advantages of the ground of locality doctrine.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:26 AM   #107
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OBW, please think about this. How many crucial truths in the Bible are supported by "prescriptive" verses? The Bible is not a well-written systematic theology textbook or US Constitution-type mandate. They are histories, epistles, and so on an so forth, but not least so prescriptive as Wesminster Confession.
I've already thought about this and addressed it several times. The ground of locality doctrine is not a teaching that allows an inch of disagreement on its meaning because the teaching says that those who don't agree with it are divisive. Since it's unreasonable to expect people to agree on the exact meaning of any non-prescriptive "truth," the teaching makes not a lick of practical sense.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:35 PM   #108
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Gubei,

The Bible says nothing restricting saints from moving from church to church. Are you suggesting that if the Bible doesn't explicitly allow something that it therefore disallows it? If not, then why are you asking me to provide the Biblical permission for something the Bible does not mention?

BTW, there's nothing wrong with logic. After all, you are employing it as well. You can't interpret the Bible without it. Neither could WL. You attach the word "human" to my logic as a means of dismissing it. That's straight from WL's playbook. His logic was "divine"; everyone else's was "human."

So please don't condescend. I'm not employing logic in a vacuum. I'm using it in the light of the Bible, history, experience and my sense of the Lord's leading. Hopefully you are not doing any differently.

So, again, please tell me how saints moving around is supposed to be policed. Who has the authority to condemn or excuse such movement? Who judges? If you can't answer these practical questions then your model is not practical and is bound to fall apart.



How do you decide who to "condemn?" For example, suppose there are two "local" churches A and B, in city C. Saint S decides the Lord has led him to move from A to B, and the elders of B have no objection. How do you know, if you are in A (or anywhere else) whether you should "condemn" S? Can you do it because:
  1. A and B are too close together, and therefore violate locality?
  2. A and B are too far apart, and so S is not eligible to be in B.
  3. S did not get permission from the elders of A whether he could move? (As if they are his lords.)
  4. B does not follow the right apostle, and so B is not a genuine church?
  5. Something else?
I'm waiting to hear the rules of how to condemn a saint because condemning saints is a serious matter and you have stated that being able to do so is one of the great advantages of the ground of locality doctrine.
Igzy,

Please rethink your reply. I'm not saying whose model is right.
I'm trying to show you how we should be balanced in evaluating others' model.

You cannot provide me with some prescriptive verses supporting your model. And, as you agreed, your model is based on logic.

If that's the case, you should not evaluate others' model by the yardstick which you yourself cannot abide by. Then, why did you repeatedly ask providing prescriptive verses on the ground of locality?

Your are getting around this issue. Please directly answer.

Igzy,

For your model's practicality, a lot of questons can be made. For now, I just want to adhere to above mentioned issue except one thing.

You asked me.
"So, again, please tell me how saints moving around is supposed to be policed."

Igzy, this was my question to you. You should answer to me. Are you saying really "free moving" in your model even without reject divisive ones which was commanded by the Bible? Please clarify your model further.

Gubei




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Old 12-17-2008, 06:40 AM   #109
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Igzy,

Please rethink your reply. I'm not saying whose model is right.
I'm trying to show you how we should be balanced in evaluating others' model.

You cannot provide me with some prescriptive verses supporting your model. And, as you agreed, your model is based on logic.

If that's the case, you should not evaluate others' model by the yardstick which you yourself cannot abide by. Then, why did you repeatedly ask providing prescriptive verses on the ground of locality?

Your are getting around this issue. Please directly answer.
I understand your question, but you are actually comparing my apples to your oranges. The difference should be clear to you because I've already made reference to it, but I'll try to be plainer. The difference is that you are creating restrictions based on non-prescriptive patterns. I am allowing freedom by not creating restrictions where the Bible is silent. That's the difference. My model is based on the Bible, it just doesn't make restrictive assumptions where the Bible is silent. Your model is based on the Bible, too. But yours makes restrictive assumptions (e.g. saints cannot move from church to church) where the Bible is silent. That's a big difference.

Quote:

Igzy,

For your model's practicality, a lot of questons can be made. For now, I just want to adhere to above mentioned issue except one thing.

You asked me.
"So, again, please tell me how saints moving around is supposed to be policed."

Igzy, this was my question to you. You should answer to me. Are you saying really "free moving" in your model even without reject divisive ones which was commanded by the Bible? Please clarify your model further.

Gubei
Freely moving is not the same thing as being divisive. Being divisive is a matter of heart and attitude. For example, I may leave a church to move to another one in a divisive way, or in a pure way, it all depends on my heart.

The Lord may be leading me to move, and it's really no one else's call but mine, because I alone really know what the Lord is leading me to do. This is what living by conscience and following the Spirit boils down to.

On the other hand, I may actually have a divisive heart and want to avoid fellowship with certain people. When I move it may outwardly look more or less the same to a casual observer as when I move with a pure motive, but there is a world of difference. So you really can't judge someone just because they changed churches.

Being divisive means having a divisive heart which expresses itself in sowing discord. These types of people, ultimately, are pretty easy to spot. They don't fellowship, they grumble. Someone who moves from church to church is not necessarily divisive.

There is a term in Christian circles--"church hopping." It describes moving from church to church seeking comfort. It's a negative term. Christians in general know that they should not just move on a whim, to satisfy themselves. However, they also know that you cannot restrict a genuine leading of the Lord. This is balance.

The LC model presumes that restricting movement preserves "oneness," but I don't see the justification for enforcing that in the Bible. It is imbalanced.
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:51 AM   #110
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Allowing free movement actually prevents division rather than encourages it. For example, suppose some saints feel their leadership is no longer following the Lord. If they feel compelled to stay by a locality principle or some such they are expected to squelch their impulse. In some cases this may be good, but there are bound to be cases where the Lord is indeed moving them to make a change. If they are not free, they must eventually make a confrontation and ugly things are bound to happen.

On the other hand, if they are free to leave, then they can go in peace. Neither side has to loudly condemn the other because of the "each being fully persuaded in their own mind" principle. They simple need to be free to follow there consciences.

Ultimately, requiring oneness based on some arbitrary interpretation of a locality pattern in the NT is bound to require someone to ignore their conscience. Again this is good reason to believe the apparent pattern does not require us to formulate a formal restrictive doctrine.
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:00 PM   #111
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Gubei,

You said this to Igzy:

You cannot provide me with some prescriptive verses supporting your model. And, as you agreed, your model is based on logic.

If that's the case, you should not evaluate others' model by the yardstick which you yourself cannot abide by. Then, why did you repeatedly ask providing prescriptive verses on the ground of locality?

Your are getting around this issue. Please directly answer.

This statement establishes that you do not understand what Igzy is saying. He is not prescribing anything. He is denying the establishment of doctrines that prescribe when there is no scripture in support of such prescription. The first sentence I quoted above is much better turned back on yourself. You are supporting a doctrine that make prescriptive requirements but you are unable to support those requirements with scripture. You are only able to point to places where it might be accurate to suggest that your position is described.

We provide a model that is consistent with scripture where it prescribes, but allows freedom where it does not. We do not see the extremes of prescription that Lee, and apparently you see. We need no scripture to support freedom in Christ where you cannot find restriction prescribed. The question is legitimately directed at you. You are prescribing. That requires support. Without that support, then there is the freedom in Christ that we support. We do not need to support freedom in Christ. But you need to support hard rules. And we do not see them. Rather than running from our question, you can only win the argument by actually providing the support Igzy requests.

When I read the verses you have provided so far, I do not see an prescription of a particular rule. They actually make no statement in support of such a position. It can only be said that if your prescription were true, the verse could stand as it is. But if there is no such prescription, the verse could also stand as is. Therefore, these verses do not define a prescription. They merely describe a set of facts that are insufficient to establish a prescription in scripture.

So asking Igzy how people moving around is supposed to be policed can only be understood as suggesting that they should be policed. Since Igzy has no prescriptive rule on the subject, there is no objective fact that can be scrutinized to say that moving from one assembly to another is in error. He is not asking you to tell him how to police it under his understanding. He is asking you to explain how, and why, it should be policed. You need to look at your model for that answer. You need to explain how scripture prescribes an answer that is steadfast and sure.

