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Old 12-11-2012, 06:59 PM   #1
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Default The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

1964

Consider the local churches in Asia to whom he wrote: most of them were exceedingly weak; yet those churches were the lampstands, not the ministry of the Apostle John. John’s ministry was far more spiritual than the condition of those churches; yet he did not set up his ministry as a lampstand.” (W.L., 1964)


1974

The Ministry Coming to the Foreground


Don Rutledge, a former well-respected elder relates: “The turn away from the vision Witness Lee had regarding the practice of the local church life began in January 1974 at the very first special elders and co-workers conference. This is when the concept of the work began. Few of the saints realize the magnitude of effect this meeting had on the churches. With charts and statistics, Witness Lee and Max Rapoport came forth to launch the movement. It was boldly declared that the churches would use Witness Lee as the exclusive source of teaching and Max would serve as the coordinator to bring the various churches, with their elders, into a unified movement. Two life-study messages a week were going to be given in Anaheim. Ministry stations were set up in various cities to repeat his messages through designated brothers. Some smaller churches consolidated to the larger localities where there was a ministry station. The official list of twelve men who could give conferences was announced. From that time on, the individual churches would be called to account if they were moving “independently.” In addition to coordinating the elders to act in a single direction, Max was charged to assist the various churches to be more effective with gospel preaching and outreach.

“He began to travel and, in particular, to meet with the elders. Those who would not be good movement men were pushed aside, if possible, or moved somewhere to be out of the way. On several occasions, Max told me that he was working to bring the elders and churches into one coordination for the purpose of carrying out the burden of Witness Lee. He told me several times that only he could “put the whole thing together”.

"I am not attempting to call into question the motive of Witness Lee or Max. During this time, Witness Lee did some very good teaching and Max did some very good gospel work. But what did happen the nature of the various “local churches” changed from being local in administration and spontaneous in actions to being directed from a center with clear administrative leaders and directors.

“Things were definitely not the same. Some were saying the time of blessing has passed, or we changed our vision, or the moving of the Spirit left the churches, or teaching, doctrine, and methods replaced life.

“This time ended with a split between Witness Lee and Max Rapoport after a power struggle between them. Both had their followers, and Witness Lee won out. It was at this time, the time of becoming a movement that opened the door to Philip Lee and set the stage for the current Blending Brothers.

“After the split with Max, there was a pause in the development of the movement. Witness lee began again to start up the movement consolidation in 1981. He bought property in Irving, Texas and began making plans to strengthen the movement. Benson Phillips and Ray Graver of Texas began traveling to the churches to promote Witness Lee, his ministry, and the office.

“In 1984 the first round of lawsuits had been won. Witness Lee declared that the boulders were off the road and the Lord’s recovery could proceed.” D. R.


1984
One Accord for the Ministry Movement

While the trainings and life-study messages were in their tenth year, an extraordinary change took place in the recovery. Brother Lee was becoming increasingly aware of the stagnancy among the churches, especially in the Far East. It was a very serious problem to him that in many localities the saints had become complacent about his ministry. He was, therefore, burdened to take a turn and have a new way, which would feature him and his ministry in a movement to spread his ministry throughout the earth.

The work for the spread of the ministry took on the look of local churches melting into unity under one universal leader who now held the reins of the churches in the movement he alone orchestrated. The key, he said, to “the Lord’s new move” is the one accord among the saints in all the churches. Thus, he sounded a call to have an army of followers under him as the "commander-in-chief", while brothers responded by constructing and signing a paper stating their allegiance to him and to his ministry.

He had certainly fallen headlong into the terrible cycle of error by gifted ones in making the local churches his, which he had so solemnly warned against in 1964 and put into print in 1968 during years of ministering life and light in the local churches.

“Consider the local churches in Asia to whom [John] wrote: most of them were exceedingly weak; yet those churches were the lampstands, not the ministry of the Apostle John. John’s ministry was far more spiritual than the condition of those churches; yet he did not set up his ministry as a lampstand.
“ (W.L., The Vision of God’s Building), 1964)



A Tremendously Vital Matter
(Witness Lee, The Vision of God’s Building, 1964)


“All gifts and all gifted persons are for the building up of the Body; they are not for any work in itself. The practice of today’s Christianity is absolutely different in principle. Wherever there is a gifted person, a spiritual “giant” with a certain gift, that person will begin a work. He will build up a certain Christian organization or ministry, and possibly call it some worthy name. We are not opposing anyone, but we are against the wrong principles which damage the Body life. The Apostle Paul did not form any Christian organization; he did not set up any kind of work. For possibly thirty years, he just established local churches. And, he did not keep any work in his own hands. In reading the New Testament we can only find the churches which were built up by him.

“At the time the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation he was greatly experienced and matured. Of the twelve apostles he was the only one remaining. Yet he did not build up anything as his work, his ministry. Consider the local churches in Asia to whom he wrote: most of them were exceedingly weak; yet those churches were the lampstands, not the ministry of the Apostle John. John’s ministry was far more spiritual than the condition of those churches; yet he did not set up his ministry as a lampstand. In fact, he did not set up his ministry as anything. All he did was to further the building up of those local churches as the lampstands. Oh, we all must learn this! We must be aware of the dangerous tendency for any local church to become a work, kept in the hand of some gifted person. If such is the case, that is a real degradation. However much the Lord may use a gifted person, however great his ministry may be, the local church must not become his work. God’s intention is not to build up the ministry of any person, but to build up His church. This is not a small matter.

“In the New Testament there are the titles, the “church of God” (Acts 20:28), the “church of Christ” (Rom. 16:16), and the “church of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:33); 1Thess. 1:1). There is never any “church of the apostles. The church belongs to God, to Christ, to the saints, not to any apostle.
“The greater our gift is, the greater is the danger that we will take over the church and keep it in our hands. This will greatly damage the church life. We must learn not only how to minister in the local church, but also how to keep our hands off the church. This is not easy. The local church is not our personal enterprise. The local church is the property of the local saints, not some worker’s business. Some gifted persons put a local church in their pocket. Oh, this is a real problem!

“All the local saints must realize that the local church is their church. If the local saints are not clear concerning this, they will allow a gifted person to take the local churches into his own hands and treat it as his personal property. Then the entire church life will be finished. The local churches belong to the local saints. The gifted persons are just the means to perfect the saints to function; they are only the instruments used by the Lord to build up the churches.

“Consider the situation in Christianity today. Look at the situation even from the time of the Reformation: four or five hundred years have passed, and it is still basically the same. Whenever a gifted person is raised up, a certain kind of work is established. I establish my work, you establish your work, he establishes his work. Then the church is gone. This is the source of all the divisions. However, if one gifted brother comes to build a local church, and a second gifted brother comes to build up the same church, there will be no division. All the work must be for the church, not for the workers. The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry. We must be exceedingly clear concerning this principle. We must drop all wrong practices. A gifted brother should keep his hands off the local church. Although a gifted brother may sometimes not speak openly in a way of ministry, yet he still may quietly maneuver behind the scenes. Any such maneuvering damages the church. All gifts and gifted persons must be entirely for the local church. This is a tremendously vital matter.”

For sufficient detail, see www.TwoTurmoils.com

Steve Isitt 12-12-2012
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:41 AM   #2
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Indiana,

I don't mean to sound dismissive. But I notice that you keep posting new versions of the exact same old material. You've been doing this for years. Do you think you will ever be able to accept that your life with the local churches is over, and move on? Can you enter a new season in your life, with a healthy Christian group?
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

Hey unregistered,
I know we have suggested this before, but if you are not going to register could you please insert some sort of name or moniker in the box provided so that we can know that it is "you". The administration of this forum respects the privacy of all posters, however I don't think it's too much to ask that you be considerate of the other members as well.

Also, one of the major benefits of becoming a member is that you can send and receive Private Messages through the forum PM system. This system is very secure and private. Nobody - not other members, moderators or administrators can view these messages. The reason I bring this up is that some members, such as Indiana, may feel more comfortable addressing your concerns through the PM system. I have no problem with what you have posted here....I think many of us have the same feeling about this, however Indiana may not want to address your concerns in the open forum....and can you blame him with all the sharks swimming around out here in these waters?
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

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Indiana,

I don't mean to sound dismissive. But I notice that you keep posting new versions of the exact same old material. You've been doing this for years. Do you think you will ever be able to accept that your life with the local churches is over, and move on? Can you enter a new season in your life, with a healthy Christian group?
I don't think this is true at all.

Indiana's articles span the breadth of time and space in order to document the history of the Recovery.

Bill O'Reilly wrote a book about "Killing Kennedy." Then he wrote a book about "Killing Lincoln." He seems to be going backwards. Perhaps his next book will be "Killing Jesus." Do you think he will ever "move on?"

Because Indiana writes articles, you assume that he is stuck in the past. How do you know what fellowship he now enjoys? Recently I heard he was engaged in Mission work in the Philippines.

Have you got a better life than that? Perhaps you should reconsider how "stuck" you now are?
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:38 AM   #5
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Indiana's articles span the breadth of time and space in order to document the history of the Recovery.
Yes, but he keeps cutting and pasting the same material, and then re-posting it under a new topic.

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Bill O'Reilly wrote a book about "Killing Kennedy." Then he wrote a book about "Killing Lincoln." He seems to be going backwards. Perhaps his next book will be "Killing Jesus." Do you think he will ever "move on?"
I haven't the slightest idea what bringing up a hack writer has to do with this. You're missing my point entirely.

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Because Indiana writes articles, you assume that he is stuck in the past.
I'm concerned that he keeps writing basically the same article, over and over again. He cuts and pastes different portions, but it's the same material.

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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Have you got a better life than that? Perhaps you should reconsider how "stuck" you now are?
My life is fine. I'm not stuck in the past, and I have moved on. I engage here because it seems to do me good, although I sometimes consider it no longer necessary.

I'm not writing to chastise Indiana. But I remember him on the Berean's forum, and not much has changed. And I wonder if it would be better for him not to revisit the same exact material over and over again, and repost new versions of it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:48 AM   #6
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Because Indiana writes articles, you assume that he is stuck in the past. How do you know what fellowship he now enjoys?
The key here is for Indiana to keep pressing on in his relationship with the Lord. As for the articles he writes, my take is a repetitive exhortation to the brothers to not just re-speak the ministry verbally, but to practice the ministry through action. Maybe someday they will see there is a Spiritual Responsibility to Reconciliation.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:44 PM   #7
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Yes, but he keeps cutting and pasting the same material, and then re-posting it under a new topic.

I'm concerned that he keeps writing basically the same article, over and over again.

He cuts and pastes different portions, but it's the same material.

But I remember him on the Berean's forum, and not much has changed. And I wonder if it would be better for him not to revisit the same exact material over and over again, and repost new versions of it.
I doubt if Indiana has been redundant as you have here.

I happened to read his article last week, and responded to him with these brief comments ...

Quote:
Great article.

To fully understand Lee, one must realize how dishonest he was to his own teachings.

In 1974, during the peak of the blessing upon the Recovery, Lee institutes radical changes, contradicting his teachings of the ten prior years, Then in 1984, when stagnancy had gripped many LC's, instead of properly placing the blame on his ten year old failed policies, he takes them even further. Then in 1994, he proclaims the LC's had become "Laodicea" supposedly because we had not followed his ministry "closely enough."

This to me is hypocrisy, distortion of history for selfish gain, twisting the facts to deceive the saints, and attempting to persuade us that his ministry alone is a "lampstand shining" in a dark place.
Perhaps, you have not read this article completely unregistered, but I thought Indiana had some original thought here.

Since you have been hanging around this forum for such a long time, perhaps you would like to also comment about how much cutting and pasting goes on at LSM?
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:58 PM   #8
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Default Staying on the "TRACK" toward reconciliation

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The key here is for Indiana to keep pressing on in his relationship with the Lord. As for the articles he writes, my take is a repetitive exhortation to the brothers to not just re-speak the ministry verbally, but to practice the ministry through action. Maybe someday they will see there is a Spiritual Responsibility to Reconciliation.
A PM to me from a sister in 2006 on the Berean forum.

Steve, I really appreciate … the fact that you have not in your heart separated yourself from, nor do you express anger towards those brothers & sisters who have chosen to misinterpret and reject your fellowship. (I read "In the Wake of the New Way" after I first came across this forum - it is incredible that your humble heartfelt and loving fellowship was considered "opposing" the recovery! That's just ludicrous!! These brothers so need our prayers.) I feel so strongly to encourage you to continue this investigative / informative work, and do not doubt that it is of the Lord. We have no way of knowing who is reading these posts, and who might be having the scales fall from their eyes as a result - perhaps even a Blinded Brother or two! I, for one, have been greatly helped by your thoroughly balanced and objective presentation of (yes, bizzare!) events. I am certain that our Lord is the source of the desire that "we return to the right path of receiving people", and also that He is the supply enabling you to accomplish what I'm sure is a huge job. I thank Him for what He has put in your heart! Stay on the TRACK! _________ (My name is ______ - not ready to say so in public, however, because of family in the LSM/LC).

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Old 12-12-2012, 06:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fostering the need for reconciliation

Unregistered,

Indiana is free to defend himself or not to as the case may be. But this is simply my viewpoint.

I, too, used to wonder about his chosen path in life, and even gave him a hard time about, to my shame. Something about it bothered me. I was threatened by it because I thought he was sending the message that the LCs are the only way and that life after them cannot be found.

Now I simply believe he loved that place and the people in it and wants it to be restored to how it should be. I hoped he's found peace, purpose and fellowship outside its steep walls. But if he continues to feel compelled to labor in the manner he does, who am I to question?

As to him allegedly recycling previous material, I don't know. I know he's become a better writer, and so may feel to rewrite some of it.

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Old 12-16-2012, 06:07 AM   #10
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Like Igzy, I'm not sure that it is as useful as Indiana does. But it is his thing.

But I did note something in Ohio's comment on Indiana's article that has had me thinking for some time. Here is the quote:

Quote:
In 1974, during the peak of the blessing upon the Recovery
My concern is that we tend to glamorize, or at least over-state the attributes of the LRC prior to Lee's 1974 shenanigans.


Was there really so much "blessing" compared to other places? Or are we granting "blessing" status to our exuberance and our wense of freedom from what we disliked about "old" ways? Was the appeal of the LRC that it was different enough for people who didn't want to stay in the sect that they were born into.

And it was wrapped in the mistaken notion of specialness when it was really just the kind of different that we were looking for. Others were looking for a different kind of different. The "difference" in the two is that one (the LRC) thought their version of "different" was the center of God's heart.
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Old 12-17-2012, 05:48 PM   #11
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My concern is that we tend to glamorize, or at least over-state the attributes of the LRC prior to Lee's 1974 shenanigans.
OBW, what do you think? Why is that?
My perspective, those from the churches in North America, until the Daystar fallout, they had nothing to be concerned about.
It is possible for a time; after what happened in Taiwan in the late 50's until the early 70's, there were no shenanigans to speak of.
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:35 PM   #12
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Terry, I'm sure Mike will jump in here and answer you asap...but in the meantime I wanted to throw my two cents in because I feel very strong about this matter.

You mention that:

Quote:
It is possible for a time; after what happened in Taiwan in the late 50's until the early 70's, there were no shenanigans to speak of.
First of all, it is documented history that there were indeed "shenanigans" of all sorts going on in the Local Church during the sixties (presumably the time period you speak of). These may have not involved business deals per se, but Witness Lee was hiring and firing elders based upon their personal loyalty to him during the sixties, meddling in the affairs of the churches and even suing other LC members for possession of property. We now know that he either hid these facts or it was just ignored by his early American followers (Ingalls, Gruhler et al).

And EVEN IF none of the above was true, should this be the standard for a Christian ministry...that "there were no shenanigans to speak of" for 10 or so years?

When I "came into" the Local Church during the mid 70s there were some younger members who said the "glory days" were the early 70s on the college campuses and at the parks and beaches preaching the gospel, etc. Then there were ones a little older who said the glory days were the late 60s when people came to the meetings an hour or two early, and they marched with banners screaming "down with Christianity!" and such....then there were ones even older still who said the top blessing was when Witness Lee first came to America and released "God's Economy" in the early 60s. Then there were ones who talked only about Taiwan and even Mainland China...you get the picture.

Nowadays I hear some LCers in their mid to late 30s pining for Witness Lee's last days when he released all those "high peak truths". I don't know if it's really just a myth or not, but I've heard they actually give the FTTA kids a tour of Lee's house there on Ball Rd so that they can see where "the Godman" lived and worked. I hope this is just a myth.

Anyway, I think it is quite naive to think that the Local Church movement was anything other than what it was up until Witness Lee died. He was in full charge of the Movement from the time he hit the island of Taiwan until he died in 1997. The teachings were all his. The practices were all started by or personally approved by him. The leadership in America was all personally appointed by him with absolutely no consultation.

People speak of 1974 as being some turning point. What changed in 1974? They moved to Anaheim. So? Were ALL the books still in Lee's name? Were the vast majority of conferences and trainings still conducted by Lee? So he let Max Rapoport fly around the country and try to whip everybody up about his latest and greatest "flow". So? He had done that before and he did it after he fired Max. He sued Christians before 1974 (from his very own sect even) and he sued them after 1974. Most of his major teachings were actually taught before 1974, including references to God becoming man, that his Church movement was God's one move on earth and that other Christians were poor, blind mooing cows, etc, etc, etc.

Now, what has happened since Lee died is another kettle of fish. Now they don't even pretend like they have any blessing from God. They just read the outlines and messages, have a few people pop up and repeat word-for-word what is there in the 20-30 year old messages, call it a day and go home.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:29 PM   #13
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And EVEN IF none of the above was true, should this be the standard for a Christian ministry...that "there were no shenanigans to speak of" for 10 or so years?
Exactly! However while we were meeting with the local churches, that was not the standard. Just as we see in today's society, everything under the sun becomes acceptable.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:19 AM   #14
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I don't know if it's really just a myth or not, but I've heard they actually give the FTTA kids a tour of Lee's house there on Ball Rd so that they can see where "the Godman" lived and worked. I hope this is just a myth.
I don't know about giving tours to the FTTA kids. But I recall someone (maybe RG if memory serves me correctly) making a sort of "in awe" talk one day in Irving mentioning going up into the apartment that was built upstairs for Lee (when he was actually there, I think). Whoever it was even spoke so solemnly about how specially everything had been done. It was as if the preparation of that apartment had the same kind of significance as the details of the Ark of the Covenant or the Tabernacle or Temple.

