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Old 06-24-2016, 03:13 PM   #1
love4truth
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Default All natural things are bad?

There seems to be a prevalent teaching of Witness Lee that all natural things are bad, and that God hates the natural. We who are Christians are supposed to hate anything that is in the natural world, no matter how good it appears. To Lee natural love is wrong, only love that comes from Christ is right. But if you are a Christian and you have the experience of love in your heart, how do you divide what is spiritual and what is natural? Is natural love wrong? Love of a mother for her children is seen even in the animal world. I cherish my family, my friends. Natural instincts that are good seem worthy to me. Why should Christians fight for good causes when they may be doing it in the natural? I am a born again Christian, but I do not insist good that I embrace be put under a microscope. Good is good and we should give thanks and rejoice because God created good. Good works do not save us, but they are important. What do you think? Can anyone explain to me just what Lee is trying to say in this teaching?
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Old 06-24-2016, 04:50 PM   #2
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There seems to be a prevalent teaching of Witness Lee that all natural things are bad, and that God hates the natural. We who are Christians are supposed to hate anything that is in the natural world, no matter how good it appears. To Lee natural love is wrong, only love that comes from Christ is right. But if you are a Christian and you have the experience of love in your heart, how do you divide what is spiritual and what is natural? Is natural love wrong? Love of a mother for her children is seen even in the animal world. I cherish my family, my friends. Natural instincts that are good seem worthy to me. Why should Christians fight for good causes when they may be doing it in the natural? I am a born again Christian, but I do not insist good that I embrace be put under a microscope. Good is good and we should give thanks and rejoice because God created good. Good works do not save us, but they are important. What do you think? Can anyone explain to me just what Lee is trying to say in this teaching?
If you listen to Witness Lee long and hard enough, you will eventually be persuaded that he and his ministry are the only safe things we can love in this life. Does that sound healthy to you? In other words, all other loves are natural and can not be trusted, and only loving him is holy, spiritual, healthy, and can be trusted. Quite a self-serving teaching, don't you think?

Lee taught that all natural loves are like honey in Leviticus 2.11, which is forbidden because it spoils the offering. This is just another of Lee's extreme allegorical views which have damaged the members of the LC's.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:39 PM   #3
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....Can anyone explain to me just what Lee is trying to say in this teaching?
Let me know the meaning here - that is , what do you want to know love4truth? What I mean is, I don't understand if you want to know what the Bible says, or what lee was teaching . (realizing lee was wrong?)
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:04 PM   #4
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Ha! My LC friend just told me I have too many opinions. I figured I would get such an answer from one who believes only Witness Lee speaks forth from God and all others are vain opinions.
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:07 PM   #5
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I still read with my LC friend. The Life Studies. I was in the LC with her for a brief time. I really like her as a person, but she follows all Lee's teachings and there are no others. I have kept reading with her (on Skype) hoping I can make her see there are other interpretations that are valid besides Lee. She has blinders. I guess soon I will just quit this, but thought I could do some good.
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:10 PM   #6
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Let me know the meaning here - that is , what do you want to know love4truth? What I mean is, I don't understand if you want to know what the Bible says, or what lee was teaching . (realizing lee was wrong?)
I guess I am asking does he really think that only good that is generated by participating in the "Recovery" comes from God, and that we are to "hate" the appearance of good in anything else. That seems to be what he is saying. We are in Exodus right now, on the Compound Ointment, my LC friend and I.
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:36 PM   #7
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There seems to be a prevalent teaching of Witness Lee that all natural things are bad, and that God hates the natural. We who are Christians are supposed to hate anything that is in the natural world, no matter how good it appears. To Lee natural love is wrong, only love that comes from Christ is right. But if you are a Christian and you have the experience of love in your heart, how do you divide what is spiritual and what is natural? Is natural love wrong? Love of a mother for her children is seen even in the animal world. I cherish my family, my friends. Natural instincts that are good seem worthy to me. Why should Christians fight for good causes when they may be doing it in the natural? I am a born again Christian, but I do not insist good that I embrace be put under a microscope. Good is good and we should give thanks and rejoice because God created good. Good works do not save us, but they are important. What do you think? Can anyone explain to me just what Lee is trying to say in this teaching?
It was "natural" for Jesus to ask the Father if the cup of crucifixion could pass, it was natural for Joseph and Mary to go back to Jerusalem looking for their list son, it was "natural" for Paul to want all of his Hebrew brothers to be saved, it is natural for me to want all the marriages of my children to be happy, it is natural for a husband to please his wife, it is perverted to look to WL to determine what is not natural.
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: All natural things are bad?

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Originally Posted by love4truth View Post
There seems to be a prevalent teaching of Witness Lee that all natural things are bad, and that God hates the natural. We who are Christians are supposed to hate anything that is in the natural world, no matter how good it appears. To Lee natural love is wrong, only love that comes from Christ is right. But if you are a Christian and you have the experience of love in your heart, how do you divide what is spiritual and what is natural? Is natural love wrong? Love of a mother for her children is seen even in the animal world. I cherish my family, my friends. Natural instincts that are good seem worthy to me. Why should Christians fight for good causes when they may be doing it in the natural? I am a born again Christian, but I do not insist good that I embrace be put under a microscope. Good is good and we should give thanks and rejoice because God created good. Good works do not save us, but they are important. What do you think? Can anyone explain to me just what Lee is trying to say in this teaching?
Lee's teaching on natural love and affection is unscriptural. Paul criticizes those without natural affection (astergeo) in Rom 1:31 and 2nd Tim 3 :1-3 suggesting they are destined for God's wrath. More from this article on the four Greek words for love in the NT including stergeo:

https://www.icr.org/article/18306/


Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Romans 1:31).

This phrase “without natural affection” is the translation of one Greek word, astergeo. It was a characteristic of many pagans of the ancient world. Significantly, it is also prophesied to be a characteristic of the humanistic pagans of the end-times. “In the last days . . . men shall be . . . without natural affection” (II Timothy 3:1–3). These are the only two occurrences of this word in the New Testament.

The word stergeo (“natural affection”) is one of four Greek words for “love,” but it is never used at all in the New Testament. It refers to the natural love that members of the same family have for each other. It is such a common characteristic of all peoples that there was apparently no occasion to refer to it at all—except when it is not present, when people lose their instinctive love for their own parents and children, and thus are “without natural affection.” One thinks of the widespread abortionism of these last days, as well as the modern breakdown of the family in general.

Another Greek word for “love” is eros, referring to romantic love, or passion. Like stergeo, eros also is never used in the New Testament. The other two words, however, are used frequently. Phileo, referring to “brotherly love,” occurs over thirty times. It indicates fondness, based on a community of interest with the person or persons so “loved.”

The fourth “love” word, of course, is agape, which is used over 300 times. This is the type of love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved, the love that impels one to sacrifice his own interests for the benefit of the person loved. This is the love of Christ, who “loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). And this is the love generated by the Holy Spirit in the believer for “the fruit of the Spirit is love . . .” (Galatians 5:22). HMM
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Old 06-26-2016, 06:28 AM   #9
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Ha! My LC friend just told me I have too many opinions. I figured I would get such an answer from one who believes only Witness Lee speaks forth from God and all others are vain opinions.
It's often said, "here in the recovery we don't have opinions". Everyone has an opinion. There's no avoiding it. However what is likely intended is "we in the recovery don't want your opinions expressed".
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:32 AM   #10
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There seems to be a prevalent teaching of Witness Lee that all natural things are bad, and that God hates the natural.
This is not a problem of Witness Lee only. It is rather general and dates way back to Gnosticism of the first centuries of Christian History. This is an offspring of our dualistic mind. And so contrary to the example of Jesus who removed the boundaries between sacred and profane, who united heaven and earth in Himself.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:35 AM   #11
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Lee's teaching on natural love and affection is unscriptural.
I would say this teaching is unnatural
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:27 PM   #12
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There is a stanza from a song in the LC hymnal - #1226. It says the following:
"There are seven golden lampstands, in the nature all divine - Nothing natural does the Body life allow."

WL big big on the allegories and this song is a good example of how easily things are taken too far in the LC. I realize that WL didn't necessarily write these lyrics, but it certainly represents his view. In the LC golden=divine=not natural. One need not read further than Rev 2-3 to realize that the seven churches, despite all kinds of problems, were recognized as golden lampstands, irrespective of the so-called natural things.

It's obvious that assertion "nothing natural does the Body life allow" is an irrelevant consideration in the context of churches. I didn't want to throw the thread too far off topic with this, but it's just and example of one of the ridiculous ideas that this "nothing natural" ideology was based off of.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:59 PM   #13
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witness lee was surely anointed... most members THOUGHT they understood him...Yet, He once said "I am so alone"... this was said (while I was present) at a meeting along with all the elder brothers were present... there was a questioning surprise look on their faces... yes I was there for years...'n I still read and have his messages from time to time from the seventies (along with copies writings of Watchman Nee) ...