He asked, but expected the answer to be consistent with the one city one church rule which is already being argued as not prescribed by scripture. That means that under his model there is no simple answer. In fact, the only answer is that if it is a problem before God, then God will deal with it one way or another. There is no need for man to impose more stringent rules to keep people from moving around. As he has said, there are many reasons to move. If there is not divisiveness in the heart, or a desire to run from legitimate discipline, it is not denied by scripture. There is no rule to make a person stay anywhere.
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:55 AM   #112
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The New Testiment is full of verses showing that in the apostles days all the believers in each city where the gospel went were the church in that city. There were no multible chuches in localities. Because there are no verses in the bible such as II Igzy 4:3 " Thou shalt gather as the church in your city" you claim that the scriptures don't teach one church one city. The posters here willfully take their own logic over the scriptures.
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:33 AM   #113
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The New Testiment is full of verses showing that in the apostles days all the believers in each city where the gospel went were the church in that city. There were no multible chuches in localities. Because there are no verses in the bible such as II Igzy 4:3 " Thou shalt gather as the church in your city" you claim that the scriptures don't teach one church one city. The posters here willfully take their own logic over the scriptures.
Oregon:

Given that what you say is true, what is your response, if any? How do we relate to our brothers and sisters who do what you say they do? I'm mostly concerned that I might be one who could be subject to such a charge on some issue or other and I'd like to know, if I could, how I might discern the Spirit's leading in the circumstance as opposed to just having to choose between my own logic and another's presentation of verses.

In a room full of Jehovah's Witnesses, for instance, my own logic might be superior to the scriptures cited. On the other hand, faced with substantial scriptural proof from a recognized orthodox teacher, I might stubbornly resist to remain with my own considerations.

I'm in agreement with you on the doctrinal point you have presented. Some on this forum hold sharply divergent opinions. We surely would prefer to preserve the oneness of the Spirit here, but I'm pretty sure I could talk until I was blue in the face and some would never change their minds on this point.

In other words, they insist you and I are wrong and we insist that they are wrong and we're not really getting anywhere with that for whatever reason. How can I be comfortable that I'm not the one in self-delusion other than to take it before the Lord and accept my inner sense as more reliable than their presentation? If the Spirit is the true teacher, what shall we say about those who try to teach us something that the Spirit isn't confirming?

I don't really have any answers but I'm pretty sure that brotherly love should be the key factor with whatever response we have (and such is my expectation from those who might insist that I drop my position instead!)

Obviously, my inquiry goes far beyond the particular topic at hand but I think it's really something we need to consider here if we truly wish to have fruitful fellowship, on this topic or any other point of departure...
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:45 AM   #114
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Oregon:

Given that what you say is true, what is your response, if any? How do we relate to our brothers and sisters who do what you say they do? I'm mostly concerned that I might be one who could be subject to such a charge on some issue or other and I'd like to know, if I could, how I might discern the Spirit's leading in the circumstance as opposed to just having to choose between my own logic and another's presentation of verses.
Good questions, and relevant to any topic on which there are varying weights placed on varying sets of scriptures.

My own take is this: when I base my oneness on the necessity of the other one coming to meet me, rather than vice versa, then I am in for a long and cold wait in the dark. Here is the old complaint: "When the others just see my way (my logic, the primacy of my crucial verses, etc), then we will all get along. Then all problems will be over and we will have heaven on earth." It will be some variation on this theme. "You must come to where I am."

Then I see the action of God. He loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son. (John 3:16).

While we were yet sinners, God loved us anyway. Christ died for us in our wretched state. (Rom. 5:6,8).

God manifested His love for us by sending His only begotten Son, that we might have life and live through this One. (1 John 4:9).

Herein is real love, not that we loved God [we could not], but that God loved us and sent His Son as a propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10).

Any attempt by man to bridge the gap, to cover the lack, to make up the lost ground, are illusion and vanity. From Adam and Eve's fig leaves to the tower of Babel and right up through. God alone can bridge the divide.

So to assume we are in the truth, and to expect others to come to our stand, our "ground", is perhaps a tad presumptuous. Rather we see the sending God. We have the real truth, God's love come into our hearts (Romans 5:5), that we might also be the ones stretching forth.

This is why I so strongly disagree with the events of the past few years. Let's assume Titus was wrong and the Anaheims were right. Let's assume the GLA churches with a cacaphony of electric music and dramatizations were in error.

But cutting off believers who are not in sin, but merely in subjective interpretational error, is to me not the love of God. We should take a stand for the truth (scripture, logic, the testimony of history, and even our own experiences and subjective "feelings"), but I believe the greatest truth of all is love. God has commended His own love to us, in Christ Jesus, and we therefore can commend God's love to one another. Cutting off one another over disagreements may in fact be love, but I have yet to be persuaded of this by any of the means I have listed above.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:59 AM   #115
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But cutting off believers who are not in sin, but merely in subjective interpretational error, is to me not the love of God. We should take a stand for the truth (scripture, logic, the testimony of history, and even our own experiences and subjective "feelings"), but I believe the greatest truth of all is love. God has commended His own love to us, in Christ Jesus, and we therefore can commend God's love to one another. Cutting off one another over disagreements may in fact be love, but I have yet to be persuaded of this by any of the means I have listed above.
Fine, aron. I understand the same way. But I'm still puzzled.

How to remain in oneness with those who would actually denounce your "stand for the truth" as you propose?

One proposes that there's no possilbility for anything other than one assembly in a place. Another proposes that there's no practical possibilty for only one church in a place of any size. Do they agree to disagree and praise the Lord together? Do they agree to disagree but exercise the freedom separate just the same?

More to my immediate point, however, what to do about someone who strongly believes that your "stand" is beyond the pale? How do you maintain your "stand" while remaining one with such a one who wishes to withdraw???

Have you become a stumbling block for the sake of your truth, which itself is not confirmed by more than your own conscience????
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:35 PM   #116
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... what to do about someone who strongly believes that your "stand" is beyond the pale? How do you maintain your "stand" while remaining one with such a one who wishes to withdraw???
If my stand includes as it's cornerstone repentance in the face of God's overwhelming love, then I don't violate it when I reach out to others, acknowledging my at least partial error. Only God is 100% right. The rest of us, including me, are at least somewhat in error.

Do I always live it? No, I can be arrogant and self-righteous and judgmental. But at least in theory, I think this approach can allow movement without being violated.

God's love, ultimately, conquers all. It's just a matter of time.
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Old 12-18-2008, 01:11 PM   #117
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Gubei,
We do not need to support freedom in Christ. But you need to support hard rules. And we do not see them.
This sums it up.
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Old 12-18-2008, 01:28 PM   #118
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The New Testiment is full of verses showing that in the apostles days all the believers in each city where the gospel went were the church in that city. There were no multible chuches in localities. Because there are no verses in the bible such as II Igzy 4:3 " Thou shalt gather as the church in your city" you claim that the scriptures don't teach one church one city. The posters here willfully take their own logic over the scriptures.
Oregon, don't you have time to formulate something better than this? Or is this the best you can do?

I would like to discuss this issue of locality with you. But you seem content to hide behind the barricades of your dogma and hurl insults over the wall. Why are you so afraid to take on the apparent weaknesses in this doctrine you've been told to believe?

No one in the LC ever addressed the holes in this doctrine. So what are you supposed to do when someone attacks the deity of Christ? You are supposed to have an answer. You are supposed to employ logic (e.g. if Jesus wasn't God, who was he?). But because you can't logically defend your locality doctrine, you resort to insulting logic itself. That's very disappointing.

I'm still awaiting answers. How do I know who the true elders in Toronto are?
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:19 PM   #119
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Oregon:
In other words, they insist you and I are wrong and we insist that they are wrong and we're not really getting anywhere with that for whatever reason.
Not true. It's not you or Oregon I am trying to convince. It's those looking on. It's for that reason that I try to present as plain and intelligent an argument as possible. Gubei has, too. Oregon hasn't. He's acted as if the points I've made don't exist.
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:54 PM   #120
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One proposes that there's no possilbility for anything other than one assembly in a place. Another proposes that there's no practical possibilty for only one church in a place of any size. Do they agree to disagree and praise the Lord together? Do they agree to disagree but exercise the freedom separate just the same?
"..God has called us to peace." 1 Cor 7:15b.
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Old 12-18-2008, 03:41 PM   #121
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I understand your question, but you are actually comparing my apples to your oranges. The difference should be clear to you because I've already made reference to it, but I'll try to be plainer. The difference is that you are creating restrictions based on non-prescriptive patterns. ....
Igzy,

As I told you before, we are saying the same thing from different angles, but approach is quite different. Do you remember I said "the end-image" would be almost similar?

I want to clarify more.