In any case, they are surely selling grave plots so people can decompose with Lee. Giving tours of the Ball Road house would be completely consistent.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:43 AM   #15
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OBW, what do you think? Why is that?
My perspective, those from the churches in North America, until the Daystar fallout, they had nothing to be concerned about.
It is possible for a time; after what happened in Taiwan in the late 50's until the early 70's, there were no shenanigans to speak of.
I think that UntoHIm is right. There were always things going on. But they were not visible to us here in America. I understand that while he may have come to America sort of as an outcast from Taiwan, he returned to pretty much take control with an iron fist during the 60s. I think that Hope may have given some information about that in the past. But my memory may be wrong on it.

My observation strictly from an "in America" perspective is that Lee, by providing a live person behind the growing popularity of the inner-life movement and its teachers, including Nee, managed to gain an inroad into a rather small contingent of these people. While the entirety of the early days was not completely connected, many of the small groups that came along had a link to someone in another group that had already started to listen to his teachings.

And, like Duddy said, Lee liberally used scripture. That was an appealing action. Most sermons in Christianity were based upon a single passage, maybe with one or two obviously connected passages. But Lee virtually littered his speaking with scripture. Here is a tongue-in-cheek version of what would become a paragraph in one of his books.

"First we have to realize that God is the Father [verse]. He is the supplier [verse]. He is the healer [verse]. And we also know that the Son is God [verse]. And so is the Spirit [verse]. Together they (whatever) [verse]. And Jesus, the Son, is both God and man [verse]. I am the walrus, goo goo kachoo."

Now I really took that to an extreme. But when I did my reading of some of his books (and even a couple of Nee's) to discuss on these forums, that is the kind of scholarship I found. The "I am the walrus" point was the real point of the paragraph. It did not need a complete dissertation on a plethora of the attributes of the Godhead. In fact, those are essentially extraneous to the discussion which is really about "I am the walrus." But after that many verses underpinning so many obviously true things, how can we expect to receive a false statement in that last sentence?

In effect, the last statement is accepted as true based on attribution from the preceding true statements that are otherwise irrelevant to the discussion.

And Lee was already doing some of this. But he was doing it from a position of "visitor" rather than leader. We were enamored with getting "free" of those stifling ways of Christianity. And based on the predisposition of various people toward certain kinds of activities and teachings styles, etc., we (meaning everyone striking out from their roots) looked for something that struck a chord with us. For some, it was to become more liturgical. (I know, that is hard to believe, but there are many very good Christians that eventually end out worshiping and serving God in a more liturgical church than the one they grew up in.) Others move away from liturgy. Some went with free groups. And in the realm of free groups, there were many varieties. A new kind of Pentecostalism arose under the moniker "charismatic" and many went after that.

None of these were, by definition, good or bad. There are examples of bad among them all. There are the preachers who got rich off the donations and ultimately fell from grace (relative to the views of the followers). Those made the headlines. But there were many more that were not like that.

And in the 60s, the LRC was a small but growing free group that centered on certain teachers, primarily Nee and Lee, with a growing emphasis on Lee. But a lot of what we understood as "blessing" was the freedom from the forms of the old ways. We are not just "sitting in pews" listening to one man speak. Instead, we were creating new forms. We were still listening to one man, or maybe two. We didn't call it a sermon. It was just "sharing." Then we all got some time to jump in with our "hallelujahs," "wows," etc. We had more meetings than others, so we were together more. It was a badge of honor that we wore.

We enjoyed it. It was a kind of blessing to us. But the idea that there was some special "blessing from God" is a self-proclaimed benefit of getting what we wanted. We got out of a form we didn't like and into another that we did like. So we must have been blessed by God.

And Lee was including his teachings of speciality relating to the "ground." It must be the "ground" that was giving us this feeling. Lee said it was. And we bought it. We were hooked.

So when Lee began to put the screws on in 74 (at first just onto the elders) it was subtle for the membership. We were primed to get more and more of this ministry. 30 messages a training, two trainings a year. Plus some tack-ons given later in conferences or just in meetings in Anaheim.

But we were still a little too independent. We still answered to no one but God. And bit by bit that changed.

So, whenever it is that you first came along, there is something about the new group that is better than the one you left to get there. Otherwise you would have kept looking. And that was what we were convinced to attribute to "Christ and the Church." To attribute to being in "God's unique way."

Doesn't matter that it wasn't the reason. We believed it.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Movement Men

When Witness Lee came to America for the church life, he was charged and burdened by the Lord for the release of the Spirit and the unveiling of Christ and the church in the Scriptures.

As Don Hardy, one of the first elders related, he believes that Witness Lee was a cleansed vessel when he began his ministry here. That Paul Ma traveled with him in America and WL would pray and call out to the Lord for hours in a room, saying, "Lord, Your mercy" over and over again (or similar words).

At any rate people knew that His ministry was not common, but was proceeding out from the throne of God and many moved from around the country to Los Angeles to be under this speaking. According to God's sovereignty, Witness Lee had a new start from 1962 through 1973, with release of the Spirit and the Word in the U. S. Then, inexplicably, he changed course and the age of "the movement" began, as transparent reports show.

www.TwoTurmoils.com/MovementMen.pdf
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:52 AM   #17
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

I'm sorry to say that I do not buy "then inexplicably" as a rational response after all we have learned about Lee.

I would accept that he really wanted to serve God. I would accept that he even believed the things he taught. And much of it was very good and even sound.

But after reading through the scripture and the various things that underpin the "unveiling of Christ and the church," I do not find that anything like what Lee taught on the subject was really "in the scripture."

I also believe that Lee spent hours praying, even as mentioned here. The problem is that he was never a cleansed vessel in the way that Don Hardy once believed. I'm not denying his salvation. I am denying some special cleansing. I would rather characterize his condition as "needing more cleansing." Since we have some record now of his returning to Taiwan to regain control over those churches (in the midst of this "cleansed" period), what was happening in the US can only be characterized as window dressing.

Again, I do not refute that he actually prayed. Or was even sincere. But there was a demon inside that should have already disqualified him from ministry. The US may not have seen that demon yet. But it was just off stage, waiting to make its grand entrance.

And Daystar was not the beginning. It was just the pinnacle of worldly businesses. I know that there was heath foods (protein powder and other similar things). It didn't make it. It seems that Lee was always trying to make money by selling something to the membership. (A little like the guy who moves from church to church to go through the membership list selling insurance.)

Then he found the right business. Conferences, trainings, and a system of pre-ordered books and pamphlets. The LSM was the ultimate money maker. And the bulk of its labor was volunteer.

I find these kinds of statements like "charged and burdened by the Lord for the release of the Spirit and the unveiling of Christ and the church in the Scriptures," "Witness Lee was a cleansed vessel," and "His ministry was not common, but was proceeding out from the throne of God" to be extremely naive given all that we now know.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:07 PM   #18
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

I concluded that my last sentence may have seemed a bit harsh. And one of the things that I do not want to be implying is that there is nothing coming "from the throne of God." That is far from what I am saying. But it is too consistent with standard LRC usage to say that and mean that there is only one such ministry coming from the throne — and that would be Lee's.

I believe that to the extent that any ministry can be said to flow from the throne of God, many of them can make that claim. And from a wide spectrum of ministries and backgrounds. Either that or there is nothing so special as to deserve that claim.

And when I say that, I am admitting that Lee's could have been "from the throne of God" in the same way that Swindoll's, Alcorn's, Bell's, Carson's, and even Swaggert's could be said to be. I include the fallen minister Jimmy Swaggert because he, like Lee, should have stepped down at one point, probably never to return.

I continue to see too many evidences that Lee's ministry, if it ever legitimately existed, should have ended before the exile from the mainland to Taiwan. Failing that, it should have ended with his exile from the churches in Taiwan. But, again, it did not happen.

None of these, in themselves, make his teachings wrong. But the kind of mentality that can continue in this way is the kind of mentality that will minister long beyond his expiration date. Lee's was probably in the 50s. His "high peaks" are from the rotted, fermented scrap heap that followed.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:54 PM   #19
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

Steve, I think if you can't even begin to explain the "inexplicable," then you should dial down the "from the throne of God" talk.

I mean, it sounds a little like Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose--his biggest, greatest plane ever boondoggle.

An analogy to your thinking might be, Howard Hughes was building the greatest, most innovative plane ever, when, inexplicably, it couldn't fly.

Get my point?
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:49 PM   #20
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Default Re: This Generation: The End of a Search

There was something going on in the sixties in the U. S. - flower children, assassinations, civil rights riots, anti-Viet Nam War demonstrations - and a move of Spirit that was sweeping the country in the middle of an atmosphere of upheaval. In a paper that young people put out from Los Angeles in 1972, that tumultuous time period is captured, as well as what was taking place spiritually in a restless and seeking generation of young people.

http://www.lordsrecovery.us/the%20en...a%20search.htm
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:12 PM   #21
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There was something going on in the sixties in the U. S. - flower children, assassinations, civil rights riots, anti-Viet Nam War demonstrations - and a move of Spirit that was sweeping the country in the middle of an atmosphere of upheaval. In a paper that young people put out from Los Angeles in 1972, that tumultuous time period is captured, as well as what was taking place spiritually in a restless and seeking generation of young people.
You're right of course, there was a lot going on in the sixties culturally - it was a major change in America, with the baby boomers coming of age. There was open rebellion on college campuses against the conservative values of their parents generation - and as noted on http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade60.html "As the 1960's progressed, many young people turned from mainstream Protestant religions to mystic eastern religions such as Transcendental Meditation (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) or Zen Buddhism"... as well as newer eastern religions that claimed to represent true Christianity, such as the Unification Church of Sun_Myung_Moon (the Moonies).

Eastern mystic religions, with their focus on spiritual enlightenment, gained a ground in America that they had never had before. This was exciting, it was novel, and it stood in stark contrast to the traditional Christianity practiced by the majority of Americans at that time. Consider some of the new teachings of these eastern religions:

From Theravada Buddhism: Bodhi is a term that literally means "awakening" and "understanding". Someone who is awakened has gained insight into the workings of the mind which keeps us imprisoned in craving & suffering. The message: get spiritually awakened by turning off your mind.

From Vedic Hinduism and later Buddhism: Mantras are sounds — words or phrases — that are used as an object of concentration. The sounds may be chanted out loud, or may be heard internally. When the mantra is chanted internally, it is the “inner sound” of the thought that is used as an object of focus in meditation.
Mantras can be associated with particular historical or archetypal figures, and so, when mantras are chanted, the figure associated with the mantra may be visualized, or simply borne in mind. Some of these visualization practices are very complex and detailed. When the mantra is chanted out loud, the sound of the mantra is a focus for attention. Mantra chanting can be a solitary or group activity. It may be done as a formal meditation practice, where we sit specifically to recite the mantra, or it may be combined with our daily activities, and be chanted while we’re walking, or driving, or cooking dinner. The message: You can gain a heightened spiritual awareness by chanting the name of a particular achetypal figure, and concentrating on him. Do it in groups, do it alone, do it everywhere to get in touch with your spirit.

From Zen Buddhism: Zen Buddhism is primarily interested in experience not in knowledge. "Experience, rather than doctrine, is the ultimate vindication of the truth of their religion". They believe that man is simply an extension of the impersonal god and that his ultimate purpose is to be absorbed back into this impersonal god. Adherents of Zen have an intense dislike for the Christian doctrine of sin. In Zen Buddhism there is no sin, there is no real evil, there is no real good. They see mankind's ultimate problem as being his dualistic way of perceiving things. The Zen Buddhist believes that man's problem is that he sees things in terms of black and white and of right and wrong. The message: God doesn't want us to worry about good and evil, he isn't interested in doctines and words. Experience Him, and eventually be absorbed (replaced) by Him.

Maybe we're not buddhists, but do any of these things sound familiar to you?



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Old 12-20-2012, 06:42 AM   #22
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Default Re: This Generation: The End of a Search

What was "going on" in the sixties was that the Baby Boomers were turning into young adults.

Throughout their history the Baby Boomers have dictated what society has focused on.
  • In the sixties it was idealism and rebellion.
  • In the seventies it was coming to grips with the demands of adulthood and economic needs.
  • In the eighties and nineties it was success and fitness. In the eighties, there was a tennis boom. In the nineties, when the boomers got a little old for tennis, there was a golf boom. Boomer productivity drove the stock market boom from 1983-2000.
  • Now in the 2000s and 2010s, there is an economic crisis because the boomers have left their peak spending and revenue producing years and are stressing the government with retirement and health care demands.

It's all demographics. This is not to say the Lord was not sovereign. But Witness Lee stepped into the situation with a different message than Americans were used to hearing--and some seekers, almost all who were naive young people, jumped all over it. Some of it was good and missing from mainstream Christianity at the time. But the idea that he was some kind of unique prophet to end the age was way overstating what he was.

"Christ and the Church" is a riveting heavenly ideal, and we all could use a heavenly ideal from time to time. But that slogan simply cannot do the heavy, practical lifting of day-to-day dealings with the church, the world and life in general. Focusing entirely on the heavenly did not produce the ideal that the LC hoped it would. It just produced a group where human needs get marginalized. Real pastors of real churches understand that.

We need to approach heavenly ideals with some trepidation. They need to prove themselves in the reality of practical daily life.

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Old 12-20-2012, 06:48 AM   #23
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I don't know if it's really just a myth or not, but I've heard they actually give the FTTA kids a tour of Lee's house there on Ball Rd so that they can see where "the Godman" lived and worked. I hope this is just a myth.
I received this from a very reputable person in the know:

Let me confirm...it's not a myth
I recall that in 1997 or '98, not long after W. Lee's passing a whole group of Midwest elders & full-time workers flew out to Anaheim, CA. Part of the itinerary was indeed a guided tour of W. Lee's house on Ball Road (organized by Andrew Yu, who was at that time the LSM manager). Frankly it was wierd. We were taken into W Lee's bedroom & his dresser draw was opened to demonstrate how neatly his socks were folded!! Personally I felt that it was an invasion of someone's privacy {Would I want someone opening my dresser draw?} Plus I felt that this was turning W. Lee's house into a shrine in order to venerate him...
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:33 AM   #24
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There was something going on in the sixties in the U. S. - flower children, assassinations, civil rights riots, anti-Viet Nam War demonstrations - and a move of Spirit that was sweeping the country in the middle of an atmosphere of upheaval. In a paper that young people put out from Los Angeles in 1972, that tumultuous time period is captured, as well as what was taking place spiritually in a restless and seeking generation of young people.
This is where I get the most frustrated with your message and participation. It is canned and remote. You aren't engaged in it.

You make the statements, but they don't really say anything. "There was something going on . . . ." It doesn't matter. There is always something going on.

And there is always a move of the Spirit. We've just been conditioned to believe that it has to look like a revival of some sort to believe that the Spirit is moving. And I'm not just talking about the LRC.

But the "paper that young people put out" tells me nothing. You say it captured something, but it is not described. What is the purpose of speaking about a paper that "captures" something then not tell us anything about what it captures? Is it impossible to distill? If so, then it is pointless to mention it unless you can point to it or quote from it.

The link you do provide is to a clearly LRC-worldview writing seeking to describe the events of the times in terms of the rise of the "Local Churches." If this is the paper you are referring to, then you should identify your link as pointing to it.

And if it is, then it is not just some paper put out by young people in Los Angeles. It is a paper put out by the LRC for the purpose of associating itself with the seeking of the various youth movements as a whole to gain some of those "seekers." I'm not saying that doing that is insidious or evil. But it is now being described in such a removed position that it is trying to be a disinterested reporting telling what they are seeing without being involved.

But you are very involved. And so were they. They were not just some young people. They were the LRC's young people. That assumes that it was not actually written by someone not entirely so young to go out under the banner of "young people."

Your rhetoric is losing its value. You give snippets and link to other sites. (BTW, I thought there was at least some desire for this to not be an advertisement for other "ministries.") They do not appear to be written from your viewpoint, but rather as a cut-and-paste from cold, 3rd-person, sanitized writings of some AP reporter on the religion desk.

I don't agree with many of your positions concerning how good the LRC ever was or could be. But you need to display some passion about it if you want to be taken seriously. These pieces seem to be more of a Google search for topic-of-the-moment and the first search result is displayed. Or, more limitedly, one of a series of possible selections in an old juke box. The song won't speed up or slow down. It won't break into a rock version of a country song or a bluesy rendition of a pop favorite. If there is a scratch in the record, you are stuck with it.

And whatever you do, please, mister please, don't play B-17.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:35 AM   #25
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The link you do provide is to a clearly LRC-worldview writing seeking to describe the events of the times in terms of the rise of the "Local Churches." If this is the paper you are referring to, then you should identify your link as pointing to it.

And if it is, then it is not just some paper put out by young people in Los Angeles. It is a paper put out by the LRC for the purpose of associating itself with the seeking of the various youth movements as a whole to gain some of those "seekers."
Actually, the link Steve provided is to a website of his own - but (my bad), the article is produced by someone else.... Never mind!!

Steve, if you really believe that the move of the Spirit is due to the close of the age, then consider what God said about the spiritual condition at the close of the age:

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." 1 Tim 4:1

Last edited by NeitherFirstnorLast; 12-20-2012 at 04:13 PM. Reason: I mistakenly creditted Steve with authorship of the article. My apologies!
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:14 PM   #26
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History of the Local Churches by Don Rutledge EXCERPT

http://www.makingstraightthewayofthe...DonBookch1.pdf


Introduction

“…This book is to be a history of the local churches and the work of Witness Lee, but unless the reader understands the times he may not be able to appreciate what God was doing in His mercy to meet the need of so many and in so many ways. Witness Lee, at that time, was also used by the Lord. In this book, we will consider the blessings experienced by the local churches, the errors, the warnings and the fruit produced – both good and bad.

As young people began to reject the culture of materialism and the nation entered the tremendous dislocation caused by the war, the young people turned to many escapes. Drugs, sex, and the hippy movement were prevalent. Suddenly the “Jesus People”appeared. Tens of thousands of disaffected youth came to Christ. But most did not meet Him in a traditional church or regular Evangelical Crusade. It was one-on-one, in small groups, spontaneous and full of the power of the Spirit. Where could they go to be shepherded, nurtured and cared for? They did not care for traditional Christianity, and traditional Christianity did not care for them. Thus non-traditional churches, seeker groups meeting in homes, and ministry from non-professionals appeared everywhere.


CHAPTER ONE

THE LOCAL CHURCH MOVEMENT IN THE USA IN THE SIXTIES

There were many prevailing works of God during this time; but, as shared in the introduction, this book will focus on Witness Lee and the work of God in the local churches in the United States. I was there from September, 1965, until the summer of 1989. I knew Witness Lee personally and considered him to be a spiritual father and good friend. We never had a cross word, and he always treated me with dignity and respect. I have no personal axes to grind or offenses to even up. I will endeavor to give credit where credit is due, but will also seek to bring to light the failures among us, including my own. This kind of treatment [of our history] corresponds to the Bible, which is a most unique book in that it exposes the major characters where they failed and came short of God’s call, as well as their victories and faithful deeds. In the Old Testament, the failures of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon are not ignored or covered over, but are brought to light.

