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Old 12-09-2019, 03:05 PM   #1
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Default A System of Error?

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One thing I wasn't fully aware of right away was realizing the full extent of types of abuses that are occurring within the LC today.
Too true. And as I said, I have less and less connection to the present version of LC abuses.

But underpinning those abuses is a system of error. One that is theological. (And given the severity of some of the errors, it might be better called "theoLEEgical"). The errors fall primarily into two categories; those that enforce a superiority and authority for Lee and now the Blendeds and elders that go beyond the teachings in the Bible, and those that capture the mind with the air of superior doctrine. Things like:
  • Deputy authority.
  • Ground of the church.
  • The minister of the age (MOTA)
  • A higher lexicon
  • Being Phildelphia while everyone else is one of the other seven churches, or even Babylon.
  • Claiming that Jesus is now the Holy Spirit.
  • That Jesus is simply the Father.
  • That to say that the "three" of the trinity are "persons" is to be tritheistic.
And it goes on and on. Even some relatively minor variations too often are less substantive as they are another layer of wall between the LC and the whole of the body of Christ.

Add to this the apparent camaraderie of the members and you have a hook that is nearly impossible to overcome for many. I know many who couldn't stand the LC, so they just stayed home. Didn't even attempt to find other fellowship. They accepted the lie that they could not find anything else and just languished — until they could take it no more and they went back, generally to become little more than second-class citizens.
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Old 12-09-2019, 03:29 PM   #2
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Default A System of Error?

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The errors fall primarily into two categories . . . Things like:
  • Claiming that Jesus is now the Holy Spirit.
So is the Holy Spirit in us or upon us or both?

If the HS is not Christ, then is the HS also in us? If the HS is in us, according to Romans 8, then so too is God, Christ and the Spirit (different from the HS?).

What do we do with 2nd Corinthians 3:17, "Now the Lord is the Spirit"? So if Christ is now the Spirit and joined with our spirit (1st Cor 6:17), again, is this different from the HS?

Then we have Jesus' speaking in both John 14 & 17 where He says the Father is in Him and He will be in us, and we will be one in them. And John 14:16-17 says, " And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.

I could list so many other verses speaking of this. Please know I don't really know what I'm talking about, that is, regarding comprehending the Triune God. I'm really just wanting you to clarify with verses what you seemed to say about Jesus not being the HS. Hopefully I'll learn something here . . . .
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Old 12-09-2019, 03:53 PM   #3
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Default A System of Error?

I think that it is sufficient to say that the nature of the trinity is not "simply" anything.

God is spirit. That means that the Father, Son and Spirit, are spirit. Don't be confused by the name of one of the Three being the same word as that common nature. That doesn't make them "simply" one person or "simply" each other.

And you have to determine what exactly is the translation. Is it that the "Lord is the Spirit" or the "Lord is the spirit?" I don't think the Greek answers that question. And even though we typically understand "Lord" to always mean the Son, is that entirely correct?

And ignoring the correctness of capitalization, is the statement "the Lord is the Spirit" intended to say that Jesus is the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit is the Lord (acknowledged ruler) within us (without the presumption that Lord = Son), or that the Lord (the Son) is spirit (or some other alternative)?

I know Lee liked to make absolute statements like "there is only one spirit that gives life and it is the Holy Spirit." But that is not supported by the scripture that we have. All three are "spirit" and all three give life, and yet every one of the writers of scripture keeps referring to the three as if they are not simply the same. By what means and authority does Lee turn around and say that those statements attributing different characteristics to different "persons" of the trinity are irrelevant?

And, BTW, the next verse says that when the heart turns to the Lord (not the Spirit, and not the "human spirit") the veil is taken away.
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:59 AM   #4
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But underpinning those abuses is a system of error.
I think this is a huge point. A large part of the system of error in the Local Church is bad theology, and bad theology can lead to aberrational practices.

As many have pointed out, Witness Lee taught many orthodox views along side of his unbiblical and aberrational views, and the confusion gets deeper when his defenders point to Lee's orthodox teachings as a mitigator to the unbiblical. And there is no clearer example than Lee's teachings about the Trinity. It is a fact that Lee taught that the triune God is composed of three persons (orthodox), yet he also taught that the Father became the Son, and the Son became the Holy Spirit. (a form of modalism)

It is also a fact that no reputable, widely accepted biblical scholar, teacher or apologist has ever used 1 Corinthians 15:45 or 2 Corinthians 3:17 as proof texts in the manner employed by Witness Lee. Yes, these verses have been used as proof texts by heretical groups such as the Unitarians and Oneness Pentecostals, but both of these groups flat out deny the long-established, orthodox teaching of the Trinity.