1. In my model, saints can move to other local churches. I do not think restricting movement preserves oneness.

2. Concerning the biblical verses, whether those be prescriptive or descriptive, I am comparing my apples with your apples. As you and OBW agreed, my model has some "descriptive" verses in the Bible. But you have not showed me any even descriptive verses which support your model. First and foremost, any model should be based on the Bible. That is what is called sola scriptura. I do not object any model which is different from mine as long as that is based on the Bible. This is the reason why I cannot willingly accept your model even though the end-image is quite similar to mine.

3. Igzy, what matters in the matter of practice is the case in which divisive ones come in. If every Christains are not divisive but according to the will of the Lord, there in no need to talk about "practice", "model" etc. Whatever pratice or model we have, there will be no problem.

I'm asking you the case in which divisive one come in, when you, if you are an elder of a church, have to make decision to accept him or not. The divisive one would definitely claim he is according to the will of the Lord. What would your decision be? Accept or Reject?

(Titus3:10) Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.(NIV)

If you reject him, he will claim that you are divisive. If you accept him, you are not following the prescriptive verse in the Bible.

My point is that no model is perfect as long as there is divisive ones come.

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Old 12-18-2008, 04:43 PM   #122
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If the Spirit is the true teacher, what shall we say about those who try to teach us something that the Spirit isn't confirming?

I don't really have any answers but I'm pretty sure that brotherly love should be the key factor with whatever response we have (and such is my expectation from those who might insist that I drop my position instead!)
I love this question because it goes to the heart of what I struggle with continually.

First, if our position is unyeilding love, how can someone insist we drop that towards them? They often will ask us to drop it towards "others" if we are to join them. In other words, join the "quarantine" or whatever barricade they have erected to fellowship.

Can we say to one involved in struggle, "I am one with you but not one with your antagonism towards _____ ?"

I think so. I believe so. I hope so. I believe love covers all, love suffers all, love ultimately conquers all.

If God could love us while we were yet sinners, while we were yet unlovable, unloving, unlovely, then surely we can tolerate others who are intolerant, especially if they are intolerant of us, especially if they can't tolerate our tolerance! I know that's a mouthful, but I think it makes sense.

If you think I am making these points up, see my earlier post (#217)responding to YP's question. I have a few verses there. Also, I can attest that I was not "good material" for anything, but God loved me and reached me anyway. Cannot I now, with this love dwelling in me, do the same toward others?

So I think that this is a "stand" we can hold to even while we move toward others. I know that the Lord Jesus didn't have much tolerance toward the intolerant; he was gentler on the drunkards and publicans than he was on the religious holier-than-thou folks. But only Jesus is without sin; the rest of us can rightly take the place of repentant sinners.

So there's my thought; whether it's valid is open to question, and whether I can live up to my theology is also open. But it kinda inspires me, you know?
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:02 PM   #123
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OBW,

I have to disagree.

Igzy is prescriving something by denying other's model. If that is not prescription, what is prescription? And as contray to your observation, I did not insist my model. I already said that the ground of locality is not essential in the common belief among Christians such as salvation, Trinity etc.

I believe the issue of the ground of locality is like that of head covering of sisters. If you ask me what is right according to the Bible, I would answer that sisters shoud take head covering. But I will not insist that practice because that is not essential in our Christian life. In other words, I will accept all the Christians regardless of their position to this matter, but I will not change my model which is according the Bible.

If you ask me what is right according to the Bible, I would anwer that the ground of locality should be practiced. But I will not insist that practice because that is not essential in our Christian life. In other words, I will accept all the Christians regardless of their position to this matter, but I will not change my model which is according to the Bible.

The reason why I think the ground of locality is not essential is due to the following verses by Paul.

Phil. 1
[13] So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; [14] And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. [15] Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: [16] The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: [17] But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. [18] What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. [19] For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

These verses mean that even in the time of Paul, there were some ministers who did not belong to the ministry of Paul. But Paul recognized their ministries. This means that even in a city, there are some saints who were not under the ministry of Paul or Paul-appointed eldership. But Paul was not bothered by the fact.

Now, I think I am fair in revealing the all the verses in the Bible regarding my model, whether it be for my model or against my model. Do not forget. I'm using verses in the Bible before I use logic.


1. You still are basing your arguement on only logic, not on any even "descriptive" verse in the Bible. Logic is the last resort when we discuss any truth or model concering the Bible. OBW, do not get around the issue. My simple question simply asks a simple answer. As contrary to the case of the ground of locality which has at least some descriptive verses in the Bible whether you agree or not, Igzy's model does not have any supporting verses in the Bible. "sola scriptura" is the first step we should take in talking about truth or model. Furthermore, you and Igzy over and over again used "prescriptive things" to evaluate the truth of the ground of locality. Why are you so reluctant to my simple request for you to apply the same thing to your model?

2. You are not fair in dealing with my answer to the question of prescritpve things. I answered the question by saying the case of Trinity. You have not mentioned about that. Please tell me. Do you accept the truth of Trinity? If so, show me any prescritpve verses which support Trinity.

3. I supppose you accept the model of Igzy. So I ask this question.

You are an elder of a church. And a divisive one comes to your church.
Are you going to accept him or not? Of course, he would definitely say his action is according to the will of the Lord.

(Titus 3:10) 『Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.』

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Old 12-18-2008, 05:48 PM   #124
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I'm not trying to hurl insults Igzy. I'm reading all the posts here and following what people are saying. I'm just not going to accept human logic that conrtradicts the Word of God. I don't care how many people or elders have made mistakes in this locality or that locality. The Word is the Word and that is the authority to me.....not human reasoning.

Show me in the Word where there are various denominations etc. Use the Word of God to tear down the oneness of believers in a locality....not your logic as to why nobody can decern who the real elders are. If you can show me in the Word that it's OK to divide the church up into all these various different types of assemblies then your arguements will carry some weight. Human failure will never be a valid reason to disregard what is in the Word.
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:48 PM   #125
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I'm not trying to hurl insults Igzy. I'm reading all the posts here and following what people are saying. I'm just not going to accept human logic that conrtradicts the Word of God. I don't care how many people or elders have made mistakes in this locality or that locality. The Word is the Word and that is the authority to me.....not human reasoning.

Show me in the Word where there are various denominations etc. Use the Word of God to tear down the oneness of believers in a locality....not your logic as to why nobody can decern who the real elders are. If you can show me in the Word that it's OK to divide the church up into all these various different types of assemblies then your arguements will carry some weight. Human failure will never be a valid reason to disregard what is in the Word.
I'm quoting Oregon, but this is also a response to Gubei (who has argued that Igzy is making a prescription).

At the end of the day, one can't establish that the Scripture prescribes multiple "denominations" in a city, etc. I'm not sure that's the point. I don't think Igzy is saying there should be multiple congregations in a city. He is saying that the Scripture doesno't prescribe that there shouldn't be.

I grant that there's pretty robust description of one church in each city in the New Testament.

Thing is, there are several possibilities for this: its prescribed by God; its the beginnings of a new faith and thus there won't be many variants just yet; it was more feasible given political, historical and geographic realities at the time.

Each of these are possible. But you can't go to the Scripture and prove any of them wrong - and thus each remains possible. Thus, appeal to the SCripture cannot resolve this matter definitively. Given that we are governed by the Scripture and the inward Spirit, we are left to the inward convicting of the SPirit on this matter. Some will be convicted to take a "locality" stand and some will not. But there is no grounds to insist or judge the stand the other is making.

As an anology. Are electric guitars prescriptively prohibited by Scripture? I don't see it. And thus, if my brother tells me that he has the peace and grace, even leading to have a "band" to lead praise, I have no grounds to restrict him by the Word. You can't come to me and say, "Show me where the Scripture permits electric guitars." That's not how it works. We have freedom in Christ unless the Scripture says otherwise.

Its like the law. I am free to do whatever I please in a free society unless there is a law which prohibits it. If I feel like eating cornflakes on Sunday, you can't come to me and ask "What law authorizes you to do that?" (unless you're in certain small towns in Tennesse - in which case, it might in fact be prohibited). I am free to do so unless there is an express legal prohibition.

There will be some things where the Scripture grants liberty, but the Spirit does not for me. But I would be skeptical if anyone says that the Spirit convicts you that I should be restricted.

Here's a Scriptural puzzle:

In Acts 19-21, Paul was "bound by the Spirit" to go to Jerusalem. However In Tyre, the disciples told Paul "IN THE SPIRIT" not to set foot in Jerusalem (Acts 21:4). ANd then, those with Paul, including Luke, in Caesarea, entreated Paul not to go to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:12).

