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Old 06-26-2012, 06:50 PM   #1
UntoHim
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Email Received from David Canfield:
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Hello -

I have just launched a new website related to the turmoil the churches went through several years ago. It is

www.StandfortheTestimony.org

As the believers in Christ, we should stand for the Lord's testimony. However, this often involves conflict, for the enemy hates to see us take such a stand. Realizing this, we should not be discouraged when troubles arise in the church life, but encouraged and strengthened to follow the Lord as He desires.

To this end, this website, using a number of articles and documents from the turmoil, shows some of the history of that time. Negatively, this is to expose the evil work the Blended Brothers did in subverting the stand of the churches, and in usurping the ministry of Witness Lee. However, it is also meant to serve the very positive purpose of reminding us of what the churches originally did stand for, and should be standing for today, and encouraging the saints to remain in “the things which we have learned” (2 Tim. 3:14), even when there is so much decline around us.

In Christ,
David Canfield

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Old 06-27-2012, 06:55 AM   #2
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Canfield's opening page is copied here ...

Quote:
In the 20th century the Lord raised up a number of churches, all over the world, through the ministry of Witness Lee. These churches originally stood for the testimony of Christ. We came together simply as Christians, in the oneness of the Body of Christ, rather than on the basis of some teaching, practice, or person. This was a real work of the Lord to call His people back to Himself, and it was a wonderful blessing for so many of us who had the privilege of participating in it.

Gradually, however, the churches for the most part left their original standing, as they began to focus more and more on Witness Lee and his ministry. Although our brother was a real servant of the Lord, whose ministry was rich both in truth and in the experience of Christ, the fact that he allowed this situation to develop was nonetheless a very serious failure on his part. All of us who serve the Lord need His mercy, for every servant of the Lord has his shortcomings.

After Brother Lee’s death in 1997, his co-workers continued this departure. They were centered around the Living Stream Ministry, which was the publishing house founded by Witness Lee. Eventually, they established themselves as a de facto clergy among the churches, known as “the Blended Brothers,” and made oneness with themselves and the Living Stream Ministry, rather than oneness with Christ, the basis for our fellowship. The end result of all this was a serious division among the churches, which took place in 2006.

This website documents the history of this tragic and completely unnecessary division. This is to help both us and those who may come after us gain the profit from the very difficult experience we have been through, and also to serve as a witness of what the churches originally stood for.
It's worthwhile to examine this opening precis by Canfield because it represents a view which is not atypical of the mindset of many long term members from the Great Lakes area. Nearly every sentence, however, is composed of presuppositions which have been challenged by further inquiry into our history. The core of Canfield's abstract is an idealized view of church history provided by Witness Lee modified by Titus Chu.

I'm hoping that brother Canfield will be willing to discuss his perceptions on this forum. I once espoused the exact same set of views. We now, however, have the benefit of a more full picture of our history, and unfortunately Canfield's opening words due not reflect this.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:09 AM   #3
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From:a http://www.standforthetestimony.org/

Quote:
These churches originally stood for the testimony of Christ. We came together simply as Christians, in the oneness of the Body of Christ, rather than on the basis of some teaching, practice, or person.

..and made oneness with themselves and the Living Stream Ministry, rather than oneness with Christ, the basis for our fellowship.
From an email announcing the existence of the website:
Quote:
…Negatively, this is to expose the evil work the Blended Brothers did in subverting the stand of the churches, and in usurping the ministry of Witness Lee.
First of all let me say that I sincerely appreciate and even laud David Canfield’s writings over the past number of years. I think he has gone about his business with a genuine Christiant heart and attitude, and having this kind of heart and attitude leaves room for the Lord to enlighten minds and soften hearts. When considering these deeply held understandings and beliefs, and cherished views of persons and places, it is so very easy for one to leave love behind, and plow forward, becoming “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal”. I know this has always been a constant danger here on these open forums out here in cyperspace. I pray often that the Lord would keep this understanding before us all as we consider and dialog regarding the teachings, practices and history of Witness Lee and the Local Church Movement.

I have often said something to the effect that “the further one gets away from the ministry of Witness Lee and the Local Church, the worse they look”. This has certainly been my personal experience, and I have seen the same among many other former LC members as well. We see this same dynamic at work in the writings of John Myer (http://www.assemblylife.com/) His book, A Future and A Hope, is basically a journal in which Myer lets us all in on his personal experience and observations as he and those around him have made their way through the uncertain waters of leaving a Movement which has controlled and even dominated their lives, both personal and corporate, for decades. And no matter how you view some of his conclusions, one thing is for certain, the further he got away from his Local Church connections – physical, emotional and spiritual – the more acute and crystal clear his criticisms of the Movement became. (Sorry brother John, I calls them as I sees them)

Now back to concerns of David Canfield. Unless I am misreading and/or misunderstanding Canfield, he seems to be of the mind that the Local Church Movement, at it’s onset here in America and until Lee’s death, was everything that Witness Lee and his followers have claimed it to be – A true and genuine “recovery” back to the teachings and practices of the original New Testament apostles and local churches. And at some point, most especially after the passing of Lee, Canfield posits that the “The Recovery” has degraded and “left their original standing, as they began to focus more and more on Witness Lee and his ministry”. Canfield, in the email announcing the website, makes no bones about his ultimate intentions: “this is to expose the evil work the Blended Brothers did in subverting the stand of the churches, and in usurping the ministry of Witness Lee”.

There is lot’s to consider and respond to here…. too much to address properly in one post, so I will just start with a premise that most current LC members, and many former members, hold dear to – that the “original standing” of The Local Church Movement, and the ministry of Witness Lee, was something totally altruistic, pure and biblical….that it was a genuine continuation of a “recovery” which can be traced back to Martin Luther and the Reformers. Of course the major cog in this continuation, insofar as Lee and his followers are concerned, is Watchman Nee. This line of thinking presupposes that Nee himself is to be considered along the same lines (literally) as Martin Luther – a supposition that, aside from Witness Lee and some other of Nee’s earlier followers, would be considered as preposterous by the vast majority of contemporary Christians, probably even those of Mainland China. This is not to say that Nee is not held is high esteem among many contemporary Christians (especially those in Asia/China), but few outside the Local Church Movement/LSM would assert that Nee is anything more than a genuine teacher/preacher of the Gospel, and a genuine apostle/church planter raised up by God Himself for the people of his beloved country of China.