I would like to say this in reference to the natural mind, The natural "Adamic" two fold mind and understanding is that which blinds the eyes of them who profess themselves as wise...It be as a veil shielding them from the truth... BTW the living stream ministry is aired on radio 740 am in southern California... ron kangus and francis ball interpret (must be replays of recordings from the past ...

grammar police "you're up"... LOL
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:05 AM   #14
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There seems to be a prevalent teaching of Witness Lee that all natural things are bad, and that God hates the natural. We who are Christians are supposed to hate anything that is in the natural world, no matter how good it appears. To Lee natural love is wrong, only love that comes from Christ is right. But if you are a Christian and you have the experience of love in your heart, how do you divide what is spiritual and what is natural? Is natural love wrong? Love of a mother for her children is seen even in the animal world. I cherish my family, my friends. Natural instincts that are good seem worthy to me. Why should Christians fight for good causes when they may be doing it in the natural? I am a born again Christian, but I do not insist good that I embrace be put under a microscope. Good is good and we should give thanks and rejoice because God created good. Good works do not save us, but they are important. What do you think? Can anyone explain to me just what Lee is trying to say in this teaching?
To love your family is better than to hate your family. But unless you have Christ, to love or to hate is Christ-less, and of no avail. This is what Witness Lee means. Nothing wrong with natural, as in human, but natural things apart from Christ are bad. That is, if we love our family without Christ's love, it is just our own love, and is vain, superficial, natural, even selfish.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:49 AM   #15
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To love your family is better than to hate your family. But unless you have Christ, to love or to hate is Christ-less, and of no avail. This is what Witness Lee means. Nothing wrong with natural, as in human, but natural things apart from Christ are bad. That is, if we love our family without Christ's love, it is just our own love, and is vain, superficial, natural, even selfish.
Jesus also commands us to love our enemies and our neighbors as our self. He told us plainly, "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6.27-28)

Now where did Jesus say that loving your enemies "is of no avail if it is Christ-less, and without Christ's love, it is just our own love, and is vain, superficial, natural, even selfish?"

Your post is exactly what Lee taught me for decades. I have seen it bear much rotten fruit. This teaching of Lee is not scriptural. Hence, I have attempted to completely discard it, and love as Jesus commanded us.

Paul told Timothy that in the last days "men will be without natural affection." (II Tim 3.3) I saw far too much of this in the LC's, jut as Paul predicted.
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Old 08-22-2016, 10:10 AM   #16
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To love your family is better than to hate your family. But unless you have Christ, to love or to hate is Christ-less, and of no avail. This is what Witness Lee means. Nothing wrong with natural, as in human, but natural things apart from Christ are bad. That is, if we love our family without Christ's love, it is just our own love, and is vain, superficial, natural, even selfish.
So are we saying that the love of the unsaved is simply vain and pointless?

Or are we saying that the love of even the saved who are not somehow qualified as being "in Christ" is also vain and pointless.

I really don't want this to seem as a kind of "going off" on Evangelical. Instead, this is yet another salvo at the thought that there is some "in Christ" or "not in Christ" problem for the Christian. Maybe there is a problem with people who are Christian (and therefore "in Christ") doing things that they think are right but are not. But where is the rationale that a Christian should not be doing what he knows should be done. To not do what they know has been commanded to be done?

Not talking about remaining ignorant and therefore doing wrong. But about knowing what is right and having any kind of thought that they might not be doing it "in Christ."

If the whole discussion is simply to make points against the unsaved, then why waste your breath?

But if the discussion is to nit-pick over who of Christ's followers are in the instant practicing some kind of "in Christ" thing — that is a whole different question.

I know that a certain person wrote a book on Practicing the Presence of God (if I am remembering the title correctly). At this point I really don't remember a lot about it as my reading was so many years ago. But I have been impressed lately that while there is a real ability to be so engaged in a prayerful attitude through much of what we do at all times in the day, I question whether the emphasis on such things it often at the expense of dismissing those who simply recognize that they are believers in, and followers of Christ, and therefore recognize times when they might have naturally done things in a less than righteous manner and instead decide to be righteous instead. They didn't pray about it. They didn't check whether their last time of prayer was recent enough that they might or might not be "in Christ" at that moment. (I don't believe there is such a time frame.)

I mean, isn't there any belief that the conscience speaking to us is as good as God speaking? They where is the cause to defer such action?

I mean, if there is no proximity of prayer, but just the decision to act differently, how much of the kind of thought that the action is "Christ-less," or not "in Christ" do different people have?

I think that in at least one place one of the NT writers essentially said that if you are still doing "X" you should stop it. I can't remember if it was Paul, or James, or someone else. And I can't remember what it was that was mentioned.

But it was a clear admonition to refuse the unrighteous way and instead do what is righteous. And sometimes we are happy to say that about stealing, adultery, or being alcoholic or taking drugs.

And we want the world to stop aborting babies, although for them to do that is Christ-less and therefore pointless (if we take this "in Christ" thing to its logical end).

Yet we suggest that there are actions toward righteousness and obedience that might not be "in Christ" with respect to a saved person. Doesn't that suggest that maybe they shouldn't yet try to be righteous?

Really?
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:19 PM   #17
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To love your family is better than to hate your family. But unless you have Christ, to love or to hate is Christ-less, and of no avail. This is what Witness Lee means. Nothing wrong with natural, as in human, but natural things apart from Christ are bad. That is, if we love our family without Christ's love, it is just our own love, and is vain, superficial, natural, even selfish.
CODSWALLOP!

According to Lee and Company there is no right or wrong, and there is no good or bad; there's just in the spirit or out of the spirit. Listen to yourself..."if we love our family without Christ's love... it is vain..." Can you show me anywhere in the bible where Christ or His Apostles state loving your family without Christ's love is vain? When you write "vain" do you mean of no use to the little children who are the recipients of this "vain" love, or the dear wife who finds strength to continue being a mother from the "vain" love of her husband.

I don't give a rodent's posterior (Hope this passes the "sister-censor"!) what Witness Lee means, about anything! It is a release from prison to be "free from Lee". I dropped off the "key Lee and got myself free", you can do the same and become a normal human being who loves Christ as well as people. Sorry for blowing a gasket here, but the implications of what you believe are frightening to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H5chfbcWtY

The problem is all inside your head she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover



She said it's really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won't be lost or misconstrued
But I'll repeat myself at the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover



You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free



She said it grieves me so to see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again
I said I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the fifty ways



She said why don't we both just sleep on it tonight
And I believe in the morning you'll begin to see the light
And then she kissed me and I realized she probably was right
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover



You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free


Written by Paul Simon • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:47 PM   #18
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I have to say that the whole idea that natural things are bad and only the "spiritual" is good sounds like Gnosticism to me. I don't care that Lee spoke against Gnosticism. That may have been more of a way to hide the very Gnosticism in his teachings.

But the whole idea that the natural created order is simply fallen and to be rejected and only those things that are spiritual or "in spirit," "in the spirit," or "in the Spirit" are to be acceptable is, at its core, Gnosticism. May not take on all the tenets of pure Gnosticism, but that is effectively what it is.

As someone else has already pointed out, when the statements against homosexuality are based on the fact that they are contrary to "natural affection" then it is must be fundamentally true that "natural affections" are very "in" and therefore acceptable, not rejected.
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Old 08-22-2016, 04:22 PM   #19
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I don't give a rodent's posterior (Hope this passes the "sister-censor"!) what Witness Lee means, about anything! It is a release from prison to be "free from Lee". I dropped off the "key Lee and got myself free", you can do the same and become a normal human being who loves Christ as well as people. Sorry for blowing a gasket here, but the implications of what you believe are frightening to me.
HERn, you are enjoying yourself, aren't you!
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Old 08-22-2016, 05:38 PM   #20
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To love your family is better than to hate your family. But unless you have Christ, to love or to hate is Christ-less, and of no avail. This is what Witness Lee means. Nothing wrong with natural, as in human, but natural things apart from Christ are bad. That is, if we love our family without Christ's love, it is just our own love, and is vain, superficial, natural, even selfish.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is hogwash. The Bible never teaches this. There is nothing in the Bible that says natural love is bad, in fact it says that not having natural affection for one's blood kin is a sign of corruption (2 Tim 3:3).

The Bible says we are to love. If we are loving incorrectly, the God will correct us. But it's flat out a false teaching to say we need to go around constantly checking whether we are loving with "Christ's love" (as defined by Lee) or not. We are to walk in the Spirit, we are to love. Don't complicate it with Lee's nonsense. Lee wanted to alienate people from their families and friends. That's why he trashed "natural" love. He just sought to redefine love in a way that best suited his purpose. Don't fall for it.

Okay, that's the annoyed summary. Here's more. If only "Christ" is valid, then it doesn't matter if a worldly person is a humanitarian or a serial killer if he doesn't have Christ. Now I agree he needs to accept Christ as his Savior. But the idea that God doesn't look at the latter type as more offensive to Him than the former is simply crazy. The Bible is full of commands on how to behave. We are to obey those commands, and a person who's life is more in line with those is bound to be more pleasing to God than someone who is evil incarnate.

Lee's teaching is an extreme and warped one which, like many of his teachings, was intended to invalidate everything but what he approved. Thus common in the LCM are the chidings of "Brother, that's not Christ," about whatever behavior the speaker wants to slap down. It's manipulative hogwash.
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:43 PM   #21
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Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is hogwash. The Bible never teaches this. There is nothing in the Bible that says natural love is bad, in fact it says that not having natural affection for one's blood kin is a sign of corruption (2 Tim 3:3).

The Bible says we are to love. If we are loving incorrectly, the God will correct us. But it's flat out a false teaching to say we need to go around constantly checking whether we are loving with "Christ's love" (as defined by Lee) or not. We are to walk in the Spirit, we are to love. Don't complicate it with Lee's nonsense. Lee wanted to alienate people from their families and friends. That's why he trashed "natural" love. He just sought to redefine love in a way that best suited his purpose. Don't fall for it.

Okay, that's the annoyed summary. Here's more. If only "Christ" is valid, then it doesn't matter if a worldly person is a humanitarian or a serial killer if he doesn't have Christ. Now I agree he needs to accept Christ as his Savior. But the idea that God doesn't look at the latter type as more offensive to Him than the former is simply crazy. The Bible is full of commands on how to behave. We are to obey those commands, and a person who's life is more in line with those is bound to be more pleasing to God than someone who is evil incarnate.

