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If you really Nee to know Who was Watchman Nee? Discussions regarding the life and times of Watchman Nee, the Little Flock and the beginnings of the Local Church Movement in Mainland China

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Old 12-28-2017, 05:01 PM   #1
Baruch
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Default Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

I came across a book with some interesting claims about Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and the local churches in mainland China and Taiwan. The book is "Religion and Democracy in Taiwan" by Cheng-Tian Kuo, SUNY Press, May 8, 2008. Mr. Kuo is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Graduate Institute of Religious Studies at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Here is a paraphrase of some of the information presented on pages 50-52 of the book on The Local Church. The bracketed question mark in the paragraph below is by me indicating that the author must mean 70 million Christians in China (not 7 million) or he is way off on his facts.

Watchman Nee founded the Local Church in China in the 1920s. He was influenced by western evangelists, but "developed an indigenized theology critical of the principal churches but accessible to ordinary Chinese". Witness Lee was his "right-hand man". "The Local Churches constitute the majority of the seven million Christians in China [?] and include a membership of 91,000 Taiwanese associated with more than 170 churches in Taiwan. The Local Church is the second largest Christian denomination in Taiwan".

"The ecclesiology of the Local Church was a mixture of supreme mastership, equality of all believers, and a centralized decision core with strong local autonomy. Ni was the supreme master of all church members, including Ni's successor, Li Chang-shou, who served Ni as his own son. Ni's writings were the main, if not the only, instructional materials in Bible study sessions. His leadership and biblical interpretation was beyond challenge by his members; those who dared to question were driven out of the church. He appointed all elders in local churches. After Ni's death, Li succeeded him to supreme mastership. In addition to inheriting all the supreme powers Ni had, Li's writings, especially the Recovered Version of the Bible he edited, have replaced those by Ni in the church's Bible Study sessions."

The author later talks about the local churches in Taiwan:

"The Local Church headquarters makes important decisions about church activities and personnel. Local churches cannot but obey; otherwise, they would be excommunicated from the church, as occurred in the 1960s. Among the various charges against these saboteurs, Li mentioned that they challenged his leadership in general, including refusing to sing the eighty-five new hymns composed by Li for all member churches. These saboteurs were first suspended of their elder positions and left the Local Church one year later to establish independent churches. The Living Stone Church in Taipei is one of the remnants of this split".

If what this author states is true, then it appears that Witness Lee carried on Watchman Nee's original idea of spiritual authority. If that is the case, then the idea of following one set of teachings/ministry was all part of the original practice. I think the unhealthy level of control that followed had to be used to keep everyone following the same script (i.e. one teaching or ministry).

Has anyone else ever come across this author/book? The author does use references for many of his statements so it's probably worthwhile to follow the reference trail to see where it leads.
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Old 01-01-2018, 01:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheng-Tian Kuo View Post
Watchman Nee founded the Local Church in China in the 1920s. He was influenced by western evangelists, but "developed an indigenized theology critical of the principal churches but accessible to ordinary Chinese". Witness Lee was his "right-hand man". "The Local Churches constitute the majority of the seven million Christians in China [?] and include a membership of 91,000 Taiwanese associated with more than 170 churches in Taiwan. The Local Church is the second largest Christian denomination in Taiwan".

"The ecclesiology of the Local Church was a mixture of supreme mastership, equality of all believers, and a centralized decision core with strong local autonomy. Ni was the supreme master of all church members, including Ni's successor, Li Chang-shou, who served Ni as his own son. Ni's writings were the main, if not the only, instructional materials in Bible study sessions. His leadership and biblical interpretation was beyond challenge by his members; those who dared to question were driven out of the church. He appointed all elders in local churches. After Ni's death, Li succeeded him to supreme mastership. In addition to inheriting all the supreme powers Ni had, Li's writings, especially the Recovered Version of the Bible he edited, have replaced those by Ni in the church's Bible Study sessions."
Interesting to see those concepts side by side: "supreme mastership" and "equality of all believers".