Likewise, in the New Testament, the mistakes of Peter, John and James, Philip, Thomas, Barnabas, James the brother of the Lord and Paul are all exposed. This should tell us that the same should be done among us. If there have been significant failures, they should not be treated in a light manner and covered over; rather, they should be made clear to all the saints, publicly, for our learning and profit. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is without blemish in any way. All believers should be warned not to fall into any hero worship or to develop a loyalty to a man or a ministry. The old hymn, “Loyalty to Christ” should indeed be a theme for us all.

End of excerpt
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:31 PM   #27
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..."Christ and the Church" is a riveting heavenly ideal, and we all could use a heavenly ideal from time to time. But that slogan simply cannot do the heavy, practical lifting of day-to-day dealings with the church, the world and life in general. Focusing entirely on the heavenly did not produce the ideal that the LC hoped it would. It just produced a group where human needs get marginalized. Real pastors of real churches understand that.

We need to approach heavenly ideals with some trepidation. They need to prove themselves in the reality of practical daily life.
"Focusing entirely on the heavenly [ideal]...just produced a group where needs get marginalized." There is much truth, on the negative side, in what Igzy has said. This is what spawned my first writing to elders, in search of "real pastors" of "real churches" who understand there is heavy lifting involved to bring in the heavenly ideal.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:53 PM   #28
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Default Re: The Heavenly Ideal in Need of Heavylifting

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"Focusing entirely on the heavenly [ideal]...just produced a group where needs get marginalized."
What I read into this quote is the needs of the system outweigh the needs of the individual.
Since there is no effort to shepherd the needs of the individual, it seems to be implied the individual should know. If you don't know then it beomes a matter of seeking God's mercy His wisdom will be manifested.
Hearing a recent LSM conference, ministries the minister to the individual needs are marginalized or belittled as "helping the self". Really!
You can have a book exhorting brothers how shepherd their families and that is marginalized as not being in line with the "New Testament ministry". Why not? This is what Paul spoke in his epistles to Ephesus and Colosse.
What about spouses that need help? The wife wants more time with her husband. You now how it is. The meetings take predence over the marriage. "If you take care of the ministry, the ministry will take care of your marriage." All the whle the sister-wife feels taken for granted because the various meetings, felowships, conferences, etc come first before the household. The catch 22 is if a brother places priority of his household administration over that of attending various meetings, conferences, etc he becomes known as being a marginal brother.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:16 AM   #29
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I also believe that Lee spent hours praying, even as mentioned here. The problem is that he was never a cleansed vessel in the way that Don Hardy once believed. I'm not denying his salvation. I am denying some special cleansing. I would rather characterize his condition as "needing more cleansing." Since we have some record now of his returning to Taiwan to regain control over those churches (in the midst of this "cleansed" period), what was happening in the US can only be characterized as window dressing.
Yes indeed you have hit on a core issue! Witness Lee was persona non grata in Taiwan due to business dealings that went awry there. But is he going to come to America and tell people that? Of course not! So a "spiritual" story had to be made up to legitimize him and his work in the eyes of Christians here. (Using the name of Watchman Nee to gain credibility was part of that process.)

The cultural turmoil of the 1960s happened to be an ideal time for him to land on our fair shores with his tale because young people were searching for something "new" and the LC system's model at the time was highly community oriented. This was attractive to many who didn't want to be hardcore hippies but wanted communal living. Basically Jesus people who ended up in the LC system instead of another church.

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I find these kinds of statements like "charged and burdened by the Lord for the release of the Spirit and the unveiling of Christ and the church in the Scriptures," "Witness Lee was a cleansed vessel," and "His ministry was not common, but was proceeding out from the throne of God" to be extremely naive given all that we now know.
I find such statements by Indiana to not only be naive but also somewhat insulting to those who know what Witness Lee was really like.

I'm willing to say Witness Lee was a flawed Bible teacher who handicapped himself and his ministry by his own arrogant attitude and behaviors including engaging members of the LC system (in the Far East and America) in his failed business schemes. I agree with some of the things he taught and disagree with some of the things he taught. IMHO claiming that his ministry is anything more than that is wishful thinking at best and frankly I find it childish when Indiana or anyone else engages in such empty and unnecessary rhetoric.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #30
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"The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry. We must be exceedingly clear concerning this principle. We must drop all wrong practices. A gifted brother should keep his hands off the local church… All gifts and gifted persons must be entirely for the local church. This is a tremendously vital matter.” (W. L., The Vision of God’s Building, pp 173-175,1964)
So, Brother Lee, Philip Lee, Benson, et al, took this wrong way, thus causing division everywhere. This “tremendously vital matter” of not pushing a ministry is not heeded in the Local Churches today; they find the ministry of Witness Lee to be “indispensable to our oneness”, and herald their sectarian position before all in their One Publication proclamation, 2005.

http://www.twoturmoils.com/TheAccoun...dReceiving.pdf
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:03 AM   #31
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"The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry. We must be exceedingly clear concerning this principle. We must drop all wrong practices. A gifted brother should keep his hands off the local church… All gifts and gifted persons must be entirely for the local church. This is a tremendously vital matter.” (W. L., The Vision of God’s Building, pp 173-175,1964)
Sorry Steve, but the way I read what Lee wrote here "a gifted brother must keep his hands off the local church" means a 'gifted' brother shouldn't contradict the teaching of Witness Lee... and if he does, then it's because he's not "for" the local church. This statement in 1964 is actually entirely consistent with the later one publication policy, one ministry, one trumpet etc etc. The problem here is the differentiation between "the ministry" and "the church" - where does that come from Biblically? This quote doesn't support your case that Lee was a Holy Roller who went off the rails in the mid-to-late 1970's, it shows he was self-seeking and self-exalting from the beginning.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:09 AM   #32
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The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry.
I believe this is a theme that ties the late 80's turmoil and the turmoil of the last decade together. It may have been one time the ministry existed to serve the localities, but no longer. The change in the late 80's became localities existing to serve the ministry. Once a locality no longer served the ministry, it was deemed to be replastered.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:21 AM   #33
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From: http://www.twoturmoils.com/TheAccoun...dReceiving.pdf

Quote:
Former leading ones, John Ingalls, Bill Mallon, Bill Freeman, and many more have testified of the immense help they received under Lee’s ministry. A familiar word from those closest to him in Anaheim was that they could not believe the same person who imparted to them such a heavenly vision in his ministry could be the same one manifesting some defect of character with such devastating results as they bore witness to. They turned away from following him due to the discrepancy and division.
Throughout the history of man-made religion, people have testified of the immense help they have received from all sorts of so-called ministers, teachers and self-made apostles. The problem is that these are usually the very same people who were decidedly blinded to the bad fruit and damage caused by the teachings and practices from the very beginning. We now know for a fact that John Ingalls, Bill Mallon, Bill Freeman and many other of the earlier followers of Witness Lee failed to do their due diligence, or maybe even worse, they knew about the bad fruit and seemingly endless damage caused to the saints in the Far East, but chose to turn a blind eye. In fact, they promoted Witness Lee as the one minister with the one ministry for the age from the very beginning here in America.

To say that all the false teachings, divisive practices and abusive treatment of God's people is merely the result of "some defect of character" is a direct slap in the face of God, and a great insult to those of us who were deceived by this man and the religious system/movement he invented. Witness Lee's "heavenly vision" was not based in the Word of God, else it would not have produced the bad fruit and division that it cause from the very beginning. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for us), thanks to the Internet and venues like this one, we have seen "the man behind the curtain", but unlike the well-meaning but bumbling false wizard, we were deceived by somebody who claimed to be speaking for God. To make matters worse, Lee's earliest followers blindly promoted him and his "heavenly vision", and thus thousands of new believers and young people were carried away, many of them still shipwrecked in their faith to this very day. May God have mercy.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:58 AM   #34
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We now know for a fact that John Ingalls, Bill Mallon, Bill Freeman and many other of the earlier followers of Witness Lee failed to do their due diligence, or maybe even worse, they knew about the bad fruit and seemingly endless damage caused to the saints in the Far East, but chose to turn a blind eye. In fact, they promoted Witness Lee as the one minister with the one ministry for the age from the very beginning here in America.
Before I get to the Far East, I'll say this much I don't think they ever promoted Witness Lee "as the one minister with the one ministry for the age". That came from brothers who had the ambition to promote Witness Lee. Some brothers who left, their receiving of Lee was based on their vision of the Word through Nee's ministry. Once the nature of the recovery changed, they weren't going to go along with it. Even among brothers who did not openly promote WL, to remain idle and say nothing is just as bad because saying nothing gives the appearance "you agree with the promotions". That applies now with the BB's as it did then with WL.

I do know when the North American local church saints visited Taiwan in the mid-1960's, they knew nothing about what happened the previous decade. How the congregation became divided over selling church property to pay for Lee's personal debts. That was not revealed until decades later. One of the former elders who was on that trip to Taiwan said about 10 years ago as I paraphrase, had one of the Chinese saints said something, it would have made a difference. By the somber tone of the conversation, Lee would not have been given the latitude given when Daystar occurred. Knowing Lee's propensity to business dealings, eyes would have been open.
What about the last ten years? It's been said or suggested the Far East suffered far more devastation than the Great Lakes experienced from LSM. Brothers that know, won't go into detail. Only saying, give mercy. There is more than a fair amount of culpability in withholding the negative aspect of the recovery's history. As we know from reading the Word, there are many examples where a person's reputation or honor is not spared or kept hidden for our acceptance.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:44 PM   #35
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"The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry. We must be exceedingly clear concerning this principle. We must drop all wrong practices. A gifted brother should keep his hands off the local church… All gifts and gifted persons must be entirely for the local church. This is a tremendously vital matter.” (W. L., The Vision of God’s Building, pp 173-175,1964)
So, Brother Lee, Philip Lee, Benson, et al, took this wrong way, thus causing division everywhere. This “tremendously vital matter” of not pushing a ministry is not heeded in the Local Churches today; they find the ministry of Witness Lee to be “indispensable to our oneness”, and herald their sectarian position before all in their One Publication proclamation, 2005.
IMHO from the inception of the LC system in America (Witness Lee brand) his ministry was indispensable to their oneness. His ministry was the curriculum for all the churches, his publications were sold in all the churches, people were expected to attend his trainings and conferences, elders were appointed by him, elders and coworkers were expected to attend conferences specifically for them and all decisions of any signifcance had to be fellowshipped with him for his approval prior to implementation. This was true in the 1960s, 1970s and the 1980s. But in the 1986 what was already true in practice became official when the elders and coworkers signed a document stating that his ministry was indispensable to the oneness. This merely confirmed what already existed for decades.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:25 PM   #36
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Many thanks to alwayslearning for stating this is a more concise and succinct package.

My dear brother Terry, I understand and appreciate that you have ties that go way back in the Local Church. But I am afraid that you have bought into the fairy tales. You will not find any person on this forum who respects John Ingalls, Bill Mallon and some of the others more than me, but the simple fact is that they were simply the first in a long line of gullible Americans to be deceived by Witness Lee. No, Lee probably didn't use the exact words "the one minister with the one ministry for the age", but all the puzzle pieces were there from the beginnings, and had they done a little investigation, coupled it with some basic decrement and common sense, they would have rejected Witness Lee at the start.

More later.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:11 PM   #37
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Brother Lee was as an apostle to John Ingalls and others who were being called into the fellowship of the Son in the local churches in the 1960s. Samuel Chang, who knew of Brother Lee’s negative side, was there also following him. These brothers, according to their own testimony, perceived that his ministry was coming out from God, enlightening and enlivening them. They, in response to the Spirit, gave themselves to the vision they received for the building up of the church. It is not that they were gullible or being taken advantage of, but that true light was shining and saints were singing “we are home, we are home, we are home!” The brothers were in a move of the Lord!

The Defect

Brother Lee once shared that some men or women of God in the past had defects. Yet, they were still used by God. He gave certain examples.

Samuel Chang once described a defect in Brother Lee himself and warned of it (1966); but he did not discount Witness Lee or his ministry, at that time.


Samuel Chang to Don Hardy


“SC was very burdened and started groaning deep within, praying. Then he said: "Don, I want to share something with you for prayer, and you must keep it to yourself. Brother Lee loves the Lord, and is all-out for God and His recovery. But Don, he has a weakness, a big hole in his side, which we have to keep covered much in prayer. You see, his children (7 of them) suffered very much in China, and they are always after him; and he has a burden to help them as much as he can. But WL is very poor right now. So he has tried to help Timothy in business, but....." Then SC did a strange thing, he slapped his mouth with his hand, and told me, "Oh, I should keep quiet. Forgive me brother Don, just pray.”

When Daystar happened in the early seventies, the defect was manifest and began the decline of the churches in the U. S.


SENIOR COWORKERS


1974 to 1988 = decline to the point of senior coworkers opening to John Ingalls in fellowship which got into John’s book, a transparent account of “the decline,” and his exit from the churches. The decline, of course, featured the movement of a man and his ministry - in ministry churches, causing permanent division in what was called the Lord’s recovery.


“Brother Chu Shun Min then told me how that on April 1, 1988, he had a conversation with Brother Lee in the Bay Area. He presented a number of serious concerns to Brother Lee and asked him to bring all these things to the Lord. Brother Chu told me that Brother Lee listened quietly and passively to all his points (with one exception), making no comment, neither admitting nor denying. The exception was a point he made concerning Brother Lee’s son, Philip Lee.

“In conclusion, Brother Chu told Brother Lee, "All the sweet feeling we had in the past is lost. All the rest in our spirit is over."

http://twoturmoils.com/twoseniorcoworkers.pdf

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Old 12-30-2012, 01:28 PM   #38
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For decades after coming to America, Witness Lee denied being an apostle. He even denied being an apostle under oath in a legal deposition (circa 1981). Not more than 7 years later Lee was boastfully declaring that he was the only person ON EARTH speaking as God’s oracle SINCE 1945, and most of his closest co-workers were declaring that he was “an apostle of the first kind”, comparing him to the apostle Paul.

Dear brothers and sisters, this kind of attitude did NOT just appear in the 1980s, or even the 1970s. There is ample evidence that Witness Lee held this kind of attitude all the way back to the Taiwan days, and maybe even before. The evidence was there for Lee’s earliest American followers to find out, if they just did some basic fact checking. For example, they could have easily found out that, despite his claims, Witness Lee was not the only person sent out by Watchman Nee to continue the Local Church denomination. They could have easily found out that Lee had already defrauded and even sued members of his own sect. They could have easily found out that his teachings were already being challenged and found to be unbiblical by other Christians there in Taiwan.

Witness Lee already had a reputation of financial malfeasance (with church funds no less), and it’s a safe bet that his sons Timothy and Phillip were already well on their way to becoming a major disgrace to Witness and the denomination he lead. The simple fact is that by the time Witness Lee hit our fair shores, he did not even meet the most basic qualifications to be an elder, much less the leader and chief theologian of an entire Christian movement. Samuel Chang was surely aware of this, and you can be sure that the saints whom Lee defrauded were aware as well.

And I haven’t even gotten into the fact that Witness Lee had already deviated greatly from Watchman Nee in teaching and in practice. Many of Nee’s books were already available at this time, and had the early Americans done some fact checking and comparing and contrasting, they would have seen the stark contrast between Nee and Lee right from the start.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:19 PM   #39
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What was "going on" in the sixties was that the Baby Boomers were turning into young adults.

...It's all demographics. This is not to say the Lord was not sovereign. But Witness Lee stepped into the situation with a different message than Americans were used to hearing--and some seekers, almost all who were naive young people, jumped all over it.
If you look at some of the "flows" on earth at that time, Igzy's point is reinforced. I myself am not a student of U.S. religious history circa 1965-75, but the growth and expansion of the Local Churches affiliated with the ministry of Witness Lee at that time was indeed mirrored by other events within the "Baby Boomer" generation.

One familiar story is of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel in Southern California. The version I heard is that some hippies "found Jesus" late one night around the campfire, and then wanted fellowship. They trooped around the area, and the only pastor who would keep his doors open to these longhairs was Chuck Smith. His church had something like 40 to 60 people. Well, these hippies brought in all their friends, and suddenly the place was packed. So they built a hall for 500, and by the time it was finished it wasn't nearly big enough. They went from 50 to 2000+ in a couple of years. And don't you think the Spirit of those meetings was attractive? All that youthful enthusiasm? Young adults being freed from crime, addiction, fear, shame? Spontaneous testimonies of miraculous healings and deliverances? Elden Hall was not the only "prevailing testimony" on the earth.

Chuck Smith was at the right place at the right time. So, arguably, was Witness Lee.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:43 PM   #40
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For decades after coming to America, Witness Lee denied being an apostle. He even denied being an apostle under oath in a legal deposition (circa 1981). Not more than 7 years later Lee was boastfully declaring that he was the only person ON EARTH speaking as God’s oracle SINCE 1945, and most of his closest co-workers were declaring that he was “an apostle of the first kind”, comparing him to the apostle Paul.

Dear brothers and sisters, this kind of attitude did NOT just appear in the 1980s, or even the 1970s. There is ample evidence that Witness Lee held this kind of attitude all the way back to the Taiwan days, and maybe even before.....

Witness Lee already had a reputation of financial malfeasance (with church funds no less), and it’s a safe bet that his sons Timothy and Phillip were already well on their way to becoming a major disgrace to Witness and the denomination he lead. The simple fact is that by the time Witness Lee hit our fair shores, he did not even meet the most basic qualifications to be an elder, much less the leader and chief theologian of an entire Christian movement. Samuel Chang was surely aware of this, and you can be sure that the saints whom Lee defrauded were aware as well.
1. At least we can say there was discrepancy in the testimony of Witness Lee and it “blew the minds" of leaders. Some left, some stayed. But all would agree he was an oracle of God to them with more than basic qualifications.

2. He liked to avoid saying he was an apostle, but he described himself as one, even as a commander-in-chief and a wise masterbuilder. Benson and Ray Graver picked up what he was tacitly saying, THAT “I am an apostle” (in a certain sense) and need more serious support- they thus campaigned in the churches for him and his ministry. WL had said that he was forced to “speak foolishly” concerning himself and his ministry, as Paul did in 2 Corinthians. The brothers “read between the lines” and rose up to speak on his behalf, and 400+ brothers signed an agreement with them to follow WL as the one who “led them into God’s New Testament economy” in teaching and practice.

