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Old 04-16-2013, 09:30 AM   #1
ZNPaaneah
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Default Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

James
2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
More2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

Abraham believed that Isaac was an answer to his prayer and that his birth was a result of God’s promise. As a result he was willing to have this faith tested by death. We have seen this repeatedly by men of God. Jesus is the best example.

However, WL taught that WN went to prison in China for his stand. This would be another good example of a work of faith expressing WN’s faith if this story is true.

Let us consider for a moment, based on the recent book concerning WN’s trial, that WN went to prison for a different reason than his stand as a Christian and let us also suppose that WL knew what the truth was. (In other words let us consider for a second that the allegations in that book were credible.) In this situation if WL tells the truth concerning this incident it could cause many to reject the teaching of “One church one city” since this teaching came from WN. Therefore, speaking the truth would be a work of faith similar to Abraham offering his son on the altar. By speaking the truth you put the “recovery” on the altar. WL knows the truth, he knows that when people hear this truth they may reject WN’s teachings, yet he also believes that this teaching is of God and that God is able to raise it from the dead. Had WL done that you could also call that a work of faith.

However, regardless of the credibility of the recent book it is clearly part of the full story. To tell the story of WN’s excommunication and ultimate trial by the Chinese under the pretense of the most credible witness and to hide all mention of the full account is deceptive. Just as telling the truth would have been a work of faith, lying about the incident indicates a lack of faith. Therefore, although I cannot conclude what the full and complete story is of WN, I can conclude that WL did not believe that the doctrine “one church one city” was truly of God. Nor did he believe that the church was the “recovery”. Nor did he believe that WN’s ministry was “the ministry of the NT”.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

I believe it is scriptural there is one church, ONE body in Christ Jesus. If there is -one- church, -one- body, then there is one church in each city. I give credit to the LC teaching enlightening me of this fact through the scriptures.

I cannot imagine the agony I might be struggling in my spiritual journey had I gotten saved through a congregation of believers who called themselves _______, ___________, or________ (fill in the blanks!)

I am often puzzled by Christians who believe and state clearly believers are the church (including the LRC) yet it is obvious to all of us, we are divided.

Lee no doubt believed his teaching on "one city one church" as that was his agenda. It was not to the benefit of the saints to see one body-one church. I think many of us did nonetheless.

I believe the majority of LCrs who were truly seeking and getting to know our Lord through the Word, the Bible, had a pure heart and a pure vision and thus did see the ONE BODY of CHRIST, ONE CHURCH. It is something we genuinely tried to practice.

The vision of the one church, the one body of Christ was sadly changed by Lee or Nee or both. By teaching one city, one church, they manipulated the saints. They should have stuck to emphasizing one Body and ONE Church IN Christ Jesus. Instead the one city-one church teaching is how the LC or LRC became...LEE'S church!

Had he not tried to dominate the elders, and the young saints through -his- messages, his meetings, his version of the bible, perhaps the church could have truly come alive and resurrect through his leadership which would not have been -his- leadership but the Holy Spirit's Anointing.

As it is, the LRC is virtually dead now even if there are still thousands congregating together under that umbrella.

There was Light in the LC under Lee's leadership at one time. While I was only 'consecrated' to "Christ and the church" for a few short years in the mid 70s, it was there that the foundation of my faith in Christ was rooted and grounded. It was there I learned to apply the Precious Blood of Jesus. It was there I learned there was/is no other Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. It was there that I learned Jesus came that I/we would have Life and have it more abundantly. It was there that I learned Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE and no person can get to the Father but through Jesus. HEY ! And I wasn't the only LCr and now former LCr who reaped the benefits of these Life SAVING Biblical Truths. We ALL did! Some to a greater extent. Others to a lesser extent. But that does not make any of us greater than others if we have more Light. Just gives us more responsibility for the Light we have. Right?

We had some great mini conferences on the sound doctrines of the Triune God, the Blood of the Lamb, on Sanctification, on the inner life, on group fellowship, on sharing the gospel. I have shared the following observation before but I will share it again. For me, by 1978, the LC was elevating Lee at every meeting, at every home gathering, at every one on one fellowship. He was the 'oracle' of God. How did the saints not see he was becoming their pope? After all, did we not study the 7 churches in Revelation? Could they not see what they were doing? I did and that is when I left.

Lee stifled the saints. He did not permit them/us to be led by the Life giving Spirit operating in us although it was emphasized enough. Perhaps he figured if we did, he would lose his 'authority' over us. IMHO, the one church, one city doctrine fit Lee's agenda nicely.

We read and studied the Word through his interpretation. Not all of it was wrong. However no doubt he controlled his flock.

The one city, one church doctrine he taught was having everyone look alike, talk alike, dress alike. THAT was the one city - one church teaching!

OH !!! And remember the pumping fists we used in our prayers?

Guess what ? As I was watching the North Korean kids pay homage to their leader on the news, they were PUMPING their fists just like we did when we were in the LC!! Imagine that !!!! Those kids all looked alike, dressed alike and all pumped their fists with vigor. They were 'one' with their leader.

How terribly sad so many people suffered horrificly through Lee and his minions.