I'm sure there are a number of threads concerning the Trinity floating around the archives of this forum, and if someone can dig one of them up, we can transfer this thread over.

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Old 12-10-2019, 11:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: A System of Error?

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It is also a fact that no reputable, widely accepted biblical scholar, teacher or apologist has ever used 1 Corinthians 15:45 or 2 Corinthians 3:17 as proof texts in the manner employed by Witness Lee. Yes, these verses have been used as proof texts by heretical groups such as the Unitarians and Oneness Pentecostals, but both of these groups flat out deny the long-established, orthodox teaching of the Trinity.
The thing is, it seems those two verses are completely ignored by most preachers! That is, I don't think I've heard any speaker outside the sphere of LC influence mention them at all. I listen to a lot of Christian radio, and most of it is such a blend of Judaic Christianity - so little regarding the indwelling Christ is ever mentioned it seems, except as sort of a passing reference . . . .

Am I wrong about this?
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:10 PM   #6
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Claiming that Jesus is now the Holy Spirit. That Jesus is simply the Father. That to say that the "three" of the trinity are "persons" is to be tritheistic..
Let me ask..

If Christ is God (John 1: 1) but not the Holy Spirit, then who is the Holy Spirit? Is he God, too?

If the Holy Spirit is God, but not Christ, yet Christ is God, then does that mean that there are TWO Gods?

And if the Father is God, yet Jesus is not the Father, how then can Jesus be God, except the TWO of them are Gods?

And if the Holy Spirit is God, but is neither the Father (who is God) nor the Son (who is God), then would not that make THREE Gods?

But if there is only ONE God, then what are the other two? And WHICH ONE of them is God?

Or...(drumroll please)...are all three the same God?

_________________________________

So, are there three Gods, OBW, or is there only one God?

...[for your reference]...

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace "

[Isaiah 9: 6]

...nuff said...
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:02 PM   #7
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Gospelicious,

Your questions are very similar to the questions and concerns raised by Witness Lee and his followers over the past 50+ years. The problem is that these questions and concerns only exist among those dear brothers and sisters who have chosen to abandon the orthodox teachings that have been embraced by most of evangelical, orthodox protestant Christianity for about 2000 years now.

It is impossible to describe the Trinity in just a few sentences. However, that does not mean that there is not a need for safeguards to protect from heretical teachings. For better or for worse, this is what many of the creeds and statements of faith and theological declarations are all about. These long-standing creeds, statements and declarations are not to be considered on the same level as the Word of God, just as a fence around a home is not as important as the home - it is there to protect the home and it's precious occupants.

Allow me to post an excerpt from the Athanasian Creed:

Quote:
We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Spirit unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite.
Amazingly enough, even Wikipedia has a very biblical and succint definition of the orthodox view of the Trinity:
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit. 'triad', from Latin: trinus "threefold") holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine persons". The three persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is.

Here is a short YouTube of the late Nabeel Qureshi explaining the orthodox view of the Trinity:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0JpwOSKRC0&t=351s
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Old 12-10-2019, 03:50 PM   #8
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But underpinning those abuses is a system of error. One that is theological. (And given the severity of some of the errors, it might be better called "theoLEEgical"). The errors fall primarily into two categories; those that enforce a superiority and authority for Lee and now the Blendeds and elders that go beyond the teachings in the Bible, and those that capture the mind with the air of superior doctrine.
It's interesting to consider how various LC teachings and doctrines have contributed to the culture that exists within the LC as well as the abuses that have occurred. There are the obvious teachings like deputy authority. In other matters like the Lee's unorthodox teaching of the Trinity, it might not be immediately clear as to the end effect on LC members.

In regards to anything that Lee taught, I always have to also call into question his possible motivations for what he taught. Take the Trinity for example. Did he really feel that he had that much better of an understanding of the matter than anyone else? I don't think so, and that leads me to believe that his intention was related to setting the LC apart from others or trying to position himself and his teachings as superior.
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Gospelicious View Post
Let me ask..

If Christ is God (John 1: 1) but not the Holy Spirit, then who is the Holy Spirit? Is he God, too?

If the Holy Spirit is God, but not Christ, yet Christ is God, then does that mean that there are TWO Gods?

And if the Father is God, yet Jesus is not the Father, how then can Jesus be God, except the TWO of them are Gods?

And if the Holy Spirit is God, but is neither the Father (who is God) nor the Son (who is God), then would not that make THREE Gods?