Next up at bat… Canfield’s assertion that Local Churchers/LSM have “left their original standing, as they began to focus more and more on Witness Lee and his ministry”.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
There is lot’s to consider and respond to here ... too much to address properly in one post, so I will just start with a premise that most current LC members, and many former members, hold dear to – that the “original standing” of The Local Church Movement, and the ministry of Witness Lee, was something totally altruistic, pure and biblical ….that it was a genuine continuation of a “recovery” which can be traced back to Martin Luther and the Reformers.
I have known far too many brothers who truly believed that the Recovery "was something totally altruistic, pure and biblical." That's why we invested our lives into her. The original ideals were captivating, and the joy of our salvation seemed to confirm this. As one who was reared in Catholicism, and one who never once heard the message of being born again within her confines, I also bought into the story that "all was lost" and slowly since Luther, truth was being "recovered."

As long as we possessed only a cursory history of the church, however, we become primed for other fabrications to come our way. To say things started with Luther is not accurate. The concept of a "silver line of God's grace" from Miller's Church History is more accurate. This implies that there have always been a faithful remnant of God's people even during the darkest times of the dark ages. This also brings to our attention that the Lord has always had leaders -- "gifts given by the Head" -- since the time of the apostles to minister to God's children and preach the gospel to the nations. Even Luther eventually acknowledged that he too was a "Hussite" -- a reference to John Huss before him, who was martyred and condemned a heretic. Huss was just one of many men in church history used of the Lord to speak out for the Lord.

Perhaps it was these misconceptions in church history, passed on to him from the exclusive Brethren, which were the rotten seeds sown into the ministry of Witness Lee which caused him to eventually elevate his own status to that of the "acting God" and the "Minister of the Age." Perhaps, on the other hand, WL only distorted church history for personal gain. Either way it was these exclusive and grandiose views of himself, his followers in the Recovery, and the rest of "degraded" Christianity which colored every part of his ministry. It is impossible to characterize the ministry of WL without speaking of these three -- that WL was THE minister of the age, the Recovery was the unique testimony of the Lord, and the abject failure of all the rest of Christianity.

Canfield continues to make one failed assumption in his writings -- that Witness Lee alone was the faithful minister of the Lord, and that all those surrounding him have failed. I have heard that skewed message for decades, especially from brother Titus Chu.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Gradually, however, the churches for the most part left their original standing, as they began to focus more and more on Witness Lee and his ministry. Although our brother was a real servant of the Lord, whose ministry was rich both in truth and in the experience of Christ, the fact that he allowed this situation to develop was nonetheless a very serious failure on his part. All of us who serve the Lord need His mercy, for every servant of the Lord has his shortcomings.
This statement by Canfield really burns me up. This view of our history is quite naive to say the least. The churches never desired to leave their original standing in Christ. It was the evil leaders who uprooted them and attempted to transplant them into the fields of WL. When many faithful men of God, the shepherding elders of these local churches, resisted this evil transplanting their names were slandered and their reputations were ruined. Some of the notables I am speaking of are John Ingalls, Al Knoch, and Godfred of Anaheim.

In this matter WL's failures should never be described as "shortcomings." To say that it was a "serious failure on his part" for "allowing this situation to develop" simply absolves Witness Lee of the responsibility he bears in actively silencing all those who cried out on the Lord's behalf.

Canfield really should research the events of the Recovery more closely. It's too bad he has chosen to "write in a vacuum." His views of the history of the Recovery far too closely match those of his mentor James Reetzke Sr. Though they have parted ways since the quarantine of TC, Canfield still has not done thorough research. By presenting only one side of the story, that which was handed down by those remaining inside the Recovery, he has never discovered why things have happened as they did.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:12 PM   #6
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The thing that stands out to me is a part of one sentence. It says "a real servant of the Lord, whose ministry was rich both in truth and in the experience of Christ. . . ." I will not presuppose that Lee was not trying to be a servant of the Lord. But I am fatiguing of the kind of code that we learned from Lee. "Rich in truth" and "the experience of Christ" are used in such off-hand ways that they lose their true meaning. (And for "truth" to lose its true meaning is quite a feat.)

"Rich in truth" mostly meant "full of the remnant theology of Nee/Lee and focused on an exclusiveness of 'ground' that marginalized others."

"The experience of Christ" too often meant the experience of a so called "church life" rather than the experience of truly following and obeying in all of life.

My problem is that the focus is/was all wrong. Even in the beginning, there was too much inward-looking such that there was praise for what we were and/or had become part of rather than truly for Christ and what he had done. Our constant clamoring about the church and the church life are evidence of where our focus was. The gospels gave no such emphasis on the church. And even the epistles, which are written to or about the churches, are mostly not about the church, but about the lives of the members.

I do not believe that DC is in any way simply an "I wanna go back to Eldon Hall" kind of guy. But it is so long for us to eliminate the wrong thinking that we got in the LRC. It has so permeated our thinking that we presume it is true. And since we really gave part of our lives to it, it is difficult to admit that it could be so wrong.

But it was. And is.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Canfield really should research the events of the Recovery more closely. It's too bad he has chosen to "write in a vacuum." His views of the history of the Recovery far too closely match those of his mentor James Reetzke Sr. Though they have parted ways since the quarantine of TC, Canfield still has not done thorough research. By presenting only one side of the story, that which was handed down by those remaining inside the Recovery, he has never discovered why things have happened as they did.
I would hope so. There is material available and brothers accessible in order to do the necessary research.
I wonder how many will draw the parellels that I have. The turmoil of the past decade is not that different from that of the late 80's and in many ways the events of the late 80's explains why things have happened as they did in 2005-2006.
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:13 PM   #8
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Tis phrase from David Canfield "oneness with themselves and the Living Stream Ministry, rather than oneness with Christ, the basis for our fellowship." is another trait churches who disassocated and saints who left the local churches in the 1980's share. This was first noted in the Elders Training April, 1986.
In one of the documents in David's website is a letter from the Great Lakes brothers that references The Beliefs and Practices.