Paul was "bound by the spirit" to go to Jerusalem. The brotherstold him "in the spirit" NOT to go to Jerusalem. How should we understand this? To my mind, the only way to tease this out (other than saying the Spirit is schizophrenic) is that when the Spirit convicts you personally it trumps a leading of what others think is prescribed for you.

In short, given the lack of confirmable Scriptural prescription for one-city-one-eldership, feel free to follow that model, but there is little place to judge others for not buying into it.

Make sense? Sorry for the rambling, divergent, round-about way of expressing it...

In Love,

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Old 12-18-2008, 08:14 PM   #126
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A further practical (and personal) thought on the “local ground.”

First, it would seem to me that if one-city-one-eldership was a prescription in the Scripture, then an individual not under that eldership is in violation of the Scripture.

Okay, so my personal situation.

I live in Pittsburgh, where there are many churches (green, red, square, tall, short, electric and stodgy). In each, they have taken a stand here or there (presently or in some past day) on a non essential item. There is also a “local church” here.

I don’t meet regularly with any of them. I have been to meetings of the “church in Pittsburgh” (as it is registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) and I have been to gatherings of other congregations. I am not formally “under” any eldership. That said, I know the “elders” and other saints in the “church in Pittsburgh” and have fellowship with some. I can attest that I have a heart of submission when I fellowship with them. But this is built on a history and, well, a life relationship. I also have fellowship with certain brothers who meet with a Presbyterian church in town. A regular “reform” church with all sorts of radical social/spiritual missions. They’re not “it” for me, but there’s one brother with whom I’ve developed a relationship for whom I have much respect and, if convicted, would readily submit.

Still further, there are a few brothers in town who have no affiliation with a group whatsoever, with whom I have a long relationship. I tell you that there are few others in this Steel city whose words pierce my conscience more or fuel my petition of our Lord more.

Who are the “elders” in Pittsburgh? Who has the right “stand”? Who should I be “under”? What does the “local ground” doctrine as a prescription from the Scripture teach that I should do? Where should I meet?

If the doctrine is prescribed in the Scripture, then an answer like “Obey the Lord in your Spirit” is not an answer. That would be redundant if the Scripture is clear on the matter.

My “problem” is, the only answer I have peace with is “Obey the Lord in your Spirit.” Which means I may very well be violating the “local ground” if it is a prescription in the Word.

Any thoughts or suggestions from those who insist that the “local ground” is a prescriptive reality in the Word?

In Love,

Peter
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:41 AM   #127
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I'm quite interestd in this dialog on this point concerning "the ground" but it seems a bit misplaced on its current thread. Not to be religious about such things, but, in the long run, it would probably be better if this exchange were under a more descriptive heading.

Just a thought.

Also, aron, you and I should probably relocate to something called "Receiving the Believers" somewhere else. I hope you would start such a thread and perhaps incorporate a summary of your most recent comments on the topic. Maybe you could post those verses again but this time afford us your comments on each?

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Old 12-19-2008, 04:08 AM   #128
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I'm still awaiting answers. How do I know who the true elders in Toronto are?
Hi Igzy, I appoligize if I have offended you brother. I guess that I am reacting to what I consider to be strong statements by you that, to me, disregard the Word of God. That's what I am reacting against. I will never accept someones logic that finds a way to circumvent the Word.....and maybe I have misread you and this is not your intent.

As to who the real elders are in Toronto......I believe that the "local churches" tied in with LSM are no longer standing on the ground of oneness with all believers. They may say so...but in actual practice it's the ministry itself and how one relates to it that has become their real ground of oneness. We should gather with believers in our locality and recieve all our brothers and sisters simply on the basis of them being fellow believers. I'm not familiar with your situation in Toronto but if some were gathering there on that basis and I lived there I would probably meet with them.

And by the way Igzy.....I have met with many dear saints over the years meeting as a this or a that and I do not judge them. Most of them have a real portion of the Spirit in their midst. I have a good number of dear bothers in my work circle. I'm not judging these dear saints. But to say that all the believers gathering as the church in their city is not in the word......that's just too much to be saying.

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Old 12-19-2008, 07:08 AM   #129
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OBW,

I have to disagree.

Igzy is prescriving something by denying other's model. If that is not prescription, what is prescription? And as contray to your observation, I did not insist my model. I already said that the ground of locality is not essential in the common belief among Christians such as salvation, Trinity etc.
Wrong. I am not prescribing anything that restricts anything, except that you let people decide for themselves where they meet. And that is prescribed by the principle of freedom in Christ, which is solidly Biblical.

Quote:
I believe the issue of the ground of locality is like that of head covering of sisters. If you ask me what is right according to the Bible, I would answer that sisters shoud take head covering. But I will not insist that practice because that is not essential in our Christian life. In other words, I will accept all the Christians regardless of their position to this matter, but I will not change my model which is according the Bible.
I'm not asking you to change anything you believe. I'm asking you to explain how it works out practically and what its ramifications are. How people meet is extremely practical. Thus far you've only said you believe in the ground of locality. Okay, fine. But that's pretty meaningless if you can't provide a practical plan as to how it is worked out. Like for example, how we know which group in a city which claims to be meeting on the ground and is inclusive of all Christian is the one we should meet with.

Quote:
1. You still are basing your arguement on only logic, not on any even "descriptive" verse in the Bible.
False. Biblical principles have been given. Freedom in Christ. Lack of commandments. House churches which cannot be shown to be equivalents to local churches, etc.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:16 AM   #130
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2. You are not fair in dealing with my answer to the question of prescritpve things. I answered the question by saying the case of Trinity. You have not mentioned about that. Please tell me. Do you accept the truth of Trinity? If so, show me any prescritpve verses which support Trinity.
Gubei, I have explained this already, please go back and read. But let me summarize. The Trinity is a pattern in the Bible, it is a truth. But it is not one that is necessary for salvation nor fellowship not anything that practical. A specific interpretation of the Trinity is not a matter of faith. The fact is the truth is a little vague. It's a mystery.

No, if you want to put forth locality in the same manner--a vague, somewhat mysterious principle, then fine. Then you'd be comparing apples to apples. But the difference between Trinity and locality is that locality by its very nature is extremely practical. It cannot be practiced unless everyone agrees on exactly what it means. With the Trinity we can disagree a lot on the meaning and still fellowship. LCers believe the Son is the Father; non-LCers don't. Yet they can still fellowship. But if you believe locality means the city and I believe it means the burrough then we've got a very practical problem which is insurmountable.

The point is that non-prescriptive patterns in the Bible do not provide enough to enforce doctrine which restrict freedom. The fact is the Bible does not give us enough information about locality for it to be practically practiced. It just doesn't. That was God's choice not mine. This is why you can't answer practical questions about how very real problems are solved.

Let me use an analogy, ground of locality advocates are like someone who comes in and says:

"I think the best way to have movie theater is for the audience to sit in a 360 degree circle of seats around a cylindrical movie screen."

So people say, "OK. So how do we make it work? What's the technology?"

To which the advocate answers, "I don't know. But I know it's the best way."

And the people, trying to be helpful, reply, "Well, it might well be in theory, but if it's the best it should be workable."

The advocate answers, "This is just your human logic."

And the people say, "Whatever. Just come back when you have some practical answers."


I represent those people waiting for practical answers.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:26 AM   #131
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Furthermore, you and Igzy over and over again used "prescriptive things" to evaluate the truth of the ground of locality. Why are you so reluctant to my simple request for you to apply the same thing to your model?
We've already addressed this as well. The Bible prescribes freedom in Christ. Therefore to limit that freedom you need a counter prescription, not just a doctrine concocted from vague patterns. In other words, if you are going to take away someone's freedom, you need a clear reason for doing so. The local ground is anything but clear. Why do you think it ends up in court?

Quote:
3. I supppose you accept the model of Igzy. So I ask this question.

You are an elder of a church. And a divisive one comes to your church.
Are you going to accept him or not? Of course, he would definitely say his action is according to the will of the Lord.
How is he divisive? Is he sowing trouble in the church that the elder leads? Then the elder has authority to deal with him. Does he have a reputation of being divisive in some other church? Then the elder can't deal with him until he causes trouble in his own church.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:58 AM   #132
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Hi Igzy, I appoligize if I have offended you brother. I guess that I am reacting to what I consider to be strong statements by you that, to me, disregard the Word of God. That's what I am reacting against. I will never accept someones logic that finds a way to circumvent the Word.....and maybe I have misread you and this is not your intent.
No problem, Oregon. I'm not trying to circumvent the Word, I'm trying to interpret it. I'm trying to make it fit together. The local ground doctrine has holes big enough to drive a DayStar through, and I'm sorry but that's not good enough for me. So an alternative Biblical interpretation is needed.