But if there is only ONE God, then what are the other two? And WHICH ONE of them is God?

Or...(drumroll please)...are all three the same God?

_________________________________

So, are there three Gods, OBW, or is there only one God?
Now let me ask.

If an angel of the Lord told Philip to go down the south road, in Acts 8:26, and the Spirit told Philip in Acts 8:29 to run up to a certain chariot, was that Spirit the Holy Spirit? Because the angel is holy, and it is a ministering spirit. Or are there two separate holy spirits, the first of which (v 26) handed off to the second (v 29)? And if the Angel of v 26 is the Holy Spirit of v 29, then what is the Holy Spirit that prevented them from going in Acts 16:6? Is an angel a spirit of Jesus, or a spirit of something else (16:7)? Is the spirit of just men made perfect (Heb 12:23) the same as "His angel" of Acts 12:15 and Matthew 18:10?

The problem with systematic theology, especially espoused by confident amateurs, is that it quickly leads to absurdity. Or else one simply must ignore verses that don't help one's theology, or just waves them away. No, the writer of Acts 8 wasn't clear on theological matters. Nor was the writer of John's Apocalypse, with 7 spirits (!!) nor was...

If the Centurion in Luke 7:8 was "also a man under authority" and Jesus was the Father God made flesh, then whose authority was the Father under? Because if he wasn't under someone surely Jesus would have corrected the Centurion for improper theology! On the contrary, he saluted it. So was the Father under the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven? "How is it that the Mother of my Lord (the incarnated Father) comes to visit me?" Makes perfect sense. Luke 1:43

(That was humour.)
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:05 PM   #10
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The thing is, it seems those two verses are completely ignored by most preachers! That is, I don't think I've heard any speaker outside the sphere of LC influence mention them at all. I listen to a lot of Christian radio, and most of it is such a blend of Judaic Christianity - so little regarding the indwelling Christ is ever mentioned it seems, except as sort of a passing reference . . . .

Am I wrong about this?
StG,

While there is less discussion on 2 Cor 3:17, we have had significant discussion 1 Co 15:45.

In that verse, there are primarily two problems with Lee's interpretation. 1) context, and 2) understanding of spirit v Spirit.

CONTEXT

In the case of the context, this verse is in the middle of a discussion of the kind of body that the believers might receive in our ultimate resurrection. Paul doesn't say definitively, but he pretty quickly comes to a view of the body that Christ had in his resurrection. It was both physical and spiritual. It was solid and could be touched and seen. But it was also "spiritual" in that it could appear and disappear, and apparently move through walls, locked doors, etc. Paul referred to this as being "spiritual." You might almost argue he was saying "like a ghost" but that might be taking some liberty with his words.

The context issue is that this discussion begins much earlier in the chapter and continues all the way up to several verses past verse 45. And nowhere else in this section dos the discussion deal with any aspect of the trinity in any way. Just the "spiritual" body of Christ as a likely example of what we would receive in resurrection. To say that Paul is saying that Christ became the Holy Spirit is a little like saying he was a dog on the trail of a missing person, and suddenly saw a squirrel, looked away, barked, and then went back to what he was doing. In other words, he had an ADHD, or "squirrel" moment then went back to the discussion at hand.

INTERPRETATION

On of Lee's general errors is that he tries to make everything "simply" some singular thing with no variation in meaning. For example, he insists that leaven is always bad, therefore, in the parable of the leaven put into a lump of bread dough, he insists that this is something evil being added to the church. Like some kind of demonic or heretical teaching. But he misses that the parable likens the Kindom of Heaven (or God — can't remember which at the moment) to leaven put into a measure of flour until it leavens the whole lump. The leaven is the kingdom added to the world with the result that the world is changed. But not according to Lee.

In this case, Lee is sold on the "there is only one spirit that gives life" mantra. And that is patently false. God is spirit (not Spirit). Therefore the Father is spirit, the Son is spirit, and the Spirit is spirit. That was a statement of the nature of God made by Jesus in John 4 speaking to the woman at the well. The nature of God — spirit — does not subsume all aspects of God into "The Spirit." There is nothing to support such a statement. But many statements of the differences in character and function of the Father, Son, and Spirit that make them (in some manner that does not negate the One God) separate. This is why it is a matter of faith, not science. Science cannot provide an explanation for this. And none of the various metaphors used do it justice because they overstate one aspect compared to others. (Go to YouTube and look up Lutheran satire, or something like that, and find the video where St Patrick is supposed to explain the Trinity to a couple of Irish yokels.)