"One publication, “all the saints and all the churches everywhere should…be restricted in one publication in the Lord’s recovery.” [Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery] These teachings and their application by the “blended co-workers” are the root cause of serious problems in the recovery. We recognize that some of these items were mentioned by Brother Lee, and may perhaps be beneficial as “inspirations” in particular instances. However, they do not represent items of our “essential beliefs,” based upon the Scriptures and the ministry of brothers Nee and Lee as presented in The Beliefs & Practices….(1978) and Brother Lee’s Speciality, Generality & Practicality…"

As I see it is this publication The Beliefs and Practices that is the crux of the 18 points made in 1988 by the former Anaheim elders in a word given to the Church in Anaheim. Out of which led Ron Kangas and Kerry Robichaux to write A Response to Recent Accusations.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:22 AM   #9
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Next up at bat… Canfield’s assertion that Local Churchers/LSM have “left their original standing, as they began to focus more and more on Witness Lee and his ministry”.
I would challenge Canfield to show that the focus of the Local Church movement here in America has EVER been on anything or anyone other than Witness Lee and his ministry. There is a very good reason why Lee and his followers came under significant criticism from the very beginnings in Los Angeles. Does anyone really believe that Witness Lee would let the focus be on anything or anyone but himself? From the very beginnings in LA, all the conferences and "trainings" were either conducted by Lee himself, or maybe by somebody going over messages and outlines provided by Lee. The first books distributed (The Economy of God, etc) were almost all Lee, with maybe a few from Watchman Nee.

From the very beginnings in LA Witness Lee and his followers drew the ire from other Christians with all the "WE are THE Church in LA", "WE are meeting on THE PROPER GROUND" and "Poor, Poor Christianity" talk. Marches were made against other Christian churches and ministries with placards proclaiming "Down with Christianity!". Too bad there were no digital cameras and the Internet back in the day....I bet many current LC members would be shocked and ashamed of the aggressive and horrific attitude displayed towards their brothers and sisters in Christ. I guarantee you that there would be a lot more understanding of just why the Local Church got labeled with the dreaded “C” word.

We could go over all sorts of LC history going back to the early days of Elden Hall and before, and how insiders and outsiders were treated, but the bottom line is that it is provably false that “the original standing” of the Local Church Movement was anything other than what it is today – A sect of Christianity with both positive and negative elements. Were there more positives than negatives at the beginning? Probably so, but that is true with almost every movement of man, even those whose beginnings could be traced to something that might be considered a genuine move of God.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:22 AM   #10
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It's statements like the following that bother me.
Quote:
However, they do not represent items of our “essential beliefs,” based upon the Scriptures and the ministry of brothers Nee and Lee as presented in The Beliefs & Practices….(1978) and Brother Lee’s Speciality, Generality & Practicality…"
While we always will be learning from various ministries, they are not the scriptures. Essential beliefs are based on the scriptures. It may be the ministry of someone (Nee and Lee in this case) that brings the scriptures to light. But the beliefs must be based on scripture.

The way this particular statement is made creates the thought that the ministry of Nee and of Lee can be a basis for essential beliefs. But it cannot. If the scripture does not support it, then it is not essential. So even though we may come to understand what it is that we believe is essential because of some man's ministry, the source of the essential belief must be the scriptures.

A significant problem that I have come to realize is that too much that is treated as essential by the LRC is found in the ministry of Nee and Lee, but not found in scripture. Yet the fact that it came from the ministry of Nee and Lee is treated as grounds for presumption that it is in concert with scripture. That little quote does not say that essential beliefs are only found in scripture. It actually says that they are found in scripture and in the ministry of Nee and Lee. And in saying that, it does not qualify that what is found in Nee and Lee has been checked against scripture.

Don't forget that Titus Chu was severely chastised in the write-ups of the reason for his excommunication for pointing people to actually read scripture and primary resources first, then reading the ministry. They would insist that we can't even understand the scriptures without the ministry, so why even bother with concordances and Bible dictionaries. In so many words, scripture was relegated to be whatever the ministry of Nee and Lee (and more specifically, just Lee) said it was. The LRC surely does not believe in sola scriptura. Scripture is not consulted to determine whether the ministry of Nee and Lee is correct. The ministry of Nee and Lee is consulted to determine what it is that scripture has said. And the result stands even if you just have to turn off your mind to accept the otherwise ridiculous thing that was just said.

Their standard is sola LSM. Who needs the bible when you've go Lee?
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:39 AM   #11
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It's statements like the following that bother me...
Great points, which few in the program realize.

This thought of going back to the "original vision" of WN was supposedly used to get the attention of those following LSM to wake up and reconsider what has happened over time. Obviously LSMers don't care. They have decided to allow LSM to define scripture for them without their own personal examination.

Although it was TC who was one of the leaders in the LRC movement to "return to the scriptures," he was walking a fine line. The danger existed that many brothers would "go too far" in their struggle to come back to the pure word of God, and decide that TC himself was not part of the solution, but of the problem. This is exactly what has happened after the quarantine of TC. There are others besides John Myer in this regard.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:19 PM   #12
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I think your perspective from within the GLA is very helpful in analyzing where this thing has gone and is continuing to go.

And I think that one of the most important things we can learn over time is that all those old things like hymns, communion with little cups, even liturgies, etc., are part of a rich tapestry of scripture in action in our worship. And as for the people the rest of their lives are not necessarily filled with outward rituals (I actually typed "wituals" you wascly wabbit) of groaning "Oh Lord" in every instance of conflict or upon discovering that they actually did their job for a whole hour without stopping and thinking about something religious for a while in there.

The real thing is what you do with it, not what it is. I think you mentioned something about solos recently. I agree that I am not crazy about solos. But some times it is good that there is an opportunity to stop and reflect while something I don't have to think about is going on. I just let the music be a backdrop and even some of the words flow into my thoughts. It is actually quite refreshing at times. I see this as a kind of service to me (and others).
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:41 PM   #13
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A word that I am in full agreement with David Canfield on is from one of the letters in his website.