First of all, "equality of all believers" - Jesus taught that some had five talents, some had one, some had ten. Paul said that "star differed from star in glory" (1 Cor 15:41). But in the social(ist) engineering of Ni and Li, all are "small potatoes" except for the supreme master, who is deputy God. How normal is that? Ni set up his proposed "normal church" against the clergy-laity system, which argument made sense in Western-dominated China coming out of the 19th century, but it makes no sense in the 21st century where anyone can function in the community church. Those with more talents become evident by function. Nobody gets accused of being "ambitious" or "drawing others after them". People have differing gifts, and they function. Wow, what a concept!

Second, there's no actual equality of believers in the LSM/lc system, because it matters how you're positioned vis-a-vis the supreme master. Those who have him on speed-dial obviously can lord over the rest, and they do. "Don't you know we have lunch with WL" was the refrain of the FTT 'co-workers' to the rank-and-file who protested their overbearing ways.

One brother who posted here aka "Hope", said that when the Chinese brothers found out he was "tight" with WL suddenly they became very deferential. This kind of testimony is not anomalous but par for the LSM/lc system.

Next follows another pair of concepts: "centralized decision core" and "strong local autonomy". The juxtaposition simply makes no sense. "Strong local autonomy" only worked to bring the believers and their fellowships outside of Western control (in 1930s China) or denominational control (in 1960s USA). Otherwise it was strictly the "Jerusalem principle" where "oneness" meant absolute obedience to the central church of the supreme master. In actuality, the word "autonomy" meant nothing at all. It was just window dressing.

Anyone can see how absurd these concepts are next to each other. They're unbiblical and contradictory, unless you're bound and determined to be duped by them, and to wear the yoke, and be enslaved to the ministry of these men.

As one (current Blended) said, at the time of a particularly nasty 'rebellion', "I'm proud to be an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand." With that attitude, you probably can 'enjoy' the ministry. But anyone who actually tries to think about what it means practically (in truth, in actuality, in day-to-day living) can see the glaring flaws. It's really all about control. Absolute control equals social stability (until the cries of the rank-and-file small potatoes get too great - then the inevitable 'storm' or 'turmoil' comes).
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

And what happens as the concept of supreme mastership plays itself out in the collective? Distortion, stumbling and ruin.

We were told that WN had a collection of spiritual classics, numbering some 3,000 works. Do we suppose that there were 50 sequential supreme masters, each with a 40-odd year ministry period, where each put out some 60 classics? Or do you suppose that some of the books - gasp! - were written in the same era by different people? No, or yes? If yes, then why could only one ministry publish in the Ni/Li era? I'll tell you why, because these supposedly supreme masters distorted the process. The kingdom of God became the kingdom of self.

WL stood on the shoulders of giants, so we heard. And he went further, as he saw more. But upon his passing, nobody can see still further? WL could, and did, critique his claimed predecessors. But those who've read him, and follow, can't likewise critique his ideas? How can we learn? How can we see? How can we grow?

I went the LSM/lc because of the the excitement: all the shouting, jumping up and down, arm-waving. Christianity had been boring and now it was fun! I liked having all the answers. WN & WL had done the heavy lifting & all we neded to do was 'enjoy'. Plus I liked being love-bombed - at the community church all I'd gotten was a handshake from the pastor as I went out the door.

But what happens if I actually begin to grow, and hear the Shepherd's voice in the scripture? What if I begin to see variance, and discrepancies in the LSM/lc? What then? The principle of supreme mastership obviates all of that. One person per age gets to be 'seer of the divine revelation', as WL said in title of the the biography of WN. The rest must acquiesce to the supposed 'vision of the age', i.e. the whims of the SM. Your only vision is that the supreme master has the vision & you have none.

And the last SM, the last MOTA, on his way out the door, apparently decreed that henceforth there were to be no more seers of the divine revelation! Wow, what a vision from God!