Further to the above, the Spirit is not the only one of the three that gives life. Christ is life, and we receive his life. How does he not give life? And I think if you dig around you can find plenty to establish that God the Father gives life.

So the real question is, why would anyone think that Lee had proved anything with this verse given the ample evidence that 1) it is not making a reference to the Holy Spirit in any shape or form, and 2) the premise upon which Lee ignores that and insists that only the Spirit can give life is false?

I, like Lee, was trained as an accountant. Yet despite his many subsequent years devoted to being some kind of Christian teacher, I am not sure but what I can understand the Bible better than he did. And in saying that I am not suggesting that I am any kind of theologian.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:47 AM   #11
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It's interesting to consider how various LC teachings and doctrines have contributed to the culture that exists within the LC as well as the abuses that have occurred. There are the obvious teachings like deputy authority. In other matters like the Lee's unorthodox teaching of the Trinity, it might not be immediately clear as to the end effect on LC members.

In regards to anything that Lee taught, I always have to also call into question his possible motivations for what he taught. Take the Trinity for example. Did he really feel that he had that much better of an understanding of the matter than anyone else? I don't think so, and that leads me to believe that his intention was related to setting the LC apart from others or trying to position himself and his teachings as superior.
There was a whole thread started on this subject a while back. "Things that most Christian's don't know (but WL knows)" or something like that. The idea being, there was some special proprietary angle on the truth that nobody had gotten to yet, but now (at last!!) had been 'recovered'.

I think maybe there's a reason that most folks hadn't seen these things. Put different, maybe there's a reason most Christians DO believe God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day. Maybe there's a reason that we believe that God loved us so much that he sent His Only-begotten Son, that we should not perish. Maybe that's what God wants us all to focus on, agree on, collectively cling to, refusing to be separated by esoteric notions or winds of teaching.

On another thread we were talking about the ''first love'' in the church in Ephesus, as they were admonished by John from Patmos, and it brought to mind Ephesians 2:4,5 "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."

"His great love...." did you ever think about his great love for you? I rarely do unfortunately. This great love now wants to consume me, separate me from uncleanness, and pour out through me in a great fire that can't be extinguished. James taught that true religion was to visit widows and orphans in their affliction, just as Jesus had taught that if you visited the sick and weak you were visiting him. No mention of plying esotericism.
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Old 12-11-2019, 05:05 AM   #12
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Gospelicious,

Your questions are very similar to the questions and concerns raised by Witness Lee and his followers over the past 50+ years. The problem is that these questions and concerns only exist among those dear brothers and sisters who have chosen to abandon the orthodox teachings that have been embraced by most of evangelical, orthodox protestant Christianity for about 2000 years now.

Amazingly enough, even Wikipedia has a very biblical and succint definition of the orthodox view of the Trinity:
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit. 'triad', from Latin: trinus "threefold") holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine persons". The three persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is.
Here is a short YouTube of the late Nabeel Qureshi explaining the orthodox view of the Trinity:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0JpwOSKRC0&t=351s
-
Thank you, Untohim, this makes you and OBW's position on the Trinity much more crystal. I fully agree with that position and, for the life of me, cannot see what the problem is. So, I have gone over OBW's submissions again, more carefully; and I am afraid I may have misunderstood him.

In one of the items of his criticism of Lee's teachings, for example, OBW attacked Lee's claim that 'Jesus is simply the Father'. I did not catch the gist of his argument and wrongly supposed that he was insinuating that Jesus is not God (I, naturally, rushed to the Lord's side, sword in hand, to protect His honor). Having re-read his earlier posts, though, I can see now that is clearly not what he intended to mean.

However, while I agree that 1 Corinthians 15: 45 may have been misinterpreted by Lee, I must confess that we have a significant point of departure concerning 2 Cor 3:17 (here I think Lee was spot on).

I now believe that 1 Cor 15:45 actually references the Lord's human spirit, him being a proper human being, and how that this spirit, now filled with life in resurrection, in turn, gave life, or 'quickened' his dead and crucified body to raise it in incorruption.

This view not only explains the indefinite article used in relation to the "Spirit", but also is in keeping with the wider context of the chapter touching on the resurrection of our bodies, plus also presenting an apt contradistinction to Adam's having only 'become a living soul'. By extension, this would also suggest that, today, as believers, our human spirits, indwelt and powered by the Holy Spirit, quicken, or will quicken, our mortal bodies. I'm not yet all-ten-toes-in with this interpretation, however, and would appreciate some feedback highlighting possible errors because even I, myself, am able to deploy arguments to undermine it.