My intention and hope in sending this out now is to inspire a genuine fellowship among us regarding our situation, so that the Lord may restore us to our original standing for the testimony of Christ and the genuine oneness of the Body of Christ. In contrast, to belittle, as some do, such a profound, very real, and very legitimate concern as merely “making issues,” desiring to “argue about the truth,” or “being contentious,” is not only deeply unfair to those of us who hold this concern; it also indicates a loss of sight concerning the Lord’s interest.

Today it is the responsibility of the elders and leading brothers to stand against any tendency toward hierarchy among us, so that we may remain in the genuine New Testament oneness that we have always stood for. In light of our current situation, and in particular of the accusations that have been made against Brother Titus and others who are resisting this tendency, I appreciate very much a statement contained in the Exclusive Brethren history:


Those who could not toe the line were not acting independently but were resisting ecclesiastical presumption.

Brothers, may we be warned by these histories and learn their lessons. Some time ago I was speaking with a dear brother who meets with the Exclusive Brethren. We were talking about learning from history and he made a comment that struck me very much:

Groups never learn from history, but sometimes people do.

May the Lord grant the reader to consider soberly before Him our real situation! Lord, be merciful to us all!
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:38 AM   #14
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Brothers, may we be warned by these histories and learn their lessons. Some time ago I was speaking with a dear brother who meets with the Exclusive Brethren. We were talking about learning from history and he made a comment that struck me very much:

Groups never learn from history, but sometimes people do.

May the Lord grant the reader to consider soberly before Him our real situation! Lord, be merciful to us all!
It seems to me that groups never learn from history because the leaders of those groups refuse to learn from history.

Unfortunately, many of the leaders in the church seem to learn more from the nations, rather than from the Lord. He has instructed us to serve, rather than to rule as the Gentiles. Apparently they never got that memo.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:42 PM   #15
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A big error with Canfield's thinking is that he believes that the churches in the Recovery movement "came together simply as Christians, in the oneness of the Body of Christ, rather than on the basis of some teaching, practice, or person."

The fact is, this is false. The churches in the Recovery movement never, ever stood simply as Christians nor simply in the oneness of the Body of Christ. Ever. They were always about being a special, elite movement apart from the rest of the Body. Always.

Why? Because from the beginning they also "stood apart from Christianity." This was nothing less that exclusivism. You can't be just for the oneness of the Body of Christ and also stand apart from Christianity--because, whether you like it or not, Christianity is the Body of Christ, just like that group of fleshly, factious Christians 2000 years ago was the church in Corinth.

Corinth had all kinds of problems. Sins, factions, following men, fleshly indulgences. Yet it was still the Church. Was Paul's prescription that faithful Christians in Corinth "stand apart from the rest?" No, it wasn't.

The Bible never prescribes trying to establish a super-spiritual uber-church apart from the rest of the Church. Of course, we should remain holy. But that doesn't mean, except in extreme cases of entrenched gross sin, to stand apart from our brothers and sisters.

Canfield's love for the local ground is a fatal error. The local ground is little more than an excuse to claim to be the "right" club that everyone else needs to join, and to write off everyone that doesn't. It's an excuse for a group to do its own thing and ignore everyone else.

I don't doubt Canfield is sincere. I also don't doubt he is sincerely for "oneness." It's just that his version of oneness is flawed. It's not real oneness. It's uber-cliqueness. It's elitism masquerading as purity.

History has exposed Humpty Dumpty (aka "the Recovery") as a fragile fraud. Canfield is trying to put Humpty back together again. He should drop trying to produce the perfect Christian club. That is not what the Lord is after.

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Old 07-03-2012, 07:06 AM   #16
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A big error with Canfield's thinking is that he believes that the churches in the Recovery movement "came together simply as Christians, in the oneness of the Body of Christ, rather than on the basis of some teaching, practice, or person."

The fact is, this is false. The churches in the Recovery movement never, ever stood simply as Christians nor simply in the oneness of the Body of Christ. Ever. They were always about being a special, elite movement apart from the rest of the Body. Always.

Why? Because from the beginning they also "stood apart from Christianity." This was nothing less that exclusivism.
Since I was a part of the Recovery for many years, I understand that it is hard for brother Canfield to come to grips with these truths. I have concluded that nearly all of us young believers truly "came together simply as Christians, in the oneness of the Body of Christ, rather than on the basis of some teaching, practice, or person." We wanted Christ, only Christ, and most of us paid a huge price in that endeavor. For the most part, we had many "seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord" during those early years.

The leaders, however, were different. They built walls around us via the ministry of condemnation upon all outsiders. They barricaded the entrances by various teachings which held us captive to only one ministry. They removed all safety devices in our "little town" by eliminating the possibility of the Lord speaking to us thru other internal ministries, by branding them as rebellious lepers. They preyed upon our own pride by exalting our group's status, and in the end simply succeeded in replicating Laodicea.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:28 AM   #17
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Default Re: StandfortheTestimony.Org

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Since I was a part of the Recovery for many years, I understand that it is hard for brother Canfield to come to grips with these truths. I have concluded that nearly all of us young believers truly "came together simply as Christians, in the oneness of the Body of Christ, rather than on the basis of some teaching, practice, or person." We wanted Christ, only Christ, and most of us paid a huge price in that endeavor. For the most part, we had many "seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord" during those early years.
We were brainwashed early on that being "only for Christ" meant being "separate from Christianity." This made sense to us. But the fact is, it was false. In fact, the opposite is true. Being only for Christ means you don't focus on the shortcomings of Christianity, you focus on the people there.

We liked to say that we weren't separating from the people, but from the system. This was a rationalization, because the net effect was that we separated from the people in a major way.

I believe the Lord honored our sincerity early on, even though he knew we were on a path to exclusivism. But as time went on the consequences of our errant attitude could no longer be put off, and the Lord allowed them to catch up with the movement, and it dried up.