Thank GOD for His Son Who restores our health and Heals our wounds, Who is the Living Word of GOD, operating through His Spirit in us Who is also THE ALMIGHTY GOD.

Blessings and Peace to all.

Carol Garza
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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I believe it is scriptural there is one church, ONE body in Christ Jesus. If there is -one- church, -one- body, then there is one church in each city. I give credit to the LC teaching enlightening me of this fact through the scriptures.
Amen! I wish to add we should not be so narrow in our concepts to think one church in each city equates to one assembly or one ecclesia. The one church is the one body with Christ as the head.

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. Colossians 1:18
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

It is not at all obvious to me that Witness Lee had faith in his teaching of “one city one church”. James teaches that “I will show you my faith by my works”. I am not looking at what Witness Lee said, I am looking at what Witness Lee did to see if it manifests faith in this teaching. On this thread I am only considering Witness Lee’s teaching on “one city one church”. This teaching includes one eldership, the use of the name “church in a city” and the taking of the ground.

I would hope that those who disagree would point to Witness Lee’s works as evidence, not his teachings. James taught us that “faith without works is dead”. Based on that I think it is fair to assume that either Witness Lee’s faith was dead or else he had “works of faith” that we can see and examine.

This has bothered me for months as this teaching has been discussed on this forum. For example, if I was preparing a message to teach this teaching I would be looking for verses that “prescribe” this teaching and not merely those that describe it. Watchman Nee even taught this principle in his book "The Ministry of the Word". How many times when “taking the table” in a city would WN or WL have to prepare to speak on this. Likewise if there burden was truly “the oneness of the Body” wouldn’t they have realized at some point of reflection that this teaching has not led to oneness but rather was the cornerstone of a division.

This is really a critical question. If they were wrong, but genuine, then it is merely an error that we can learn from and correct. Much like the teaching that “if in anything you are otherwise minded the Holy Spirit will show you”. It bothered me that WN and WL never were corrected by the Holy Spirit on this. On the other hand, if they knew they were wrong but needed this teaching to establish their denomination, then that is a very different matter.

Again, according to James “by works was faith made perfect”. Being corrected on this teaching would be an example of this. The lack of this correction, the lack of the perfecting of this faith, makes me wonder if they even had any faith at all. Again, if they knowingly taught something that was erroneous then they wouldn’t have faith in it and we would not expect to see any faith manifested.

To me the best test came when WN was excommunicated by the church and later tried by the Chinese. If WL had recounted this story accurately, despite the obvious harm that could come to the work he was doing I would call that a work of faith similar to Abraham offering up his son. It would demonstrate that his teaching was not for selfish motive but was based on revelation from the Lord. Lying about that event tells me he didn’t have faith. He didn’t have faith that WN was truly “the minister of the Age”, he didn’t have faith that this was “the ministry” and he didn’t have faith that his teaching “one city one church” was truly from the Lord.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:28 AM   #5
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Default Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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It is not at all obvious to me that Witness Lee had faith in his teaching of “one city one church”. James teaches that “I will show you my faith by my works”. I am not looking at what Witness Lee said, I am looking at what Witness Lee did to see if it manifests faith in this teaching. On this thread I am only considering Witness Lee’s teaching on “one city one church”. This teaching includes one eldership, the use of the name “church in a city” and the taking of the ground.

This has bothered me for months as this teaching has been discussed on this forum. For example, if I was preparing a message to teach this teaching I would be looking for verses that “prescribe” this teaching and not merely those that describe it. Watchman Nee even taught this principle in his book "The Ministry of the Word". How many times when “taking the table” in a city would WN or WL have to prepare to speak on this. Likewise if there burden was truly “the oneness of the Body” wouldn’t they have realized at some point of reflection that this teaching has not led to oneness but rather was the cornerstone of a division.
Much has been said about the "one city - one church" ground of locality promoted in the Recovery for 70 years. The Bible not only does not prescribe this format, but several verses (i.e. Acts 9.31, Rom 16.5, Col 4.15) have been shoe-horned into saying what a simple reading indicates to the contrary. Before leaders establish their church based on certain premises, at least they ought to have some definitive scripture to support them.

Personally, however, I believe that the corollary to this teaching, i.e. the one eldership in each city has been more destructive. Based on Acts 14.23 and Titus 1.5 the entire Recovery operates under the basic premise that there can be only one eldership per city, and that eldership must be appointed by the "apostle." It is this teaching, coupled with errant notions of deputy authority, which gave both Lee and Chu tremendous power over their satellite churches. Thus the very basis of authority vested in the local eldership has nothing to do with the authority of the Head walking in the midst of the church, nor the approval and recommendation of her members. Sole authority to direct elders, appoint elders, move elders, or remove elders lies remotely in the hands of a man deemed to be their "apostle."

The history of the Recovery is littered with incompetent elders whose sole qualification is zealous loyalty to a remote headquarters. They serve their office solely at the pleasure of the one who appointed them. Their ultimate loyalty is neither to the Head of the church, nor to the members of the church, but to him who sent them there. In truth, both Lee and Chu thus operated more as Bishops then apostles. Apostles were travelers, while Bishops resided at some headquarter church. Apostles preached the gospel to the unsaved, while Bishops mainly trained elders.