As for 2 Cor 3:17, how can there be any question about this? "now the Lord is THAT Spirit" What Spirit? THAT Spirit! Now, instead of wondering whether the Greek capitalises the word 'spirit' or not (opening up a whole new can of worms) why don't we look at the whole context within which the word occurs, tracing the entire line of argument all the way back to its genesis? Wouldn't that yield greater understanding other than descending into debates about whether the 's' is upper case or lower case, or as some Cardinal clowns I know confidently suggested, that since angels are 'holy' and they are 'ministering spirits', therefore they are the holy spirit. I mean...

"Now the Lord is THAT Spirit/spirit" The question is 'what Spirit/spirit?' The answer, of course, lies in the preceding verses. Verse 3 of the very chapter says:
"forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit/spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."
It is clear therefore, that any mention of the Spirit/spirit in this chapter, as in, "now the Lord is THAT Spirit/spirit" is in reference to the "Spirit/spirit of the living God". This is just common sense...my three-year-old grand-...but I digress...

[^note^ I have rendered the word 'spirit' in both capitalized and uncapitalized form in order to pre-empt and cut off recourse to this most misleading line of reasoning]

And so, who is the 'Lord' in the verse "now the LORD is that Spirit"? Once again, context is key here. Remember that we are reading an epistle here, a letter, an ancient 'tweet', if you will. It must be cohesive and coherent. At the very least, on the surface of it, it must be able to explain itself.

It is misleading to reason that because the title 'Lord' occurs in other parts of the Bible that don't refer directly to Christ, or can't possibly mean Christ because he wasn't born yet, etc, etc, therefore there is no certain way of knowing whether or not this particular mention of the 'Lord' in 2 Corinthians refers to him or not. This is a false argument purely intended to NOT identify Christ with the Spirit. Well there is a certain way. And that is by looking into the text in question itself without migrating to other parts of Scripture.

By simply casting back to Paul's salutation in this epistle, he writes, "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the 'Lord' Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 1: 2). Jesus Christ is THAT Lord. The title 'Lord' occurs two other times in 2 Cor 2: 12 and 3:16 before the controversial verse in question. And in the former case, the 'Lord' is reported by Paul as having fulfilled a role normally reserved for the Holy Spirit. But that should be no wonder, because "the Lord is THAT Spirit"

In addition to all that, when you sum up the general thought of the third chapter, you find Paul outlines some negative items, like 'the old testament' and 'ink' and 'tables of stone' and 'the ministration of condemnation' 'the producing of death' and 'veiled hearts' and 'veiled faces' and 'the fading glory'.

Then Paul draws a very neat contradistinction between these foregoing items by outlining the following positive items, i.e. 'the new testament' and 'the Spirit of the living God' and 'fleshly tables of the heart' and 'the ministration of righteousness' and the 'ministration of the Spirit' and 'the giving of life' and 'unveiled hearts' and 'open faces' and 'the exceeding & excelling glory'

Once you get into the heart of what Paul is burdened to highlight in these verses i.e. that the old covenant is a photo negative of the new covenant, and that the Law stands in contradistinction to the Spirit, it is really difficult to see how anybody can conclude that the 'Lord' in verse 17 is some other lord, and not the Lord, and that the 'Spirit' in the same verse is not the Spirit, but some other spirit. It simply does not follow from the context. And consequently Paul's whole foregoing thought falls apart and his polemic becomes a meaningless jumble of words. One must really be following hard on the heels of Moses to not get this.

"but their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; WHICH VEIL IS DONE AWAY IN CHRIST. But even unto this day (in 2019), when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when [their heart] shall TURN TO THE LORD (Christ) THE VEIL SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY.

2 Corinthians 3: 14-16

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Old 12-11-2019, 09:30 AM   #13
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Default Re: A System of Error?

Gospelicious

In your discussion concerning 2 Cor 3:17, you refer to the "can of worms" that the capitalization, or lack thereof, would create. But this is the crux of the matter. Greek is not without capitalization. And they typically did capitalize names, which "The Spirit" is. Yet it must be that it was not capitalized here. Yes, certain renditions do insert capitalizations where none actually were on the presumption that it was intended to refer to the name of The Spirit. But since others do not, that leaves me to believe that the originals (to the best we have) do not.