Canfield trying to go back to the old formula of raising up uber-churches with the local ground as the excuse for separation is like Thomas Edison going back to a failed formula for the light bulb. It didn't work then and it won't work now. Best learn the lesson why it didn't work and move on, instead of leaning the wrong lesson--like for example it just didn't have the right people implementing it. Communist sympathizers used that excuse for decades. Look where it got them.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: StandfortheTestimony.Org

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A big error with Canfield's thinking is that he believes that the churches in the Recovery movement "came together simply as Christians, in the oneness of the Body of Christ, rather than on the basis of some teaching, practice, or person."

The fact is, this is false. The churches in the Recovery movement never, ever stood simply as Christians nor simply in the oneness of the Body of Christ. Ever. They were always about being a special, elite movement apart from the rest of the Body. Always.
Ack!! IE just stopped working and lost my post. Starting over.

Don't be so harsh. The beginning was a bunch of very small independent bible fellowships mostly listening to reel-to-reel tapes of this Chinese man. Their eyes were being opened to a Christian world beyond their flock of origin. But before the four or so groups in mostly small towns in Texas gathered to Houston (and the same thing happened in other places besides Texas), there was already some concern about who was controlling them. In Texas, part of the drive to consolidate was to become strong against someone they saw as controlling (and that someone should have been Lee, but it wasn't yet evident).

This all happened while I was in elementary school or maybe Jr High. All in the 60s. By the time I came along, they had already started expanding back out. They had been in Dallas for a year and a half or so. Control and elitism were part of the reasons they came. Partly to "take the ground" before they would have to duke it out with one of the other Nee coworker groups.

Canfield saw almost half of his time as reasonably pure. He is probably over-attributing a lot of it. From a studied perspective in 2012, it looks like 99 & 44/100ths percent messed up. From the late 70s, it is closer to half (at least until you study some more).

So be kind. Under no scenario was it Always "a special, elite movement apart from the rest of the Body." Just close to it when viewed from 2012.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:18 PM   #19
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Default Re: StandfortheTestimony.Org

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We were brainwashed early on that being "only for Christ" meant being "separate from Christianity." This made sense to us. But the fact is, it was false. In fact, the opposite is true. Being only for Christ means you don't focus on the shortcomings of Christianity, you focus on the people there.

We liked to say that we weren't separating from the people, but from the system. This was a rationalization, because the net effect was that we separated from the people in a major way.
Now this I can go along with.

Of course, "recovery" and "remnant" theologies almost always create exactly this kind of situation. Special people who essentially go off to private compounds and abandon all other Christians. It is only by the fact that the membership is not quite as controlled as the leadership would like to think that some of them actually get along with other Christians fairly well.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:50 PM   #20
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So be kind. Under no scenario was it Always "a special, elite movement apart from the rest of the Body." Just close to it when viewed from 2012.
I understand your perspective, but I stand on my remarks.

I'm proceeding from the attitude of Lee and other leaders, which may have not at every point in time yet trickled down to every new member. But in short time it did.

The very first time any new member heard "the Recovery" being contrasted with "Christianity" by someone in authority at that point the movement ceased to be to them a group simply gathering as the Body and became an elitist group. Sentimental idealism aside.

Every member of the Recovery at some point became an exclusivist elitist. And in most cases it was fairly quickly.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:17 PM   #21
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Default Re: StandfortheTestimony.Org

Exclusivist elitists don't usually go around with the conscious admission that they are exclusivist elitists. But that doesn't change what they are.

I'm not trying to be mean, but a big problem with the LRC is the denial of what it really is. Canfield is just doomed to repeat history if he doesn't see this in a fundamental way. His continued trumpeting of the local ground shows that he doesn't.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:24 PM   #22
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Default Re: StandfortheTestimony.Org

If I could ask Canfield and other local grounders one question, it would be this:

"How much and in how much detail have you really, truly prayed about this doctrine?"

I doubt many of them have really gone to the Lord about whether their attitude on this item is truly of God. I think like most things from Lee they took it on faith and just ran with it.

That's the LRC way, isn't it?

I remember a debate I had a way back with this staunch LSMer about the local ground. I couldn't convince him of anything, of course, so I suggested he pray for ten minutes for thirty days and see what the Lord told him.

You know what he replied? He said he didn't need to pray.

That tells you all you need to know.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:37 PM   #23
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Default Re: StandfortheTestimony.Org

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We liked to say that we weren't separating from the people, but from the system. This was a rationalization, because the net effect was that we separated from the people in a major way.
As WL would say, "hate the system, but love the people." Talk about an impossibility!

Eventually, after I left the program, I understood what this saying was actually instructing us to do. It's just like saying to your wife, "I love you dear, but I hate the way you talk, the way you keep house, the way you cook, the books you read, the way you raise the kids, and the clothes you wear ... but I still love you!

Isn't that ridiculous? But isn't that what we were instructed to do? How do you separate a Christian brother from "the system?" And what if he doesn't like our "system?" We were taught to hate everything about our fellow Christians, and then told to "love" them. Talk about neurotic.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:10 PM   #24
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Default Great Lakes Brothers Letter #3

One subject that has been discussed on thus forum is also found in letter #3 of the Great Lakes Brothers to the Blended Brothers:

"You elucidate in great detail the occasions of “much and thorough fellowship beginning in 1997” and conclude that, “we had a total of over eighty times to fellowship and pray together.” Brothers, you put great emphasis on the “quantity” of fellowship sessions, however, we are greatly concerned about the “quality” of the fellowship on those occasions. Whether genuine fellowship occurred is not determined by the hours brothers log in the same room. Some Great Lakes brothers who attended testified their distinct impression that what you term “fellowship” was not an exercise in mutuality, but a “one-way street.” It seemed to them that important items had already been decided by an “inner circle” during pre-fellowship. When these items were presented to the whole group, it seemed members of the “outer circle” were expected to endorse, “rubber stamp,” and implement them. When important matters have been pre-determined by an “inner circle,” how can there be serious fellowship in mutuality?"

Later on in the letter another matter on coworkers.net that ties to this emphasis on the subject of fellowship:

"Are you brothers willing to accept fellowship in mutuality? Or, are you only willing to have “fellowship” on terms dictated by you and when the agenda and channels of fellowship are controlled by you?"