3. In one of my last meetings before being cut off, a major blending brother very "humbly" and carefully uplifted Witness Lee’s ministry as surpassing Watchman Nee’s and, yes, even the apostle Paul’s (in a certain sense). This statement might be roundly criticized, but broken down it means that Lee has come later and stands on their shoulders, and has entered into the spirit of Paul’s writings and expounded on them all in hundreds of pages of easily readable and well-edited New Testament fellowship.

4. LSM strategy is to use Watchman Nee as a blocking fullback protecting Witness Lee and opening the way for him to run and for his ministry to spread. Watchman Nee’s name protects him and covers him, and also LSM, at every turn, though Nee would never himself cover him if he was present.

We should read carefully this testimony:

“The Daystar experience was a great frustration to the move of the Spirit.
In 1975, we were having a conference in Dallas. Before the meetings, we would pray in the large home on our property and then would walk across the parking lot to the large new hall we had just built. One evening I was walking with Brother Lee. He stopped, turned to me and then put his arm around my shoulder. (Never before and never since have I seen him embrace a brother.) Thus, I realized he was about to tell me something very serious. He told me that he had made a terrible mistake with Daystar. He said that if he saw Brother Nee he would not know what to say since Brother Nee had warned him not to mix the church with financial matters or business. He then told me that he had once told Watchman Nee that he was not following him (Watchman Nee), but rather was following the truth and vision that Brother Nee taught. Furthermore, that he (Witness Lee) would not follow Watchman Nee if Brother Nee left the vision, but he (Brother Lee) would continue to follow the vision. He then looked me straight in the eye and charged me, “Brother Don, if I leave the vision do not follow me, but follow the vision.” I was a little speechless but I did manage to return the embrace and assure Brother Lee that I would remain true to the vision and the truth.” -Don Rutledge


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Old 12-31-2012, 07:25 AM   #41
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1. At least we can say there was discrepancy in the testimony of Witness Lee and it “blew the minds" of leaders. Some left, some stayed. But all would agree he was an oracle of God to them with more than basic qualifications.
I'm not quite sure if this is supposed to be a response to my post or what. Lee did not say he was "an" oracle (that would be bad enough) he said he was THE ONLY ORACLE....Big difference. "An oracle of God to them"? Sure, and many Catholics would call the Pope an oracle of God to them, and Seventh Day Adventists would call Ellen White and oracle of God to them. Being a good speaker with all sorts of highfalutin spiritual sounding jargon does not excuse a man from the scriptural requirements to be a leader among God's people. Can you understand this, or is it that you just don't agree?

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2. He liked to avoid saying he was an apostle, but he described himself as one, even as a commander-in-chief and a wise masterbuilder..
You are not going back far enough my brother. You are speaking of the mid-late 80s Lee. I just gave you a lot of factual information which shows he had such an attitude decades before this.

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3In one of my last meetings before being cut off, a major blending brother very "humbly" and carefully uplifted Witness Lee’s ministry as surpassing Watchman Nee’s and, yes, even the apostle Paul’s (in a certain sense). This statement might be roundly criticized, but broken down it means that Lee has come later and stands on their shoulders, and has entered into the spirit of Paul’s writings and expounded on them all in hundreds of pages of easily readable and well-edited New Testament fellowship.
The apostle Paul clearly and plainly stated that his writings were to complete the Word of God. I don't care whose shoulders you're standing on, if someone says that their words are surpassing anything in the New Testament they are to be condemned and marked as a heretic. Furthermore, "easily readable and well-edited" do not equal sound and orthodox. Much of Lee's ministry cannot be called "New Testament fellowship" since much of it cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament.

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4.LSM strategy is to use Watchman Nee as a blocking fullback protecting Witness Lee and opening the way for him to run and for his ministry to spread. Watchman Nee’s name protects him and covers him, and also LSM, at every turn, though Nee would never himself cover him if he was present.
I don't think Watchman Nee would allow Witness Lee into the stadium.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:08 AM   #42
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He then told me that he had once told Watchman Nee that he was not following him (Watchman Nee), but rather was following the truth and vision that Brother Nee taught. Furthermore, that he (Witness Lee) would not follow Watchman Nee if Brother Nee left the vision, but he (Brother Lee) would continue to follow the vision. He then looked me straight in the eye and charged me, “Brother Don, if I leave the vision do not follow me, but follow the vision.” I was a little speechless but I did manage to return the embrace and assure Brother Lee that I would remain true to the vision and the truth.”
The problem is, how do you distinguish between the man and the vision? I submit that you cannot. Especially when the man claims to be the only contemporary bearer of the vision. Especially when the man's core followers claim the man's words are second only to the Bible in authority (and practically equal to it, and sometimes better than it). Many, including you, Steve, have tried to follow the vision rather than the man, and were defamed and disfellowshipped for doing so. What are you supposed to do? Spend your life arguing over what the "vision" really is? Surely not.

What must become clear is there is a more fundamental error at work--and that is this whole exercise of becoming obsessed with one man and his vision, or even thinking it is an important issue. The Bible never, ever encourages this exercise. This is why, positively or negatively, obsession with Lee and his vision, and more fundamentally, thinking you need to identify who is "the man" or what is "the vision," is an error.

The truth of the Bible is that God has spoken in his Son, and his Son is manifested through all the members of the Body. There is never the thought in the Bible that one man can embody all, most, or even a large chunk of this speaking. Why? I think it is because once you go down that road you inevitably end up in the place where the LRC is. If you believe in the man and vision of the age, or anything even approaching it, you are going to end up with rabid followers who are willing to throw anyone and everyone under the bus to defend him and his vision. It's inevitably and inescapably part of the package.

Obsession with a man, Lee or any other, is unhealthy. It is unhealthy for those who defend him, and it is unhealthy to some degree for those who accuse him. It is an exercise whose very existence demonstrates why the Lord is so wise in never endorsing the idea of a "man or vision of the age" or anything approaching it. That, I think, is the lesson we all need to learn.

I have little doubt that Witness Lee said some things better than have ever been said. It is equally true that some things he did not say well. But that is true for all of us. Each of us has the ability to manifest the Son in ways no one else can. That is the beauty and wisdom of the Body. We each can contribute, but none can dominate, let alone monopolize. Rick Warren says some things like no one else can. Whenever I hear him teach, I marvel, because he just reveals God to me in such a fresh way. A young black man gave a message at our church on Sunday. I always marvel when he teaches, because he speaks the truth like I've never heard. He can do this because he is unique. No one else has his exact same gifts, experiences, personality or insights. The same is true for all of us. That's the Body.

Anyone who thinks Witness Lee or anyone else has a corner on God's vision is already deceived and imbalanced, because in very principle the idea is wrong. So in a sense, even arguing about whether Lee is the man of the age or not is imbalanced, because doing it is obsessing on a man, rather than God. God wants us to appreciate each other and our gifts, not obsess on each other, even Witness Lee.

Practically speaking, a man and his vision cannot be separated. So upholding the vision of one man inevitably leads to revering, defending and, yes, even accusing the man more than is healthy. Therefore, we should conclude that the very idea of a man with the vision of the age is a fundamental error.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:59 PM   #43
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What must become clear is there is a more fundamental error at work--and that is this whole exercise of becoming obsessed with one man and his vision, or even thinking it is an important issue.

Anyone who thinks Witness Lee or anyone else has a corner on God's vision is already deceived and imbalanced, because in very principle the idea is wrong.
I agree wholeheartedly with this assessment. The fundamental error of the LC system is not a miscommunicated doctrine here or there or even a false teaching here or there or a weird practice or certain negative events in their history. These issues are problematic but subsequent to the fundamental error of Witness Lee being the MOTA, apostle, one oracle, etc. Why? Because once this idea is accepted then anything subsequent that comes forth from that source cannot be questioned and challenged and if need be corrected. It is from this kind of error that a teaching like: "Follow Witness Lee blindly; even if he's wrong he's right" can gain currency, become widespread and ultimately be accepted.

If this error is ever discarded as the folly that it is within the LC system then and only then will they be able to take off their Witness Lee rose colored glasses and assess his work with any semblance of objectivity.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:22 PM   #44
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Brother Lee was as an apostle to John Ingalls and others who were being called into the fellowship of the Son in the local churches in the 1960s. Samuel Chang, who knew of Brother Lee’s negative side, was there also following him. These brothers, according to their own testimony, perceived that his ministry was coming out from God, enlightening and enlivening them. They, in response to the Spirit, gave themselves to the vision they received for the building up of the church. It is not that they were gullible or being taken advantage of, but that true light was shining and saints were singing “we are home, we are home, we are home!” The brothers were in a move of the Lord!
Witness Lee was like a man who omits major events on his resume and provides a key reference who cannot be reached because he is in a Maoist gulag. Meanwhile a reference like Samuel Chang remains mute and this no doubt had more to do with his culture than anything else. Of course the problem with lying by omission on a resume is that eventually things start to show up in the workplace and people start to take a closer look at the real you and finally do a background check which they should have done in the first place.

Witness Lee was "an apostle to John Ingalls and others..."? Really? Imagine if this "sent one" told them the truth: that actually he was not sent by the Lord to America to start the recovery but rather had become persona non grata in the Far East because of his financial shenanigans among the churches and was running away from the mess he created. What if he told the truth about how he handled the TAS issue and the situation in Hong Kong, etc. If he put that on his resume or innocents at the time like John Ingalls did a background check instead of taking him at face value I seriously doubt they would have joined up with Witness Lee to help him build up the LC system in America. And after dedicating their lives in helping him what did they get in the end when making legitimate inquiries into how "the work" was operating? Ridiculed and ousted. Just like what happened to coworkers in the Far East decades before. Different decade. Different country. Same Witness Lee.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:19 PM   #45
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Witness Lee was like a man who omits major events on his resume and provides a key reference who cannot be reached because he is in a Maoist gulag. Meanwhile a reference like Samuel Chang remains mute and this no doubt had more to do with his culture than anything else. Of course the problem with lying by omission on a resume is that eventually things start to show up in the workplace and people start to take a closer look at the real you and finally do a background check which they should have done in the first place.
For arguments sake, suppose you are correct in what you're saying, how would you go about a background check? You have a language barrier. Suppose you use a Chinese speaking brother to translate your questions. Would the answers be forthcoming? Would the translater be willing to translate the answer? This is more a recent example than historical. Much more than this, don't lose sight we're speaking of brothers. Unless there is a Biblical reason to refuse a brother, he should be received. That does not mean there should be unquestioned latitude given.
Regardless cuplability is shared. Even now as it was then.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:34 AM   #46
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For arguments sake, suppose you are correct in what you're saying, how would you go about a background check? You have a language barrier. Suppose you use a Chinese speaking brother to translate your questions. Would the answers be forthcoming? Would the translater be willing to translate the answer? This is more a recent example than historical. Much more than this, don't lose sight we're speaking of brothers. Unless there is a Biblical reason to refuse a brother, he should be received. That does not mean there should be unquestioned latitude given.
How indeed! Without the Internet and other tools we have now it would be very difficult to do a background check and I doubt any inquiry would have received straightforward answers. And then of course how would they even know who to ask?

Also I think we should remember John Ingalls, etc were in their 20s and Witness Lee in his 50s when the LC systems started in America. This age difference would produce a natural defering to Witness Lee in making decisions etc. Add to this Witness Lee marketing of himself as Watchman Nee's only legitimate successor coming out of the Far East. The name "Watchman Nee" gave him a lot of built-in credibility.

BTW I am not addressing the issue of receiving brothers but rather Indiana's statement that Witness Lee was an apostle to John Ingalls, etc. To receive a brother is one thing to receive a brother as an apostle with apostolic authority is another matter altogether.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:07 AM   #47
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Another issue is this concept of THE ministry, (which Steve apparently still buys into since this is the way he entitled this thread).

Again, it is these basic ideas of Lee as apostle, the existence of something which can be called THE ministry and of some unique bearer of it, etc, which are the root of all the problems.

The problem isn't that Lee was once THE bearer of THE ministry and somewhere along the line he went bad. The problem is that people believe that there are such things as THE minister and THE ministry in the first place. Ministers go bad sometimes. That's an unfortunate historic reality. But if you are free from the idea than some ministers are THE ministers then these failings need only have limited collateral damage. But if you buy into these THE ideas, you are setting yourself and others up for some serious damage.

The real question is why would anyone buy into such ideas. The Bible certainly doesn't endorse them at all. One can appreciate Lee's contributions without going overboard bestowing him with non-biblical designations. But as long as you do buy into them, you are just setting yourself up for the next round of confusion, as in who is the current THE minister?

If we held ministries in their proper perspective they couldn't become the lampstand. But as soon as you start believing in something called "THE ministry" you've already made it the lampstand.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:45 AM   #48
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Also I think we should remember John Ingalls, etc were in their 20s and Witness Lee in his 50s when the LC systems started in America. This age difference would produce a natural defering to Witness Lee in making decisions etc. Add to this Witness Lee marketing of himself as Watchman Nee's only legitimate successor coming out of the Far East. The name "Watchman Nee" gave him a lot of built-in credibility.

BTW I am not addressing the issue of receiving brothers but rather Indiana's statement that Witness Lee was an apostle to John Ingalls, etc. To receive a brother is one thing to receive a brother as an apostle with apostolic authority is another matter altogether.
Given Witness Lee was older and probably had more maturity, but I wouldn't say an apostle? The term apostle as I understand means sent one. Keep in mind John probably gravitated more to Witness Lee because 10 years prior to meeting Witness Lee, John met Stephen Kaung another brother mentored by Watchman Nee. So there is a commonality being influenced by Nee's ministry.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:06 PM   #49
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I am not addressing the issue of receiving brothers but rather Indiana's statement that Witness Lee was an apostle to John Ingalls, etc. To receive a brother is one thing to receive a brother as an apostle with apostolic authority is another matter altogether.
Amen!

Scripture surely indicates the culpability of those who would embrace so quickly a self-styled 'apostle'. Consider the letter written to the Ephesians, and what Christ said to them in Revelation 2:2 "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false."

Here, Christ clearly praises the church in Ephesus for testing apostles, and rejecting those who do not pass the test. Naturally, we understand from this that we MUST test apostles - and what are we to test those who claim to be apostles by? We must test them against Scripture, for only the Word of God is rock-solid. If we reject the authority of the Word of God, we are surely easily duped into following false apostles.

....and in saying this, I acknowledge my own guilt in this matter. For all my talk of "testing the spirits" when I first joined the LC, I seriously failed to either heed His leading, or to diligently check the Word and "see if these things were so." I allowed personal friendships and brotherly love to blind me to the Truth, and in so doing I am no less guilty than Lee's earlier followers, and neither are any of the rest of you here. What Christ is implying in His letter to the Ephesians is that we are ALL supposed to test apostles; and not just leave it to a select few 'leaders' to do so. Everything I write here also needs to be tested; I too am a fallen man, and certainly capable of error. Lord have mercy.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:54 PM   #50
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Given Witness Lee was older and probably had more maturity, but I wouldn't say an apostle? The term apostle as I understand means sent one. Keep in mind John probably gravitated more to Witness Lee because 10 years prior to meeting Witness Lee, John met Stephen Kaung another brother mentored by Watchman Nee. So there is a commonality being influenced by Nee's ministry.
As a point of clarification it is not my view that Witness Lee was an apostle to John Ingalls, etc. This is Indiana's view. My view is that Witness Lee was just another flawed bible teacher out there who had loads of baggage from the Far East he didn't want anyone to know about when he arrived in America.

Further I believe if those young men did know about Witness Lee's past they would probably not want to work with him that closely if at all. I think their age meant they still had some of the innocence and naivete that comes with youth especially among eager and earnest Christians who want to serve the Lord. They attached themselves to Witness Lee with limited information because he did not provide full disclosure. But over time little by little the hidden side of Witness Lee became manifest.

In the late 1980s when they were no longer young men they expressed some concerns about "the work" and Witness Lee dismissed them as mere school boys while promoting himself as the one oracle of God on the earth etc. Eventually he publicly discredited them in writing, video and audio form that was widely distributed throughout all the churches so they became personas non grata i.e. disfellowshipped. That is the treatment they received for doing what? Politely expressing some legitimate concerns to a man whom they had been working with for 27 years! Their 27 years of faithfulness and loyalty meant zero to Witness Lee. "You disagree with me (or my son) you're out."

BTW I don't think it was by accident that Witness Lee surrounded himself with men 20-30 years younger than him. This gave him a built-in natural advantage and senior position i.e. no peers. And 27 years later he still didn't consider them as peers and still had no peers. He was the CEO of the "Lord's" global work and God forbid you ever cross him. No peers would put up with Witness Lee's behavior and that's why he didn't have any around.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:39 PM   #51
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Default Re: WL did not match Paul - Who has?

"An apostle touches people, moves them, and causes them to see", W. Nee, The ministry of God's Word

Brother Lee was "as an apostle" to the brothers, like John Ingalls, in the sense that he moved them and opened them to the the "things above" and caused them to see. If AlwaysLearning had come to them and did this, he would be as as apostle in a sense. (I am not getting into apostolic authority per say; Both Nee and Lee stayed away from touching this idea concerning themselves as far as I know;UntoHim might have other information). In a sharing on shepherding the saints, I saw WL denounce himself publicly when considering himself next to Paul. In a video he was there standing on the platform in a suit, sharing about that poignant scene with Paul on the shore after three years in Ephesus,with saints he had been with, even going house to house to visit them, not holding anything back of what he had seen. Witness Lee knew he did not match Paul. And, who ever has!


FROM LINK http://www.biblicaltheology.com/act/44_20_01.html

Acts 20:17-21.

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, 21Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rather than stop in Ephesus, Paul stopped in nearby Miletus and summoned the leaders of the church to come to him. Note that the word for elders, or overseers, refers to pastors. He called the pastors of the church. We must understand that the organization of the first-century church was drastically different than it is today. Today’s churches are social organizations where groups of people, usually of similar appearance and sub-culture, come together in a large meeting place that is jointly owned by its members. The first-century church was poor, and had no such central meeting places where they could regularly meet. The church was divided up into home groups, where each home group had an elder, or overseer, or pastor. (The words are similar in application.)

Why did Paul call them together? We will find later that Paul felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, and he knew that something significant would happen there, and that he would never return to Ephesus. This could also have been part of Paul’s motivation to teach for 12 hours in Troas. However, Paul had developed close relationships with the leaders of the home churches while he was in Ephesus for three years. These were his friends, and in many ways, his students. This would be the last time he could instruct them, so his words to them are quite important.

What did Paul say to them? (Read again the quotation by Paul.) He starts by describing the type of ministry he had with them. Why would this be so important? Paul was trying to encourage the elders to be like him, to literally take his place. Paul was not being arrogant or prideful by describing what he had been doing. He was describing these activities so that the elders would be encouraged to do the same. What were some of the attributes of Paul’s ministry that he mentions?