Do you see my point? What a distortion, what a stumbling placed on the flock. "Entangled again with the yoke of slavery", said Paul. Amen to that - it's a system of slavery.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

Wow, nice find Baruch! This cuts right to core problems with TLR that began with Nee and bore rotten fruit as it grew.

Good comments, Aron.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

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Originally Posted by aron View Post
Interesting to see those concepts side by side: "supreme mastership" and "equality of all believers".

First of all, "equality of all believers" - Jesus taught that some had five talents, some had one, some had ten. Paul said that "star differed from star in glory" (1 Cor 15:41). But in the social(ist) engineering of Ni and Li, all are "small potatoes" except for the supreme master, who is deputy God. How normal is that? Ni set up his proposed "normal church" against the clergy-laity system, which argument made sense in Western-dominated China coming out of the 19th century, but it makes no sense in the 21st century where anyone can function in the community church. Those with more talents become evident by function. Nobody gets accused of being "ambitious" or "drawing others after them". People have differing gifts, and they function. Wow, what a concept!

Second, there's no actual equality of believers in the LSM/lc system, because it matters how you're positioned vis-a-vis the supreme master. Those who have him on speed-dial obviously can lord over the rest, and they do. "Don't you know we have lunch with WL" was the refrain of the FTT 'co-workers' to the rank-and-file who protested their overbearing ways.
The LCM goes to great lengths to convey the notion that their group is where all believers are equal. In attempt to contrast the LCM from other groups, Nee and Lee both pointed to ordinary groups and attacked their leadership structures, the visible 'positions', etc. Quite frankly, that kind of criticism must have resonated with a good number of people, because so many have joined the LC thinking that it offered something different and better than what traditional Christianity had to offer.

As far as I can tell, those in the LCM are absolutely convinced that they are part of a church that is "of the people, by the people and for the people." They are also absolutely convinced that their group doesn't have any underlying leadership structure or leadership-related problems, such as authoritarianism. Many times, I have considered as to why LCers are unable to admit the leadership issues within the LC, and I realize that for them to do so would involve making an admission that is completely contradictory to their perception of what kind of group they are a part of.

I personally feel that Nee and Lee had every intention of cultivating an environment that would allow for a supreme mastership. And what better way to do it than to get everyone thinking that they each had a special role and purpose within the group. Except what they forgot to mention is that you can only have 'purpose' within the confines of being a small potato. Somehow everyone in the LCM realizes in the back of their mind that they shouldn't overshadow, criticize or question the supreme master, yet they are convinced that the LCM doesn't have such a leadership structure.
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:56 AM   #6
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I personally feel that Nee and Lee had every intention of cultivating an environment that would allow for a supreme mastership. And what better way to do it than to get everyone thinking that they each had a special role and purpose within the group. Except what they forgot to mention is that you can only have 'purpose' within the confines of being a small potato..
Nee & Lee did intentionally establish a supreme and unquestioned authority because that fit their cultural pre-conceptions of what was "normal" for group practice. Notice that this model attracts the Chinese, who don't think it's strange. Without a strong center, they fear chaos. (but that is where faith comes in).

There are other "strong authoritarian" groups out there like the Geftakys Assembly, but look at the miniscule toe-hold they have in the general populace versus the LSM/lc with tens of thousands of the Chinese.