Which is why forum's such as this came into existence. There was no liberty to fellowship in mutuality. As a result a forum such as this provided means to discuss matters, issues, etc without persecution.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:51 PM   #25
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Default Don Rutledge's Letter to the Concerned Brothers

Another article in Dave Canfield's website is Don Rutledge Letter to the Concerned Brothers.

Brother Don or Hope as he's known on this forum wrote,

I am now reading David Canfield’s article on “Concerning the Present Turmoil.” On page 8 there is a footnote: 3 “One of the key differences between the turmoil among the churches in the late 1980s and today’s turmoil is that at that time a number of leading brothers, to the author’s understanding, disavowed brother Lee as a servant of the Lord. In contrast, many of those who are resisting the negative trend among the churches today feel that they are fighting to preserve and protect our brother’s ministry from some who, whether they mean to or not, are usurping it for their own ends.”

What a terrible repeating of slander. The very ones, whom he is writing about, those who have attempted to discredit and slander you brothers, are the ones who slandered brothers who attempted to express concerns in the late 80s. I never heard a responsible brother say Brother Lee was no longer a servant of the Lord. They, as I, were very concerned for the saints, the churches and the ministry of life and truth that had been among us. Compared to you brothers, our protest was a barely audible whisper. I would encourage Brother Canfield to read Brother John Ingalls’ book, “Speaking the Truth in Love.”

I fully agree with Don's word. That has been my experience as well. That is regarding brothers bearing responsibility who left the local churches. Though Don's word was directed at David Canfield, my hope is other Concerned Brothers were in fact encouraged to read Speaking the Truth in Love.
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:48 AM   #26
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Default Re: Don Rutledge's Letter to the Concerned Brothers

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I fully agree with Don's word. That has been my experience as well. That is regarding brothers bearing responsibility who left the local churches. Though Don's word was directed at David Canfield, my hope is other Concerned Brothers were in fact encouraged to read Speaking the Truth in Love.
I do appreciate that some, besides of course the spin-meisters at LSM and their DCP affiliate, have attempted to document the recent history in the Recovery. It's hard for me believe, however, that some one like Canfield could invest so much time in his writings on his website, yet be so basically flawed in his understanding of the events which occurred in the Recovery prior to the 21st century. It seems that his only sources for information are those favorable to LSM.

Like the poster Terry has recommended above, brother Canfield must go back and do a thorough examination of the writings presented by those who left the Recovery in the late 80's, starting with John Ingalls. Nearly everything I have read by Canfield to date indicates that he never did this.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:48 PM   #27
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Default Re: Don Rutledge's Letter to the Concerned Brothers

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Like the poster Terry has recommended above, brother Canfield must go back and do a thorough examination of the writings presented by those who left the Recovery in the late 80's, starting with John Ingalls. Nearly everything I have read by Canfield to date indicates that he never did this.
As we can read in Speaking the Truth in Love, brother Titus knew about some of the issues. What about brothers who labored with Titus?

VISITS FROM TITUS CHU
September 29, 30, 1988


"In December 1987, before we went to see Brother Lee on December 12th, Titus Chu was in Anaheim, and we had lunch together. At that time since I respected Titus as a senior co-worker and had considerable fellowship with him in the past, I opened to him in a general way my heavy concern for the work and the churches. He agreed with my realizations and convictions and indicated that he had the same concerns.

On Monday, September 26, 1988, Titus came to Anaheim to see Brother Lee and also wanted to see me. I did not get back to Anaheim from a few days rest until Wednesday, September 28th. He came to the Anaheim prayer meeting on Tuesday evening and spoke with Godfred afterwards, complaining about the mailing of the transcripts of the sixteen points to Ohio and seeking information concerning a certain problem of misconduct. On Thursday morning, September 29th, the day after we had our final fellowship with Brother Lee, he came to see me and fellowship for over two hours. He was quite tender and soft and said that he fully understood what I was passing through; he had passed through a similar experience himself. He wanted to assure me that he was standing with me, and he emphasized this point. He was concerned, he said, for the going on of the churches should Brother Lee pass away. He also said that he felt that Brother Lee still had some ministry for the churches, and we must find a way to receive whatever he has. He left, asking if he could return to have further fellowship the following morning. I agreed.

The next morning Titus came with a totally different attitude and demeanor. It seemed that he took an adversarial position, and said rather decisively that now we have to cover some practical matters. He was very strong, telling me that I had damaged the Lord’s recovery by the conferences I had, and that I must not speak anything contrary to Brother Lee. He is the one carrying out the work, he said; we are his co-workers with him, and we should submit to him. He warned me that if I continued to speak as I did I would damage myself most of all, and he would have to take some action concerning me among the churches in the Midwest. Moreover, I would lose my field for ministry because the churches would not invite me. I was surprised to hear this, for that was of no concern to me and did not influence me at all. I feel that no faithful servant of the Lord should have such a consideration, but seek to simply and faithfully follow the Lord in all things, come what may. I was not ambitious to be welcomed everywhere, and was prepared to be rejected.

Before Titus left he urged me with much feeling to go to Brother Lee, to open myself to him, and to ask how he feels about me. I had no response at all to this, since I already had many sessions with Brother Lee, and I believed I knew what he felt about me. But because he kept repeating it, I said I would consider it. Titus returned to Cleveland and a couple of weeks later called me on the phone. I told him that I felt not to see Brother Lee as he had proposed, and he replied that that was all right and made no further mention of it. I was surprised at this, expecting that he would again urge me to see him. He wanted to assure me once more that he was standing with me – that seemed to be the main point of his call. It was a very brief conversation, lasting not more than two or three minutes.

I was surprised when nearly four months later I had received a letter from Titus, co-authored by James Reetzke (an elder in Chicago long known to me), dated February 12, 1989, in which Titus reproved me among other things for not taking his fellowship to see Brother Lee. The letter was full of rebuking and censuring concerning the conduct of the elders in Anaheim and contained this statement: "Is it not a fact that you brothers and the church in Anaheim owe him {Brother Lee} your existence?" I am grateful to Brother Lee for his love and service to the saints (including myself) in past years, and I thank the Lord for what we have received through his ministry, but we surely do not owe our existence to him – that is absurd. The source of whatever we are and have, physically or spiritually, is God and no one else."