But allow me to say I do have a real problem with these broad-based dismissals of logic. Let me say that kind of response is boilerplate LC stuff, taught and practiced by WL himself.

There's nothing wrong with logic. You can't type a clear sentence without it. You can't find your way to the meeting hall without it. You can't interpret the Bible without it. WL himself often said, "That's not logical."

I hate to be the one to have to tell you guys this but Lee's dismissal of logic (while employing his own) was one of the ways he controlled your minds. The sooner you figure that out the better.

To attack logic itself shows a clear problem in thinking. Logic is indespensible in interpreting the Bible. The question then should be, "Is the logic valid?" Saying "this is just your logic" is a meaningless Leeism. Of course it's my logic. Your job is to tell me how my logic is mistaken, not dismiss it out of hand simply because it's logic.

My counter question is, How do you know my logic is not the Lord's? Well, you have to tell me how it plainly contradicts the Bible (in whole) or how it is self-contradictory. No one has done this.

Quote:
As to who the real elders are in Toronto......I believe that the "local churches" tied in with LSM are no longer standing on the ground of oneness with all believers.
This pretty much makes my point. You say "I believe." See? So it does boil down to what you believe--in other words, your freedom in Christ to follow the Spirit. Thus freedom in Christ says that more than one group claiming to be the one church in the city is permissable, because you and I might disagree on which one is the right one. Thus multiple groups in the city must be permissable in general. This has always been my basic point.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:48 AM   #133
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Show me in the Word where there are various denominations etc. Use the Word of God to tear down the oneness of believers in a locality....not your logic as to why nobody can decern who the real elders are. If you can show me in the Word that it's OK to divide the church up into all these various different types of assemblies then your arguements will carry some weight. Human failure will never be a valid reason to disregard what is in the Word.
Oregon, you can believe in the local ground if you want. That's your business. Just don't come running to me when you have a leadership crisis and you end up with two elderships each claiming to be over the city.

And God help those poor saints who don't have the answers to the questions I've asked when that time comes because you're not going to know what to tell them, and they are going to suffer for it.

And guess what? Ironically, in the end it's going to be okay for there to be two groups in that city because that's going to be the only way those saints can go on. Unless you expect them to just wring their hands and not meet with anyone until an angel or something comes down and tells each of them who to follow.
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:59 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Peter Debelak View Post
It the end of the day, one can't establish that the Scripture prescribes multiple "denominations" in a city, etc. I'm not sure that's the point. I don't think Igzy is saying there should be multiple congregations in a city. He is saying that the Scripture doesno't prescribe that there shouldn't be.
Correct.

Quote:
There will be some things where the Scripture grants liberty, but the Spirit does not for me. But I would be skeptical if anyone says that the Spirit convicts you that I should be restricted.
I agree.

Quote:
Paul was "bound by the spirit" to go to Jerusalem. The brotherstold him "in the spirit" NOT to go to Jerusalem. How should we understand this? To my mind, the only way to tease this out (other than saying the Spirit is schizophrenic) is that when the Spirit convicts you personally it trumps a leading of what others think is prescribed for you.
I agree.

Quote:
In short, given the lack of confirmable Scriptural prescription for one-city-one-eldership, feel free to follow that model, but there is little place to judge others for not buying into it.

Make sense?
Totally.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:13 AM   #135
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Who are the “elders” in Pittsburgh? Who has the right “stand”? Who should I be “under”? What does the “local ground” doctrine as a prescription from the Scripture teach that I should do? Where should I meet?
What I find so stunning about this thread, and other similar ones I've had the privilege to take part in, is that none of the local ground believers have attempted to answer these questions.

Is the question boring? Is it trite? Is it stupid? Is the answer so obvious that it's not worth sharing? Or is it that you can't answer because you haven't a clue?


BTW, Peter. As to being "under" someone, I've found it's better to just be under everyone, but obedient only to the Lord. The LC has a warped view of "being under." They think it means being obedient to them. I disagree. I think it means being willing to serve and esteeming others better that yourself. I go to a Bible study and I try to be under everyone there. It's funny, but the Spirit flows uphill easier than he flows downhill.
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Old 12-19-2008, 12:59 PM   #136
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OBW,

I have to disagree.

Igzy is prescriving something by denying other's model. If that is not prescription, what is prescription?
First, denying that there is a prescription is not prescribing anything. You are suggesting that we must find a description that matches what we do to allow it. But Paul clearly admonished freedom in Christ where there was not something requiring something different. That may not have ever been said in the context of how to meet in terms of one city one church, or simply assembling with believers however we do it, but it was freedom in Christ.

The biggest problem with your position is not that it is clearly wrong, but rather that you state that it is “according to the Bible” when it is at most following a pattern seen in the Bible but not stated as “the” way. But what do you do when Paul makes mention of the church in someone’s house? Was that not in reference to an assembly of believer’s in a house where there was also referenced a church in the city?

This is where YP’s desire to associate the term “church” or “assembly” only with a single physical gathering is potentially incorrect. We see clear references to an assembly ─ in this case within a house ─ as the church (assembly) while the entirety of the city was also referred to as the church. This happened in the letters to the Romans (16:11), Corinthians (1st 16:19), and in Colossians (4:15) referring to a house that was either in Colossae or Laodicea. So Paul referred to the city as a whole, but also to a subset of that city ─ a group meeting in a house ─ as the church. He did not call them Hall 2, or refer to them as derelict in understanding the right way to meet because they met separately. They must not have met with the others or there would be no need to greet them separately from the general greeting in the beginning of the letter.

So, do you use a piano in your meetings? Guitar(s) (acoustic or electric)? These are not described as being part of worship in the New Testament. We now read from books. Should we revert to scrolls?

I know that these may seem silly or even sarcastic. But I am serious. If there must be a description to allow something that is not prohibited but there is nothing prescribing something contrary, then much of what we now do must be ended.

You want to talk about the Trinity. Yes, I accept the truth of the Trinity. But I will assert that despite Justyn’s claim that there is a clear doctrine on the subject, it is not that clearly singular even among the most ardent evangelical groups. In fact, making a general doctrine of the Trinity that must be agreed to in full or you are a heretic is quite problematic. When I review the Berean’s own version, I am happy to accept it as essentially true. But they would argue that disagreeing, even nuancing it a little, results in teaching a “different Christ” with suspicion about its adherents’ salvation. I have written several times in this forum that the doctrine of the Trinity is more rightly a set of boundaries within which the truth exists. There are many statements about the person and nature of God as three and as one, but never stated in a way to reconcile them fully in Human terms. This leaves some amount of mystery and uncertainty. I see many evangelical groups as believing within bounds, but very close to tritheism. On the other hand, the LC was within bounds but very close to modalism. I should not need to say more about this.

Actually, my position on the Trinity is somewhat consistent with what I am saying about how to practice “church.” The clear word is to assemble ─ even not forsake assembling. Paul told some that were meeting together to quit preferring one leader over another (Corinth). (And the LC took up sides to say that Lee was the one to follow.) But he did not condemn Priscilla and Aquila for the “church that meets at their house” when they were in Rome or in Corinth. Same for Nympha.

As for the divisive person, I have seen this in action. A sister began to cause division in our assembly. After some warning, and some time, she was asked to leave. While we did not send letters to every other assembly to exclude them from all fellowship, we presume that if the patterns begin again somewhere else, it will happen again. Do you presume that “have nothing to do with them” means that everyone everywhere must exclude them? It does not say that. I should note that this person is not necessarily persona non grata at IBC. She has been back on occasion. But without some kind of clear repentance, she is not welcome to regularly be among the fellowship at IBC. This was not a case of excommunication.

Last, the issue with the “ministries” in Phil 1 was not that they did or did not belonged to Paul’s ministry. It was about actions taken for the sake of creating affliction for Paul. Do you presume that ministries not belonging to Paul always caused him affliction or were somehow in conflict with him? These verses to do not say that. They do not suggest that a ministry must belong to Paul. You have taken verses in which Paul rejoiced in the proclamation of the gospel even by some who thought that such public proclamation might have a negative impact on him in his prison, and turned it into a claim that ministries were either Paul’s or were in conflict with Paul. These verses do not say that. This is an assumption not supported by the scripture.