Lee's teaching is an extreme and warped one which, like many of his teachings, was intended to invalidate everything but what he approved. Thus common in the LCM are the chidings of "Brother, that's not Christ," about whatever behavior the speaker wants to slap down. It's manipulative hogwash.
What does it mean "in the Spirit"? It means "not in yourself", it means not in your natural capacity. That should be evidence enough that God wants more than just our natural love. Yet you claim there is nothing in the Bible about that. It's obvious - Spirit = "not natural". Natural = "not Spirit".
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:49 PM   #22
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Jesus also commands us to love our enemies and our neighbors as our self. He told us plainly, "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6.27-28)

Now where did Jesus say that loving your enemies "is of no avail if it is Christ-less, and without Christ's love, it is just our own love, and is vain, superficial, natural, even selfish?"

Your post is exactly what Lee taught me for decades. I have seen it bear much rotten fruit. This teaching of Lee is not scriptural. Hence, I have attempted to completely discard it, and love as Jesus commanded us.

Paul told Timothy that in the last days "men will be without natural affection." (II Tim 3.3) I saw far too much of this in the LC's, jut as Paul predicted.
Jesus no where said "walk in the Spirit" either, but that's why we have the rest of the New Testament.

How do we obey Christ? Using our natural strength? No, by the Spirit. Colossians 1:8 mentions "love in the Spirit". Even the denominations know our own strength is of no avail.
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:52 PM   #23
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I have to say that the whole idea that natural things are bad and only the "spiritual" is good sounds like Gnosticism to me. I don't care that Lee spoke against Gnosticism. That may have been more of a way to hide the very Gnosticism in his teachings.

But the whole idea that the natural created order is simply fallen and to be rejected and only those things that are spiritual or "in spirit," "in the spirit," or "in the Spirit" are to be acceptable is, at its core, Gnosticism. May not take on all the tenets of pure Gnosticism, but that is effectively what it is.

As someone else has already pointed out, when the statements against homosexuality are based on the fact that they are contrary to "natural affection" then it is must be fundamentally true that "natural affections" are very "in" and therefore acceptable, not rejected.
Hellow. Gnosticism teaches "physical is bad". They also did not the physical nature of Christ. Lee did not teach that. Lee taught that the natural man (that is, the old creation) without the Spirit is bad. In other words, the old "Adamic" creation is negative, the new creation in Christ is positive. This is quite basic teaching from the Bible, I learnt it not from Witness Lee, but from my denominational church.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:38 PM   #24
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CODSWALLOP!

According to Lee and Company there is no right or wrong, and there is no good or bad; there's just in the spirit or out of the spirit. Listen to yourself..."if we love our family without Christ's love... it is vain..." Can you show me anywhere in the bible where Christ or His Apostles state loving your family without Christ's love is vain? When you write "vain" do you mean of no use to the little children who are the recipients of this "vain" love, or the dear wife who finds strength to continue being a mother from the "vain" love of her husband.

I don't give a rodent's posterior (Hope this passes the "sister-censor"!) what Witness Lee means, about anything! It is a release from prison to be "free from Lee". I dropped off the "key Lee and got myself free", you can do the same and become a normal human being who loves Christ as well as people. Sorry for blowing a gasket here, but the implications of what you believe are frightening to me.
I can show you plenty of verses which talk about living in the Spirit and not relying upon our own strength. By saying you don't need Christ's love, you are basically saying that you are capable in your self, in your own strength, to love your family and don't need God's help.
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Old 08-22-2016, 08:55 PM   #25
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I find many of you do not have a clear idea of what Witness Lee meant by "natural".

This is strange because you are supposed to be former members or maybe you forgot.

If there was any matter that was drummed into us the most in the local churches it is this matter of tree of knowledge of good/evil versus tree of life.

Witness Lee did not teach that the natural man is bad or natural man is good. He taught that the natural man must be nailed to the cross, so Christ can live out of us. Tree of life versus Tree of knowledge.

This is saying nothing different to the New Testament which speaks of being crucified with Christ, and walking/living in the Spirit.

Jesus said to "deny ourself" and take up our cross. This is the same meaning. Deny ourself means deny our natural capacity and natural strength, it is of no use in God's kingdom.

Some say this is gnosticism. Gnosticism is against the physical. Witness Lee embraced both Christ's humanity and divinity, never denying the physical. To be spiritual is to take care of others in a practical way as well.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:50 AM   #26
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Jesus no where said "walk in the Spirit" either, but that's why we have the rest of the New Testament.

How do we obey Christ? Using our natural strength? No, by the Spirit. Colossians 1:8 mentions "love in the Spirit". Even the denominations know our own strength is of no avail.
Yeah, "even the denominations" know that.

Why would Jesus tell us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength," knowing that our soul was natural, our mind was opinionated, and our strength was fleshly?
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:23 AM   #27
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What does it mean "in the Spirit"? It means "not in yourself", it means not in your natural capacity. That should be evidence enough that God wants more than just our natural love. Yet you claim there is nothing in the Bible about that. It's obvious - Spirit = "not natural". Natural = "not Spirit".
The Bible never says that if we are in the spirit we are not using our natural capacities. And the Bible never says if we are using our natural capacities we are not in the spirit. It's just a false dichotomy. It's an invention of Lee.
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:44 AM   #28
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The Bible never says that if we are in the spirit we are not using our natural capacities. And the Bible never says if we are using our natural capacities we are not in the spirit. It's just a false dichotomy. It's an invention of Lee.
Technically this idea was not invented by Lee, it is prevalent in Christianity. If we want to pinpoint its origins, it probably comes from Calvinism, the idea that man in himself is unable to do anything, only by God's grace and enabling. Where God's service is concerned there si biblical support - Ephesians 3:7 shows that Paul ministered not according to his natural ability but the gift of God. Likewise, Peter did not minister effectively until he received the gift of the Spirit at pentecost.
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:38 AM   #29
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Hellow. Gnosticism teaches "physical is bad". They also did not the physical nature of Christ. Lee did not teach that. Lee taught that the natural man (that is, the old creation) without the Spirit is bad. In other words, the old "Adamic" creation is negative, the new creation in Christ is positive. This is quite basic teaching from the Bible, I learnt it not from Witness Lee, but from my denominational church.
Lee taught that natural things were bad. Everything that he could not tie to "the spirit" or "the Spirit" were rejected. Natural affections, or friendships were disdained. Rejected as not of the spirit.

To the Christian, life is of the spirit and of the Spirit. It is not put in the "spiritual" silo or the "worldly" silo based on some arbitrary analysis of whether you are "in spirit" or "not in spirit." And there are no parts of life that are not "in spirit" (or "in the Spirit") for the Christian. There is no need to check your temperature to determine whether God would have you be righteous today. There is no requirement to have a feeling before you do justice or be righteous.

No. Lee did not reject the bodily nature of Jesus. But too much of his theology was based in the false dichotomy of the Gnostics. There is a status of being "in spirit" that is easily turned on and off and only when it is on are you properly Christian (not the way he said it, but effectively so). There is a false dichotomy of the spiritual and the secular or physical.

But in the theology of Jesus, it is the nature of the believer that the whole of life becomes spiritual. It is all either undertaken by a follower or by someone not following. That is the defining difference. Not some artificial "in spirit."
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:57 AM   #30
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Technically this idea was not invented by Lee, it is prevalent in Christianity. If we want to pinpoint its origins, it probably comes from Calvinism, the idea that man in himself is unable to do anything, only by God's grace and enabling. Where God's service is concerned there si biblical support - Ephesians 3:7 shows that Paul ministered not according to his natural ability but the gift of God. Likewise, Peter did not minister effectively until he received the gift of the Spirit at pentecost.
The word "natural" probably comes from the KJV 1 Cor 2:14, where those with the Spirit and those without the Spirit are contrasted. The KJV translates "psuche" as "natural." But it's really not a good translation. This opened the door to a whole view that Lee may not have invented but certainly ran with. Besides this poor translation, there is no other place in the NT where something "natural" is deemed bad. It's just not a biblical concept.

We are people of the Spirit and should walk according to the Spirit. If we do that, we don't have to and shouldn't be checking whether some expression of human goodness is "natural." This just leads to an attitude where we are constantly suspicious of our behavior and that of others. Our attitude should be positive. Are we walking in God's presence? If so we don't need to be going around asking whether this feeling of love is "natural" or is that smile natural or if I throw the football with my son is that natural. The issue is not football or smiles or laughter, it's being in fellowship with God.

Here's a true story. Back in the early days of the church in Austin, an elder came home from a meeting. His wife had stayed home because she was sick. She was washing the dishes. He went upstairs to their bedroom and didn't help her. Later, when their marriage fell apart she asked him, "Why didn't you help me with the dishes that night I was sick?" He replied, "I didn't want to act in my natural love."

Really? Are you kidding me? Your wife is sick and you are suspicious of your instinct to help her with the dishes? That's the kind of fruit this "natural man" nonsense produces.

By the way, the couple divorced.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:35 AM   #31
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I find many of you do not have a clear idea of what Witness Lee meant by "natural".

This is strange because you are supposed to be former members or maybe you forgot.

If there was any matter that was drummed into us the most in the local churches it is this matter of tree of knowledge of good/evil versus tree of life.

Witness Lee did not teach that the natural man is bad or natural man is good. He taught that the natural man must be nailed to the cross, so Christ can live out of us. Tree of life versus Tree of knowledge.

This is saying nothing different to the New Testament which speaks of being crucified with Christ, and walking/living in the Spirit.

Jesus said to "deny ourself" and take up our cross. This is the same meaning. Deny ourself means deny our natural capacity and natural strength, it is of no use in God's kingdom.
The problem is the term "natural man." It implies that even some things that are quite natural by the way God created us should be denied because they are "not Christ."

This is making the good the enemy of the better. It isn't, and the Bible never says it is. The only time the good is the enemy of the better is when the good is contrary to the better. But your doctrine says that it always is contrary. That's simply false. There have been plenty of times when someone shared a humorous story, it was completely natural for me to laugh at it and the Spirit had no problem with it. The same goes for a multitude of normal human responses that Lee's natural man teaching makes us suspicious of, including, as in the sad story, helping one's wife with dishes when she needs help.