When one looks at the descriptions Ignatius gave to the bishops, it readily becomes apparent that the relationship in the Recovery between the leaders and the members far more closely models the teachings of Ignatius than the teachings of the N.T. apostles. It is one of the Recovery's greatest hypocritical inconsistencies that Ignatius could at the same time be so maligned and yet so readily modeled.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

Witness Lee fell prey to a malady common in powerful men:

He thought he was above the rules. He even thought he defined the rules. Where do you think "Even if he's wrong, he's right" came from?

You see this regularly in powerful man. (Think Wall Street investment bankers.) They adopt an exaggerated view of their own importance. They think the system needs them. They define reality based on themselves. They think rules are for commoners.

So did Lee believe in one church, one city (OCOC)? Sure he did--especially because OCOC was a convenient tool for creating a captive audience into which he could dispense his all-important ministry of the age. The pieces fit for him, so he rationalized all the loose ends about OCOC, including the inconvenient fact that the NT cites house churches which are not identified as city churches. He also rationalized his hypocrisy, including that he and his movement never once recognized any established city church not affiliated with him.

Think about it. If you wanted to invent a belief system by which you could control many groups and the people in them, yet still be able to deny being in control, you'd have a hard time coming up with something more effective than Lee's system. By holding everyone in awe of himself, he didn't need an official office. He could have his cake and eat it, too--be a "simple Bible teacher" and be in control of a movement of thousands of people. Deniability is always plausible.

In the end it was all about him and his mission--everything else be damned. The Bible, churches, ministry, publication, saints, everyone, everything, were all utilized his mission. He entertained no counsel and recognized no peers. Like other loose cannons he wrecked a lot of lives. He was either clueless about that or didn't care, and neither option is flattering.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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It is not at all obvious to me that Witness Lee had faith in his teaching of “one city one church”. James teaches that “I will show you my faith by my works”. I am not looking at what Witness Lee said, I am looking at what Witness Lee did to see if it manifests faith in this teaching. On this thread I am only considering Witness Lee’s teaching on “one city one church”. This teaching includes one eldership, the use of the name “church in a city” and the taking of the ground.
One story in particular addressed this for me. Lee was questioned by some about his activities being contrary to Nee's teachings in The Normal Christian Church Life. Instead of carefully considering their concerns, looking at what Nee had specifically written, and allowing for the possibility of mistake, Lee totally dismissed them with the declaration, "I was there for those messages." In other words, "who do you think you are telling me that I am wrong?"

Lee thus established himself as the sole authoritative source for all decisions, not just at LSM, but within all of the Recovery. No other member could correct him, neither the Bible, nor "the founder's" own teachings on the subject. He was thus above the law, and at the same time was also re-writing the law. Forget about studying Nee's books, since they can only be interpreted "properly" by Lee. Forget about the clear commands of scripture, only Lee can provide the up-to-date interpretation of their "true" meaning.

Thus Lee himself did not really believe "the vision" of one church - one city. When push came to shove, Lee chucked Nee's "vision" parameters as defined in TNCCL, and instituted his own. That's what the confrontation in Anaheim in 1988 between the elders and Lee was all about. Ingalls et. al. were protesting the changes in the "rules of the game," because they finally realized how the very nature of the Recovery's initial vision was long discarded. Ingalls had lived for years under the assumption that Lee was bound by the rules, only to finally realize that Lee was a king who was above the rules.
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

ZNP wrote: It is not at all obvious to me that Witness Lee had faith in his teaching of “one city one church”. James teaches that “I will show you my faith by my works”. I am not looking at what Witness Lee said, I am looking at what Witness Lee did to see if it manifests faith in this teaching. On this thread I am only considering Witness Lee’s teaching on “one city one church”.

----------------------------------------
ZNP,
Perhaps you need to re-read some of the posts of late. Your question has been answered by some. Lee manifested his faith in "his" teaching of one church, one city. Isn't it obvious his control of the local churches supported his "faith" in the "one church -one city" teaching he conjured up?

(btw, this teaching is straight out of the Roman Catholic church playbook. One pope. And all the masses are conducted exactly the same throughout the world.)

Now to the question of "Faith". I do not recall him teaching on Faith.

We might have read his explanation on Faith when we went through the Hebrews training but I do not recall fellowshipping the Biblical teaching on having Faith in Christ Jesus.

In fact, I observe the LRC has exercised more "Faith" in Lee's teachings than in God's teaching of Faith going back to the OT.

Lee's "faith" became increasingly focused on the "ground of the church" and "the one city - one church concept he devised.

And that concept works ONLY if we believe there is One body of Christ and one Church. This is why many of have a difficult time becoming a member of a "church" organization. Many still do having the vision of one body -one church because they are hungry for fellowship and to be fed the Word as well as building up the body of Christ.

Our religious unity however, does not constitute us as a body of believers IN Christ. (I am preaching to the choir. We all know this!!!)