The part in bold ties into post #25.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:56 PM   #28
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Default WRITINGS ON THE TURMOIL AMONG THE CHURCHES

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Like the poster Terry has recommended above, brother Canfield must go back and do a thorough examination of the writings presented by those who left the Recovery in the late 80's, starting with John Ingalls. Nearly everything I have read by Canfield to date indicates that he never did this.
Ohio, not sure if this indicates what David has or has not read. This portion is from:
WRITINGS ON THE TURMOIL AMONG THE CHURCHES
Page 22
"In 1989 a number of senior co-workers who could not go along with the new emphasis on the ministry, and who also felt there were some very serious problems internally at the Living Stream Ministry itself, rose up in an attempt to warn Brother Lee concerning these matters, but he would not accept their admonition. Instead, he and those around him eventually labeled these co-workers as “divisive” and “rebellious,” and then put them out of the fellowship.
In the U.S., this turmoil mainly affected the churches in California. Those of us who were outside of that area, and not so directly involved, simply assumed that Brother Lee and those with him must have been right to take such action. Today, however, we may say that while there are different views as to what exactly happened in this turmoil, and whether or not the brothers who were put out conducted themselves in a proper manner, it now seems clear that the case was not nearly so one-sided as we in the churches outside of California had assumed.
"
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:45 AM   #29
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Default Re: StandfortheTestimony.Org

I just did a perusal of DC's web site. Lot's of good stuff. And lot's of stuff to try to direct people back to the old LRC ways.

My conclusion is that to those who are not entirely enveloped in the LRC's garlic, the errors of practice as seen by the BBs' attempts to purify the LRC's theology to take only the old, established words of Lee are quite evident.

What is not evident is that this is not the problem. It is the symptom of the root problem. My brother, who works in the defense industry, has mentioned that when something is not working right, their response is to dig until they find the "root problem." In this kind of case, they would not stop with "what are the BBs doing wrong?" They would further ask, "why are they doing it?" And if the answer to that does not appear to be the source of the problem, they would ask further.

So if the answer to the second question is "because they believe in a "one trumpet" rule for ministry in the LRC," then the next question might be "how do they determine that there actually is such a rule?" If they say, "because Lee taught that it was so," then there might be two questions to answer; 1) "did Lee really say such a thing?", and 2) (assuming it is determined that he did) "is this teaching actually taught in the Bible in the manner Lee taught it?"

And if there is a question about how the BBs have the authority to make such sweeping determinations, like quarantining certain ones, then they might find that there is a thing called "deputy authority." So the inquiry then is "where did this come from?" The answer is Nee and Lee. "Where did they get it?"

DC has correctly pointed out that in normal Christian circles the actions of the BBs would be seen as wrong. But it is based on the theology that underpins the very thing that DC is trying to "salvage." Lee taught the things that the BBs are using to make only the LSM the source of LRC writings and teachings. Unless you undermine the very theology upon which that is built, you cannot eliminate the problems.

And the problems go all the way back to the very teachings of the "ground of the church." You cannot simply focus on Christ and automatically be "on the proper ground of the church." There are too many requirements. You have to be careful about what you call yourself. You have to be "open" and "one with" all Christians, yet they must come with you for there to be any real fellowship. (I'm just not sure how "oneness" and "one-way" are compatible positions.) You can't think that there is a special group that is a "remnant" and be one with anyone but yourselves. You can't think that the Lord's table has not happened in Rome for 1,500 years and actually be one with any of the Christians there who have been having the Lord's table there for all of that 1,500 years.

Blessed are the pure in heart, not the pure in doctrine.

And you can't pretend to be some kind of spiritual Mecca if your so-called spirituality is not always coupled with real action in righteousness. There is grace. And there is dispensing (just not exactly how Lee taught it). But if you expect grace and dispensing to do all the work, you will be in a spiritual wasteland. It has always required that you accept the grace, take in the dispensing, and simultaneously step out in faith to obey.

That is not the theology of the LRC. As a result, it needs lots of meetings to keep everyone pumped-up so they can pretend that their defeated daily lives are irrelevant and that joyous feeling you get from saying something in a meeting and hearing all those "amens" is their substitute for the peace and satisfaction of obedience to the one you claim to believe in.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:19 PM   #30
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Default Re: StandfortheTestimony.Org

Received from the Author:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello -

I've posted a new version of Writings on the Turmoil Among the Churches to the website:

*****http://www.standforthetestimony.org/book-writings/*****

As shown on page 4, this is version 1.1, and was uploaded last Tuesday. (The only changes in content are in the the Foreward and in Appendix B; in addition, there are some editing changes in the Introduction.)

If you have the previous version please replace it with this one.

In Christ,
David Canfield
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:17 AM   #31
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Default Re: WRITINGS ON THE TURMOIL AMONG THE CHURCHES

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"In 1989 a number of senior co-workers who could not go along with the new emphasis on the ministry, and who also felt there were some very serious problems internally at the Living Stream Ministry itself, rose up in an attempt to warn Brother Lee concerning these matters, but he would not accept their admonition. Instead, he and those around him eventually labeled these co-workers as “divisive” and “rebellious,” and then put them out of the fellowship.

In the U.S., this turmoil mainly affected the churches in California. Those of us who were outside of that area, and not so directly involved, simply assumed that Brother Lee and those with him must have been right to take such action. Today, however, we may say that while there are different views as to what exactly happened in this turmoil, and whether or not the brothers who were put out conducted themselves in a proper manner, it now seems clear that the case was not nearly so one-sided as we in the churches outside of California had assumed.
"
Is that the best Canfield can do? This book is supposed to provide an objective, fair-minded account of the events which occurred in the Recovery? I don't think so! And then brother Canfield returns to his regularly scheduled program and continues to heap endless accolades upon WL. But just wait a minute here ...

"... it now seems clear that the case was not nearly so one-sided as we in the churches outside of California had assumed."