You complain about my sole use of logic. This is patently false. If your Christian experience must be based upon definite words of scripture to prescribe how it is to be lived, then my logic is faulty. But everything I have said, even if you think it is just logic, is actually application of logic to scripture. And when I say logic, I include the simple use of grammar to establish what the verses actually say. Lee said a lot of things that the verses he used to support his positions did not actually say. It is the same with your understanding of one church one city. The words written do not clearly support the requirement that all persons within the confines of a city (a devise of human organization) must meet as one assembly. They also do not deny it. They do not require that there be more than one assembly. But even the presumed description of one city one church is undermined by the three instances I have previously mentioned. IN those cases, there is a general reference to the church in the city, but also references to the church in someone’s house (and they are not the ones presumed to be receiving the letter initially). What that means is not stated. Lee presumed it away and claimed a prescription. But his presumption is nothing but presumption. It is not some divine inspiration to say it means something that the words actually written do not say.

Complain about my logic if you will. But just because logic is in use does not make it invalid. Even scripture’s negative reference to logic was not put there to allow anyone to ignore the actual words and say they mean something else. It was to assert that what it says is true even if you can’t logically understand how it could be. But you must use logic. If you cannot reconcile what you say with the words from which you claim your support, then you cannot win. And I do not mean win in terms of just beat me or Igzy in a debate. You cannot claim to actually understand and follow scripture if you allow yourself to follow doctrines that are contrary to what scripture actually says. We are using your verses as well. We really do not need others to refute your position. And unless you can establish that there is a prescribed way that contradicts our model, or find other scriptural fault in our model, it should be acceptable. Our model is not prescriptive. We do not need to prove it. If we could, it would be prescriptive. The only way to refute our model is to claim yours is prescriptive (which you cannot establish) or to find scripture that stands against our model. We need no scripture to actively allow it. Just like we need no scripture to have a piano.

But Igzy is denying the one city one church model. He is doing so by 1) demonstrating that scripture does not command it and 2) shows that following it` can only result in errors that contradict it. It is a circle of errors that cannot stand as a prescribed way.

Way too long.
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:52 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by OBW View Post
This is where YP’s desire to associate the term “church” or “assembly” only with a single physical gathering is potentially incorrect.
I have no such desire and have never said this.

I recognize the members of all the gatherings/churches within a geographical area as constituting the unique assembly in that place. I'm recognizing all the people gathering in all the denominational churches in a place as as spontaneously and collectively representing the genuine and unique assembly in that place without them or anyone else doing anything more.
  1. Once born again, you can't get out of the Lord's Body. Call it "Universal Church" if it makes you happy to do so.
  2. Wherever you are, LSM-affiliation having nothing to do with it, there is an "assembly of God" in every place where there is one Christian meeting with another one Christian.
  3. Optimally, all believers meet together as much as possible while ignoring the denominational differences that could cause genuine divisions.

You're born again, you're in a place with other believers, you meet with other believers, you are in the assembly and can't get out of it because it's not of you or of any human being or organization. There is no necessity for a designated or official leadership or "local church" designation for this to exist. It is the spiritual reality of there being Christians meeting in a place and God being glorified therein.

If Paul were to write a letter today to the believers meeting in Anaheim, I'm certain he would intend that letter to be read by all the believers in Anaheim, not merely those who claim a certain status or qualification. He would write to "the assembly in Anaheim" and mean the Baptists and Catholics and Presbyterians and Lutherans and Local Churchers as well.

I can't condone the denominationalism which undeniably tends to keep the believers separate in ways contrary to the free flow of God among His people. Nevertheless, all the brothers and sisters in a place are the members of "the church" in that place no matter what they say or do or think about their meetings. The various meetings, if the hearts are pure, are a small problem indeed. I'm not thrilled about the signs on the lawns but, some have said here, those signs don't really mean anything anyways. In the larger picture, I'm inclined to agree and had to repent for getting as hung up on them as I once did.

On a side note, because of the religious connotations of "church" and the fact that everyone wants to be "a" church or "the" church and the fact that it's just a lousy translation, I have advocated referring to the collective of all the believers in a place as "the assembly." Let them be a "church" who wish to be a "church"; if they are believers, they are nevertheless the assembly as well.

I have stated that the assembly is constituted by its assembling but I've never stated that there was an issue of "a single physical gathering" at all.

In fact, I would strongly argue exactly the opposite.

The assembly can be seen everywhere the believers physically meet, even in the denominational gatherings. I cannot otherwise explain my experiences of seeing for myself God manifested in the praises of His saints in denominational and independent gatherings.
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Old 12-19-2008, 06:52 PM   #138
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Originally Posted by OBW View Post
First, denying that there is a prescription is not prescribing anything. You are suggesting that we must find a description that matches what we do to allow it. But Paul clearly admonished freedom in Christ where there was not something requiring something different. That may not have ever been said in the context of how to meet in terms of one city one church, or simply assembling with believers however we do it, but it was freedom in Christ.

... Igzy is denying the one city one church model. He is doing so by 1) demonstrating that scripture does not command it and 2) shows that following it` can only result in errors that contradict it. It is a circle of errors that cannot stand as a prescribed way.

Way too long.
It was rather long; I had to try twice to read it through all the way. But your logic was followable for me, which I think commends it well. And although it may have been long, it was well argued, and therefore the length was probably necessary.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:33 PM   #139
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Oregon, you can believe in the local ground if you want. That's your business. Just don't come running to me when you have a leadership crisis and you end up with two elderships each claiming to be over the city.

And God help those poor saints who don't have the answers to the questions I've asked when that time comes because you're not going to know what to tell them, and they are going to suffer for it.

And guess what? Ironically, in the end it's going to be okay for there to be two groups in that city because that's going to be the only way those saints can go on. Unless you expect them to just wring their hands and not meet with anyone until an angel or something comes down and tells each of them who to follow.

I don't plan on running to you Igzy and it's that kind of language that casuses people to react to your statements. Maybe you need to take a hard look at how you express yourself on this forum.
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:02 AM   #140
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OBW,

I have to say that you are very inconsistent in describing your position.

You wrote.
Quote:
“First, denying that there is a prescription is not prescribing anything.”
But please read this written by Igzy.
Quote:
“1.The Lord never taught the local ground.
2.The apostles never taught the local ground.
3.The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?”
Igzy not only denied the ground of locality, but also said “Why should we teach it?”
This means that we SHOULD NOT teach it. This is what is called “prescription.”

My Longman dictionary gives me these definitions for “prescriptive.”

“1 saying how something should or must be done, or what should be done
prescriptive teaching methods 2.stating how a language should be used, rather than describing how it is used”

And then he gave us his model.

Quote:
"Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads."
Quote:
“The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.”
In Igzy’s model, I cannot find such words as “likely, possibly, probably” but I find simple present tense assertions – simply speaking, “prescription.” Especially, pay attention to the last shocking sentence – “LET each be fully persuaded in his own mind.” This reminds me of the great declaration of God in Genesis - “LET there be light.” Igzy’s writing is simply PRESCRIPTIVE.

You wrote.
Quote:
You are suggesting that we must find a description that matches what we do to allow it. But Paul clearly admonished freedom in Christ where there was not something requiring something different. That may not have ever been said in the context of how to meet in terms of one city one church, or simply assembling with believers however we do it, but it was freedom in Christ.”
I assume you are saying Gal. 2:4

(Gal 2:4) This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.(NIV)

This verse is related to the matter of circumcision – or keeping the Mosaic Law. This is not even descriptive for explaining how to meet. You simply failed in presenting both prescriptive and descriptive verses in the Bible to defend your position. Simply you are extending or extrapolating too much. If you can extend the boundary of the freedom in Christ as far as you wish, why not even to accepting the ground of locality?

You wrote.
Quote:
“The biggest problem with your position is not that it is clearly wrong, but rather that you state that it is “according to the Bible” when it is at most following a pattern seen in the Bible but not stated as “the” way. But what do you do when Paul makes mention of the church in someone’s house? Was that not in reference to an assembly of believer’s in a house where there was also referenced a church in the city?”
Yes, the ground of locality is following a pattern seen in the Bible but not stated as “the” way. I agree. Then, how about Igzy’s model? Please show me as many verses about “free moving of saints” as the ground of locality. And then please show me that “free moving of saints” is “the” way. OBW, you are requiring others of what you yourself cannot do.