Now if there is no reasonable way to understand "spirit" without it being the Holy Spirit, then I might bite. But since that is not the case, I need more than one reference in a passage talking about the nature of the new covenant (not the nature of the Godhead) to make such a leap. Given the robust understanding of "spirit," it should not be instantly presumed that when the word is used it must be the Holy Spirit, or alternately some spiritual organ of the human being called the "human spirit" (by Lee). There are several places where Paul uses the word and it is clearly to be understood as the nature of how something is undertaken (for lack of a better word). For example, a "spirit of sonship" (or adoption if we want to use the alternative understanding) is not at all about the Holy Spirit or about some human spirit, but about the whole of what being a son (adopted or otherwise) means. When someone makes a reference to a "spirit of camaraderie" this is a similar use of the word.

So back in verse 6, Paul refers to the letter and the spirit of the new covenant/testament. When we simply read words, it is the letter. It is cold and without life. But when we understand it through the Word that became flesh (Jesus Christ) we get what is really entailed in that covenant/testament. So Jesus Christ (the Lord) is the covenant, not in letters, but in spirit. In the fullness of what it really is.

This whole passage is not about a proposition concerning the doctrine of the Godhead, but of the spiritual reality of a new and better covenant being made available to us beyond just the written words we find in what we call "The Bible." Surely we would be unable to ground any alleged understanding of that covenant without solid, unchanging words. But we now have 2,000 years of proof that just relying on the ink on a page tends to provide a basis for crusades, inquisitions, racism, xenophobia, etc., depending on the un-Word-that-is-spirit-infused reading of the letters that we rely on.

The passage is not talking about the Trinity. It is not making a statement on Jesus becoming the Holy Spirit. Just like 1 Cor 15. The passage is talking about the letter of the new covenant v the "spirit" of that covenant. And then it clearly states that the Lord (Christ) is the spirit of the covenant. And since the Lord is the Word, that would seem to be a clear enough statement. It is not saying that the spirit of the new covenant is the Holy Spirit.

If the whole of the NT was infused with less vague statements more directly pointed at the fact that Jesus "became" the Holy Spirit, it could be more readily accepted. But when you have to 1) dig through a narrative that is not about the thing you are looking for 2) insist on an understanding that is not obviously meant (on something not the topic of the narrative) it is hard to sell it as the only "meaningful" evidence of some major departure in theology from the mainstream. Follow that by dragging such ill-conceived conclusion all over the scripture to revise what it is saying that otherwise is too clearly saying something else (think "that can't mean what it seems to say because of 'God's economy'") and you have another Leeism.

And with only a couple of such off-the-topic-of-the-context findings that do not fit within (or rationally relate to) the larger narrative, I cannot arrive at Lee's conclusion.

It may seem uplifting to be able to make the statement "now Christ is The life-giving Spirit," but it is not scripturally supported. Or at least not sufficiently so to be able to state it as some definite fact for a doctrinal point with which to fight others over. I will admit that there is a lot that might be inferred or presumed that is never stated. Those things could be true, but they were evidently not of such importance that they were made clear so we would stand on them as fact. If you want to think it is true, I will not call you a heretic over it. But neither will I consider it as something important to consider for my own belief. I surely would be wary of anyone building a system of theology around it.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:49 AM   #14
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Default Re: A System of Error?

A little more . . . .

While we generally understand roles for the Three of the Trinity, there is nothing that definitively makes those roles (in part or in the whole) the sole purview of any one of the Three. In addition, I have not found Lee nor Nee to be particularly good at identifying roles, functions, etc., in such a manner as to think their determination as to who/what has a particular role or function. Go back to Nee's lengthy list of the various functions that he attributes to soul v spirit when trying to create a separation and definition for them. Many years ago we realized that many of his "spirit" roles were really just functions of the soul. Our conclusion was that there was insufficient evidence that any alleged "human spirit" was other than a spiritually enlivened aspect of the soul. And even there insufficiently so to make it a doctrinal point to stand on.

To all of this, trying to drag uses of words with some overlay of meaning because of passages other than the particular one that is currently under the spotlight is not a very solid base. While you did stay within the confines of 2 Corinthians, any presumption that any particular word must have a constant meaning (in its entirety) over the whole of the somewhat lengthy letter is suspect, at best. Not saying that it cannot. But where there is any possibility of alternate meanings (from slight variations to extreme differences) you cannot simply presume such a singularity of meaning.

But the more problematic thing is that the passage in question is talking about the nature of a covenant, not the Godhead. So I find it unlikely that Paul (or anyone else) would make such a theologically important statement as "the Son is the Holy Spirit" in such a vague way (possibly in two different situations, if you count 1 Cor 15) while primarily talking about something else and never make such a statement in a more direct manner. If it is really so important (as Lee clearly stated) then it deserves more than one or two vague, off-point inferences (not statements).
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: A System of Error?