God gave us a human nature to help direct us. The idea that the Spirit replaces all the instincts of our good human nature is silly. We still have our human nature and we still follow it, instinctively. It's only when the fallen side of our human nature sidetracks us that the Spirit bothers us with the "uh-uh" within. Whether you admit it or not, most of the time we take our cues from our human nature, with the tutoring of the Spirit. But our human nature is not replaced completely by the Spirit. It just doesn't work that way.

We should always walk in the Spirit. There is no need to nit pick the "natural man." Just walk in the Spirit and be obedient. Don't go around being worried that your love is "natural" or your affection is "natural" or your sense of humor is "natural." Doing so is not Biblical. The Bible never asks us to do it. It's hyper-spiritual hoo-hah.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:55 PM   #32
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Here's a true story. Back in the early days of the church in Austin, an elder came home from a meeting. His wife had stayed home because she was sick. She was washing the dishes. He went upstairs to their bedroom and didn't help her. Later, when their marriage fell apart she asked him, "Why didn't you help me with the dishes that night I was sick?" He replied, "I didn't want to act in my natural love."

Really? Are you kidding me? Your wife is sick and you are suspicious of your instinct to help her with the dishes? That's the kind of fruit this "natural man" nonsense produces.

By the way, the couple divorced.
As I was leaving the Recovery in 2005 prior to the official quarantine of TC and the GLA, I thought through who and what I could really trust with assurance. The ministry of Witness Lee had taught me not to trust so many things. I could not trust my reading of the Bible, because I needed his ministry lest I misunderstand God's word. I could never trust anyone in Christianity, since they were all degraded and hopelessly divided. I could not trust my elders or any regional workers, since they could be "ambitious" men in disguise. Obviously I could never trust any friends or family.

There you have it folks -- I had concluded that there was no one I could trust in this world but Witness Lee, and he was dead. About that time, I began to wake up and decided to rethink this thing through again. Such was the result of decades under his ministry -- can't trust anyone but a dead man. Pretty pathetic, huh? How many others were in this same boat with me? Obviously I had lots of un-learning to do. This forum has helped.

It's taken me a long time to realize that for every ounce of good I got from WL, I also got two ounces of bad, what the Bible calls leaven. With Lee's teachings about "natural things are bad," I got tons of bad. Evangelical is a living reminder of that.
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:02 PM   #33
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I can show you plenty of verses which talk about living in the Spirit and not relying upon our own strength. By saying you don't need Christ's love, you are basically saying that you are capable in your self, in your own strength, to love your family and don't need God's help.
If you can list the verses I'll take the time to comment and help you "drop off the key Lee and get yourself free!"
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:05 PM   #34
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If there was any matter that was drummed into us the most in the local churches it is this matter of tree of knowledge of good/evil versus tree of life.
I didn't get this while I was there and I do not get it now. Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil is precisely that. Knowledge of Good and Evil.

While I was in that denomination they would always put the emphasis on the fact that the tree (which is bad [in their eyes]) was not only of the knowledge of evil, but of the knowledge of Good as well.

They are implying that the Good is evil. And that just does not make any sense whatsoever.

Perhaps you can clarify it for me?
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:23 PM   #35
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I didn't get this while I was there and I do not get it now. Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil is precisely that. Knowledge of Good and Evil.

While I was in that denomination they would always put the emphasis on the fact that the tree (which is bad [in their eyes]) was not only of the knowledge of evil, but of the knowledge of Good as well.

They are implying that the Good is evil. And that just does not make any sense whatsoever.

Perhaps you can clarify it for me?
Maybe I can but it is a difficult subject.

Firstly, the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not evil itself, because God said everything He created in the Garden of Eden was good. Genesis 3:22 even says that to have the knowledge of good and evil is to be like God:

Genesis 3:22 "Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”"

So the tree of knowledge itself cannot be evil.

When mankind fell, they did not simply lose God and become evil, they gained knowledge of good and evil. Before eating the tree of knowledge, Adam and the woman were completely dependent upon God. Because of their disobedience, the fall of man brought with it the "knowledge of good and evil".

What did Satan achieve? Satan caused mankind to eat knowledge without having eaten the tree of life, so man would not live forever.

What is this good and evil? It is basically a higher realm of knowledge that does not require dependence on God. That is why today mankind has achieved great advances in society, technology etc, all without God. Humans can even be good people without God, it is possible, there are many good people around.

What is the problem? Man has knowledge that enables him to do great things but he has no life. This is why mankind needs Christ to receive God's life, the eternal life and live forever.
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:34 PM   #36
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Lee taught that natural things were bad. Everything that he could not tie to "the spirit" or "the Spirit" were rejected. Natural affections, or friendships were disdained. Rejected as not of the spirit.

To the Christian, life is of the spirit and of the Spirit. It is not put in the "spiritual" silo or the "worldly" silo based on some arbitrary analysis of whether you are "in spirit" or "not in spirit." And there are no parts of life that are not "in spirit" (or "in the Spirit") for the Christian. There is no need to check your temperature to determine whether God would have you be righteous today. There is no requirement to have a feeling before you do justice or be righteous.

No. Lee did not reject the bodily nature of Jesus. But too much of his theology was based in the false dichotomy of the Gnostics. There is a status of being "in spirit" that is easily turned on and off and only when it is on are you properly Christian (not the way he said it, but effectively so). There is a false dichotomy of the spiritual and the secular or physical.

But in the theology of Jesus, it is the nature of the believer that the whole of life becomes spiritual. It is all either undertaken by a follower or by someone not following. That is the defining difference. Not some artificial "in spirit."
This does not match my experience of the teachings of Witness Lee or the recovery over the past decade.

For example, there were statements such as:
Being "in the spirit" is the default position of a Christian - this is achieved for us positionally and objectively by Christ on the cross, not our own works.
The subjective experience of being "in the spirit" - calling on the Lord, pray reading etc. This is more about abiding in the Lord by intimate spiritual fellowship with Him. This part can be "turned on and off" but the former objective part is always constant.

As for natural affections or friendships being disdained, I know that he had a warped view of friendships, based upon the view that brotherly relationships are higher or more spiritual (and therefore a believer does not or should not have 'friends', as such, all are brethren in Christ). Did he mean we should not have friends (at all)? I did not get this, because in some of his writings he talks about the importance of friendships. But I have heard some say this, which makes me think they did not understand him.
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:41 PM   #37
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The problem is the term "natural man." It implies that even some things that are quite natural by the way God created us should be denied because they are "not Christ."

This is making the good the enemy of the better. It isn't, and the Bible never says it is. The only time the good is the enemy of the better is when the good is contrary to the better. But your doctrine says that it always is contrary. That's simply false. There have been plenty of times when someone shared a humorous story, it was completely natural for me to laugh at it and the Spirit had no problem with it. The same goes for a multitude of normal human responses that Lee's natural man teaching makes us suspicious of, including, as in the sad story, helping one's wife with dishes when she needs help.

God gave us a human nature to help direct us. The idea that the Spirit replaces all the instincts of our good human nature is silly. We still have our human nature and we still follow it, instinctively. It's only when the fallen side of our human nature sidetracks us that the Spirit bothers us with the "uh-uh" within. Whether you admit it or not, most of the time we take our cues from our human nature, with the tutoring of the Spirit. But our human nature is not replaced completely by the Spirit. It just doesn't work that way.

We should always walk in the Spirit. There is no need to nit pick the "natural man." Just walk in the Spirit and be obedient. Don't go around being worried that your love is "natural" or your affection is "natural" or your sense of humor is "natural." Doing so is not Biblical. The Bible never asks us to do it. It's hyper-spiritual hoo-hah.
I agree but I never experienced this in my local church. People share humorous stories and laugh all the time, even in the church prophesying meeting. I did not think that the human nature vs Spirit thing was as you say - it has always been stressed about the importance of a grafted life (rather than a life where the spirit replaces the natural). The concepts of nourishment and shepherding according to our human nature is taught, as per the humanity of Christ. The humanity and the spirit has often been said to "mingle", which implies a closer interaction between natural and spiritual.

It's hard for me to reconcile my experiences and knowledge of the teaching with yours, mostly because what you are saying seems very much unlike Lee's teaching. I would know as I used to be involved in a pentecostal group which was very much like you say - against the natural and only for the Spirit, but I found things to be fairly balanced in the local churches. I can only wonder if they have adjusted the teachings in recent years to be more balanced and moderate.
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Old 08-23-2016, 04:19 PM   #38
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I didn't get this while I was there and I do not get it now. Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil is precisely that. Knowledge of Good and Evil.

While I was in that denomination they would always put the emphasis on the fact that the tree (which is bad [in their eyes]) was not only of the knowledge of evil, but of the knowledge of Good as well.

They are implying that the Good is evil. And that just does not make any sense whatsoever.

Perhaps you can clarify it for me?
I think the issue can be confusing if too much focus is placed on what the Tree of Knowledge 'represents' rather than the simple fact that God put it off limits. WL added a lot to the story in Genesis that wasn't really there. For that reason it might be helpful to look at the whole from a different angle. In the LC especially, there is the tendency to dilute the whole Garden of Eden scene to a story of "two trees." as if there were only two options. They will narrow in on the two trees and project a figurative meaning that isn't explicitly stated.

In Genesis 3, God said “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” It seems to me that knowing good and evil was never the true danger. Yes, it was unfortunate because life would have been so much simpler with a greater degree of innocence, but the real danger was knowing good and evil combined with the ability to live forever. It was the combined effects of the Tree of Knowledge with the Tree of Life. After all, this is what made it necessary to boot Adam and Eve from the garden.