Lee deviated from the Scriptural teachings of one body - one church to one city - one church. It is evidenced by the division it has produced. It is also evidenced by the fear to leave the LRC many have.

The LORD be exceedingly merciful.

Blessings.

Carol Garza
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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Witness Lee fell prey to a malady common in powerful men:
But not common to men of faith who are "strangers and pilgrims on this earth".

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He thought he was above the rules. He even thought he defined the rules. Where do you think "Even if he's wrong, he's right" came from?
Certainly not from the kingdom of the heavens. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. We cannot see Christ's heavenly rule, but faith is the evidence of it. I do not see the evidence of Christ's heavenly rule in WL being above the Lord's rule.

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You see this regularly in powerful man. (Think Wall Street investment bankers.) They adopt an exaggerated view of their own importance. They think the system needs them. They define reality based on themselves. They think rules are for commoners.
You do not see men of faith regularly compared to Wall Street investment bankers.
Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
11:38 Of whom the world was not worthy: they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith,

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So did Lee believe in one church, one city (OCOC)?
When I use this term "believe" I am referring to the faith that subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, etc.

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Sure he did--especially because OCOC was a convenient tool for creating a captive audience into which he could dispense his all-important ministry of the age. The pieces fit for him, so he rationalized all the loose ends about OCOC, including the inconvenient fact that the NT cites house churches which are not identified as city churches. He also rationalized his hypocrisy, including that he and his movement never once recognized any established city church not affiliated with him.
I am sure that it was not convenient for Abraham to sacrifice his son. Surely he could have thought of some excuse for why he would have liked to have sacrificed him, but it was just inconvenient at the time. Surely if Abraham had rationalized this he could have come up with many rational reasons for not obeying God. This is not the description of a man of faith.

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Think about it. If you wanted to invent a belief system by which you could control many groups and the people in them, yet still be able to deny being in control, you'd have a hard time coming up with something more effective than Lee's system. By holding everyone in awe of himself, he didn't need an official office. He could have his cake and eat it, too--be a "simple Bible teacher" and be in control of a movement of thousands of people. Deniability is always plausible.
Men of faith are seeking a city who's builder and maker is God. Inventing a belief system where you control everything is not a description of a man of faith.

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In the end it was all about him and his mission--everything else be damned. The Bible, churches, ministry, publication, saints, everyone, everything, were all utilized his mission. He entertained no counsel and recognized no peers. Like other loose cannons he wrecked a lot of lives. He was either clueless about that or didn't care, and neither option is flattering.
By faith the elders obtained a good report. This is not a good report. Again, where is the evidence that WL had faith in these teachings?
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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Much has been said about the "one city - one church" ground of locality promoted in the Recovery for 70 years. The Bible not only does not prescribe this format, but several verses (i.e. Acts 9.31, Rom 16.5, Col 4.15) have been shoe-horned into saying what a simple reading indicates to the contrary. Before leaders establish their church based on certain premises, at least they ought to have some definitive scripture to support them.
Since you have to "shoe-horn" your teaching into the verses doesn't that suggest that WN and WL did this knowingly?

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Personally, however, I believe that the corollary to this teaching, i.e. the one eldership in each city has been more destructive. Based on Acts 14.23 and Titus 1.5 the entire Recovery operates under the basic premise that there can be only one eldership per city, and that eldership must be appointed by the "apostle." It is this teaching, coupled with errant notions of deputy authority, which gave both Lee and Chu tremendous power over their satellite churches. Thus the very basis of authority vested in the local eldership has nothing to do with the authority of the Head walking in the midst of the church, nor the approval and recommendation of her members. Sole authority to direct elders, appoint elders, move elders, or remove elders lies remotely in the hands of a man deemed to be their "apostle."
I think it has to be obvious to many besides us that this teaching was destructive. Certainly WN and WL had to realize this was a destructive teaching. Therefore if "they had proved by testing what the perfect will of the Lord was" I would have expected them to correct this teaching. Since they didn't I wonder if they were truly walking by faith.

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The history of the Recovery is littered with incompetent elders whose sole qualification is zealous loyalty to a remote headquarters. They serve their office solely at the pleasure of the one who appointed them. Their ultimate loyalty is neither to the Head of the church, nor to the members of the church, but to him who sent them there. In truth, both Lee and Chu thus operated more as Bishops then apostles. Apostles were travelers, while Bishops resided at some headquarter church. Apostles preached the gospel to the unsaved, while Bishops mainly trained elders.
Once again I have to believe that WL and WN realized these elders were incompetent but valued their allegiance higher than their stature. I saw this first hand in Taipei when all of the elders were replaced by young men who wouldn't stand up to WL. Therefore, based on the works of WL I have to conclude that this destructive heresy was brought into the church intentionally by him.