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Originally Posted by OBW View Post
It may seem uplifting to be able to make the statement "now Christ is The life-giving Spirit," but it is not scripturally supported.
But we can say "The Last Adam became a life-giving Spirit" since that is scripture, as is "the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:2) So is it that much of a leap to say, "Now Christ is The life-giving Spirit"? (could also throw in "the Spirit of Jesus forbade us" in Acts 16:6)

So yes, there are not a large amount of verses equating Christ with the Spirit, but there are a ton of them speaking about Christ in us, and that indwelling must be as Spirit, right?

Disclaimer: When it comes to defining the Triune God, I really don't know what I'm talking about, so please keep that in mind and I ask your forgiveness for any seemingly high minded comments in advance!
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:44 AM   #16
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Default Re: A System of Error?

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Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
But we can say "The Last Adam became a life-giving Spirit" since that is scripture, as is "the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:2) So is it that much of a leap to say, "Now Christ is The life-giving Spirit"? (could also throw in "the Spirit of Jesus forbade us" in Acts 16:6)
The "S/spirit of life" is a term, not necessarily a name. Unlike the word for Christ, pneuma is not actually capitalized. That does not foreclose the possibility. But it leaves uncertainty. Why declare certainty where it is not?

I think that you absolutely cannot, based on 1 Cor 15:45, declare that the last Adam became the life-giving "Spirit." Only "spirit." And if not "Spirit," then more likely "a" life-giving spirit, because it is a statement of nature that is not singular or unique in its entirety. In fact, in context it is Paul's argment that the "spirit" or "spiritual" part of the nature of Christ is what he is suggesting we receive in the resurrection as our "spiritual" body. Therefore, while we are not embued with "life-giving" qualities as Christ was, we will be given a changed body as he was.

And it is the very idea that we should want to declare and be elated about saying "the Last Adam became the life-giving Spirit" that makes it problematic. It is the very problem with Leeology that puts its hooks into good believers to stay loyal to the LC. If you cannot find anyone else saying it, then it must be that the LC is the place to be. Hallelujah! that we have found the place that encourages us to say this (convoluted and unfounded thing) that no one else can see!

Understand a little? It is a system of error design to trap good Christians with a sense of superiority and false feelings generated by declaring things they are told are so wonderful, high-peak, etc., that no one else is teaching/saying.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:57 AM   #17
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Default Re: A System of Error?

Let me add to my last post. For many years after I left the LC (back in 87), I still considered some of the questionable teachings as sound. Only after starting to reanalyze it in 2005 or so did some of it begin to go away. Until then, I still somewhat looked down on persons always ending prayers with "in Jesus name" or having communion with little cups (though I did partake anyway).

It was in about 2008 that I realized that in 1 Cor 3, the builders were Paul, Apollos, Peter, etc., and the building was the church in Corinth (in the particular context). The ones whose work was to be tried in the fire was not the church in Corinth, but the ones who had been teaching them (and that they were arguing over). Eye-opener.

If you think it might sound funny to a good Christian you meet outside the LC, then you might want to do a more careful study of what it is you are saying. Christianity really has it down pretty good. If in your own ears it would sound funny to them, then maybe it really is funny — and not in a good way. Doesn't matter if you think you are getting an internal "hallelujah" from it. It just might be that it is like Pavlov's dog, salivating when the bell rings. IOW, you feel good because you have been trained to feel good.

I know that the LC actually sang these words, but I don't think they actually understood them . . . . "the feelings do not change the fact." I know it was followed by "Jesus is Lord of all," and not "Christ is the life-giving Spirit," but the important point is that relying on feelings to validate truth is like saying it is warm outside today just because the sun is out.
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:13 AM   #18
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Default Re: A System of Error?

Your timeline is very close to mine! I left around 87-88, and strongly started seeing things that undermined certain WL teachings in the mid-2000s. (I saw clearly the love of God was the key thing missing in many LC teachings)

And I had never considered that the passage in 1st Cor 3 was toward the teachers and leaders. Interesting. (However, chapter 3 does say, "If anyone builds," right? Other verses Paul penned talk about the members building up each other . . .)
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: A System of Error?

One more thing to consider. There has been some study of people who came to understand certain verses in certain ways because all they had was the one verse (or even just part of it). They have made assumptions about words and meaning and come to a particular conclusion. Then, after having thought that to be true for some length of time, they are shown how their context-less conclusions were wrong. Even after careful study and even agreeing with the findings, more than 50% tend to retain their errant understanding despite irrefutable evidence it is wrong.