What I really want to call into question is the actual significance of the Tree of Life in Genesis 2. By this I mean the significance of the tree with respect to what God told Adam. All this chapter says about the Tree of Life is where it was located in the garden. Of course some would interpret allegorically or assume a particular significance based upon it being in the center of the garden, but I think that is more speculative that anything else. Please note that I am not calling into question the actual significance of the Tree of Life, but just the role that it played at that particular point in time.

What God told Adam was simple - that he could eat of any tree in the garden, except for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Despite any assumed significance of what role the Tree of Life played, there was no direct or specific command prioritizing the Tree of Life above any other good tree in the garden. We don't know what the other trees were, but we do know that God was okay with them. For all we know, God could have cared less at that point as to whether or not the Tree of Life was chosen above any other permissible tree in the garden. What we know with certainty is what God didn't want.

So when the serpent came to tempt Eve, it wasn't really a dilemma of "two trees." It was choosing whether or not to obey God. That was the issue. What the Tree of Knowledge actually represented is mostly irrelevant in this context, because God never told Adam why he shouldn't eat of it. He just said don't do it. Of course, we understand why God didn't want them to eat it, but that isn't as important as the fact that He said don't do it.
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Old 08-23-2016, 04:25 PM   #39
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They are implying that the Good is evil.
Good is natural, evil is natural, only God is divine.

The problem that I see with Lee's "in Christ" formula as a replacement for the natural, and a gateway into the divine, is that in his hands it is subjective, and unverifiable. If Lee said something was "in Christ" or "in Spirit" then it was; if he panned it as natural or fallen it was. Because Lee said so.

The whole thing was a cofidence game. He was confident that he was right, and sold it to us (literally), and we bought his confidence as if it were our assurance, or foretaste, of God's coming glory. But it wasn't. It was just a natural man, doing his best to make his way in the world, in this case being a merchandizer of the Word, and de facto God on earth (Deputy God) to a small band of confused Christians.
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:19 PM   #40
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As for natural affections or friendships being disdained, I know that he had a warped view of friendships, based upon the view that brotherly relationships are higher or more spiritual (and therefore a believer does not or should not have 'friends', as such, all are brethren in Christ). Did he mean we should not have friends (at all)? I did not get this, because in some of his writings he talks about the importance of friendships. But I have heard some say this, which makes me think they did not understand him.
Lee taught that "honey" in the (Leviticus chap 2) offerings represented our natural friendships and relationships, and was strictly forbidden by God because it spoils our offering. I assume he got that horrible allegorical interpretation from the exclusive Brethren. Honey is spoken of positively every where else in scripture.

During the recent GLA quarantines, LSM wrote pathetic articles (posted at afaithfulword.com) warning all their members about having natural relationships, and that they could not be "neutral" in the matter.

I never heard Lee speak well of friendships, not even with your spouse.
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:46 PM   #41
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So when the serpent came to tempt Eve, it wasn't really a dilemma of "two trees." It was choosing whether or not to obey God. That was the issue. What the Tree of Knowledge actually represented is mostly irrelevant in this context, because God never told Adam why he shouldn't eat of it. He just said don't do it. Of course, we understand why God didn't want them to eat it, but that isn't as important as the fact that He said don't do it.
That's right.

Some have made a point of saying that Eve never directly heard God's command not to eat the tree of knowledge, but only Adam did, and he subsequently relayed that instruction to his wife. Perhaps then the serpent in the garden was questioning Adam as much as God. Either way, the NT says Eve was deceived, (II Cor 11.3; I Tim 2.14) but Adam transgressed thru his disobedience, calling it also the "offense," and thus sin entered the world and death reigned. (Rom 5.12-21)

What troubles me most about Lee's teachings on the tree of life is how they morphed into an occasion for sin. The prominent saying became, "we don't care for right or wrong, we only care for life." Thus the license from Lee himself was provided to facilitate unrighteousness. This btw was the favorite saying of Lee's own profligate son Philip, who ran the LSM under the code name of the "Office."

There seems to be a whole lot of sad LC history which brother Evangelical is not familiar with.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:40 PM   #42
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Lee taught that "honey" in the (Leviticus chap 2) offerings represented our natural friendships and relationships, and was strictly forbidden by God because it spoils our offering. I assume he got that horrible allegorical interpretation from the exclusive Brethren. Honey is spoken of positively every where else in scripture.

During the recent GLA quarantines, LSM wrote pathetic articles (posted at afaithfulword.com) warning all their members about having natural relationships, and that they could not be "neutral" in the matter.

I never heard Lee speak well of friendships, not even with your spouse.
Exactly how does that contradict Luke 18:29? The disciples left their earthly relationships for the sake of the kingdom.
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:43 AM   #43
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Lee taught that "honey" in the (Leviticus chap 2) offerings represented our natural friendships and relationships, and was strictly forbidden by God because it spoils our offering. I assume he got that horrible allegorical interpretation from the exclusive Brethren. Honey is spoken of positively every where else in scripture.

During the recent GLA quarantines, LSM wrote pathetic articles (posted at afaithfulword.com) warning all their members about having natural relationships, and that they could not be "neutral" in the matter.

I never heard Lee speak well of friendships, not even with your spouse.
Yes, and in response to our friend Evangelical who seems pretty reasonable, with Lee the devil was always in the details of the actual fruit his teaching produced.

For example, Lee took the reasonable truism that we should love each other equally and distorted it into the unreasonable falsity that we should not have any friends or special relationships. Thus if you were personally closer to a certain brother Lee would condemn that as "natural affection," as "honey." (He would pronounce "honey" in a way that made the "h" sound like he was clearing his throat.)

That of course is a hyper-spiritual teaching that the Bible doesn't hold us to. Like I said, its hoo-hah. But this kind of thing was useful to Lee in that by cutting us off from personal relationships he made us that much more dependent on our relationship with his ministry and his ideals to meet our emotional needs.

"The natural" to Lee was a kind of "flesh lite." It would be a tough sell to say flatly that having a friend was a work of the flesh. But bring in this fuzzy, softer threat of "the natural" and you've got a way to condemn just about any seemingly normal human behavior (having friends, having fun, taking vacations, heck even having personal likes and dislikes) as being contrary to the Spirit. And that's exactly what he did.

Guess what? Nowhere does the Bible condemn the natural or say it is something negative.

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It's hard for me to reconcile my experiences and knowledge of the teaching with yours, mostly because what you are saying seems very much unlike Lee's teaching.
Did you even hear Lee teach in person? I did, many times. I know what he said, I know how we were expected to receive it, I know how it was applied and I know how it screwed people up.
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:51 AM   #44
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Exactly how does that contradict Luke 18:29? The disciples left their earthly relationships for the sake of the kingdom.
Balanced by the rest of the Word, this passage can only mean putting the kingdom and our relationship with God above all others. It doesn't mean you abandon your family or treat them with indifference.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:23 AM   #45
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Lee taught that "honey" in the (Leviticus chap 2) offerings represented our natural friendships and relationships, and was strictly forbidden by God because it spoils our offering. I assume he got that horrible allegorical interpretation from the exclusive Brethren. Honey is spoken of positively every where else in scripture.

During the recent GLA quarantines, LSM wrote pathetic articles (posted at afaithfulword.com) warning all their members about having natural relationships, and that they could not be "neutral" in the matter.

I never heard Lee speak well of friendships, not even with your spouse.
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Exactly how does that contradict Luke 18:29? The disciples left their earthly relationships for the sake of the kingdom.
In context, Luke 18.28-30 says:
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Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.” 29 And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”
Just because we leave our loved ones for the sake of the kingdom of God, does not mean we cannot have friendships (i.e. natural relationships). Peter, for example, left everything for the Lord, yet did not divorce his wife. They remained married for years.

WL's teaching, on the other hand, was based on an extreme allegorical interpretation of "honey" in the offerings. Why couldn't honey just as easily refer to stinky feet or smart phones both of which could also spoil the saints' offering to God.

Lee manufactured this interpretation based upon the need at the time, i.e. a "storm" in the LC's because of unrighteousness at LSM which needed quick action to prevent others from discussing and learning what had really happened and then leaving the LC's. His "honey" interpretation was thus very self-serving, i.e. coverup the truth and control the flow of information. Anyone like me who has decades in the Recovery knows the regularity of such "storms."
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:40 AM   #46
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The disciples left their earthly relationships for the sake of the kingdom.
It's too bad that Witness Lee did not practice what he preached in this regard. Untold havoc and damage was done among the churches, to the cause of the Kingdom and the the name of Christ by his two sons, Timothy and Phillip. This probably happened before you were born, but I would beg you not to put your head in the sand regarding the "hidden history" of the man, the ministry and movement you follow.

The truth hurts....but at the same time it can set you free. We're all hungry. Maranatha.

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Old 08-25-2016, 06:47 AM   #47
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It's too bad that Witness Lee did not practice what he preached in this regard. Untold havoc and damage was done among the churches, to the cause of the Kingdom and the the name of Christ by his two sons, Timothy and Phillip. .
Every time the dictates of scripture collided with those of WL's culture, culture won. In spite of his seemingly resolute and unyielding focus on "sola scriptora", when the chips were down, fallen human culture prevailed. This can be seen in his acquiescence to family needs over his ministry and the church, and likewise in WL's blended lieutenants choosing loyalty to the program over scripture, conscience, and reason.

Without overstating my case, I'd like to point out that the basis of this particular church was a desire to throw off the yoke of foreign oppression. This was done by creating an indigenous, "local" church, which was perforce Chinese. Because that's who the locals were. As this religious society grew, it was formalized extra-locally, with attendant rules, explanations, histories, traditions, and shared expectations, all aimed at self-preservation (of culture), internal coherence (of culture) and continuance (of culture), and eventually all this was exported as an imperialistic entity in its own right.