He served the Lord with humility. We think of Paul as a dynamic and powerful leader, yet he typifies his ministry as one of humility. How does one appropriate humility, yet maintain that dynamic power in the Spirit that is necessary to make an impact on others? Remember that humility does not imply any lack of strength or power. The word for humility is the same word as that used to tame a horse, or literally, to "meek" a horse. A horse that has been "broken" is only broken of his wild and uncontrolled behavior. The horse is not broken in either strength or spirit. Likewise, we as Christians must be broken. We must recognize the wild spirit (the worldly sinful nature) and bring it under the control of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ. We still maintain our strengths. And, like a horse who can now put that strength to good purpose, the gifts, talents, and abilities that we have been given by God can be used for his purpose. This is true humility. Paul is teaching the elders to be humble.
Paul served the Lord with tears. Even as dynamic and powerful as Paul was, he was willing to make an emotional investment in the lives of others. What happens when we let down the walls of protection around our emotions? When such barriers are removed, we can respond with those emotions, and great grief or joy will often draw tears. Paul is teaching the elders to be open and honest with their emotions as they try to be an example to their congregations and not put up a wall of protection around those emotions.
Paul preached anything that would be helpful. We might think that Paul went from place to place preaching a 3- or 4-point gospel message and going on, much like today’s sermons. Paul’s preaching went far beyond basic doctrine, and included any material that would be most helpful to those to whom he spoke. His ministry focused on the individual needs of those to whom he ministered. His ministry was one that was first based upon agape love, and that foundation found expression through his preaching and teaching ministry, as well as his gifts of encouragement and healing. We can learn from this example by being sensitive to the needs of those to whom God has allowed us to minister, and respond to those needs rather than to our own.
He taught from house to house. Again, the church was organized as home study groups, each with an elder or pastor, usually being the homeowner. Paul did not sit in a central location waiting for those who needed to hear the gospel to come to him. Paul went out to those who needed God. Likewise, God gives us opportunities to share His love with those we meet as we travel through our daily lives. We meet people in a variety of places and have opportunity to express agape love. We should look for such opportunities continually throughout every day.
Paul preached repentance. It is not sufficient to be a nice person and expect anyone to come to the Lord because they are inspired by you. It simply does not happen. We are all sinners, saved by grace, and no matter how much we try to clean up our lives, we are still in need of repentance from sin, and much of that sin is also evident to others anyway. It is necessary that our message of the gospel be clear and challenging. If we do not take the opportunity to challenge lost people to examine their lives and make a decision for Christ, we have fallen short of our calling.

Acts 20:22-24.

And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

How many of us would be willing to do what Paul is implying here. Somehow, Paul is well-aware that his entrance to Jerusalem will be very dangerous. He does not know what will happen, but he does know that it will include prison and hardship. What does Paul think of such circumstances? Paul believes that following God’s call is more important than his own personal needs. How many of us face prison and hardship if we share the gospel openly? Many Christians around the world are doing just that. Countries such as Communist China, Ethiopia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and many others are persecuting Christians to the point of imprisonment, beating, and death. More Christians have been killed by persecution in the last 100 years than in the previous 1900.

Since we do not face such persecution, what is it that we fear that keeps us from obedience to the call to share our faith and make disciples? Paul was willing to face death. We can face a little bit of embarrassment or rejection.

Acts 20:25-27.

And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Paul knows he will never return, but is confident that he is innocent of the blood of all men. Why? If God places us in a position to win a lost person to Christ, and we fail to do so because of our own fears, we are responsible for the blood of that lost person. Our failure necessitates the testimony of someone else to do the task God has called us to. Should the person die without someone else filling in for us, the person will spend eternity separated from God, all because we did not care enough or love enough to set our own pride aside. Paul knows that he is not guilty of this sin. He knows that he took every opportunity to win people to Christ without regard to his own personal emotional or physical safety. We can learn much from this statement. We can come to understand that our calling as Christians is a life-and-death matter to those lost people whom we meet.

Acts 20:28-31.

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Paul instructs these church leaders to watch over themselves. This refers to the vigilant maintenance of their own conduct and faith. This advice certainly applies to all Christians. Self-control and self-discipline are fruits of the Spirit that should be evident in every Christian. A Christian who lacks either, and who has allowed his/her life to get out of control needs our love, our encouragement, wise counsel, and any help we can provide to help the person find peace.

He also told them to watch over their flock. We are each responsible for a flock, whether we carry a label of Pastor, Elder, Overseer, or not. God has placed each of us as salt and light in a dark and wicked world, and those who we come into contact everyday are part of our flock. All Christians are ministers of the gospel.

Paul also talks about the necessity of the vigilance needed to maintain the truth. We live in a world that has a culture contrary to the truth. The primary verbal and cultural battle on this planet centers around the rejection of God’s Word. If we turn our faces and ignore it, we will find ourselves immersed in that evil culture. Examples of inroads in the church are all around us. The Catholic church has an official position that homosexuality is intrinsically acceptable, it is only the practice of homosexuality that is wrong. Consequently, they are dealing with a large number of priests who are dying from aids (at least 750 according to NBC news.) Abortion, the willful killing of unborn babies, is considered acceptable by fully half of the people who claim to be Christians. The predominant post-modern religion of today’s society teaches that each person can define their own truth, and even that is sweeping the church. Many Christians are more concerned about what the scriptures mean to them rather than what the author was intending to communicate to his audience. Without normative truth, there is no truth at all. We, as Christians, must vigilantly protect and propagate truth. Just as Paul warned Christians of this every day of his ministry, we should be warned also.

Acts 20:32-35.

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. 33I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. 34Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Here is another description of the example that Paul gave us in his own life. Paul was not a vocational preacher or pastor. He did not work full time for the church, drawing a salary from them. Paul was more like the members of a modern church than like its pastors. Paul worked in his own vocation in order to support himself and did not draw a salary. Not only did he take care of himself, but he was often giving to help others. Paul’s life was exemplified by giving. For those of us who are in vocational ministry, we should never fail to thank the congregation for their support of our ministry through their giving so that we do not have to work a second job. For those of us who are in non-clergy vocations, we can look to Paul as an example of one who worked hard at his vocation so that he could preach the gospel and minister to others unencumbered by church employment. The laity has more opportunities to minister than a pastor ever does. A pastor’s calling is to the edification and preparation of the church to reach the lost world. It is the laity of the church that is to be reaching that lost world as they are the salt and light that is mixing with it. Also, many lost people will see the witness of the clergy as less sincere as that of the laity. When a pastor comes to call, it is ""is job."" When the laity comes to call, it is because ""they care." This may certainly not be the true motivation of the caller, but it can be seen by the lost this way. As a lay minister, I have had many opportunities to minister to church members who would not go to the pastor.

Our ministry as Christians is to be one of giving. What can we give? We can return to God a portion of all that he has given us, including our time, our resources, and the expression of our abilities.

Acts 20:36-37.

And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. 37And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, 38Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

With this we come near to the close of Paul’s third missionary journey. He has only to travel to Jerusalem through a few towns where he will spend a little bit of time, encouraging the church, and being admonished by them to avoid Jerusalem because of its impending dangers.

We see in Paul both an example of Christian witness, and receive from him the imperative to be examples ourselves. Each of us is a model to those around us of what it is we profess to be. If we profess faith, we are a model of that faith. It is important that the model we are, and the model we profess, are the same. This is integrity.

Our testimony and witness must be both open, inclusive, and comprehensive. Our light is not to be held under a bushel, but should shine before all men without reservation or compromise. It should shine to all people without any regard to their worldly social classification. The gospel we present should be clear, unconfusing, and uncompromising. We must challenge the lost to come to faith.

Christians should model a total commitment to Jesus Christ, one that puts personal pride and self-concerns under the authority of God. When people see us they should see someone who is totally committed to their faith.

Christians should be models of generosity, giving of their time, abilities, and resources for the purpose of furthering God’s work on earth so that none who come into our area of influence, or our flock, would be lost.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:14 PM   #52
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Default Re: WL did not match Paul - Who has?

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"An apostle touches people, moves them, and causes them to see", W. Nee, The ministry of God's Word

Brother Lee was "as an apostle" to the brothers, like John Ingalls, in the sense that he moved them and opened them to the the "things above" and caused them to see.
Steve my brother, what did Lee "cause" John Ingalls et al to see? Are you saying they weren't Christians, followers of Christ, until Lee met them, and that Lee himself lead them to faith? Or are you talking about something else?
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:02 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Indiana View Post
"An apostle touches people, moves them, and causes them to see", W. Nee, The ministry of God's Word

Brother Lee was "as an apostle" to the brothers, like John Ingalls, in the sense that he moved them and opened them to the the "things above" and caused them to see. If AlwaysLearning had come to them and did this, he would be as as apostle in a sense. (I am not getting into apostolic authority per say; Both Nee and Lee stayed away from touching this idea concerning themselves as far as I know...
If you use the term generically then we are all apostles and makes Witness Lee nothing special - which is my point. So Witness Lee was an apostle to John Ingalls and John Ingalls was an apostle to Witness Lee. So what?

BTW Watchman Nee in "The Normal Christian Church Life" taught that coworkers are apostles and have apostolic authority to appoint elders. Witness Lee did this and he also recalled elders i.e. removed them. And he was the CEO of a global work and gave directives to coworkers to go here and go there etc. Titus Chu said he was the General of the Lord's Army and whatever he tells you to do you do it without question. The LSM staff taught that we should follow him blindly because even if he's wrong he's right. That is the way the LC systems thinks and operates.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:24 AM   #54
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Default Re: WL did not match Paul - Who has?

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(I am not getting into apostolic authority per say; Both Nee and Lee stayed away from touching this idea concerning themselves as far as I know;UntoHim might have other information). In a sharing on shepherding the saints, I saw WL denounce himself publicly when considering himself next to Paul. In a video he was there standing on the platform in a suit, sharing about that poignant scene with Paul on the shore after three years in Ephesus,with saints he had been with, even going house to house to visit them, not holding anything back of what he had seen. Witness Lee knew he did not match Paul. And, who ever has!
Steve, surely you know this is just one side of the story.

Didn't Lee write "The Vision of the Age?" Didn't he again and again imply or state he was the Minister of the Age? What is the MOTA except an apostle of the highest caliber?

Whether Lee met the moral standard of Paul is not the issue here. The issue is that he and his followers considered him an Apostle with a commission equal to Paul's in weight. You know this.

Personal humility is one thing. Paul had that, too. Appealing to Lee's humility is irrelevant. The question is did he think his commission was on the level of Paul's. I'd say given the way he threw his weight around when push came to shove, he did. And there is no doubt many of his deputies and followers think this as well.


But there is no reason to believe Lee had any kind of commission near the level of Paul's.

(1) Lee did not see the Lord Jesus physically. Paul and the other apostle's did (1 Cor 9:1).
(2) Lee did not perform miracles as the sign of a apostle. Paul did (2 Cor 12:12).
(3) Lee did not have the authority to write scripture. Paul did (2 Pet 3:16).

Lee was a Christian teacher. He may have been sent in some way. He was not an apostle in the sense applied to those of the first generation who knew the Lord Jesus, wrote Scripture, and performed miracles as a sign of their authority.

Let's get passed this ignorance about what an apostle is. Paul was one with a capital 'A'. Lee and the rest of us since the early church are at best apostles with a little 'a.'

Last edited by Cal; 01-10-2013 at 07:48 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:59 AM   #55
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Default Re: WL did not match Paul - Who has?

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If you use the term generically then we are all apostles and makes Witness Lee nothing special - which is my point.
That's basically what I've heard from brother Ron in recent months; everyone's the same. Which is true. We each have a ministry however the scope of the ministry is different according to how many talents we were entrusted with.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #56
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Default Re: WL did not match Paul - Who has?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. What made the "ministry become the lampstand" was ascribing all these titles (apostle, seer, visionary, MOTA) to Nee and Lee in the first place.

I mean it's pretty simple. How is someone's ministry NOT going to become the lampstand if people believe he is the MOTA? It's silly to think it wouldn't happen, given human nature.

Seriously, sometimes the answer is simple and right in front of you.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:39 AM   #57
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Didn't Lee write "The Vision of the Age?" Didn't he again and again imply or state he was the Minister of the Age? What is the MOTA except an apostle of the highest caliber?

The question is did he think his commission was on the level of Paul's. I'd say given the way he threw his weight around when push came to shove, he did. And there is no doubt many of his deputies and followers think this as well.
If you follow along with the thinking and teachings of Benson Phillips, Ray Graver and those of their stripe they considers such things as "not teaching differently" as applying to Witness Lee i.e. don't teach differently than Witness Lee.

IMHO in Witness Lee is regarded in stature and status as an apostle above Paul. His writings for the LC system are infallible, inerrant and authoritative and above the Scriptures as The Interpreted Word. LC system members may deny this at a superficial level because they know they should. But if you ask them (as I have done several times in this forum) what they consider as an error in his teachings they won't answer. And sometimes they just disappear and run away.

Last edited by Cal; 01-10-2013 at 07:48 AM. Reason: typo carried over from my post
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:44 PM   #58
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Default Re: Albert Zehr Letter 2001 12 years ago

Quote: from Igzy:

The question is did he think his commission was on the level of Paul's. I'd say given the way he threw his weight around when push came to shove, he did. And there is no doubt many of his deputies and followers think this as well.

Quote: from AlwaysLearning:

If you follow along with the thinking and teachings of Benson Phillips, Ray Graver and those of their stripe, they considers such things as "not teaching differently" as applying to Witness Lee, i.e., don't teach differently than Witness Lee.

IMHO Witness Lee is regarded in stature and status as an apostle above Paul. His writings for the LC system are infallible, inerrant and authoritative and above the Scriptures as The Interpreted Word. LC system members may deny this at a superficial level because they know they should. But if you ask them (as I have done several times in this forum) what they consider as an error in his teachings they won't answer. And sometimes they just disappear and run away.



Albert Zehr Letter

http://www.ourneedtoexamineourselves...achingZehr.pdf


In a letter from Albert Zehr in 2001, he made several strong statements that reflect AlwaysLearning's sentiments. That was twelve years ago, after I had sent out my first writing, In the Wake of the New Way, seeking fellowship with former leading ones. This was Albert's second letter to me.

"...In their hearts these dear ones have elevated the teachings of Witness Lee and the doctrines of the recovery to be commensurate with the WORD.

"...The longer one is in this mode the more of the lifetime that has been built on it the more inconceivable it becomes that it might be a deception. Everything else is measured by this "vision" and nothing can measure it...

"When the Lord began to expose this "spell" in my life I was left in a place of confusion and despair. In this state the Lord brought me to the song, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, ALL other ground is sinking sand." I cried out, "Oh Lord, You and You alone are the only true and unquestionable reality in my life. I am willing to subject everything else to objective and sober discernment. Only after this could I love and appreciate Witness Lee and his teachings while objectively discerning his strengths and weaknesses and allowing them to be balanced by the Word and the teachings of other Godly leaders...."
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:07 PM   #59
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Default Re: WL did not match Paul - Who has?

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If you follow along with the thinking and teachings of Benson Phillips, Ray Graver and those of their stripe they considers such things as "not teaching differently" as applying to Witness Lee i.e. don't teach differently than Witness Lee.

IMHO in Witness Lee is regarded in stature and status as an apostle above Paul. His writings for the LC system are infallible, inerrant and authoritative and above the Scriptures as The Interpreted Word.
When you mention the phrase teaching differently. The issue ought to be "not teaching differently" from Witness Lee's ministry, but "not teaching differently" from the Bible.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:14 PM   #60
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

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"I cried out, "Oh Lord, You and You alone are the only true and unquestionable reality in my life. I am willing to subject everything else to objective and sober discernment. Only after this could I love and appreciate Witness Lee and his teachings while objectively discerning his strengths and weaknesses and allowing them to be balanced by the Word and the teachings of other Godly leaders...."
I appreciate what Albert shared here with Steve in his letter (above), but I am convicted that he has not yet understood exactly what Witness Lee was teaching; because this quote closes with the interpolation that Witness Lee was a "Godly leader". I don't believe Lee was, at all. Let me explain....

This morning we closed our worship with this passage in 2nd Corinthians 12:7-9 "Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

I have read this passage many times, and often speculated on the nature of the "thorn in the flesh", the "messenger of Satan" that God gave to torment Paul... but in that speculation I missed the real message entirely.

Man, in his fleshly nature, is prone to exalt himself. Even in things that seem good to boast about. The Pharisees wore long tassels, and prayed loudly in the streets and on the street corners for other men to hear. They loved to sit in Moses seat and to wear wide phylacteries that men would speak good of them. In so doing, they received their reward in full, Christ said (see Matthew 6:1-5). On the other hand, were they to humble themselves, the power of Christ would dwell in them. Of course, as they did not humble themselves, but were proud and haughty, God resisted them. The Pharisees committed the unforgiveable sin (blaspheming against the Holy Spirit), and were damned.

I am prone to Pharisaical boasting, and I don't say that to try to make myself equal to Paul in any way save one: Like Paul, I am a sinner still in need of a Saviour, prone to doing what I hate and not doing what I want to do (which I want to do only because of His regenerating work in my heart). Friends, only by the grace of God am I saved; only by His grace.

It is because I feared boasting that I took the name "NeitherFirstnorLast" here on this forum. The Lord convicted me, long before I found this Forum, not to use my real name lest I become puffed up with pride, should He choose to bless others with something that He has called me to write. "NeitherFirstnorLast" - not the greatest, not the least, not anything particularly noteworthy at all. Just a slave (Dulos) of Jesus Christ. I need to remind myself of that more regularly than I usually care to admit.... it's really something I struggle with all the time, Lord have mercy.... But Witness Lee didn't struggle against such things.

Have you ever considered why a man named Lǐ Chángshòu would choose to give himself a new name? For that matter, why did Watchman Nee (Ní Shu-tsu) "Henry Nee" take a new name? Or Faithful Luke, or any of the other co-workers of Nee? Why take such grandiose names? What was the purpose? Does it not seem clear from reading the Bible that names are special to God? He named Adam, He gave Abram and Sarai new names, He gave Jacob a new name, He gave Simon and Saul new names, He sent angels to tell Elizabeth and Mary and Joseph what names to give their sons... He promises us a new name, one day... one that only we will know. Names are not given lightly by God. Should they be taken lightly by men? The names these men chose were names designed to uplift them in the eyes of others... and it worked, didn't it? In Nee's case too, it worked. Both men have been uplifted by those who followed them. If they were Henry and George, or some such - if they had the ordinary Chinese names they were given, would their names still be so highly praised? I wonder. I wonder.