It can even work in science. Many years ago we briefly discussed a view of light coming to us from the sun. When I was in the 6th or 7th grade, a science teacher said that when you look at the sun, it is actually some number of degrees further to the west because it takes a few minutes (6 or 8, I can't remember at the moment) for the light to reach earth. (now don't start bringing the movement of our solar system through space because that brings in possible factors that we cannot deal with, though they may also disappear in the final analysis.)

The problem with that view is that it presumes that the sun is rotating around the earth. But if the sun is effectively at a fixed point in space and the appearance of movement is due strictly to the rotation of the earth, then the light that reaches your eye at any point in time is traceable back down a straight line to where the sun has always been. The light might have been pointed at a different point on the planet when it left the sun, but it hit you/me after the minutes it took to get there. Down a straight line back to the sun where it still is.

You have no idea how many other people have heard that and how hard it is to admit that it is incorrect since they thought it was true for so long.

The point is that you are going to find yourself needing to presume that even what you still think is true could be wrong or you will never be open to reanalysis and learning. If I didn't I would still be in the LC.
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:37 AM   #20
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Default Re: A System of Error?

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Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
And I had never considered that the passage in 1st Cor 3 was toward the teachers and leaders. Interesting. (However, chapter 3 does say, "If anyone builds," right? Other verses Paul penned talk about the members building up each other . . .)
Even "anyone" can have a context. Paul has spent from early chapter 1 though this point and on into the beginning of chapter 4 talking about the leaders that the Corinthians are arguing about. Just before he says "if anyone builds" he has stated that he is talking about himself, Apollos, Peter, etc., when he says "we are coworkers in God's service, you are God's field, God's building." (NET Bible, but consistent in others) I think he was earlier using a farm metaphor, then changes to a building metaphor at this point.

You are correct that other places say we build each other up. But that is not what he is talking about here. He is making a very specific statement about the ones that the Corinthians have been chosing-up sides about. I would never suggest that the following verses can never be applied in any way to the "average" Christian. But Paul is not doing that here. That is an application that he does not make. It could be true. But it is not stated as being so.

But what was the result of teaching the LC saints this? We became constantly introspective about how we were building, in the context of a "church life" that was somewhat exacting if you wanted to be "in" with God's chosen remnant and not part of the Whore of Babylon.

See . . . one more brick in a wall of a system of error.
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:52 AM   #21
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Default Re: A System of Error?

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Even "anyone" can have a context. Paul has spent from early chapter 1 though this point and on into the beginning of chapter 4 talking about the leaders that the Corinthians are arguing about. Just before he says "if anyone builds" he has stated that he is talking about himself, Apollos, Peter, etc., when he says "we are coworkers in God's service, you are God's field, God's building." (NET Bible, but consistent in others) I think he was earlier using a farm metaphor, then changes to a building metaphor at this point.

You are correct that other places say we build each other up. But that is not what he is talking about here. He is making a very specific statement about the ones that the Corinthians have been chosing-up sides about. I would never suggest that the following verses can never be applied in any way to the "average" Christian. But Paul is not doing that here. That is an application that he does not make. It could be true. But it is not stated as being so.
I've gone back over 1 Corinthians 3 and see what you mean. However, I am not convinced it only applies toward those in leadership.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:52 AM   #22
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I've gone back over 1 Corinthians 3 and see what you mean. However, I am not convinced it only applies toward those in leadership.
I think this falls into the grey area of "could be true but isn't stated." There is a lot that is not definitely false since it is not stated as being false. But neither is it stated as being true, therefore not definitely true.

In effect, the bible is silent on it. Just as it is on a lot of things. That doesn't mean that it is irrelevant, but it also doesn't mean that it is open for extension in a "must be" kind of way.

This is where a lot of Lee's "simply" and other peculiar theological statements fall. He jumps into an area where there is a potential follow-on that is not intentionally implied or stated and declares it as true.

You are right in that it could apply to anyone. But that is not what Paul said and was not who he was applying it to. He was applying it to the leadership without definitively stating that it was exclusively for them. So think it might be whatever you want. Just don't preach it as doctrine or fact.
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:02 AM   #23
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Default Re: A System of Error?

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This is where a lot of Lee's "simply" and other peculiar theological statements fall. He jumps into an area where there is a potential follow-on that is not intentionally implied or stated and declares it as true.
And this is where we "simply" by-pass Lee's teachings and go directly to scripture.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:14 PM   #24
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Default Re: A System of Error?

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And this is where we "simply" by-pass Lee's teachings and go directly to scripture.
What a concept!!!
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