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Somehow everyone in the LCM realizes in the back of their mind that they shouldn't overshadow, criticize or question the supreme master, yet they are convinced that the LCM doesn't have such a leadership structure.
Nee and Lee and their followers didn't see anything "wrong" with their church model, and often point out the admittedly horrible clergy - laity system it replaced. I liked Baruch's citation because it highlights how incompatible these replacement notions are: "strong autonomy" versus "strong centralized control" and "everyone equal" juxtaposed on one of the "equals" being a "supreme master". As soon as you look at it critically it's totally contradictory. Which is probably why they told us, "Don't think, you will only be confused". Only the supreme master, the guru, the deputy god, could think without becoming confused. The rest were to be "one" with the "Lord's speaking thru our brother".
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:25 PM   #7
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Nee and Lee and their followers didn't see anything "wrong" with their church model, and often point out the admittedly horrible clergy - laity system it replaced. I liked Baruch's citation because it highlights how incompatible these replacement notions are: "strong autonomy" versus "strong centralized control" and "everyone equal" juxtaposed on one of the "equals" being a "supreme master". As soon as you look at it critically it's totally contradictory. Which is probably why they told us, "Don't think, you will only be confused". Only the supreme master, the guru, the deputy god, could think without becoming confused. The rest were to be "one" with the "Lord's speaking thru our brother".
Interestingly, what Nee and Lee promoted as a 'normal' church model is something that people were easily sold on, perhaps because they didn't notice the two contradictory extremes of what the LCM movement had to offer. Here was a group that thought to defy all the traditions. Anyone who wanted to had the opportunity to speak. Participation by all was the norm. People were made to feel like they were a part of something unique and special.

But what part of the equation went unnoticed? No one questioned the existence of a lone figure at the very top, the supreme master who provided the up-to-date speaking and direction of the movement. It was right before everyone's eyes, but it rarely triggered any alarm bells within the movement. The contradictory aspect to all the things that the LCM presumed to be is exactly what went largely unnoticed, except from time to time when it tended to rear its ugly head.

By example, throughout all the years growing up in the LCM, I would have never thought that there was any kind of headquarters or authoritarian control. I saw people writing songs, producing and distributing tapes - all kinds of things that would suggest that LC members were all free to contribute in their own unique ways. Everything felt autonomous. However, later on, I began to see certain 'situations' arise, such as the one publication edict. So then I started to realize that the notion of everyone in the LCM being equal was all just a guise. There was indeed a headquarters that has the power to issue edicts. Everyone in the LCM was on a leash. That leash might be shortened or lengthened, but it's a leash nonetheless.
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

Great points.

And contrary to the steadfast opinions of our LC friends, the "proper" name does not absolve you from denominational status. That is determined by their controlling headquarters at LSM.
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Old 01-05-2018, 03:54 AM   #9
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Everything felt autonomous. However, later on, I began to see certain 'situations' arise, such as the one publication edict. So then I started to realize that the notion of everyone in the LCM being equal was all just a guise. There was indeed a headquarters that has the power to issue edicts. Everyone in the LCM was on a leash. That leash might be shortened or lengthened, but it's a leash nonetheless.
Initially, everything felt autonomous, local, egalitarian, participatory. But eventually we saw that there was a headquarters and a leash. There was indeed supreme mastership but it was couched in spiritual guise.

Here's how I understand the contradiction: Watchman Lee, like Witness Lee after him, understood things, and promoted them to others, based on: a) the situation on the ground - the perceived need; and b) his culturally-mediated understanding of the "normal" or proper response. But he was blinded to his bias, and ignored the inevitable reverses and contradictions.

To be shed of Western control, there was the idea of autonomy and locality. But then there was a need for consolidation and coordination so he "discovered" his so-called Jerusalem Principle.

And he chafed under senior co-worker Leland Wang. But it was only after Wang was gone that he "recovered" deputy authority. The gate to supreme mastership now was opened.
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:29 PM   #10
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Nee had the personality and mindset that allowed him to start a group of his own. However, he didn’t necessarily have the maturity or foresight to go about doing it the right way. Nee’s desire to start a homegrown movement is something that he was perfectly entitled to do. It wouldn’t have been a problem except that he mischaracterized what he was doing.

Nee didn’t want anyone to see the LCM as just “another group.” So he introduced and promoted a teaching (ground of locality) that called into question the legitimacy of other groups. Standing on the platform of a supposed legitimacy, it gave Nee and Lee a level of credibility that they wouldn't have been able to obtain otherwise. A sly way to gain traction for a movement that would have otherwise been just one of many groups.

The other issue is that the 'positive' side of the ground of locality teaching suggested that there would be no control, headquarters, etc. In other words, in order for Nee to start something that would be perceived as unique, he had to introduce principles that he very well knew he would later reverse his position on.