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When one looks at the descriptions Ignatius gave to the bishops, it readily becomes apparent that the relationship in the Recovery between the leaders and the members far more closely models the teachings of Ignatius than the teachings of the N.T. apostles. It is one of the Recovery's greatest hypocritical inconsistencies that Ignatius could at the same time be so maligned and yet so readily modeled.
"A hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor". To me this sums up the works of WL. This is not the work of faith but the work of a hypocrite.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:26 AM   #11
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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Since you have to "shoe-horn" your teaching into the verses doesn't that suggest that WN and WL did this knowingly?
When Nee developed his city-church model, the context was early 20th century British colonialism orchestrated by denominational boards ten thousand miles away. Nee's independent idealism, in an effort to return to the glory of the apostolic church, latched on to the appealing notions of localism. In his defense, Nee's book TNCCL enumerates many caveats to the model, making the one city - one church model (OCOC) almost workable. In the late 50's / early 60's, an almost similar situation existed in America, and that's what sparked the interest in this book.

I believe Lee tried to operate according to Nee's ecclesiastical principles when he started afresh in the US. The genuine move of the Spirit, called the Jesus Movement, helped to fuel Lee's early ministry here, and since he promoted an appealing alternative to the existing denominationalism, he attracted many gifted followers. Eventually Lee departed from all of Nee's guiding principles and safeguards laid out in TNCCL. Whether Nee's OCOC model is even valid is another question, but under the leadership of Lee, local church autonomy gave way to headquarter abuses and domination.

It is eye-opening for any member of the Recovery to one day realize that every so-called storm and rebellion was never a "rebellion" at all, but rather men of God crying out for the liberties they once enjoyed. Insiders call it being "poisoned," but it really is just the liberating truth once again reaching them and setting them free.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:40 AM   #12
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I believe Lee tried to operate according to Nee's ecclesiastical principles when he started afresh in the US.
WN's ecclesiatical principle in TNCCL
Whenever an apostle tries to control a church, he loses his extra-local character. Much confusion has arisen because the divine line of demarcation between the churches and the work has been lost sight of. (Watchman Nee, Chapter 6, sect 1, TNCCL).

Witness Lee controlled the vision of the Elders
In this chapter we will consider the need for the elders to renew their vision of the Lord’s recovery. (Witness Lee, Basic Principles concerning the Eldership, chapter 10, section 1).



Witness Lee controlled what was taught by elders in the churches
The only way that can preserve us in the recovery is the unique ministry. If we say that we are in the recovery, yet we teach something so lightly, even in a concealed way, that is different from God’s economy, we sow the seed that will grow up in division. (WL, Elders’ training book 3, the way to carry out the vision, chapter 4, sect 2).

In addition the LSM controlled what books a church bought and sold.

Churches were required to attend trainings.

Watchman Nee stressed repeatedly that it was wrong for an apostle to try and control a church. But it seems very obvious that WL completely ignored that principle. Where is the evidence that WL tried to operate within the ecclesiastical principles that WN gave?
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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Watchman Nee stressed repeatedly that it was wrong for an apostle to try and control a church. But it seems very obvious that WL completely ignored that principle. Where is the evidence that WL tried to operate within the ecclesiastical principles that WN gave?
That's a good question.

Lee definitely taught many of these same ecclesiastical principles, but whether or not he ever put them into practice is another question.

I have consistently found the most informative source on the history of the Recovery in the USA to be brother Hope. One thread in particular New Light From Old brought out numerous insights from behind the scenes. I found post #16 particularly informational. I will copy it here ...
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The turn away from the vision WL had regarding the Practice of the Local Church Life began in January 1974 at the very first special elders and co-workers conference.

Thanks brothers for bringing up this thread. In the coming third chapter, I stress this event. Few of the saints realize or even know what an earthquake this meeting was:

An attempt to salvage the Day Star disaster,

National Local Church Credit Union, complete with a national organizational chart with LSM on top, (bet you never heard of that),

Consolidation of existing but not so critical churches,

Move to Anaheim and to the "young people cities,"

Max R. becomes WLs right hand man to direct the churches on behalf of WL,

The Launch of LSM and dissolving of "The Stream Ministry",

The official designation of the Approved speaker list,

The shift from local initiated meetings to Life study ministry and common direction from Anaheim,

The appointment of Max R. to travel to the churches to make adjustments on behalf of WL,

The shift from elders being shepherds to being good organizers and dynamic leaders,

The public put down and humiliation of senior brothers and co-workers begins,

etc. Much more to report!!

The effects were immediate but gradual. While I have no use for the cult books that came out later or the authors, I believe the Lord allowed it as a loud siren warning to us. The full effect of this falling away came about in 1986. By then it was too late. WL's shouting put downs of TC and other senior brothers in 1974 became the fermentation book, spitting on Lang's book and the 1989 Lee is great message.

WL had the concept that he needed to be in charge at least by 1977. He told John So and myself in Athens Greece that he was the thumb and other gifted brothers were fingers whose function depended on being related to him. (Now that was quite a conversation!!!)

May we all continue in His love and peace and abound in hope.

In Christ Jesus, "Hope" aka Don Rutledge
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:26 AM   #14
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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That's a good question.

Lee definitely taught many of these same ecclesiastical principles, but whether or not he ever put them into practice is another question.