You wrote.
Quote:
“This is where YP’s desire to associate the term “church” or “assembly” only with a single physical gathering is potentially incorrect. We see clear references to an assembly ─ in this case within a house ─ as the church (assembly) while the entirety of the city was also referred to as the church. This happened in the letters to the Romans (16:11), Corinthians (1st 16:19), and in Colossians (4:15) referring to a house that was either in Colossae or Laodicea. So Paul referred to the city as a whole, but also to a subset of that city ─ a group meeting in a house ─ as the church. He did not call them Hall 2, or refer to them as derelict in understanding the right way to meet because they met separately. They must not have met with the others or there would be no need to greet them separately from the general greeting in the beginning of the letter.”
OBW, please read the following verses.

Rom 16:4 who for my life laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles:
Rom 16:5 and salute the church that is in their house. Salute Epaenetus my beloved, who is the first-fruits of Asia unto Christ.

1Co 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Prisca salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
Col 4:15 Salute the brethren that are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in their house.
Col 4:16 And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea.

You can find such expressions as “the first-fruits of Asia unto Christ,” “cause that it (the epistle) be read also in the church of the Laodiceans.” How many saints do you think Paul got in Asia when he said “the first-fruits?” How many saints could have been there to read the epistle of Paul at that time – before invention of printing, e-mail, internet, TV? The reason they gathered together in their house is that the number of saints in a city was really small to the extent that they can gather in a specific house. Paul is intimately describing the situation by saying the church that is in their house.

And then, please think about this. The Bible clearly is saying that elders were appointed according to cities. Our issue is about the practice of church life centering on the matter of administration which is related with the appointment of elders. So, I ask you to show me the biblical verses which “prescriptively” are saying there were many churches in a city with each eldership.

You wrote.
Quote:
“So, do you use a piano in your meetings? Guitar(s) (acoustic or electric)? These are not described as being part of worship in the New Testament. We now read from books. Should we revert to scrolls? I know that these may seem silly or even sarcastic. But I am serious. If there must be a description to allow something that is not prohibited but there is nothing prescribing something contrary, then much of what we now do must be ended.”
OBW, we are talking about models of how to meet which is according to the Bible. You seem to be thinking that how to meet and using piano is on the same level among the truths in the Bible. As you said, we do not necessarily need to have the biblical verses to allow something, for example using piano. But how about appointing elders? Do you really think that you do not need to read the Bible to find any examples, or patterns conducted by the Apostles? Please read the NT. What kind of examples do you find? Free moving of saints? Please read the Bible before you use your logic.

You wrote.
Quote:
“You want to talk about the Trinity. Yes, I accept the truth of the Trinity. But I will assert that despite Justyn’s claim that there is a clear doctrine on the subject, it is not that clearly singular even among the most ardent evangelical groups. In fact, making a general doctrine of the Trinity that must be agreed to in full or you are a heretic is quite problematic. When I review the Berean’s own version, I am happy to accept it as essentially true. But they would argue that disagreeing, even nuancing it a little, results in teaching a “different Christ” with suspicion about its adherents’ salvation. ....”
OBW, do you think you are answering my question? My question was “if you accept Trinity – whether it be more tritheism or more modalism, please show me any PRISCRIPTIVE verses supporting it.” You are getting around the issue. Anyway even in your writing, it is very obvious that Christians are drawing PRISCRIPTIVE conclusions using descriptive verses.

You wrote.
Quote:
“As for the divisive person, I have seen this in action. A sister began to cause division in our assembly. After some warning, and some time, she was asked to leave. While we did not send letters to every other assembly to exclude them from all fellowship, we presume that if the patterns begin again somewhere else, it will happen again. Do you presume that “have nothing to do with them” means that everyone everywhere must exclude them? It does not say that. I should note that this person is not necessarily persona non grata at IBC. She has been back on occasion. But without some kind of clear repentance, she is not welcome to regularly be among the fellowship at IBC. This was not a case of excommunication.”
“She was asked to leave.” This is what is called “division.” Regardless of taking any model, it is impossible to have no problem. OBW, it is not the ground of locality but the divisive ones that make problem. Do not be confused in causality.

You wrote.
Quote:
“Last, the issue with the “ministries” in Phil 1 was not that they did or did not belonged to Paul’s ministry. It was about actions taken for the sake of creating affliction for Paul. Do you presume that ministries not belonging to Paul always caused him affliction or were somehow in conflict with him? These verses to do not say that. They do not suggest that a ministry must belong to Paul. You have taken verses in which Paul rejoiced in the proclamation of the gospel even by some who thought that such public proclamation might have a negative impact on him in his prison, and turned it into a claim that ministries were either Paul’s or were in conflict with Paul. These verses do not say that. This is an assumption not supported by the scripture.”
I do not fully understand what you are saying. I quoted Phil 1 in order to say that there could be a lot of ministries and Paul seems to have recognized those.

You wrote.
Quote:
“But Igzy is denying the one city one church model. He is doing so by 1) demonstrating that scripture does not command it and 2) shows that following it` can only result in errors that contradict it. It is a circle of errors that cannot stand as a prescribed way.”
You are evaluating only the half of Igzy’s claiming. Please be FAIR!
Igzy is saying that we should practice the free moving of saints depending on the Lord’s will. But he failed in presenting any prescriptive or descriptive verses in the Bible to support his model. Furthermore, the so called “circularity error” is nothing other than the misunderstanding of causality. Furthermore, if any elder can reject divisive ones, that is contradict the free moving of saints.
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:17 AM   #141
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You're born again, you're in a place with other believers, you meet with other believers, you are in the assembly and can't get out of it because it's not of you or of any human being or organization. There is no necessity for a designated or official leadership or "local church" designation for this to exist. It is the spiritual reality of there being Christians meeting in a place and God being glorified therein.
An additional comment on this point:
I now think Lee's error was his teaching that the "local church" being "practical" required that there was "a church that you could go to" and his outright dismissal of the notion that the Lord's presence wherever two or more were gathered indicated the practical assembly.

The condition may not be good and division may be an issue but the assembly in that place exists regardless and there is no requirement for a certified gathering having "taken the ground" for us to reference "the assembly" in a place.

Lee would denigrate the trans-denominational gatherings that happen in cities from time to time. Admittedly, the content tends to be somewhat worldly and religious but the participants in those things almost invariably refer to the activity as being a gathering of "the church" in that place, and rightly so. If the Local Church people would be joined in oneness with them in Christ in that context, the entire building of God could be benefitted.

Ministering Christ anywhere produces the same results as ministering Christ anywhere else: building up the Body. There is absolutely no prerequisite for proper doctrine.
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:23 AM   #142
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Wrong. I am not prescribing anything that restricts anything, except that you let people decide for themselves where they meet. And that is prescribed by the principle of freedom in Christ, which is solidly Biblical.
I'm not asking you to change anything you believe. I'm asking you to explain how it works out practically and what its ramifications are. How people meet is extremely practical. Thus far you've only said you believe in the ground of locality. Okay, fine. But that's pretty meaningless if you can't provide a practical plan as to how it is worked out. Like for example, how we know which group in a city which claims to be meeting on the ground and is inclusive of all Christian is the one we should meet with.
False. Biblical principles have been given. Freedom in Christ. Lack of commandments. House churches which cannot be shown to be equivalents to local churches, etc.
Igzy,

But please read this written by yourself.

“1.The Lord never taught the local ground.
2.The apostles never taught the local ground. 3.The early church fathers never taught the local ground. Why should we teach it?”

You not only denied the ground of locality, but also said “Why should we teach it?” This means that we SHOULD NOT teach it. This is what is called “prescription.”

My Longman dictionary gives me these definitions for “prescriptive.”

“1 saying how something should or must be done, or what should be done
prescriptive teaching methods 2.stating how a language should be used, rather than describing how it is used”

And PLEASE quote the EXACT VERSE from the Bible when you claim your model is based on the Bible. I cannot find "Freedom in Chirst" in my Bible. Gal 2:4's expressions is "Freedom that we have in Christ Jesus."

With respect, is Gal 2:4 the only verse you have found to support your model? I cannot relate this verse to free moving of saints because it is very obvious Paul is saying the matter of keeping circumcision or the Mosaic Law in Gal. 2:4.