Lee can't be both a "Godly Leader" and a man who sought to draw men after himself (see Acts 20:30). He can't preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and also preach a different (higher, in his words) gospel. He can't be like Paul and be "determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified" (1st Corinthians 2:2) and yet preach so little of the crucifixion that even the cross has no place in LC meetings. He can't be a "Godly Leader" if his leadership stumbled so many, both within and without his movement. All the evidence points to one fact and one fact alone: Lee was a false teacher, a false prophet, and 'learning' from him, even when his words are taken with the words of others, is dangerous. The bible is clear about this, false teachers are not to be entertained. Their doctrines are not to be divided, good from bad - a little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Please Steve, it's time to realize just how dangerous Lee's teachings are... and not just to others, to you. To you, brother. Run from false teachers, Steve. May I share this message with you?

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Old 01-14-2013, 12:27 PM   #61
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When you mention the phrase teaching differently. The issue ought to be "not teaching differently" from Witness Lee's ministry, but "not teaching differently" from the Bible.
Exactly! But what Benson Phillips, Ray Graver etc started to do more vocally in the 1980s was to apply those words to Witness Lee.

With the so-called New Way came an added requirement: you are not allowed to teach differently from Witness Lee and now you are not allowed to practice differently from Witness Lee. My way or the highway!

The problem the Anaheim Politburo have with Titus Chu is not really about teachings it's about practices i.e. ways of doing things. In their "official" capacity as Witness Lee's collective apostolic successor they expect Titus Chu to fall in line or get out. Chu of course expects the same of those in the Midwest towards him. What he rightly won't give to the Anaheim Politburo he expects others to give him.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:49 PM   #62
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"When the Lord began to expose this "spell" in my life I was left in a place of confusion and despair. In this state the Lord brought me to the song, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, ALL other ground is sinking sand." I cried out, "Oh Lord, You and You alone are the only true and unquestionable reality in my life. I am willing to subject everything else to objective and sober discernment. Only after this could I love and appreciate Witness Lee and his teachings while objectively discerning his strengths and weaknesses and allowing them to be balanced by the Word and the teachings of other Godly leaders...."
Albert finally realized that Witness Lee was nothing more than another Bible teacher out there who's teachings had to be carefully discerned. Contrast this with Witness Lee as the apostle, the one oracle, the MOTA and his writings as being equivalent to or above the Bible for those in the LC system.

IMHO the question for many who left the LC system is not whether Witness Lee is the apostle, oracle, MOTA etc. By the time they leave or soon thereafter they know that such ideas are nothing but poppycock. Neither is it about Witness Lee being so monstrous in his behavior that any good he taught and did should be discounted. Rather most (still interested in Christian things) consider that with so much teaching available out there and so many good churches to get involved with why bother with Witness Lee anymore? Who cares what he teaches? He's off their radar as being at all relevant to their lives anymore. A lesser number like Albert might use his material on occasion and discerningly in their Bible study.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:36 AM   #63
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Many thanks to alwayslearning for stating this is a more concise and succinct package.

My dear brother Terry, I understand and appreciate that you have ties that go way back in the Local Church. But I am afraid that you have bought into the fairy tales. You will not find any person on this forum who respects John Ingalls, Bill Mallon and some of the others more than me, but the simple fact is that they were simply the first in a long line of gullible Americans to be deceived by Witness Lee. No, Lee probably didn't use the exact words "the one minister with the one ministry for the age", but all the puzzle pieces were there from the beginnings, and had they done a little investigation, coupled it with some basic decrement and common sense, they would have rejected Witness Lee at the start.

More later.
UntoHim, I was quite fine with your post until I came across the phrase "fairy tales". I was perturbed, but I plan to remain participating on this forum.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:34 PM   #64
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It is unfortunate that we all bought into fairy tales while in the LRC. They may have morphed over time, and been added onto, but they were always there. And one of the fairy tales that I keep hearing is how certain things were so different back in the 60s and early 70s. I can only comment on the 60s from external knowledge of the sketchy history that is now available, along with some of the doctrinal garbage that was published during that period.

I cannot declare that there was no enjoyment and fellowship among the believers. There clearly was a lot. But the overlay of "blessing" is almost clearly a presumption based on the enjoyment and fellowship. But people tend to be in a state of enjoyment when they find something new and different. While not "related," it is notable that people often enjoy their first hit of cocaine. Eventually, life is a drudgery without more hits just to feel a little better.

And some of those "it didn't happen until the end of the 70s" things, like people calling Lee an apostle is simply a rewrite of history. I heard it in the first months of 73. It was probably soft-sell then, coupled with statements about us all being "sent ones." But there was, at minimum, a kind of beating-around-the-bush to make Nee and Lee into much more of an apostle than what everyone might be. They were clearly the "capital A" Apostles that gave anything to anyone else to be a "small a" apostle.

Yes, there were some more enjoyable times in the 60s and 70s. But they were less because of Lee and the LRC and more because of something new. There was surely blessing on many. But it was not about the "church." It was not special to the LRC. It never was.

That the LRC was something special and it went away is a fairy tale. It was never something special. It was a transplanted upstart group whose initial goal was to create an indigenous church that did not owe anything to foreign mission boards or denominations, now transplanted to America. Now there's an interesting take on it. A group created to be indigenously Chinese transplanting itself to Westerners.

That the people had a better time of enjoyment in those days is true. But it was not about the LRC, but the people.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:44 PM   #65
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I received this from a very reputable person in the know:

Let me confirm...it's not a myth
I recall that in 1997 or '98, not long after W. Lee's passing a whole group of Midwest elders & full-time workers flew out to Anaheim, CA. Part of the itinerary was indeed a guided tour of W. Lee's house on Ball Road (organized by Andrew Yu, who was at that time the LSM manager). Frankly it was wierd. We were taken into W Lee's bedroom & his dresser draw was opened to demonstrate how neatly his socks were folded!! Personally I felt that it was an invasion of someone's privacy {Would I want someone opening my dresser draw?} Plus I felt that this was turning W. Lee's house into a shrine in order to venerate him...
Oh brother. Lee probably did not even fold his socks!! His wife or servants kept the house neat & clean for him!!!! Does anyone really believe he washed clothes, ironed, washed dishes, folded clothes, swept the floor, cleaned the toilet, mowed the lawn, went grocery shopping etc...??? Maybe ONCE or twice in his lifetime. Certainly not on a consistent basis!!!

He was a control freak!!! Women were not even allowed to attend elders meetings. You all really think he did house chores???? It is possible he had a sock fetish and taught his wife to fold his socks a certain way. If he did not like the way his socks were folded, he probably had her or someone refold them.

And in the minute chance he did any of these things, big deal. Does anyone really think he was the first and only neat freak in his day?

And BTW, there are a lot of non believers (men) who keep neat and tidy homes and yards.

How gullible can people be????

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Old 01-15-2013, 06:53 PM   #66
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Anyone who thinks himself to be something is really nothing and doesn't realize it.

But, regardless, there are always going to be those who are so impressed with themselves that they can't let go of the idea that they should have a following. So sooner or later these people find some other people to follow them.

Next their little enclave builds up a whole culture around this great leader and his words. And his followers fawn over him and build a mythology around him, and claim those who don't see who he is are "blind" or "rebellious."

And they, not being content with it just being their little fantasy, will give their little movement a grandiose name, like "The Lord's Recovery" or whatever, imbuing it with cosmic proportions, the one true way, outside of which are the miserable Great Unwashed.

But in the end it was just some guy who was not content submitting to others, and thought he should be in charge, and ran off everyone who didn't agree with him, leaving nothing but the true believers, the chosen ones, and more so at every excising.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:39 PM   #67
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See, the problem is not WL having a vision and running with it. All great things in history are accomplished by people with visions who run with them.

The problem was in thinking his vision was the only vision, and that nothing anyone else thought mattered. In short, it was pride. Hubris. Thinking himself to be more than he was. Only someone with great pride thinks everyone needs to listen to him and that he doesn't need to listen to anyone. Such people always end up flat on their face, sooner or later.

So, yeah, Lee had a lot going for him. But he squandered it to some extent. As some have said, he totally missed the boat when it came to humility. He believed his own press, and a lot of people got hurt by it.

He's like the Barry Bonds of Christian teachers. Uncommon talent, but he broke the rules. Great player? Yes... and no. Should he be in the hall of fame? Not on the first ballot, that's for sure.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:39 AM   #68
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Lee probably did not even fold his socks!! His wife or servants kept the house neat & clean for him!!!! Does anyone really believe he washed clothes, ironed, washed dishes, folded clothes, swept the floor, cleaned the toilet, mowed the lawn, went grocery shopping etc...???
Yes he had others do these "menial" tasks for him. And many did it for free because he was the MOTA. Worked in his company LSM at no charge too. But regardless of how the work got done for the Anaheim Politburo to turn his house into a God-man Shrine is kinda nutty IMHO!
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:10 AM   #69
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Yes he had others do these "menial" tasks for him. And many did it for free because he was the MOTA. Worked in his company LSM at no charge too. But regardless of how the work got done for the Anaheim Politburo to turn his house into a God-man Shrine is kinda nutty IMHO!
Is this not what the LORD calls in His Word idolatry?
Does this not prove Lee and his works were/are more than their Creator and Savior? Did they not get anything out of the messages Lee taught on idolatry? Or was everybody else guilty of idolatry but them? hmmm.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:36 PM   #70
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Is this not what the LORD calls in His Word idolatry?
Does this not prove Lee and his works were/are more than their Creator and Savior? Did they not get anything out of the messages Lee taught on idolatry? Or was everybody else guilty of idolatry but them? hmmm.
Personally I do think that many in the LC system idolize Witness Lee. Not in the bow-down-and-worship-a-physical-idol-of-him sense of the word but in their hyper appreciation of him as the MOTA and other such grandiose descriptions. Even their question WWWLD before ousting Titus Chu is an indication of the grip he still has on them from the grave. Or Dan Towle worrying about how he would answer to Witness Lee in the next age. Or Ray Graver saying there are no more lampstands in the Midwest because they don't follow the Anaheim Politburo's interpretation of Witness Lee (two steps removed from the Bible so far). The list goes on and on. Not sure how the next generation will be about this kind of thing but I'm sure the FTT is indoctrinating them to continue the idolization.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:11 PM   #71
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He's like the Barry Bonds of Christian teachers. Uncommon talent, but he broke the rules. Great player? Yes... and no. Should he be in the hall of fame? Not on the first ballot, that's for sure.
I really like your analogy of Barry Bonds to Witness Lee. Brings back a few old memories for me. On many levels the analogy just seems to fit well.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:48 AM   #72
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He's like the Barry Bonds of Christian teachers. Uncommon talent, but he broke the rules. Great player? Yes... and no. Should he be in the hall of fame? Not on the first ballot, that's for sure.
But what was his actual talent in? At times I wonder if he was ever legitimately a Christian leader that went awry. Maybe a Christian with natural abilities and some natural desires who realized that he would rather be fed by followers than an employer. Who could see a "Christian" philosophy in Nee's work that he could make into his own and become the supreme leader.

At times I truly wonder if he might be one of those who will declare in "the day" how much he did for the kingdom (or at least his version of it) and will find that it was all wood, hay, and stubble from the very beginning. I just have a hard time buying that, as a leader, he was ever just a great anything that mattered who also cheated at the rules. If he thought in later years that he was so special as far back as 1945, I suspect that he already had the beginnings of that delusion back then. And isn't that about the time that he brought Nee back into ministry? This story that has been discussed ad nauseum in a recent thread?

I pray that the response to the membership is "you have been faithful to me as you were taught" and not "how could you not recognize the robber who came into the sheep pin by climbing over the fence" or something like that.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:28 AM   #73
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A few questions.

Why do we continue to think that Lee was something positive that "went bad"? Doesn't the evidence seem to point to the fact that he was busy creating impressions as far back as the mid 40s? Was anything he taught that we would keep unique to his ministry?

Is the answer that we had a time of enjoyment and can't accept that the man at the helm of the USS LRC was a poser? That it was more about becoming free of whatever it was that was binding us before, but Lee was never the cure?

Was it the fact that the atmosphere changed from wherever we had been before? Was the state of the new atmosphere much less important? Did the new atmosphere change, or did it just take time to recognize the new pollutants?

And last. Is it that hard to admit that we were duped in relation to the things that were the reasons that there were ever "Local Churches" in the way of Lee and his myriad of "special" teachings?

Some will say that I am just expressing sour grapes. But I am wondering if we are simply unable to face the thought that nothing was ever what we thought it was and we spent 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 and even more years in a group that we should never have given a second thought to? I gave 14 plus years to it. It gave me a sense of pride from the very beginning and then began to slowly went "off the rails" in my perception beginning about 2/3 the way through my tenure. In hindsight, I recognize that I was duped into believing things that never were true scriptural teaching. But at first it felt good anyway.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:14 AM   #74
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But what was his actual talent in? At times I wonder if he was ever legitimately a Christian leader that went awry. Maybe a Christian with natural abilities and some natural desires who realized that he would rather be fed by followers than an employer. Who could see a "Christian" philosophy in Nee's work that he could make into his own and become the supreme leader.
I understand that perspective. But I don't think anyone can deny there was a legitimate and powerful spiritual aspect to his ministry. If that weren't true, if there was nothing real about the man, we wouldn't be here. It's that dichotomy we are trying to figure out--how does one reconcile the contradictions?

I know you've decided Lee was next to nothing as a Christian teacher. But I gained too many genuine insights into the Bible and the Christian walk from him to just write him off. I remember the impact he had personally and it wasn't just human charisma. The man was at times as filled with the Spirit as I've seen just about anyone.

This is basically the problem I have had to figure out. How could Lee be able to share so many Spirit-filled things and yet be so flawed and wrong in other ways? But I've seen the plain fact is the same is true for so many of God's servants, from Abraham on. If we had to be perfect to receive ministry gifts from God we'd never get any, you and me especially. It's not about the man, anyway. It's about whatever Spirit and Truth he shares.

I think you go a bit too far in trying to discredit Lee. The man did have a lot going for him as a Christian teacher. He had a unique way of sharing some very insightful things. He had a ministry from God, just like Bonds had a talent for baseball. But, like Bonds, he abused it. So the good things he did have been tainted, but not negated.

One can acknowledge Lee's gifts without having to fall into the MOTA trap. One can give him credit for what he had without excusing things he did. Martin Luther ended up a Jew hater. Does that make you want to write him off as a man of God? Solomon had thousands of women. David was a murderer, as were Moses and Paul. How about them?

What the example of Lee should teach us is not that any of these weren't men of God, but that we should never elevate people to anything approaching the status of MOTA, else their bad side will take us down with them. That's the lesson, I believe. I don't think we get to strip a man of his gifts and drum him out of the Corps. Take the chicken, leave the bones.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:14 PM   #75
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A few questions.

Why do we continue to think that Lee was something positive that "went bad"?
IMHO Witness Lee and his work had good and bad elements simultaneously. In actuality there is no good before and bad after scenario on the time line. This is just wishful thinking on behalf of some who would like it to be so.

But we all have our subjective inner reading of things while events are taking place. The meaning and significance of Witness Lee and the LC system will vary widely for each individual. In other words Witness Lee and his behavior was more or less a constant what changed for some is their perception of him as time unfolded and information became available. The Witness Lee of the "glorious and wonderful" Elden Hall days was the same Witness Lee of the "glorious and wonderful" New Way days. Any historian of LC system history has to understand this. Otherwise they will interview people who left and hear such things as: "Back in Elden days it was so wonderful but it changed when this happened..." And the "this" will be different depending on the person and circumstances. A definitive before and after scenario conclusion cannot be accurately drawn from such interviews.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:08 PM   #76
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This is basically the problem I have had to figure out. How could Lee be able to share so many Spirit-filled things and yet be so flawed and wrong in other ways? But I've seen the plain fact is the same is true for so many of God's servants, from Abraham on. If we had to be perfect to receive ministry gifts from God we'd never get any, you and me especially. It's not about the man, anyway. It's about whatever Spirit and Truth he shares.

One can acknowledge Lee's gifts without having to fall into the MOTA trap. One can give him credit for what he had without excusing things he did. Martin Luther ended up a Jew hater. Does that make you want to write him off as a man of God? Solomon had thousands of women. David was a murderer, as were Moses and Paul. How about them?
Well said.

This is a difficult concept to grapple with. As long as we only allow two possibilities, both of them extremes, then we will constantly battle over the merits and demerits of many historical figures, especially Lee. For me personally, while researching Darby and the first Brethren split, I came across some realization that helped me understand great men. They were capable of doing great things both good and bad. Things which were totally contradictory, and which things more "limited" men just cannot reconcile.

Nearly every person who has ever been confronted with the Recovery, has a polar viewpoint of Lee. In a nutshell, he is either loved and nearly idolized, or he is hated and demonized. In the larger scheme of things, I think there is a third possibility, one which acknowledges both the good and the bad.

The best historians tap into this model. The great church historian Philip Schaff had the incredible ability to evaluate men of history in an entirely foreign context, distant in time and space and culture, yet without bias. The Biblical record is also in this way. Every notable figure, from Adam onward, with few exceptions like Joseph, has a record of failures which all mankind now knows. Thank God for that! For a sinner such as I, that is also good news!
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:42 PM   #77
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I will make a comparison to another current Christian writer and teacher — Brian McLaren.

Brian McLaren grew up in a branch of the Brethren (not sure which one). While he is nearly my age, he is quite steeped in the postmodern way of thinking. At some point, he began to take the church that he pastored in new directions. I would not say that those directions were bad.

And as he did that, he began to question many things. Not to destroy them, but to understand them. He has asked questions like "is it important to understand and declare to support substitutionary atonement to be a Christian?" Without getting into where he has finally begun to go with answers, I would assert that those questions are extremely important.

And they are not important because we need to get them right. They are important because it is often not so important that we get them right. And that is often his point.

But there are some things that he has asked and said that leaves big question-marks about him. He has asked whether it is important to bring a Buddhist to believe in Jesus or just to follow Jesus' commands while remaining a good Buddhist.

The problem is that the questions are not simply asked to get people to rethink the importance of things and put them in a perspective. They are too often asked in a way that implies an answer that is not acceptable. I would assert that, while substitutionary atonement is true and important, understanding it is not. His non-answer seems to imply that it might not even be true. When asked point-blank, he dodges and asks how anyone can question his position on it. But he never states it.

Lee sort of did a similar thing. He stepped into a time frame in which the ways that we practice our Christian life were being put to question. The old answers were Sunday morning meetings (and sometimes Sunday night and Wednesday night). Sometimes it included strong emphasis on the sacraments. But outside of the pentecostal/charismatics, it was mostly head knowledge and/or rituals. None of those are necessarily bad. But they are incomplete.