I have consistently found the most informative source on the history of the Recovery in the USA to be brother Hope. One thread in particular New Light From Old brought out numerous insights from behind the scenes. I found post #16 particularly informational. I will copy it here ...
So, if we look at the history in 1974 WL was clearly not following WN’s ecclesiastical principles. The reason was not a new revelation, but Day Star. So then this raises a new and equally critical question:

Was Day Star an example of poor judgment or fraud?

I will start a new thread for this question, but let me say this, if Day Star was fraud then it strongly supports the assertion that WL did not have faith in his teachings but rather they were a means to an end.

Step 1 – Start the church based on WN’s credibility. Explains why he lied about WN's excommunication.
Step 2 – Raise serious funds to establish LSM through fraud. Simplest explanation of the facts.
Step 3 – Convert the churches into an LSM franchise. History as presented by Hope.

In this plan the only person capable of sending WL to prison is PL and TL who know that Day Star was a scam from day 1. In exchange for guarding the secrets PL is given an office, a salary and is protected at all costs.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:57 AM   #15
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Default Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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So, if we look at the history in 1974 WL was clearly not following WN’s ecclesiastical principles. The reason was not a new revelation, but Day Star. So then this raises a new and equally critical question:

Was Day Star an example of poor judgment or fraud?
It seems, from all I have read, that Lee regularly exhibited poor judgment in a string of failed business activities. Even his departure from Taiwan to the USA resulted from intense pressure over using church funds to pay off bad business debts surrounding Hall #1 in Taipei. It appears like Lee got mixed signals from Nee concerning mixing his ministry with business. Nee told him definitively not to do this, and Lee once commented about how he could ever face Nee knowing he had done what he was instructed never to do. On the other hand, Nee's pharmaceutical business was quite lucrative. Lee appeared to have learned more from what Nee did, than what he taught. The Blendeds, btw, were the same with Lee.

I doubt Dayster was initially embarked upon with fraudulent intentions. Lee was presented with a large offering and a concept for making money. Saying that, however, I will note that both Don Hardy and Terry Reisenhoover, Dayster officers, witnessed what appeared to be illegal business practices, which confirms that Lee believed he was above the law. Lee refused to heed any of their warnings, and hence they quit.

Phillip Lee changed Lee's outlook on money. Why attempt to "do business" when we could charge good money for Daddy's ministry. It was proceeds from those early trainings, no longer called open conferences, that rescued Lee from investor cries for payback. Lee and Texan operatives set up a secret (at least to Dallas elder Don Rutledge) bank account via the church in Dallas in order to make these payoffs.

This context was occurring during that first special elders and workers gathering in Jan 1974. Obviously it was convened to do damage control. It also attempted to institute means to control the Recovery going forth. Phillip Lee rose to prominence despite the reservations of every one who knew him. Why would Lee violate every principle of ministerial conduct and the better judgment of all his supporters?

We do know that Lee's Life Study of the N.T. began shortly after this. Starting with the book of John, Lee methodically went through the Bible. He said this burden was from the Lord to "release the riches" given to him by the Lord. Now we know that part of that incentive was also financial.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:45 AM   #16
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

So ignoring what WL said, here is what he did:

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1. Lee regularly exhibited poor judgment in a string of failed business activities. Even his departure from Taiwan to the USA resulted from intense pressure over using church funds to pay off bad business debts surrounding Hall #1 in Taipei.


2. Lee was presented with a large offering and a concept for making money.

3. I will note that both Don Hardy and Terry Reisenhoover, Dayster officers, witnessed what appeared to be illegal business practices, which confirms that Lee believed he was above the law. Lee refused to heed any of their warnings, and hence they quit.

4. It was proceeds from those early trainings, no longer called open conferences, that rescued Lee from investor cries for payback.

5. Lee and Texan operatives set up a secret (at least to Dallas elder Don Rutledge) bank account via the church in Dallas in order to make these payoffs.

6. This context was occurring during that first special elders and workers gathering in Jan 1974. Obviously it was convened to do damage control. It also attempted to institute means to control the Recovery going forth. Phillip Lee rose to prominence despite the reservations of every one who knew him. Why would Lee violate every principle of ministerial conduct and the better judgment of all his supporters?
1. One event can be written off to bad judgment followed by repentance. Regularly getting involved in these fraudulent activities should no longer be passed off as "bad judgment" or "innocent mistakes". If WL did not suffer financial loss why should we give him the credit of calling it a "mistake" or "bad judgment".

2. If you ask people to donate money to your ministry you might get $10-$20 offerings from each person. If however you pump up this "money making" proposal and you are asking for "investments" not "donations" you might get $1,000 to $2,000 from each person. You can make 100 times more. Investing is all about trust. Who do you trust more than the "Apostle", the close coworker to Watchman Nee, the "Minister of the Age". Once again, I think all the evidence points to fraud and there is no logical reason to discount it.

3. Here is a person who has repeatedly been involved in fraudulent business practices, he was run out of Taiwan, he saw what happened to WN, he was charged by WN never to do this, and the two leading officers in the latest fraudulent scheme complain of illegal business practices, he ignores them so they are forced to quit. I consider this proof he was a fraud.