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Old 12-20-2008, 05:36 AM   #143
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Gubei, I have explained this already, please go back and read. But let me summarize. The Trinity is a pattern in the Bible, it is a truth. But it is not one that is necessary for salvation nor fellowship not anything that practical. A specific interpretation of the Trinity is not a matter of faith. The fact is the truth is a little vague. It's a mystery.
No, if you want to put forth locality in the same manner--a vague, somewhat mysterious principle, then fine. Then you'd be comparing apples to apples. ...
Igzy,

You once again are getting around the issue. I did not ask how Christains can have different understandings of Trinity. I asked how Christians draw their prescriptive conclusions from the descriptive verses in the Bible.

And your analogy is misleading in describing the real situation.

In your analogy of physically impossible theater, the problem is the wrong suggestion of that physically impossilbe theater.

But in the matter of the ground of locality, the problem is divisive ones, not the model itself. You are confused in causality.

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Last edited by Gubei; 12-20-2008 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:52 AM   #144
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We've already addressed this as well. The Bible prescribes freedom in Christ. Therefore to limit that freedom you need a counter prescription, not just a doctrine concocted from vague patterns. In other words, if you are going to take away someone's freedom, you need a clear reason for doing so. The local ground is anything but clear. Why do you think it ends up in court?....
How is he divisive? Is he sowing trouble in the church that the elder leads? Then the elder has authority to deal with him. Does he have a reputation of being divisive in some other church? Then the elder can't deal with him until he causes trouble in his own church.
Igzy,

I'm really shocked how you use the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus that way. Gal 2:4 is not about confirming "free moving of saints." PLEASE rethink your position. It is very dangerous to resort to the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus to advocate your model. My understanding of Gal 2:4 is such that we do not need to be controled by such Mosaic Laws as circumcision.

The ground of locality is not for taking your freedom. You are over and over again equate (the wrong, tyrannical eldership) with (the ground of locality itself.)

My point about the divisive ones is that once you reject those, that is nothing other than division. So every division should not be evaluated as same thing.

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Old 12-20-2008, 06:45 AM   #145
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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It's funny, but the Spirit flows uphill easier than he flows downhill.
Igzy, I like this. Thanks.
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Old 12-20-2008, 06:57 AM   #146
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A further practical (and personal) thought on the “local ground.”...
Peter,

The ground of locality is prescriptive from descriptive verses in the Bible. There are two phases in this truth. Phase 1 – accepting every saints in the Lord. Phase 2 – having one-set of elders in a city. Phase 1 is prescriptive and essential in our Christian life. Phase 2 is prescriptive but not essential in our Christian life.

There are two kinds of errors as to the ground of locality.

Type 1 error
- Claming that phase 2 is essential in our Christian life
-
Type 2 error
- Claiming that phase 2 is not prescriptive in the Bible.

Type 1 error shows us that you can have your Christian life without the one-set of elders in Pittsburgh. So, feel free to follow the leading of Lord for now. But generally speaking, you are advised to follow someone who think the church in Pittsburgh include all the saints in Pittsburgh.(A)

Type 2 error shows us that you and so called “elders” in the Pittsburgh should be united as one. (B)

(A)+ (B) is the end image of the ground of locality, very similar to Igzy’s model. But please pay attention to the fact how big differences there are in terms of approach.

Gubei
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Old 12-20-2008, 07:28 AM   #147
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I don't understand this algebra.
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:25 AM   #148
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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I don't understand this algebra.
Yup, I'm gone. I aced calculus, but I can't follow this. Math is one thing; english is another. All the one's and two's and A's and B's are more than confusing.

The thought may be there, but as written, it is visible only as through a glass darkly...

Try again?
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:53 PM   #149
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Igzy,

You wrote.
Quote:
“We've already addressed this as well. The Bible prescribes freedom in Christ. Therefore to limit that freedom you need a counter prescription, not just a doctrine concocted from vague patterns. In other words, if you are going to take away someone's freedom, you need a clear reason for doing so. The local ground is anything but clear. Why do you think it ends up in court?”
Please quote the exact verse in the Bible supporting your assertion. And please define the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus and how far we can extend that freedom.

You wrote.
Quote:
“It cannot be practiced unless everyone agrees on exactly what it means.”
No. We do not need to wait for all saints to agree on exactly what it means. Any saints who agree can gather together according to the ground of locality.

You wrote.
Quote:
“The point is that non-prescriptive patterns in the Bible do not provide enough to enforce doctrine which restrict freedom.”
Once again, you are assuming that the ground of locality “enforces” something. Now you are using “enforce” instead of “insist.” Just like we do not enforce (insist) sisters to cover their heads, the ground of locality is not enforced or insisted. I already mentioned that one-set of elders are not insisted because it is not essential in Christian life. Thus, it is clear you are equating the truth with enforcing it.

BTW, please re-read what you wrote when you presented your model.
Quote:
“The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.”
You are saying that the official leader(s) is appointed by the Lord and recognized by consensus. This means that that appointment and consensus are in the will of the Lord. But, you simultaneously are saying “If one doesn’t agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere” Igzy. Please explain. The consensus was according to the will of the Lord. Then, how can you say that one is free to meet elsewhere?

In the Lord

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Old 12-20-2008, 03:39 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
Yup, I'm gone. I aced calculus, but I can't follow this. Math is one thing; english is another. All the one's and two's and A's and B's are more than confusing.

The thought may be there, but as written, it is visible only as through a glass darkly...

Try again?
Sorry Toledo. I'm not a native English speaker. I know my English is not so good. I will try once again. Any comments are okay

The ground of locality includes nomenclature of the church, fixing the boundary of a church, appointing the leadership in that church. These are “practices” that should be practiced physically visibly. But the underlying principle of those practices should be based on the Bible (just as head covering of sisters is a practice with the principle of submission.), and the principle of the ground of locality is in phase 1 - accepting every saint in the Lord – the oneness. I believe that if phase 1 is really practiced in Pittsburgh, there will only one church under one leadership. This is phase 2.

Phase 1 is essential in our Christian life because without it, our fellowship through which we are supplying each other in the Lord as described in the Bible will be hindered.

However, phase 2 is not essential in our Christian life because without it, we can fellowship with other Christians in Pittsburgh. That’s why I do not insist one-set of elders in a city. However, because one-set of elders in a city is revealed in the Bible, just as head covering is, I say phase 2 was practiced in the early churches and we’d better follow those examples. And I believe the descriptive examples in the Bible are actually prescriptive because all the examples are really consistent in showing us how Paul and Apostles practiced the matter. In short, one-set of elders in a city is prescriptive in the Bible, but not essential in our Christian life.

Unfortunately, Igzy and OBW – my loving fellow Christians – not only assumed that I INSISTed one-set of elders but also misrepresented the ground of locality as “insisting one-set of elders in a city.” Furthermore, by presenting some analogies with the problem of causality, they are trying to give readers the impression that the ground of locality has its own problems. So, it is clear that they are committing the Type 2 error. As you know, some leaders in the local churches are in the Type 1 error.

In conclusion, I’m not sure whether the saints in Pittsburgh, especially those who are in the leadership position, really accept each other. If that’s the case, phase 2 is too far away to be practiced. So, my advice to Peter is to follow the leading of the Lord for now with the recognition that ORIGINALLY one-set of elders in Pittsburgh is right, just as there is one administration of mayor and officials in Pittsburgh. This is the end image of what I have said. This end image is really similar to Igzy’s model. But approach is quite different.

Gubei
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:45 PM   #151
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As contrary to Igzy and OBW's repeated position that the ground of locality is not supported in the Bible and Christians are free to hop from church to church, I once again clarify my position as follows;

1. Paul praised the saints who followed his practices.
1Cor 11 shows us that how Paul was happy when he saw Corinthians follow his practice. He was happy because they held the teachings, just as Paul passed them on to Corinthians.

(1Cor 11:1) 『[1] Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. [2] I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

Paul went to say that there was no other practice.

[16] If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God.

Appointing elders in every city is not just practice but also Paul's charge.

Tit 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge;


2. The freedom that we have in Christ Jesus in Gal 2:4 is about keeping the Mosaic Law. I do not believe we can apply Gal 2:4 to "free hopping from church to church."
Gal 2:4 and that because of the false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: (Darby)

"To spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus - In the practice of the Christian religion. The liberty referred to was, doubtless, the liberty from the painful, expensive, and onerous rites of the Jewish religion; see Gal_5:1. Their object in spying out the liberty which Paul and others had, was, undoubtedly, to be witnesses of the fact that they did not observe the special rites of the Mosaic system; to make report of it; to insist upon their complying with those customs, and thus to secure the imposition of those rites on the Gentile converts. Their first object was to satisfy themselves of the fact that Paul did not insist on the observance of their customs; and then to secure, by the authority of the apostles, an