There was also a movement under way with some Protestants and even the RCC to have some kind of ecumenical unity. Lee came along and provided alternate answers for those things. And his answers led in a different direction. They led to the creation of another exclusivist sect.

But the response here has been to refer to some of what we got from Lee as "legitimate and powerful spiritual aspect to his ministry" and "genuine insights into the Bible and the Christian walk." My question is whether the things that you would now say are truly those things, are they what Lee was teaching, or alternatives that came about because something/someone got you to look at the whole thing from a different perspective?

Assuming that saying "spiritual aspect" means of the Spirit of God and not just "spiritual" in the way that the world refers to people who are into all kinds of weird religions, psychics, feng shei, yen/yang, what did we receive uniquely from Lee? I do not refer to him as a heathen poser. He was not ignorant of truly spiritual things. But he was virtually always one of those trying to promote himself, and almost always for the purpose of becoming something that it is not evident that he actually was. And much of it was so that he had position to try business venture after business venture to make money off a captive audience.

I am seriously skeptical of someone with those credentials being used in such a way as we seem to think (or at least have thought) that Lee was. Besides repackaging something that was not so unique (and sometimes just giving something common enough of a different packaging to hide its commonness), what did Lee provide that was so noteworthy and spiritual?

Is Lee's way of saying that he always used the entire Bible so special? Did we learn so much from it? Or did we just get pushed out of the old ways of taking things the way that others had already packaged it for us? Yes, he used a lot of scripture from all over the place in a lot of ways. But was he really showing us something special? Or did we just morph his insistence on "first mention" and other things like that into a willingness to challenge the status quo and look at more than one verse at a time?

In other words, do we really hold onto much, if any, of his unique teachings, or were we told of a different way to look at things. Then, even if we rejected his view, we had been freed (somewhat) from our old ways. Does any of this help the belly-feeder out of being refused? If Paul would have rejected him by the late 50s, what kind of teacher did we allow among us, and even more, to lead us, all the way up until 1997 (for some) and even beyond since his "continuation" just keeps doing Memorex repetitions.

I have never suggested that we got nothing. But did whatever we got that is of lasting value come from the special teachings of Lee and the LRC, or was it something else? Are we unwilling to let go of the idea that, while we gained some freedom from old ways, was the substitute truly better, or just a pot hole on the way to the true road?
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:11 PM   #78
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I have never suggested that we got nothing. But did whatever we got that is of lasting value come from the special teachings of Lee and the LRC, or was it something else? Are we unwilling to let go of the idea that, while we gained some freedom from old ways, was the substitute truly better, or just a pot hole on the way to the true road?
IMHO Witness Lee didn't teach anything really special or "new". For the most part his teachings were from the Brethren and inner life movements and later he added in some from the Eastern Orthodox. What was new for some was hearing something for the first time - so in effect it was new to them. Considering that Brethren, inner life and Eastern Orthodox teachings were not common fare in the U.S. this kind of experience is a natural outcome. It's like learning anything. What seems new to the students is really from an existing knowledge base that they just didn't know about.

I thinks it's only after you leave the LC system and look back on it with some objectivity, perspective and sense of history that you realize there really wasn't anything new or special at all.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:54 PM   #79
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When I say "unique" I simply mean unique in the sense all the members are unique. I think that each person gives unique insight into and expression of God simply because each is unique. No one can duplicate your temperament, experience and knowledge. Therefore your take on reality is going to have your flavor. I think that's the way God expresses his multifarious wisdom. It don't think we taint the expression of God by being unique, I think we enhance it. God is so big it takes all of us and our legitimate differences to express Him.

If you remove uniqueness from Lee, you remove it from yourself. If you say Lee had nothing new to say, then you also say neither do you. If you have nothing new to say, then you are utterly redundant and replaceable. And if you have nothing new to say, why are you bothering to say anything?

Now, when I say "new" or "unique" I don't mean in the sense that Lee or anyone else is so unlike anyone as to be in a level all by himself. This is how some in the LRC view Lee. No, I simply mean in the sense every servant of God is new and unique. The same way every child is new and unique. You might have two children who sing the same song, but you appreciate the differences in how each performs it. You don't write off one because the other already sang the song. You listen to it again, because you know even though it's the same, it's different.

Don't get so caught up in stripping Lee of his lofty reputation that you strip him of what is legitimately his. Because if you can do it to him then someone can do it to you.

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Old 01-21-2013, 07:23 AM   #80
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But the response here has been to refer to some of what we got from Lee as "legitimate and powerful spiritual aspect to his ministry" and "genuine insights into the Bible and the Christian walk." My question is whether the things that you would now say are truly those things, are they what Lee was teaching, or alternatives that came about because something/someone got you to look at the whole thing from a different perspective?
God is God and the Spirit is the Spirit. I get the Spirit from Charles Stanley, and I get Him from Joyce Meyer. Yet they say things very differently and have different emphases.

Some of the things Lee taught I still believe, some I don't. And some things that he said which I still believe I think he put in a way that made some very profound things very accessible. Here's one example:
The Church is God's dwelling place, the place he wants to live. Most Christians know that the Church is "the house of God." But they still consider heaven as God's prime dwelling place. Lee opened my eyes to see that God's desire is to make the hearts of people his primary dwelling place. Emanuel doesn't just mean God is with us--it means God lives with us.
Now, you might argue that I could have gotten that somewhere else. But the fact is, I didn't. And I really haven't heard it emphasized anywhere else, anyway.


Each teacher has his or her area of emphasis. When I read Charles Stanley, I begin to think "this is the most important stuff." But that's simply the effect of the quality of his ministry and the passion he puts into it--and the fact that each one of us has a unique expression. The same with Joyce Meyer. I read her and I think "this is what I need!"

Lee was the same way. When you read some of his stuff, you think. "Wow! This is good! Where has this been all my life?"

But some of it wasn't good. We need to balance the teachings we read and weigh them and as you said come up with the best alternatives. If all I read was Joyce Meyer I'd be very imbalanced. The mistake of LRCers is not that they read Lee, it's that he's pretty much all they read, and when he conflicts with anyone, they automatically side with him.

Could the Church have gotten along fine without Lee? We have to say, yes. But from that perspective it could have gotten along fine without you, or me. How does that make you feel? Yet, God saw fit to put us here. So why did he bother if we're just expendable?

My point is be careful with your broad dismissals of people. How would you like it if someone came here and said, "Everything Mike posts you could have gotten somewhere else. He has nothing new to offer." That's not only an insult to you, it's an insult to your Father.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:22 AM   #81
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Could the Church have gotten along fine without Lee? We have to say, yes. But from that perspective it could have gotten along fine without you, or me. How does that make you feel? Yet, God saw fit to put us here. So why did he bother if we're just expendable?

My point is be careful with your broad dismissals of people. How would you like it if someone came here and said, "Everything Mike posts you could have gotten somewhere else. He has nothing new to offer." That's not only an insult to you, it's an insult to your Father.
Igzy, thanks for your recent posts.

I was reminded of a comment Titus Chu would say, when faced with accusations from LSM'ers -- "everything I have came from Witness Lee." At the time, the comment sounded so good, actually it was deceptively horrible.

That statement gives no credit to God, to the other brothers around him, nor to his own personal labor. Why would any healthy brother in Christ be obligated to so personally credit and extol one minister, and only one? To acknowledge the spiritual help rendered by another brother is normal, but to do this by eliminating all others, is either sick or deceptive. Numerous Blended brothers proudly proclaimed the same banner, as if it was somehow spiritual or scriptural.

It's not. Read what the Apostle Paul had to say to the Corinthians about their boasting in men. Statements such as this one simply perpetuated a sick culture in the Recovery. Some brothers then are taught to proclaim, "everything I have, I got from Titus."

I can testify honestly that I learned much from Titus, and he often ministered to me. I'll forever appreciate that. But I can no longer be foolish, and not consider all the "extras" which Titus Chu has sown in my heart. These many "extras" must be considered leaven. The same is true of Witness Lee. I did receive much from him, but not all was good.

At the same time, I must be appreciative of all the dear saints which have surrounded me over the years. Like Paul, we all are debtors to many others, some of whom ministered to us publicly, and some ministered to us privately. In the end, however, that appreciation can never rise any where near the level afforded to our heavenly Father. We boast in Him, and no other. All the glory is His.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:53 AM   #82
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These many "extras" must be considered leaven. The same is true of Witness Lee. I did receive much from him, but not all was good.
When our mode of receiving becomes ministry based, we become just like the Corinthians. Instead of I of Cephas, I of Apollos, I of Paul, it becomes I of Watchman Nee, I of Witness Lee, I of Titus Chu, etc. We as believers must be conscious of this trap. Christians are no different from the Hebrews in 1 Samuel who wanted a king. For Christians it's looking towards a minster.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:56 AM   #83
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Igzy,

You really didn't address the primary thrust of my post. It was not an effort to say Lee never said anything right or noteworthy. But was it uniquely his?

And my review back through what I think I can honestly say that I got from Lee and the LRC comes up with one primary thing.
I got pushed out of the old.
But where I got pushed is a different story. I admit that it was a good thing to step outside of the Assemblies of God. And I learned (after the fact) that I need to pay attention to what is being asserted by any teacher. Fortunately, most things that I now find questionable fall into the category of "rational assertion that could be true, and is not inconsistent with what we know is true, but is not established as true." Those really don't bother me.

Lee taught us to use more than one verse. To look all over scripture. Then he littered many of his messages with "unimportant" verses (not really on topic, not that any verse is ever simply unimportant) and really only one verse (often misappropriated) upon which his point would rest. Not all. In some of them he really went all over scripture. But too often in a questionable way. Finding (or manufacturing) a precedent by which he reinterpreted what was in his primary verse/passage.

I got told that unity was very important. And it could only happen in a newly founded division that refused any external unity. Then contrary to his teaching that all efforts to have unity in the midst of differing denominations and such is a waste, I realize that it is quite real and is more unified than much of his own sect.

And when I read the one thing that you give as an example, I stop and ask myself whether it is actually true.

Is the Church God's dwelling place, or is His dwelling place people and the collective of that is the Church? I know that may seem like 6 of one an 1/2 dozen of the other, but it is not. The great differentiator is whether it is the people, or it is the collective. When I read through the gospels, I see commands to people concerning their life and belief. When I read Paul, even if "church" is mentioned, virtually all of the discussion is about people and their living. It is not about some collective.

Is the emphasis on the people and there is an overlay in the form of a name for the collective? Or is it that there is a collective but to make it happen you have to "get dirty" by dealing with the individuals?

I think it is the former, not the latter. The church is not irrelevant or subservient. But it is what comes to be through the lives of the people. Other than an occasional look at the ultimate result, the church is nothing outside of the people. It doesn't happen by focusing on the church. It happens by focusing on the people.

I don't care to quibble over heaven v the Church as God's "prime" dwelling place. Scripture tells us that he is in both. He is all and in all. I do not believe that anything makes one or the other "prime."

Yes, God lives with us. Not just in heaven.

I'm not closing the doors to the possibility, but on what basis do you conclude that God's desire is to make the hearts of people his primary dwelling place? I see that he comes to dwell in/with us. But primary?

In one place, earth is the footstool. Then, in the end, it is the location of the great city and the Throne of God. But I don't find the Church as God's prime dwelling.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:08 PM   #84
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When I say "unique" I simply mean unique in the sense all the members are unique. I think that each person gives unique insight into and expression of God simply because each is unique...If you remove uniqueness from Lee, you remove it from yourself. If you say Lee had nothing new to say, then you also say neither do you. If you have nothing new to say, then you are utterly redundant and replaceable. And if you have nothing new to say, why are you bothering to say anything? Don't get so caught up in stripping Lee of his lofty reputation that you strip him of what is legitimately his. Because if you can do it to him then someone can do it to you.
I thought we were discussing Witness Lee as a Bible teacher and like most teachers of any subject he taught from an existing body of content. And as with most teachers what may have been unique and new was how he said it and expressed it not what he said or expressed.

BTW speaking for myself I have never tried to strip Witness Lee of what is legitimately his. I acknowledge he was a Bible teacher. Some of his teachings I agree with and others I don't.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:12 AM   #85
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I thought we were discussing Witness Lee as a Bible teacher and like most teachers of any subject he taught from an existing body of content. And as with most teachers what may have been unique and new was how he said it and expressed it not what he said or expressed.

BTW speaking for myself I have never tried to strip Witness Lee of what is legitimately his. I acknowledge he was a Bible teacher. Some of his teachings I agree with and others I don't.
I guess this is pretty much what I meant. Only you said it in a different way because you are unique.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:59 PM   #86
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Good evening gentlemen!

I don't know if I should weigh in on this one or not, as the lines seem to have already been drawn and the arguments put forth... but I had meant to offer a view on this earlier, so....

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Some of the things Lee taught I still believe, some I don't. And some things that he said which I still believe I think he put in a way that made some very profound things very accessible. Here's one example:
The Church is God's dwelling place, the place he wants to live. Most Christians know that the Church is "the house of God." But they still consider heaven as God's prime dwelling place. Lee opened my eyes to see that God's desire is to make the hearts of people his primary dwelling place. Emanuel doesn't just mean God is with us--it means God lives with us.
Now, you might argue that I could have gotten that somewhere else. But the fact is, I didn't. And I really haven't heard it emphasized anywhere else, anyway.
Igzy, I really think that if this is a "primary truth" you embrace of Lee's you have to consider where this "primary truth" lead Lee - and us, through his further exposition.

If you suppose that God's dwelling place is the Church, then it logically follows that:

1) The Church, as an organization or collective or organism must be a tanglible thing - something that you can see, and touch and feel (maybe spiritually) because God dwells in it.

2) That if God dwells in "The Church", His house shouldn't be divided - it ought to be a glorious and united Church under His headship. Such a church ought to sound in "one accord"

3) That if this true "Church" is united and in one accord, then divisions must be wrong and an indication of a sickness.... "churches" (small "c") which claim to be of a division (denomination) must be wrong and not a part of the "The Church" (big "C").

4) Such "churches" must therefore be "Christless", or "demonic", or "Satanic".


...Now, you can argue that points 1 through 4 don't neccessarily follow from Lee's opening statement - but they certainly did for Lee, and you know that's what he taught... and you've abandoned that line of thinking, haven't you?

Hermeneutics (biblical interpretation) can be likened to scientific method. The scientific method requires scientists to start with a hypothesis (possible interpretation), and then to work out an experiment to perform to test the likelihood of that hypothesis being true. Numerous experiments must be conducted in order for a hypothesis to graduate to a theory (interpretation considered proven enough to be likely - or probable), and many more must be conducted for that theory to be accepted as a scientific Law (unequivocally true statement about the nature of reality). If even ONE of the experiments conducted during the entire process of the scientific method returns a negative result (disproving the hypothesis or the theory), then the hypothesis (or theory) must be abandoned.

Anyway, I have to agree with Mike on this one. Scripture seems to point to the fact that God is about relationships - individual relationships. Enoch walked with God, and then was not. Abraham talked with God, and was counted His friend. Jacob wrestled with God. Moses saw God face to face. The prophets spoke with Him, the disciples followed Him, and Saul met Him on the road to Damascus, receiving a commission to preach to the Gentiles. Is the church being built by God? Absolutely, He says He's building it - but it's a church we can't see and touch and it isn't unified. It never was. Each of the 12 disciples were called to a different ministry, in a different place (church history outlines the areas minstered to by each, and the ends they met in their different callings - and the ways each were used uniquely and individually by He who called them). Each "church" in Scripture is different, and each has a different "messenger" or angel and each receives a different commendation or admonition. Each church has overcomers, to whom Christ wrote as individuals. What does this mean?

It means the conclusions Lee drew from his initial hypothesis, that "The Church (big "C") is God's primary dwelling place" were proven wrong. The "Church" isn't even a word in the Bible. The word we translate as "Church" is the Koine Greek "Ekklesia", or the Old Testament Hebrew "kahal". These words mean "assembly of called-out ones" - "ones" being a key-word. The emphasis is on the individuals*, and the English word "Church" never even appeared once in the original English translations of the Bible (which used the word "assembly" - A group of individual people gathered together in one place for a common purpose - for the ekklesia. Understanding this, and seeing that the facts disprove Lee's hypothesis (hermeneutic) shouldn't Lee's hermeneutic be abandoned? If it isn't, then what does that leave you with?

*See Christ's Ekklesia and "The Church" compared.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:35 AM   #87
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Oh, there is no doubt you are immensely satisfied. That comes across with no problem other than it's made you appear smug and dismissive of others.
Igzy, there is no doubt your observations of OBW are accurate. Perhaps they should have been said privately, but if Mike can hear what you have said, he will definitely be benefited. And if I can speak a positive word for him -- those times where he backed up, spoke from the heart, and was more accepting of others, his posts were indeed helpful observations to the readers.

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Don Rutledge, a former well-respected elder relates: “The turn away from the vision Witness Lee had regarding the practice of the local church life began in January 1974 at the very first special elders and co-workers conference. This is when the concept of the work began. Few of the saints realize the magnitude of effect this meeting had on the churches...
Trying to "blend" this conversation back into the topic of the thread at hand, many posters on this forum have stressed the deterioration of the Recovery and Lee's ministry over the course of time. Indiana here quotes Don Rutledge, both of whom have written much about the Recovery. It would be nice if these posters were not always "challenged" for their views of history.

Personally, I have received far more benefit by hearing and thoughtfully considering others' stories of LC history, than by being challenged for my own views. For 30 years I was "challenged" to reassess my views about the Recovery, and it only served to further harden my resolve. Then I found this forum and began to read ToG, STTIL, and many of the old-time posters (OBW included) and slowly my views have changed.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:02 AM   #88
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Trying to "blend" this conversation back into the topic of the thread at hand, many posters on this forum have stressed the deterioration of the Recovery and Lee's ministry over the course of time. Indiana here quotes Don Rutledge, both of whom have written much about the Recovery. It would be nice if these posters were not always "challenged" for their views of history.
As long as it's clear that their comments are merely their views of LC system history. Usually they are not stated as such or have any disclaimer rather they are set forth as the truth regarding the history of the LC system and therefore invite challenge.

Consider the quote from Don Rutledge that in 1974 "is when the concept of the work began..." Actually we know that the concept of "the work" is an integral part of Watchman Nee's teachings e.g. "The Normal Christian Church Life". This was nothing new in 1974 except maybe to Don Rutledge in which case he should say it was a new concept to him and not make a sweeping generalization that encompasses the entire LC system.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:06 PM   #89
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Personally, I have received far more benefit by hearing and thoughtfully considering others' stories of LC history, than by being challenged for my own views.
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As long as it's clear that their comments are merely their views of LC system history. Usually they are not stated as such or have any disclaimer rather they are set forth as the truth regarding the history of the LC system and therefore invite challenge.
First of all I totally agree with the first part of what Ohio has stated here. I think we would all do well to keep in mind that this is virtually the only place on the Internet where current and former LC members can come and "tell their story". I also think we can be sure that there are many lurkers reading what is posted that we never actually hear from, and yet are receiving great benefit from our dialog.