For example, this culture apparently requires strong central leadership, or society ostensibly will dissolve into primordial chaos. So it used the cover of an open and pluralistic society in the West to gain a foothold, then began to promulgate a completely unpluralistic and unscriptural idea of One Wise Master Builder, Deputy God, One Trumpet, One Apostle per age (which evidently stopped when Lee passed, as no one could fill the Great Man's shoes), and so forth. All of this with the barest of scriptural grounds, but an unquestionable cultural basis. So we all went along with fallen human culture. Guanxi uber alles.

The LSM disciples can argue Biblical principles all day, while brandishing reams of scripture, until one of the scriptures or principles comes up against local church culture. Then they'll change the subject. Because one mustn't go against leadership; be positive, be in one accord. Don't be negative, critical, or rebellious.
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Old 08-25-2016, 07:07 AM   #48
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For example, this culture apparently requires strong central leadership, or society ostensibly dissolves into primordial chaos. So it used the cover of an open and pluralistic society in the West to gain a foothold, then began to promulgate a completely unpluralistic and unscriptural idea of One Wise Master Builder, One Trumpet, One Apostle per age (which evidently stopped when Lee passed, as no one could fill the Great Man's shoes), and so forth. All of this with the barest of scriptural grounds, but unquestionable cultural basis. So we all went with fallen human culture. Guanxi uber alles.
This has been extremely difficult for me to accept, especially since back in the day there were so many changed lives, solid and anointed teachings, Spirit-filled meetings, ineffable joy, and well-respected brothers, far brighter and mature than I, who also devoted their lives to the same "program."
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Old 08-25-2016, 05:42 PM   #49
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Yes, and in response to our friend Evangelical who seems pretty reasonable, with Lee the devil was always in the details of the actual fruit his teaching produced.

For example, Lee took the reasonable truism that we should love each other equally and distorted it into the unreasonable falsity that we should not have any friends or special relationships. Thus if you were personally closer to a certain brother Lee would condemn that as "natural affection," as "honey." (He would pronounce "honey" in a way that made the "h" sound like he was clearing his throat.)

That of course is a hyper-spiritual teaching that the Bible doesn't hold us to. Like I said, its hoo-hah. But this kind of thing was useful to Lee in that by cutting us off from personal relationships he made us that much more dependent on our relationship with his ministry and his ideals to meet our emotional needs.

"The natural" to Lee was a kind of "flesh lite." It would be a tough sell to say flatly that having a friend was a work of the flesh. But bring in this fuzzy, softer threat of "the natural" and you've got a way to condemn just about any seemingly normal human behavior (having friends, having fun, taking vacations, heck even having personal likes and dislikes) as being contrary to the Spirit. And that's exactly what he did.

Guess what? Nowhere does the Bible condemn the natural or say it is something negative.

Did you even hear Lee teach in person? I did, many times. I know what he said, I know how we were expected to receive it, I know how it was applied and I know how it screwed people up.
My take on this is that the natural without God is positive, the natural with Christ is positive. "the natural" itself is a neutral thing, neither good nor bad, that is being human. This is what I understood Lee's teachings to mean.

There is nothing I have found against vacations in his ministry material. In fact in "The Pursuit of a Christian" he says "holidays and vacations are the best times to read the bible".

Perhaps he wasn't practicing/preaching what he taught at the time you listened to him. Perhaps his concept of a vacation was not the same.

Sorry I did not have your experience of hearing Lee speak in person so I cannot relate to yours.

But I cannot see anything in the ministry material that would necessarily lead one to conclude that "natural is evil".
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Old 08-26-2016, 04:15 PM   #50
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But I cannot see anything in the ministry material that would necessarily lead one to conclude that "natural is evil".
Here's the first sentence from the Chapter "Dealing with the Natural Constitution" in the book The Experience of Life, by Witness Lee

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“Constitution” as used here means “the aggregate of man’s physical and mental powers.” In the Bible there is no such term as the natural constitution, and it is seldom mentioned among Christians; yet in our experience there is such a thing.
So right off the bat Lee admits the idea he is expounding about is not Biblical. But that doesn't make him shy because his "experience" tells him it's real. Right out of the gate we are off the rails of the Bible.

More from the book...
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However, God still cannot use one who is merely naturally capable. Natural capability, unless broken, is a hindrance to God.
What does it mean that the natural capability gets broken? I never understood this. Finally I realized I didn't understand it because it's a superfluous and mistaken idea. Our capability cannot and does not get broken. If anything gets broken, we do. When in a crisis we hit rock bottom and realize we need God desperately, then that is a breaking experience. But what gets broken is our self-reliance, not our "natural constitution and abilities."

More from the book...

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But one day [Jacob] was broken by God and became Israel; then he lost his capability and craftiness.
When you get broken you don't lose your abilities, you lose at least some of your self-reliance.

More from the book...

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First, all natural ability is selfish, and all its schemes and devices are for the sake of self. Second, all natural ability is mingled with the elements of flesh and temper; therefore, when it is disapproved, it becomes provoked. Third, all natural ability involves craftiness and maneuvering. Fourth, all natural ability contains pride and makes oneself feel capable, thereby resulting in boasting and self-glorification. Fifth, all natural ability is not under the control of the Holy Spirit and is extremely daring in doing anything. Sixth, all natural ability has no regard for the will of God; it acts entirely according to self-will. Seventh, natural ability does not rely on God and does not have to rely on God, but relies wholly upon self.
Here Lee describes why the natural ability is... what? "Bad" or "evil" is the only reasonable conclusion. He is clearly saying there is something wrong with our natural ability. He doesn't call it evil, but he strongly implies it.

Further there is nothing to justify the passage above. Lee talks about natural ability as if it is something that needs to be dealt with by God. But it's not our ability that needs to be dealt with, it's our self-centered willfulness. The last sentence is exactly backwards. Lee says, "natural ability does not rely on God and does not have to rely on God, but relies wholly upon self." The truth is actually the reverse. It's not natural ability that relies on self, it's self that relies on natural ability. Natural ability is not some conscious thing that can "rely" on something. Lee is totally confused here.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:32 AM   #51
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I see "natural ability" as the particular skills or talents we have that we were born with or learned. I believe in spiritual service it is important to rely upon God's gifts and power and not our own "natural abilities". 2 Cor 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." Lee's use of the term "natural ability" may have included the sense of "self-reliance". As he often does, he compounds English words with extra meanings that an English speaker may not relate to, or uses the wrong word entirely.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:58 AM   #52
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I see "natural ability" as the particular skills or talents we have that we were born with or learned. I believe in spiritual service it is important to rely upon God's gifts and power and not our own "natural abilities". 2 Cor 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." Lee's use of the term "natural ability" may have included the sense of "self-reliance". As he often does, he compounds English words with extra meanings that an English speaker may not relate to, or uses the wrong word entirely.
In general we all need to rely on God and not anything else. That's Christ-Following 101. There is no need to go into this whole pseudo-spiritual analysis about the "natural ability" being fallen and needing to be "broken." Whether we rely on our natural ability, our money, our reputation or for that matter the weather, we all need to learn to rely on God first. No need to make it more complicated than that.

Another reason Lee ran this "natural ability" riff was it was a favorite way of his to discount others. If he ministered, it was according to God's grace. But if someone else did it better, then Lee was not above suggesting that the other person was actually just in his "natural ability." He loved to criticize gifted saints and tell them that their natural ability needed to be dealt with. He made us all suspicious of anyone with a gift. And forget it if your gift was musical or artistic. Everyone knew those were totally "natural" and should probably not even be utilized. No one was supposed to stand out, even if God gave them a stand-out gift. After all, what does God know?
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:08 AM   #53
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In general we all need to rely on God and not anything else. That's Christ-Following 101. There is no need to go into this whole pseudo-spiritual analysis about the "natural ability" being fallen and needing to be "broken." Whether we rely on our natural ability, our money, our reputation or for that matter the weather, we all need to learn to rely on God first. No need to make it more complicated than that.

Another reason Lee ran this "natural ability" riff was it was a favorite way of his to discount others. If he ministered, it was according to God's grace. But if someone else did it better, then Lee was not above suggesting that the other person was actually just in his "natural ability." He loved to criticize gifted saints and tell them that their natural ability needed to be dealt with. He made us all suspicious of anyone with a gift. And forget it if your gift was musical or artistic. Everyone knew those were totally "natural" and should probably not even be utilized. No one was supposed to stand out, even if God gave them a stand-out gift. After all, what does God know?
Right, I see your point about Lee using the doctrine to belittle others.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:39 AM   #54
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I see "natural ability" as the particular skills or talents we have that we were born with or learned. We should remember that God made us this way for a reason.

I believe in spiritual service it is important to rely upon God's gifts and power and not our own "natural abilities".
I agree with this ... for the most part. To me "natural ability" has everything to do with His creation of us individually and His sovereignty in our lives, arranging our families and environments. I believe that God made us as we are for a reason.

Your second statement was occasionally taken to extremes in the LC, e.g. you don't know anything about children so you should be put you in charge of the children's service, so that you must rely upon God's gifts and power and not your own "natural abilities." That's stupid.

I don't think that God's gifts and power vary that much "from the particular skills or talents we have that we were born with," to use your words. If one gets saved at a young age, these talents might not be manifested yet, but that does not mean they were not there.

For example, I was not gifted with any musical talent, neither naturally or spiritually. Right after I was saved, a well-meaning brother sitting next to me in one of my first meetings kindly took me aside, looked me in the eyes, and asked if I was "tone deaf." His "loving" question took me weeks to get over, but eventually with practice and grace I improved, and no longer stand out like an audio "sore thumb." All of God's "great gifts and power" have brought me to the point where I can now sing with others. Barely.