4. Once again, in order to make money from LSM they needed a large hall, Anaheim, and free lodging, the church in Anaheim. Launching LSM took money, much of which he got from donations for building the hall and the free labor. It seems to me the plan was always to create the LSM franchise church and Day Star was merely a stepping stone to get the funds he needed. If WL actually profited from Day Star while everyone else lost money that would be a secret that he would gladly trade PL for JI to keep.

5. Secret payoffs are proof of fraud.

6. Putting PL in charge after 1974 reminds me of when Scar took power after Mufasah's death and Simbah running away. From this point on it was a new order of Lions and Hyenas. In this analogy WL was Scar, PL and TL were two of the hyenas.

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Old 04-19-2013, 12:28 PM   #17
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

I hate to use bad analogies, but this present Boston manhunt highlights the same sort of anomalies that surrounded Lee.

How could such a great guy ... filling in the blanks with numerous superlatives ... do such terrible things?!?

"Someone must be framing him for these terrible things" ... "we know he would never do such things" ... or so say his closest associates.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:31 PM   #18
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Default Did Witness Lee believe his own teachings

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6. Putting PL in charge after 1974 reminds me of when Scar took power after Mufasah's death and Simbah running away. From this point on it was a new order of Lions and Hyenas. In this analogy WL was Scar, PL and TL were two of the hyenas.

Too bad I missed that movie.
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:22 AM   #19
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It seems, from all I have read, that Lee regularly exhibited poor judgment in a string of failed business activities.
James
1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

According to James a "double minded man" is in contrast to a man of faith.

You know that a man is a "double minded man" because he is unstable in all his ways.

We know that the LRC was unstable in all its ways, going through turmoils every 10 years. Excommunications, lawsuits, recriminations, etc. We have also deduced that these turmoils, though always blamed on others, were the result of unrighteousness in the Lee house. To me the evidence is shouting that WL was a double minded man, and by extension not a man of faith.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:44 AM   #20
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (1:7) For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (1:8) A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

According to James a "double minded man" is in contrast to a man of faith. We know that the LRC was unstable in all its ways, going through turmoils every 10 years. Excommunications, lawsuits, recriminations, etc. We have also deduced that these turmoils, though always blamed on others, were the result of unrighteousness in the Lee house. To me the evidence is shouting that WL was a double minded man, and by extension not a man of faith.
James description here is incredibly wise when considering the facts of Lee's history. Unfortunately, no one connected the dots here. In fact, years ago I often considered James' word here to refer to someone bordering on the mentally ill.

Lee definitely had two sides. One was completely in line with the rest of the body of Christ, as Francis Ball was told reporters, "he's simply an old preacher whom we all love." Yet to insiders, Lee viewed himself someone greater than apostle Paul -- as the culmination of a long lineage of MOTA's to end the age. This duplicity of personal estimation could only be described as double-mindedness. Did he really believe he was both? Or did he just fraudulently misrepresent himself to outsiders?

At times this contradiction of persona was seen within the LRC. Behind the scenes Lee would manipulate the lives of workers and elders, yet publicly challenge the audience, "Who do I control? I can't even control a mosquito? Which church did I control?" Yet who would publicly dare to stand up and declare he was "controlled?" Lee claimed to be "standing on the shoulders of all who went before," yet not one contemporary Christian leader, either inside or out of the Recovery, could ever be considered his peer.

Lee's double-mindedness, coupled with hypocrisy and abuse, is what caused many of us to reconsider if our "vision" had anything to do with God or the Bible. James said, "let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." And this fact must eventually be acknowledged. Where were heaven's answers to our numerous prayers? The fact that the Recovery could find no "relief" from heaven, and constantly were "forced" to seek "relief" from the judicial system is quite telling.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:45 AM   #21
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James description here is incredibly wise when considering the facts of Lee's history.
Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

PL and TL were ungodly. By definition DayStar and LSM “walked in the counsel of the ungodly”. This was attested to by the brothers that quit DayStar and the elders that were run out of Anaheim. WL was in the seat of the scornful. “The way of sinners” would refer to violating US laws in selling, promoting, registering, managing, and disbursing the DayStar company. It would also refer to the “Max rebellion”, the “Sister’s rebellion”, etc., etc.

1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.


Did the lawsuits “prosper”? Did the Irving hall “prosper”? Did the New Way “prosper”? If “leaf” refers to the “work” of the tree, can we say that WL’s “leaf shall not wither”? Wouldn’t the discussion of the teaching of MOTA, “One city one church”, WN’s excommunication, and a variety of other topics be described as the “withering of WL’s work”?

1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

This analogy is used by John the Baptist, so even if you have been poisoned about this psalm by WL, you can still receive the analogy of chaff from John the Baptist in the Gospel of John. Chaff is a protective outer coating to grains like wheat and barley. Because it is very light compared to the seeds you “winnow” the grain by throwing it into the air on a windy day. The chaff is blown away. This reminds me of the repeated “storms”, “turmoils”, “quarantines”, etc. in the LRC. Recently, Nigel Tomes article on the ground of the church indicates they are winnowing WL’s teachings and they are being blown away.