So because Nee and Lee put so much effort into contrasting the LCM from other groups, it seems that having teachings like autonomy or locality were initially desirable. The reality is that these teachings never meant anything in practice, the only served to maintain an illusion. As LCM history indicates, eventually it because desirable and even necessary to pull in the leash to maintain control over the churches associated with the movement. This happened with Nee at the helm, then again once Lee was the one in charge.
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

W. Lee frequently told us that W. Nee read exhaustively from all available Christian literature. We also learned that Nee was in personal contact with the British leadership (James Taylor Sr.) of the Exclusive Brethren. Yet, we were also told that Nee's "vision" of the ground of the church, the so-called "one-church-one-city" paradigm, a grand milestone in the "Recovery" history of long-lost truths of scripture, was altogether new to Nee in China.

Actually it was not.

It was already actively practiced for many decades by the Exclusive Brethren. Nee was able to read extensively of all the doctrinal nuances of this doctrine, and more importantly, learn of the endless failures and divisions it caused. Nee himself was even excommunicated by the Brethren for breaking one of their trivial rules, yet he knew he would be, because for sure he had read the tragic stories of George Muller and Dr. Edward Cronin.

So I agree with Freedom's assertion that both Nee and Lee mischaracterized their original intentions by claiming to originate strictly "local" churches, the so-called Antioch model, without centralized controls, completely autonomous, without headquarters, ruled by local elders, etc. Later they would introduce stringent controls to takeover these churches, according to the Jerusalem model, with local elders reporting to workers from headquarters, and with centralized ministry and structure. Those who resisted would be expelled. These were their many "storms."

The Brethren began this way. Mainland China began this way. Taiwan began this way. The USA began this way. All started out local, and all soon became highly structured, and btw, not much different from Rome's model.
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:00 PM   #12
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I've been thinking that perhaps the biggest problem of TLR from the beginning was not understanding that Jesus is the king in the kingdom of God, not the super-apostle. And, that Jesus' leadership style is to take the form of a slave, and serve others. So, having "The apostle" working like a human king, who lords it over his subjects, is exactly the opposite of how Jesus told his disciples to lead.

We should have gotten the clue from the way Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Meek and mild, and seated on a donkey's colt. But, no. We still have the image of a king dressed in elegant clothing, riding in on a stallion, with an army around him.
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:29 AM   #13
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I've been thinking that perhaps the biggest problem of TLR from the beginning was not understanding that Jesus is the king in the kingdom of God, not the super-apostle. And, that Jesus' leadership style is to take the form of a slave, and serve others. So, having "The apostle" working like a human king, who lords it over his subjects, is exactly the opposite of how Jesus told his disciples to lead.

We should have gotten the clue from the way Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Meek and mild, and seated on a donkey's colt. But, no. We still have the image of a king dressed in elegant clothing, riding in on a stallion, with an army around him.
That sure was on full display when we compare the funeral "celebration" of Jesus with that of Lee twenty years ago. Lee was treated like some head of state. Thank the Lord I never went to his funeral, and subjected to his eulogy. Just the other day I found the book of his funeral celebration on my shelf, and trashed it.
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Old 01-08-2018, 01:39 PM   #14
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It was already actively practiced for many decades by the Exclusive Brethren. Nee was able to read extensively of all the doctrinal nuances of this doctrine, and more importantly, learn of the endless failures and divisions it caused. Nee himself was even excommunicated by the Brethren for breaking one of their trivial rules, yet he knew he would be, because for sure he had read the tragic stories of George Muller and Dr. Edward Cronin.

So I agree with Freedom's assertion that both Nee and Lee mischaracterized their original intentions by claiming to originate strictly "local" churches, the so-called Antioch model, without centralized controls, completely autonomous, without headquarters, ruled by local elders, etc. Later they would introduce stringent controls to takeover these churches, according to the Jerusalem model, with local elders reporting to workers from headquarters, and with centralized ministry and structure. Those who resisted would be expelled. These were their many "storms."