On the other hand, I am like the guru of home remodeling, basically been that way since I was born. I'm an engineer who has had rentals, flipped homes, and remodeled every home I ever lived in. There's not too much I don't know or can't do, so I was always responsible for the meeting halls. Every time one of the saints was buying a home, they asked me to come along to give my opinion. That didn't mean that I did everything without God, by my self, or without His grace, but serving in that capacity was to me a joy, something I liked doing. In Lee's scheme of things, "spiritual" service should not be something we like or enjoy. I disagree.
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:40 AM   #55
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Everything God creates is good. The issue isn't a natural gift or talent. The issue is the state of the heart of the person with the talent. If the person is subject to God, God can easily use the talent. If not, it's a lot harder.

But Lee, with his "natural constitution" doctrine, put the emphasis on the talent itself, as if it somehow needed to be "dealt with." This kept everyone wondering whether their gifts had been dealt with and so made everyone hesitate to use them.

This was just another aspect of Lee's overall misconceptions about spiritual growth. He made it more about some mysterious metaphysical condition of being rather than simply our heart being more aligned with God's.
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:06 PM   #56
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I agree with this ... for the most part. To me "natural ability" has everything to do with His creation of us individually and His sovereignty in our lives, arranging our families and environments. I believe that God made us as we are for a reason.

Your second statement was occasionally taken to extremes in the LC, e.g. you don't know anything about children so you should be put you in charge of the children's service, so that you must rely upon God's gifts and power and not your own "natural abilities." That's stupid.

I don't think that God's gifts and power vary that much "from the particular skills or talents we have that we were born with," to use your words. If one gets saved at a young age, these talents might not be manifested yet, but that does not mean they were not there.

For example, I was not gifted with any musical talent, neither naturally or spiritually. Right after I was saved, a well-meaning brother sitting next to me in one of my first meetings kindly took me aside, looked me in the eyes, and asked if I was "tone deaf." His "loving" question took me weeks to get over, but eventually with practice and grace I improved, and no longer stand out like an audio "sore thumb." All of God's "great gifts and power" have brought me to the point where I can now sing with others. Barely.

On the other hand, I am like the guru of home remodeling, basically been that way since I was born. I'm an engineer who has had rentals, flipped homes, and remodeled every home I ever lived in. There's not too much I don't know or can't do, so I was always responsible for the meeting halls. Every time one of the saints was buying a home, they asked me to come along to give my opinion. That didn't mean that I did everything without God, by my self, or without His grace, but serving in that capacity was to me a joy, something I liked doing. In Lee's scheme of things, "spiritual" service should not be something we like or enjoy. I disagree.
I think this approach builds character and I see nothing wrong with it, and it may even have spiritual value. It is good to be outside of our "comfort zone" sometimes.

There is a general principle in the Bible that God uses those who are not capable. Because He does not want us to do things in our strength but His strength. Because He wants the glory. If we do things we are good at or like to do, would we really give Him the glory?

1 Cor 1:27 "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world that He might shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world that He might shame the strong;"

Moses was not a good speaker, David was not a warrior yet killed Goliath, Jacob was a home body and mommy's boy, there are many examples.

Those who have natural strength and ability (Saul, Esau etc) have generally not been chosen by God to do great things for Him, or they have been, but made a mess of it.
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:08 PM   #57
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Everything God creates is good. The issue isn't a natural gift or talent. The issue is the state of the heart of the person with the talent. If the person is subject to God, God can easily use the talent. If not, it's a lot harder.

But Lee, with his "natural constitution" doctrine, put the emphasis on the talent itself, as if it somehow needed to be "dealt with." This kept everyone wondering whether their gifts had been dealt with and so made everyone hesitate to use them.

This was just another aspect of Lee's overall misconceptions about spiritual growth. He made it more about some mysterious metaphysical condition of being rather than simply our heart being more aligned with God's.
That it is more than "our heart being more aligned with God's", is indicated by this verse:

1 Cor 6:17 "But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him".

It does not say, "he who is joined to the Lord remains two spirits that look like each other", or "two spirits that are aligned".

I am not saying you are wrong about Lee's emphasis, just that the Bible does imply a reliance upon God.

I think that no one including Lee has a right to tell others how they should use their gifts. If they want to seek guidance and counsel from others that is fine, but it is a personal matter between them and the Lord. And who are we to deny someone to use their gifts in God's service, regardless of whether we think they are capable or not?
How does one know if their giftings are natural or spiritual? I would say spiritual giftings are those not naturally acquired. The spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible (healing, prophesy, etc) have little to do with things that humans are normally capable of doing (playing musical instruments, arranging chairs, preparing food).
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:53 PM   #58
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I agree with this ... for the most part. To me "natural ability" has everything to do with His creation of us individually and His sovereignty in our lives, arranging our families and environments. I believe that God made us as we are for a reason.

Your second statement was occasionally taken to extremes in the LC, e.g. you don't know anything about children so you should be put you in charge of the children's service, so that you must rely upon God's gifts and power and not your own "natural abilities." That's stupid.

I don't think that God's gifts and power vary that much "from the particular skills or talents we have that we were born with," to use your words. If one gets saved at a young age, these talents might not be manifested yet, but that does not mean they were not there.

For example, I was not gifted with any musical talent, neither naturally or spiritually. Right after I was saved, a well-meaning brother sitting next to me in one of my first meetings kindly took me aside, looked me in the eyes, and asked if I was "tone deaf." His "loving" question took me weeks to get over, but eventually with practice and grace I improved, and no longer stand out like an audio "sore thumb." All of God's "great gifts and power" have brought me to the point where I can now sing with others. Barely.

On the other hand, I am like the guru of home remodeling, basically been that way since I was born. I'm an engineer who has had rentals, flipped homes, and remodeled every home I ever lived in. There's not too much I don't know or can't do, so I was always responsible for the meeting halls. Every time one of the saints was buying a home, they asked me to come along to give my opinion. That didn't mean that I did everything without God, by my self, or without His grace, but serving in that capacity was to me a joy, something I liked doing. In Lee's scheme of things, "spiritual" service should not be something we like or enjoy. I disagree.
It means whatever you do, do it in fellowship with the Lord. That means, call the Lord's name and pray to Him as you do whatever you do. Whether this is what Lee originally meant or not I do not know, but that is how I see it practiced today.

I see it as a way to preserve practical unity in the church. It can happen that certain individuals feel privileged or special to hold a certain function in the church, at the expense of others. I understand Lee may have preferred 5 uncapable people doing the one task than 1 capable person doing 5 tasks. This has been a frustration to me observing basic things done by more than enough people, or someone undoing something you have just done, so you have to re-do it again - this is what you get when there is no human organization per se, and "everyone can function".
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:21 PM   #59
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I think this approach builds character and I see nothing wrong with it, and it may even have spiritual value. It is good to be outside of our "comfort zone" sometimes.

There is a general principle in the Bible that God uses those who are not capable. Because He does not want us to do things in our strength but His strength. Because He wants the glory. If we do things we are good at or like to do, would we really give Him the glory?

1 Cor 1:27 "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world that He might shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world that He might shame the strong;"

Moses was not a good speaker, David was not a warrior yet killed Goliath, Jacob was a home body and mommy's boy, there are many examples.

Those who have natural strength and ability (Saul, Esau etc) have generally not been chosen by God to do great things for Him, or they have been, but made a mess of it.
Your premise is specious at best. David was very accomplished at killing predators that threatened the flock, Saul was a serious scholar and was good enough at oratory to convince the chief priests to allow him to arrest followers of the way, after his conversion and submission to Jesus his natural capabilities were captured and used by the Lord. Jacob was hardly a mommas boy; he led his family through many difficulties and dangers. I heard Ron Kangas say that WL had the capacity to govern a nation, he was that smart. If WL was a humble servant of God why did he push so many business ventures on the saints? If he was God's Oracle why would he promote his sons to abuse the saints. His son abused sisters in the ministry office. He submitted to no one, he allowed no peers, he was deceived by Satan and used by Satan to deceive. The Spirit's focus is on Christ, the Father's focus is on Christ, the blended brother's and elders focus is on THE MINISTRY. Christ is not the ministry.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:42 PM   #60
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I think this approach builds character and I see nothing wrong with it, and it may even have spiritual value. It is good to be outside of our "comfort zone" sometimes.

There is a general principle in the Bible that God uses those who are not capable. Because He does not want us to do things in our strength but His strength. Because He wants the glory. If we do things we are good at or like to do, would we really give Him the glory?

1 Cor 1:27 "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world that He might shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world that He might shame the strong;"

Moses was not a good speaker, David was not a warrior yet killed Goliath, Jacob was a home body and mommy's boy, there are many examples.

Those who have natural strength and ability (Saul, Esau etc) have generally not been chosen by God to do great things for Him, or they have been, but made a mess of it.
I will admt that at one time I thought the same way, but I am not so sure anymore. For example, Saul and Esau did not "mess" things up because of their "natural strength," but because Saul was disobedient to Jehovah, and Esau hated the things of God. Esau might have been physically stronger than Jacob, but when it came to business acumen, Jacob was far superior. Actually David was a far more skillful warrior than anybody thought, including Goliath and both armies. He killed both a lion and a bear apparently with his bare hands. His courage was unmatched. With his sling he was more deadly than those with swords and armor.

Did not God greatly use the natural talents of Paul and Peter? Timothy, however, never was able to fulfill Paul's goals for him because he lacked the fortitude which Paul possessed.