Did I really read this? Was it really the churches outside of CA that assumed all was well in "Disneyland?" These kind of claims just make me sick. This is just the evil workers in the Recovery blaming the churches for doing what they did themselves. Did not all the GLA churches trust Titus Chu and James Reetzke Sr. to adequately investigate the events in Anaheim before these two signed that letter of condemnation to John Ingalls?

Don't tell me that Titus Chu and James Reetzke Sr. were "coerced" into signing that letter of condemnation just like they were "forced" to sign the "letter of allegiance" to WL back in Feb 1986. Did not the two of them just trade their righteousness for hypocrisy, and integrity for man-pleasing? Wouldn't be the last time Reetzke did this either, since the Blendeds demanded the same hypocrisy of him before they could quarantine Titus Chu.

On a leadership level (not referring to the saints here), the history of the Recovery since WN was incarcerated in the late 40's, is just an endless series of political back-stabbings for self gains. That what happens when another man, any man, is promoted above The Man Christ Jesus. Allegiance to man, whether it be oneness with the Minister of the Age or oneness with the Holy See, always results in corruption. Eventually that corruption pollutes, not just the leadership, but the whole lump.

It is this corruption which brothers like John Ingalls cried out against.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:07 PM   #32
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Default Re: WRITINGS ON THE TURMOIL AMONG THE CHURCHES

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"... it now seems clear that the case was not nearly so one-sided as we in the churches outside of California had assumed."

Did I really read this? Was it really the churches outside of CA that assumed all was well in "Disneyland?" These kind of claims just make me sick. This is just the evil workers in the Recovery blaming the churches for doing what they did themselves. Did not all the GLA churches trust Titus Chu and James Reetzke Sr. to adequately investigate the events in Anaheim before these two signed that letter of condemnation to John Ingalls?

Don't tell me that Titus Chu and James Reetzke Sr. were "coerced" into signing that letter of condemnation just like they were "forced" to sign the "letter of allegiance" to WL back in Feb 1986. Did not the two of them just trade their righteousness for hypocrisy, and integrity for man-pleasing? Wouldn't be the last time Reetzke did this either, since the Blendeds demanded the same hypocrisy of him before they could quarantine Titus Chu.
Did not brother Norm cover this matter of this letter on another forum?

This word that David Canfield said:
"it now seems clear that the case was not nearly so one-sided as we in the churches outside of California had assumed."

I think with the Great Lakes Area, Titus' word would be good enough. In the Northwest Joel Kennon's word, Roth Williamson's word and Sherman Robertson's word was good enough. Good enough for the saints. If the brothers said this senior co-workers were rebellious and ambitious, then it must be true. Unless you were one who heard about John Ingall's book and took the time to read it with an open heart.
If one who isn't satisfied with the brother's word and need to find out for their conscience sake from John Ingalls or from John So what their discernment is, then you will be poisoned. At least that's what the teaching from LSM is.
As I understand David's word is the churches bearly everywhere outside of Orange County California took the word coming out of Witness Lee and LSM at face value. Even if it did not correspond with your experience of the quarantined brothers, it must be true.
As the great lake localities pass through their own turbulence, for some it afforded opportunities to find out what really happened to these former leading ones in 1990? Could their experience be also ours?
I think what David isn't saying so plainly is Living Stream did such an excellent job misleading the churches, even he believed to be true for a time.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:46 AM   #33
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Default Re: WRITINGS ON THE TURMOIL AMONG THE CHURCHES

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Did not all the GLA churches trust Titus Chu and James Reetzke Sr. to adequately investigate the events in Anaheim before these two signed that letter of condemnation to John Ingalls?

Don't tell me that Titus Chu and James Reetzke Sr. were "coerced" into signing that letter of condemnation just like they were "forced" to sign the "letter of allegiance" to WL back in Feb 1986. Did not the two of them just trade their righteousness for hypocrisy, and integrity for man-pleasing? Wouldn't be the last time Reetzke did this either, since the Blendeds demanded the same hypocrisy of him before they could quarantine Titus Chu.

On a leadership level (not referring to the saints here), the history of the Recovery since WN was incarcerated in the late 40's, is just an endless series of political back-stabbings for self gains. That what happens when another man, any man, is promoted above The Man Christ Jesus.
I think to be a coworker in the topsy turvy world of the LC system the saying: "Know which side your bread is buttered on" has to be your motto. You serve at the pleasure and whim of Witness Lee and now the Politburo. Witness Lee gave Titus and Jim a choice. Side with John Ingalls and your position and work in the LC system will be finished. You are currently serving within the realm of my ministry and that will abruptly end if you cross the line. There is no neutrality. They got clarity real fast.

I'm sure the Politburo gave Chicago a similar choice. Enjoy the influence, infrastructure, funding, etc of being under the LSM umbrella or side with Titus Chu - losing status and having to deal with his rude behavior. Third options are not part of the LC system.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:17 PM   #34
Terry
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Default Re: WRITINGS ON THE TURMOIL AMONG THE CHURCHES

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Originally Posted by alwayslearning View Post
Third options are not part of the LC system.
I agree. Pertaining to the LC system, you're either for us or against us. To choose Christ is not an option. It would only be received as (by default) opposing the LC system.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:52 AM   #35
Terry
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Default False "International Coordunation"

"In a number of ways, the turmoil of 1977, which of course took place while Brother Lee was still with us, and that of 2006, were quite similar. In particular, during both turmoils the brothers involved stressed the need for a kind of international coordination among the churches. As Brother Lee makes very clear in his comments below, this kind of “oneness” (the quotation marks are Brother Lee’s) was, in 1977, fully against the truth. We may add, so it was in 2006 when it was promoted by the Blended Brothers, years after our brother had gone to be with the Lord.

Among us these past few years there have been indications that we too do not see the significance of Christ’s headship. An effort was made to organize all the churches in the recovery under an international coordination. It may seem wonderful to have such “oneness,” but actually this was a subtlety to gain control of all the churches, thus taking the headship away from Christ and putting it in the hands of the ‘coordinator,’ who in essence would be a pope. Such a hierarchical setup robs the saints of their personal contact with God.
"
http://www.standforthetestimony.org/...ess/#more-1146
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