The Brethren began this way. Mainland China began this way. Taiwan began this way. The USA began this way. All started out local, and all soon became highly structured, and btw, not much different from Rome's model.
Sectarianism is the fruit (practice) that originated from what the Brethren taught. Nee himself even became a victim of it. It seems, however, that he never made the correlation between their teaching and practice.

I think that over the course of time, the Brethren ran into a lot of issues over the question of what type of relationship should exist between the local assemblies. Ironically though, had they ever existed solely as local assemblies, that would have never been an issue to begin with. It was only an issue because they existed as an informal (or formal) network of churches. The LCM likewise ran into the same issue. There was the teaching of localism, but the practice was something contradictory.

I don’t see any issue if an individual church wants to declare itself to be non-denominational and free of outside control. The notion of localism, however, becomes suspect when it is taught or practiced on a larger scale, such as within a network of churches, because there is an inherent conflict of interest at play. If a network of churches declares itself to practice localism then I would expect them to be readily willing to accept all kinds of differences between the churches. More than likely though, the assertion of practicing localism would be false and the network of churches would be a group where each church had rescinded some amount of autonomy.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:33 AM   #15
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I came across a book with some interesting claims about Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and the local churches in mainland China and Taiwan. The book is "Religion and Democracy in Taiwan" by Cheng-Tian Kuo, SUNY Press, May 8, 2008.

Watchman Nee founded the Local Church in China in the 1920s. He was influenced by western evangelists, but "developed an indigenized theology critical of the principal churches but accessible to ordinary Chinese". Witness Lee was his "right-hand man".

"The ecclesiology of the Local Church was a mixture of supreme mastership, equality of all believers, and a centralized decision core with strong local autonomy. Ni was the supreme master of all church members, including Ni's successor, Li Chang-shou, who served Ni as his own son. Ni's writings were the main, if not the only, instructional materials in Bible study sessions. His leadership and biblical interpretation was beyond challenge by his members; those who dared to question were driven out of the church.

"The Local Church headquarters makes important decisions about church activities and personnel. Local churches cannot but obey; otherwise, they would be excommunicated from the church, as occurred in the 1960s. Among the various charges against these saboteurs, Li (Lee) mentioned that they challenged his leadership in general, including refusing to sing the eighty-five new hymns composed by Li for all member churches. These saboteurs were first suspended of their elder positions and left the Local Church one year later to establish independent churches. The Living Stone Church in Taipei is one of the remnants of this split".
I was floored by the part in quotations, because from 1978-2015 I never heard anything about that event..... except Witness Lee did talk about composing 85 new hymns (about 1962), and how they uplifted the Lord’s Table meetings after a while.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:32 AM   #16
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I was floored by the part in quotations, because from 1978-2015 I never heard anything about that event..... except Witness Lee did talk about composing 85 new hymns (about 1962), and how they uplifted the Lord’s Table meetings after a while.
While we were in the LC's, the flow of information was totally controlled by LSM. We never heard the whole story.

For example, we were told that the Lord sent Lee to the USA. It turns out that after Lee forced the church in Taipei to sell their property to pay off Lee's business debts, he was no longer welcome there.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:41 AM   #17
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

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I think that over the course of time, the Brethren ran into a lot of issues over the question of what type of relationship should exist between the local assemblies. Ironically though, had they ever existed solely as local assemblies, that would have never been an issue to begin with. It was only an issue because they existed as an informal (or formal) network of churches. The LCM likewise ran into the same issue. There was the teaching of localism, but the practice was something contradictory.
Right, and couple this with Darby's obsession for absolute control.

Muller, Craik, Chapman, and other Brethren leaders had a Baptist background and saw the Brethren fellowship as a connection of assemblies, mutually edifying one another. Darby, Wigram, and others, on the other hand, were Anglican priests or raised in the Anglican church, which had a strong central administration similar to that in Rome. Two conflicting viewpoints. Muller was a strong proponent of the local eldership, and Darby saw the needed oversight of all those elders -- an unnamed bishopric of sorts. Both early-Lee and early-Nee were the former (Antioch Principle), and both later-Nee and later-Lee were the latter (Jerusalem Principle), and both in the likeness of Darby.