All of the great men of God throughout church history were blessed with great strength of character. Read their biographies. Of course, it is not essential to be gifted in order to serve God, but those who accomplished much were also given much.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:47 PM   #61
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Your premise is specious at best. David was very accomplished at killing predators that threatened the flock, Saul was a serious scholar and was good enough at oratory to convince the chief priests to allow him to arrest followers of the way, after his conversion and submission to Jesus his natural capabilities were captured and used by the Lord. Jacob was hardly a mommas boy; he led his family through many difficulties and dangers. I heard Ron Kangas say that WL had the capacity to govern a nation, he was that smart. If WL was a humble servant of God why did he push so many business ventures on the saints? If he was God's Oracle why would he promote his sons to abuse the saints. His son abused sisters in the ministry office. He submitted to no one, he allowed no peers, he was deceived by Satan and used by Satan to deceive. The Spirit's focus is on Christ, the Father's focus is on Christ, the blended brother's and elders focus is on THE MINISTRY. Christ is not the ministry.
If we are capable, then God does not need to give us His Spirit or spiritual gifts. The fact that God gives us the Spirit is evidence enough that we are NOT capable, regardless of how much natural ability we may have.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:59 PM   #62
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If we are capable, then God does not need to give us His Spirit or spiritual gifts. The fact that God gives us the Spirit is evidence enough that we are NOT capable, regardless of how much natural ability we may have.
No matter how capable a Lord's servant may be he/she must have the Spirit's power.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:02 PM   #63
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No matter how capable a Lord's servant may be he/she must have the Spirit's power.
That's very true, amen to that.
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:48 AM   #64
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That it is more than "our heart being more aligned with God's", is indicated by this verse:

1 Cor 6:17 "But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him".

It does not say, "he who is joined to the Lord remains two spirits that look like each other", or "two spirits that are aligned".

I am not saying you are wrong about Lee's emphasis, just that the Bible does imply a reliance upon God.

I think that no one including Lee has a right to tell others how they should use their gifts. If they want to seek guidance and counsel from others that is fine, but it is a personal matter between them and the Lord. And who are we to deny someone to use their gifts in God's service, regardless of whether we think they are capable or not?
How does one know if their giftings are natural or spiritual? I would say spiritual giftings are those not naturally acquired. The spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible (healing, prophesy, etc) have little to do with things that humans are normally capable of doing (playing musical instruments, arranging chairs, preparing food).
I said hearts, not spirits. The Spirit/spirit are one. That's a given. What God is doing beyond that is changing our mind, emotion, will, i.e. heart to be like him.

The Bible talks about growth, but the only clarification it gives of growth is that we will be "like" Christ. What does that mean? Most teachers interpret it that we will be like him in what we love, what we hate and the actions we take because of those. We will be like Jesus was.

Yes, there is likely more to our growth than just our heart being aligned to God. The problem is we really don't know what that is. The Holy Spirit is doing something in us that we really can't define. But the net result is just what I said, or implied. We become like Jesus in disposition. Our hearts become in sync with God's.

Lee tried to define it in terms of our metabolic makeup--life, nature, mingling, etc. His natural vs. spiritual doctrines were part of this. But most of that stuff was speculation. He jumped to a lot of conclusions.

The idea that God can't or doesn't want to use people with great natural abilities just doesn't hold up to scrutiny. God made us and he wants to use every one of us. The problem is people who are quite gifted tend to be self-reliant and proud. So the problem isn't their gift, but their attitude. Yes, spiritual people are reliant on God, but that doesn't mean they don't use their natural gifts.

Focusing on dealing with natural abilities is to me a misaiming. God's dealing with us is always a matter of dealing with our hearts. If our hearts our right we need not worry about whether our abilities are natural or not. We just use what God gave us in obedience. Why make it more complicated than that?

You think Lee ever really doubted his natural ability? Naturally he was a strong, stubborn, demanding and persuasive leader. He used that to the end, to the hilt.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:46 AM   #65
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If we are capable, then God does not need to give us His Spirit or spiritual gifts. The fact that God gives us the Spirit is evidence enough that we are NOT capable, regardless of how much natural ability we may have.
This is a simplistic and short-sighted conclusion. If God doesn't want us to use our natural gifts then why does he give them to us? Obviously we all need the Spirit, but that doesn't mean the Spirit does not mesh with our natural gifts and use them to his glory.

Guess what? You cannot help but use your natural gifts to serve God. Can you think? That's a natural gift. Can you feel? That's a natural gift. Can you read? That's a natural gift. Can you walk and talk? Natural gifts. In fact, you whole human being is a natural gift.

Remember the glove/hand analogy? Our natural gifts are the glove and the Spirit is the hand. The hand animates the glove, it doesn't eliminate it.
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Old 08-31-2016, 02:04 PM   #66
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I always liked he hand-glove analogy.

But this time it seems to miss the point. I think it is more about the Spirit directing, not simply being everything except for what is seen. (If a hand is in a glove, only the glove is seen though the hand does it all.)

I think that it more like saying that the hand is still us/ours but it is the Spirit in unison with our spirit that is directing. Not just us.

Then you have to ask the question . . . .

How easy is it for us, as Christians, to either be in unison with the Spirit, or just in ourselves?

That may be the real issue. Is it hard to be in unison with the Spirit? Or is it really pretty easy as long as you set your mind? I am not saying that just because you set your mind you will succeed. But succeed or fail, doing with the mind properly set is in one sense success.

And asking my question a different way. Is there some kind of hoops that we need to be jumping through to be in unison with the Spirit? Is recognizing that the scripture puts demands on me and that as a Christian I therefore set to do that the same as being in unison with the Spirit? Or does it take more?

I'm suggesting that I see a propensity to declare that there are more hoops that must be jumped through before you should act.

And I am disagreeing. If we already have all we need (for life and Godliness) then why do we need to seek something more before doing?
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:44 PM   #67
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I always liked he hand-glove analogy.

But this time it seems to miss the point. I think it is more about the Spirit directing, not simply being everything except for what is seen. (If a hand is in a glove, only the glove is seen though the hand does it all.)
Like any analogy you have to take it with a grain of salt. I simply used it to point out that the Spirit does not eliminate our natural gifts, he empowers them to be used by God. As Evangelical has rightly pointed out, if we try to use our natural gifts without the Spirit to do something for God, it will usually end badly. "Without me you can do nothing."
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:20 PM   #68
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This is a simplistic and short-sighted conclusion. If God doesn't want us to use our natural gifts then why does he give them to us? Obviously we all need the Spirit, but that doesn't mean the Spirit does not mesh with our natural gifts and use them to his glory.

Guess what? You cannot help but use your natural gifts to serve God. Can you think? That's a natural gift. Can you feel? That's a natural gift. Can you read? That's a natural gift. Can you walk and talk? Natural gifts. In fact, you whole human being is a natural gift.

Remember the glove/hand analogy? Our natural gifts are the glove and the Spirit is the hand. The hand animates the glove, it doesn't eliminate it.
We have different understanding of the term "natural gift". I don't consider normal human functions as "gifts", although we can say that "everything is a gift from God". To me a gift would be some sort of extra-ability or talent.
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:24 PM   #69
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I said hearts, not spirits. The Spirit/spirit are one. That's a given. What God is doing beyond that is changing our mind, emotion, will, i.e. heart to be like him.

The Bible talks about growth, but the only clarification it gives of growth is that we will be "like" Christ. What does that mean? Most teachers interpret it that we will be like him in what we love, what we hate and the actions we take because of those. We will be like Jesus was.

Yes, there is likely more to our growth than just our heart being aligned to God. The problem is we really don't know what that is. The Holy Spirit is doing something in us that we really can't define. But the net result is just what I said, or implied. We become like Jesus in disposition. Our hearts become in sync with God's.

Lee tried to define it in terms of our metabolic makeup--life, nature, mingling, etc. His natural vs. spiritual doctrines were part of this. But most of that stuff was speculation. He jumped to a lot of conclusions.

The idea that God can't or doesn't want to use people with great natural abilities just doesn't hold up to scrutiny. God made us and he wants to use every one of us. The problem is people who are quite gifted tend to be self-reliant and proud. So the problem isn't their gift, but their attitude. Yes, spiritual people are reliant on God, but that doesn't mean they don't use their natural gifts.

Focusing on dealing with natural abilities is to me a misaiming. God's dealing with us is always a matter of dealing with our hearts. If our hearts our right we need not worry about whether our abilities are natural or not. We just use what God gave us in obedience. Why make it more complicated than that?

You think Lee ever really doubted his natural ability? Naturally he was a strong, stubborn, demanding and persuasive leader. He used that to the end, to the hilt.
The heart is the spirit (conscience) plus the soul (mind, emotions, will). Just using Lee/Nee definition here. Anyway I see your point, and that God uses/enhances natural abilities by the Spirit rather than squashes them and replaces them with spiritual ones.
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:50 AM   #70
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Let's read some scripture about gifts: Romans 12

6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
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Old 09-01-2016, 02:50 PM   #71
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The heart is the spirit (conscience) plus the soul (mind, emotions, will). Just using Lee/Nee definition here. Anyway I see your point, and that God uses/enhances natural abilities by the Spirit rather than squashes them and replaces them with spiritual ones.

Yep. The thing we need to take care of is whether we're in the Spirit. I can't recall ever hearing the Lord telling me 'Oh you're just in your natural gift.' He just always reminds me, 'Make me your source. Make me your source.'
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:16 PM   #72
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Like any analogy you have to take it with a grain of salt. I simply used it to point out that the Spirit does not eliminate our natural gifts, he empowers them to be used by God. As Evangelical has rightly pointed out, if we try to use our natural gifts without the Spirit to do something for God, it will usually end badly. "Without me you can do nothing."
I agree. And I understood your use of the metaphor. Just suggesting something beyond might be closer to what really is.

And my reasoning is that while I fully believe in the "without me you can do nothing," I think that there is a propensity to forget that while God can do anything he wants, he generally only does what we go along with, or take part in. So there is also a kind of "without us, God can, but often doesn't do anything."

If I don't take part (if my hand isn't engaged) then God doesn't act. I am not a passive glove on God's hand. (Reminds me of a bug wearing an Edgar suit — MIB) I am an active part of whatever happens. Without Him, and without me, nothing happens. Without Him, we simply fail. Without me, God may cause an earthquake, but he doesn't change me unless I take part.

Not denying that he could. I just don't believe that he does. We can become the grain in the weeds. (or more correctly, the weeds themselves)
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