1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish


Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. We cannot see a man’s faith, but we see the difference between “the righteous” and sinners, scornful and ungodly. So then would you consider that WL “Knew the way of the righteous” or that he “sat in the seat of the scornful” (scornful – expressing contempt or derision). Would you say that the people who ran Daystar (PL and TL) and then later the LSM (PL) “knew the way of the righteous” or “were the counsel of the ungodly”? Would you say that all those damaged by WL over the years “did not know the way of the righteous” or was it that they “stood in the way of sinners”?
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:59 AM   #22
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

PL and TL were ungodly. By definition DayStar and LSM “walked in the counsel of the ungodly”. This was attested to by the brothers that quit DayStar and the elders that were run out of Anaheim. WL was in the seat of the scornful. “The way of sinners” would refer to violating US laws in selling, promoting, registering, managing, and disbursing the DayStar company. It would also refer to the “Max rebellion”, the “Sister’s rebellion”, etc., etc.

1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.


Did the lawsuits “prosper”? Did the Irving hall “prosper”? Did the New Way “prosper”? If “leaf” refers to the “work” of the tree, can we say that WL’s “leaf shall not wither”? Wouldn’t the discussion of the teaching of MOTA, “One city one church”, WN’s excommunication, and a variety of other topics be described as the “withering of WL’s work”?
Great post. Psalms 1 exposes Witness Lee to the core.

I personally believe that these events were the "poison" that Lee feared the most. Once they learned the behind the scenes truth about Lee, they forever changed their attitude towards Lee. The stench of hypocrisy becomes too much to bear.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:17 AM   #23
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Great post. Psalms 1 exposes Witness Lee to the core.

I personally believe that these events were the "poison" that Lee feared the most. Once they learned the behind the scenes truth about Lee, they forever changed their attitude towards Lee. The stench of hypocrisy becomes too much to bear.
Perhaps the stench was so bad when he was teaching the Psalms that he had to reject these psalms then. Must have been very uncomfortable in the elders meetings with WL at the time.

A Prayer for this forum:

Psalms
5:1 Give ear to my words, O Jehovah, Consider my meditation.
5:2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God; For unto thee do I pray.
5:3 O Jehovah, in the morning shalt thou hear my voice; In the morning will I order [my prayer] unto thee, and will keep watch.
5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: Evil shall not sojourn with thee.
5:5 The arrogant shall not stand in thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
5:6 Thou wilt destroy them that speak lies: Jehovah abhorreth the blood-thirsty and deceitful man.
5:7 But as for me, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness will I come into thy house: In thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
5:8 Lead me, O Jehovah, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; Make thy way straight before my face.
5:9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is very wickedness; Their throat is an open sepulchre; They flatter with their tongue.
5:10 Hold them guilty, O God; Let them fall by their own counsels; Thrust them out in the multitude of their transgressions; For they have rebelled against thee.
5:11 But let all those that take refuge in thee rejoice, Let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: Let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
5:12 For thou wilt bless the righteous; O Jehovah, thou wilt compass him with favor as with a shield
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:46 AM   #24
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Default Re: Did Witness Lee believe his teaching on "One city one church"?

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Lee definitely had two sides. One was completely in line with the rest of the body of Christ, as Francis Ball was told reporters, "he's simply an old preacher whom we all love." Yet to insiders, Lee viewed himself someone greater than apostle Paul -- as the culmination of a long lineage of MOTA's to end the age. This duplicity of personal estimation could only be described as double-mindedness. Did he really believe he was both? Or did he just fraudulently misrepresent himself to outsiders?

At times this contradiction of persona was seen within the LRC.
The contradiction was never more apparent than the Febraury 1986 Elders conference. I know Indiana has the audio. Historically it is worth examining. If anyone else has the conference audio, listen for yourselves.

As to whether Witness believed he was greater than apostle Paul. I did not know him. I had heard brothers who made similar statements. It is possible if certain co-workers puffed Witness Lee up enough times that after a while Witness was going to believe his own press.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:36 AM   #25
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That's a good question.

Lee definitely taught many of these same ecclesiastical principles, but whether or not he ever put them into practice is another question.

I have consistently found the most informative source on the history of the Recovery in the USA to be brother Hope. One thread in particular New Light From Old brought out numerous insights from behind the scenes. I found post #16 particularly informational. I will copy it here ...
Ps10:2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.


WL shut down the Stream Ministry and started the LSM in the 1974 meeting. This is a device used to protect assets. It was done as a result of the DayStar fiasco. You have a secret fund to pay off some investors, and you move all your assets to a new corporation in the event of a lawsuit as a way to shield assets. At the same time he is suggesting a Local Church Credit Union. Is there any suggestion that there was a repentance or feeling of shame? Is there any doubt he was focused on getting the saints money? He was motivated by covetousness, how can that be denied?

WL had the concept that he needed to be in charge at least by 1977. He told John So and myself in Athens Greece that he was the thumb and other gifted brothers were fingers whose function depended on being related to him. (Now that was quite a conversation!!!) (quote from Hope as posted by Ohio)

Surely this is an example of the wicked boasting of his heart’s desire.
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