Initially, Darby espoused so-called "autonomous" assemblies, and saw the Spirit blessing their ministry abundantly. Whole churches in Great Britain would join their movement, and cut their former fellowship ties. Eventually Darby was convinced that he alone was the guardian/leader of the Brethren faith, and other renowned and influential leaders, such as Groves, Muller, and Newton, were considered dangerous rivals and a threat to the movement requiring his “battle for the soul of Brethrenism.” Darby basically felt compelled to beat them into submission, or expel them as threats. The charges he brought against Newton and Muller were completely bogus -- No different than the charges brought against Ingalls, So, Mallon and later on Titus Chu, Tomes, et.al.

Darby's system of control was willing to throw any brother under the bus. His version of "blended brothers" were in London, at the Park Ave meeting hall. The brilliant Wm. Kelly was his chief editor, very much like today's Ron Kangas. While Darby was on his deathbed, Kelly disagreed with the farcical excommunication of old Dr. Cronin over the breaking of bread. (The exact same scenario as what later excommunicated W. Nee.) Park Ave. "Blendeds" expelled Kelly on a rules technicality! Then Darby conceded it was "God's will."

Sure it was God's will. But not as Darby thought. It was the same as when Jesus was on earth and His followers were put out of the Synagogue -- Freedom!
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

“The Local Church of Witness Lee is a splinter sect of the Closed Brethren, modified by Asian culture and peculiarly developed because of its isolation from the rest of the Body of Christ.” - John Myer

It seems that this thought is shared by many on this site.

So do we have anyone here who has spent a significant amount of time in an “Open Brethren” assembly and TLR that would care to share their experience?

I found two different Open Brethren assemblies in cities not far from where I live, and am thinking about attending a meeting, but don’t want to end up in a cult again!
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:17 AM   #19
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Wow! Check out this old article about “Needed Truth” “Open Brethren” assemblies. Maybe Watchman Nee (and thence Lee) got “the ground of the Church” doctrine and other local church practices from them, not “Exclusive Brethren”.
https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/cbrfj/04_21.pdf
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:20 AM   #20
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Default Re: Claim of Watchman Nee Leadership Practice in China?

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Wow! Check out this old article about “Needed Truth” “Open Brethren” assemblies. Maybe Watchman Nee (and thence Lee) got “the ground of the Church” doctrine and other local church practices from them, not “Exclusive Brethren”.
https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/cbrfj/04_21.pdf
Needed Truth Brethren left the Open Brethren becoming extremely conservative and went back to many of the Exclusive practices.

Quote:
Wikipedia: The Churches of God (Needed Truth Brethren) seceded from the Open Brethren around 1892 ("The Separation"), as a result of the ideas propagated in the Needed Truth magazine finding acceptance in some Open Brethren circles, but not all.

Wikipedia: Needed Truth is a Christian, Plymouth Brethren magazine that first appeared in 1888 in Scotland. The magazine discussed whether reception was to the Lord's Table, or if reception was to the assembly itself. This distinction had implications whether a believer from other evangelical churches could occasionally meet with the saints in a New Testament assembly. The publication of the magazine crystallised the two sides of the argument to such an extent that within five years they ceased to be in intercommunion.
(Translate: they became Closed Brethren)

The Recovery followed a similar pattern after the "Max" episode in the late '70s. As they say in politics, "never let a good crisis go to waste." WL convinced all the LC's that we were short of "The Truth," and that's why Max could cause such chaos in the LC's. (Truth was, WL sent Max out to "shakeup" the LC's, and that's why the LC's received him.) In the aftermath of that nasty "storm," Lee changed his teachings from Spirit and life for Christ and church, to one with the ministry for the building of the body. Sounds good, but subtle changes were happening behind the scenes. LSM tightened their grip.
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