In regards to "being challenged", well I would say that is part and parcel of an open, healthy exchange among members on an Internet forum. We Local Churchers (current and former) aren't necessarily used to this kind of back-and-forth exchange. I've been out of the LC Movement for many years, yet I still find myself being needlessly offended or upset with another poster, when all they were doing was expressing their views of a teaching, practice or bit of history. Witness Lee did not take well to others view regarding such matters, so this has become ingrained in the hearts and minds of his followers.

Someone just mentioned our dear brother Don Rutledge (where ya been, bro...don't make yourself so scarce!) - I recall a sister coming on the forum and sharing a very painful and damaging event that she experienced as a young person in one of the Texas local churches. Don came on right away and challenged the veracity of her account. As the sole moderator/admin of the forum (at that time) I was put in a bit of a quandary on how to "referee" the conflict. I decided to just let each party say what they were going to say and let the readers sort out what they believed or didn't believe.

I received MANY PMs from each side of the fence, with one side or the other demanding that I censor/delete either the original story as told by the sister, or that I censor/delete Don's claim/challenge that her story was not accurate. Though I had/have very strong feelings about the veracity of the sister's testimony, I think (I hope) I did the right thing for all concerned by just leaving all the posts stand as they were. Anyway, my point is that challenge, for the most part, is good for our forum. The only problem I've ever had with one poster challenging another is when it gets personal or when there is name calling and/or flaming involved.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:29 PM   #90
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IIRC, Don Rutledge's so-called "challenge" to the sister was more in the form of a fact-finding inquiry into events which he did not know nor was a part of, but others felt he should have been responsible for.

But ... back to my original comment about "being challenged." This was mentioned with Igzy's post to OBW in mind. The subject of the discussion was not that our posts could never be challenged, but that I personally have learned more from listening to others' accounts than by being challenged to "prove what I believe to myself and/or others."

Being challenged in order to ascertain all the facts is surely welcomed and sorely needed, but being constantly challenged in order to rebut one's opinions and one's testimony is of no value to anyone, and here I once again reference Igzy's comments in post #93.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:44 PM   #91
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As long as it's clear that their comments are merely their views of LC system history. Usually they are not stated as such or have any disclaimer rather they are set forth as the truth regarding the history of the LC system and therefore invite challenge.

Consider the quote from Don Rutledge that in 1974 "is when the concept of the work began..." Actually we know that the concept of "the work" is an integral part of Watchman Nee's teachings e.g. "The Normal Christian Church Life". This was nothing new in 1974 except maybe to Don Rutledge in which case he should say it was a new concept to him and not make a sweeping generalization that encompasses the entire LC system.
It goes without saying that all forum posts comprise one's personal perspectives and recollections of events. Need we daily disclaimers like Tomes and Myer were forced to include as part of their every article? -- OK fine! See below.

There is also a huge difference between what Nee might have written in a book a quarter century ago and what dramatic changes Lee instituted that "very first special elders and co-workers conference. This is when the concept of the work began. Few of the saints realize the magnitude of effect this meeting had on the churches. With charts and statistics, Witness Lee and Max Rapoport came forth to launch the movement. It was boldly declared that the churches would use Witness Lee as the exclusive source of teaching and Max would serve as the coordinator to bring the various churches, with their elders, into a unified movement. Two life-study messages a week were going to be given in Anaheim. Ministry stations were set up in various cities to repeat his messages through designated brothers. Some smaller churches consolidated to the larger localities where there was a ministry station. The official list of twelve men who could give conferences was announced. From that time on, the individual churches would be called to account if they were moving “independently.” In addition to coordinating the elders to act in a single direction, Max was charged to assist the various churches to be more effective with gospel preaching and outreach." -- DR
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:13 PM   #92
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There is also a huge difference between what Nee might have written in a book a quarter century ago and what dramatic changes Lee instituted that "very first special elders and co-workers conference. This is when the concept of the work began. Few of the saints realize the magnitude of effect this meeting had on the churches. With charts and statistics, Witness Lee and Max Rapoport came forth to launch the movement. It was boldly declared that the churches would use Witness Lee as the exclusive source of teaching and Max would serve as the coordinator to bring the various churches, with their elders, into a unified movement. Two life-study messages a week were going to be given in Anaheim. Ministry stations were set up in various cities to repeat his messages through designated brothers. Some smaller churches consolidated to the larger localities where there was a ministry station. The official list of twelve men who could give conferences was announced. From that time on, the individual churches would be called to account if they were moving “independently.” In addition to coordinating the elders to act in a single direction, Max was charged to assist the various churches to be more effective with gospel preaching and outreach." -- DR
Anyone who knows the history of the LC system knows that prior to 1974 both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee held meetings and trainings for coworkers and elders. They also know that Witness Lee was the exclusive source of teaching in the LC system. They know he was operating Stream Publishers. They also know that Los Angeles was the center of the work in the US where Witness Lee held conferences and 3 week trainings and where people were sent out by him to start churches and he also orchestrated a consolidation. He and his sons also started Daystar to make money for "the work". Not to mention he had Christian Chen excommunicated down in Brazil using Titus Chu as his tool to get the job done. This all happened BEFORE 1974. And the list goes on and on.

So definitely the concept of "the work" existed way before 1974 with Witness Lee firmly at the helm. Anything that happened in 1974 and beyond was merely a continuation of what was already there in essence, form and concept.

If Don Rutledge happened not to know any of these things so what? Lots of people do know it and the Internet with forums like this help them know it even more!
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:35 PM   #93
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...This all happened BEFORE 1974. And the list goes on and on. So definitely the concept of "the work" existed way before 1974 with Witness Lee firmly at the helm. Anything that happened in 1974 and beyond was merely a continuation of what was already there in essence, form and concept.
Also let's not forget that that Witness Lee, when things blew up in 1978, TOTALLY AND VEHEMENTLYY DENIED that he ever gave Max Rapaport any such instructions or authority. Too bad Max didn't tape Lee telling him all these things like he taped that infamous phone call between Lee and Sal Benoit Too bad that Ingalls, Mallon, So and the rest of the boys couldn't see that they were next up on the chopping block. Alwayslearning is absolutely correct here. 1974 is not any major change in the way Witness Lee did business. He had to wait for about 10 years until he had built up enough political capital....errrrr spiritual authority....to start pulling out his old bag of tricks again. This is not that hard you guys. The writing was on the wall...and it was there blinking like a 50 foot neon light for anybody who cared to pull off the wool from covering their eyes.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:43 PM   #94
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This is not that hard you guys. The writing was on the wall...and it was there blinking like a 50 foot neon light for anybody who cared to pull off the wool from their eyes.
And that's why the both of you never got involved with such a character.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:05 PM   #95
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And that's why the both of you never got involved with such a character.
Oh sure we unwittingly got involved with such a character but I won't engage in historical revisionism to somehow justify the fact that I didn't see what was clearly there all along. Witness Lee didn't change. My awareness of what he was really all about all along increased over time.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:40 AM   #96
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Oh sure we unwittingly got involved with such a character but I won't engage in historical revisionism to somehow justify the fact that I didn't see what was clearly there all along. Witness Lee didn't change. My awareness of what he was really all about all along increased over time.
Why "didn't you see what was clearly there all along"?
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:30 AM   #97
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Why "didn't you see what was clearly there all along"?
And why not just be honest to acknowledge all the positive things?
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:15 AM   #98
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The title of this thread is "The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand". This is coming from Steve Isitt, one of Witness Lee's biggest supporters on the Internet. In this case he chose to bring out something negative. That is his prerogative.

It is every member's prerogative to start a thread in which the theme may be positive, negative or something in between. It is also the prerogative of other members to contribute to any given thread as they see fit. They may only have enough time to post something "negative", and they should not have to feel obligated to "balance" their contributions by taking the time to post something "positive".

Now, whether a person posts something positive, negative or something in between, other forum members are free to question or even challenge them regarding the accuracy of their post. This is what is happening on this thread. Steve, like a number of other former members, contends that everything was peachy keen and copacetic in the Local Church Movement until a certain point in time, usually placed around 1974. (move from LA to Anaheim) As we have seen on these Internet forums, there were problems with Witness Lee and his ministry long before this. To say that Lee's ministry "became the lampstand" in the mid 70s is simply not accurate. Anybody is more than free to post such a thing, but they can also expect to be challenged with some facts to the contrary. And no, the challenger is not obligated to take time to post some positive things along with providing said facts.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:37 AM   #99
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And that's why the both of you never got involved with such a character.
Speaking for myself, I was only 17 when I got involved. I was a relatively new Christian, and had not received much theologically sound teaching. I knew almost nothing of Church history. So I was easy pray for Witness Lee. I believed him when he said that his little sect was the one true Christian Church. I believed him when he said that his ministry was actually the continuation of the New Testament ministry, and that he was "recovering" all the lost truths that had been buried by us mooing cows in poor, poor Christianity. I believed him when he said all other Christians were just lost stars, and that only his followers were hearing the "heavenly music".

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Witness Lee didn't change. My awareness of what he was really all about all along increased over time.
Yeah, what he say.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:38 AM   #100
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Default The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

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The title of this thread is "The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand". This is coming from Steve Isitt, one of Witness Lee's biggest supporters on the Internet. In this case he chose to bring out something negative. That is his prerogative.
That's like saying I am one of Titus Chu's "biggest supporters on the internet" because I have frequently acknowledged the spiritual ministry he has rendered to the GLA churches.

The difference between you and Steve is that he is attempting to provide a fair and accurate history of the Recovery in the U.S., while you refuse to admit there was anything positive in his ministry. I'm not saying either is necessarily bad, since everyone is entitled to his own views, just that as owner of the forum, you have more "power" to enforce your views, and this is why some very informative posters have decided to leave.

Let me simplify my stance -- as I have tried to communicate in the past, knowing that you do desire to provide a more accessible means for former and current members to participate in meaningful dialog, I feel that I have to be honest and relay my heartfelt opinion that these frequent "challenges" are counterproductive to your mission statement.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:24 AM   #101
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That's like saying I am one of Titus Chu's "biggest supporters on the internet" because I have frequently acknowledged the spiritual ministry he has rendered to the GLA churches.
I simply stated a fact. No need to take it so personal. Peace.

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The difference between you and Steve is that he is attempting to provide a fair and accurate history of the Recovery in the U.S., while you refuse to admit there was anything positive in his ministry.
No, Steve is not being accurate here in this thread. There is tons of evidence that Lee had made his ministry the center (lampstand if you will) of The Local Church Movement long before the date he is indicating. He is free to come back with a retort, but as usual Steve doesn't want true two-way dialog - he just wants to use the forum as a free venue to post his writings. As I have stated before, this is perfectly fine with me, but much of what he posts is just begging to be challenged by those of us who know better.

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I'm not saying either is necessarily bad, since everyone is entitled to his own views, just that as owner of the forum, you have more "power" to enforce your views, and this is why some very informative posters have decided to leave.
Totally unfair statement. I have never "enforced" my views. I give my views, I strongly argue my views, but nobody has ever been censored for not agreeing with my views. Some posters have been more heavily moderated because they are overly argumentative, continually post off topic things or flood the forum with nonsense. Compared to other forums, this forum is probably about the most lightly moderated forum you will ever come across.

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Let me simplify my stance -- as I have tried to communicate in the past, knowing that you do desire to provide a more accessible means for former and current members to participate in meaningful dialog, I feel that I have to be honest and relay my heartfelt opinion that these frequent "challenges" are counterproductive to your mission statement.
Ok, thanks for the input!
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:14 PM   #102
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The title of this thread is "The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand". This is coming from Steve Isitt, one of Witness Lee's biggest supporters on the Internet. In this case he chose to bring out something negative. That is his prerogative.
Just to give you an example of how extreme your views appear to others ... you just said, "Steve Isitt is one of Witness Lee's biggest supporters on the Internet."

Yet those within the Recovery, both in Anaheim and in his home area, have publicly quarantined him, isolating him and shunning him from any potential contact with their members. They have placed him in the same category as Ingalls, So, Mallon, and so many other "leprous rebels," whose written accounts have assisted us all in understanding Recovery history and the inner workings of the system. LS's chief theologian and editor, Ron Kangas, even went on record to publicly condemn Steve Isitt as a "man of sin."

Yet there are those on this forum, cloaked in anonymity, who can criticize ones like Steve for not going far enough, and somehow conclude, from his numerous articles such as "The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand," that he is one of Witness Lee's biggest supporters on the Internet. Please do reconsider how absurd this statement must sound to the readers.

And as for Steve Isitt not wanting "true two-way dialog - he just wants to use the forum as a free venue to post his writings." It was me who urged Steve long ago to do what he does best, and not get bogged down in the daily banter of the forum. I encouraged him to continue to network with former members and write his articles. He probably didn't need me to inform him of that, since that was on his heart anyways.

Steve also maintains his own websites http://twoturmoils.com/ and http://www.hidinghistoryinthelordsrecovery.us/ . Your comment about Steve taking advantage of a "free venue" here is totally uncalled for. I suppose then you hold the same ill will towards writers like Nigel Tomes and John Myer, since they are, in effect, doing the same thing. I should think that you would be indebted to the three of them for all they have contributed to the forum. I know I am.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:14 PM   #103
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Ohio,

As is your habit of late, you didn't address much of what I actually posted. You only used bits and pieces as fodder for your unreasonable rant. You're better than that bro.

Nobody is criticizing Steve for not going far enough. I never said this and I've never heard anybody say any such thing. My criticism has been that he is not being accurate in his historical assessments. Again, this is not necessarily a matter of one's view of Witness Lee (although I think this is tainting Steve's evaluation), it's a matter of recorded history. To say that Lee's ministry became the lampstand as late a date as he is contending simply does not line up with the facts. Again, he is free to come here and have some back and forth dialog regarding this matter. I really wish he would.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:47 PM   #104
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Ohio,

As is your habit of late, you didn't address much of what I actually posted. You only used bits and pieces as fodder for your unreasonable rant. You're better than that bro.
Huh? All I did was address what you posted!

What you have called an "unreasonable rant" was only my attempt to encourage you to take an objective look at some of your positions.

Anyways, I invested a good amount of my time into carefully worded responses today, and apparently they went unread. I'll let you have the last word here.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:20 PM   #105
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

Posts irrelevant to this thread have been moved offline. Mike and I have had our say. He got the last word but now both our comments are archived. Let's agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Please carry on. This is a good thread.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:38 AM   #106
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Please carry on. This is a good thread.
Yes, I agree!
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:32 PM   #107
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Posts irrelevant to this thread have been moved offline. Mike and I have had our say. He got the last word but now both our comments are archived. Let's agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Please carry on. This is a good thread.
You have also "moved offline" into the garbage can a good number of my own posts which were in defense of (the original poster) Steve Isitts' quote from Don Rutledge's own history of events which occurred in Anaheim in early 1974. I have long felt that these events surrounding that first elders and workers conference are crucial to the accurate understanding of the history of the Recovery in the US.

It is more than obvious that the moderators view things differently from me and, of course, that is their prerogative. Personally, however, I can find no good way to reconcile the present attitude of the moderators with my own views. What just happened on this thread is a repeat of last months' events, which concluded with unanswered private messages, more deleted posts, and the departure of another poster which I have long appreciated.

To prevent further conflicts, I would like to wish you all a pleasant farewell. This forum, with its many members, has provided me with immense help in my own journey since leaving the Recovery. I came here 7 years ago needing to know "how could something so good become so bad," and all my questions were answered.

I wish you all only the best. Much grace to you all! I only ask that you let this post stand as my last, and not move it "offline."
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:40 PM   #108
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You have also "moved offline" into the garbage can a good number of my own posts which were in defense of (the original poster) Steve Isitts' quote from Don Rutledge's own history of events which occurred in Anaheim in early 1974.
Ohio, the number of your posts that I moved was one (1). The reason I moved it was because it had a comment about OBW. If I knew it was that important to you I never would have moved it. It has been restored. It is post #87. What other posts are you talking about?

Also, if you don't clarify what views you disagree with, how could we possibly know if we need to adjust those views?
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:59 PM   #109
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I came here 7 years ago needing to know "how could something so good become so bad," and all my questions were answered.

I wish you all only the best. Much grace to you all! I only ask that you let this post stand as my last, and not move it "offline."
My dear brother Ohio.
Sorry to see you go. Maybe you will reconsider in the future.

Your main problem, I think, is centered in your statement "how could something so good become so bad". This issue is - and it is an issue that all of us former members face - just how "good" was the Local Church of Witness Lee, and just how "bad" did the Local Church of Witness Lee become. Both of these cannot be answered in one single internet forum thread, much less in one single internet forum.

"Something so good". "Something so bad". This alone should tell all us something right from the start. Something from God himself cannot actually turn out to be something so bad. It is us, it is fallen men, that have mucked up the proceedings from the very beginning. This includes any and all movements of men within the Church of Jesus Christ. Church history tells us this. Even secular history tells us this.

The simple truth is that what Witness Lee started here in America was a movement of men. It was doomed from the start to never be "something so good". Conversely, it probably was never "something so bad" (although I think it got pretty bad and is getting worse).

The bottom line is that we brothers are probably wasting our time (and more importantly God's time) arguing and fretting over just how good or just how bad the Local Church of Witness was or became. I'm reminded of something the Lord Jesus, the perfect God-man, said: "And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone". So, the Word of God incarnate himself said that no one is good except God alone. This should be the baseline for all of our considerations and dialog. As far as the baseline for just how bad things may have gotten...well, I'm not quite as clear on that. I think the history is still being written on this.

Much grace to you my dear brother!
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:48 AM   #110
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You have also "moved offline" into the garbage can a good number of my own posts which were in defense of (the original poster) Steve Isitts' quote from Don Rutledge's own history of events which occurred in Anaheim in early 1974. I have long felt that these events surrounding that first elders and workers conference are crucial to the accurate understanding of the history of the Recovery in the US.
Igzy wasn't the one who moved our recent back-and-forth, I was. We were talking past each other, and you simply refused to address what I posted. This makes for really bad reading for all concerned. Nevertheless I have restored the posts in question. You're welcome to come back and pick up where we left off, but I must insist that you actually read and react to what I posted...Not what you THINK I MEANT by what I posted. I don't mind you reading between the lines per se, I just wish you wouldn't make that the central point of your retort.

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It is more than obvious that the moderators view things differently from me and, of course, that is their prerogative. Personally, however, I can find no good way to reconcile the present attitude of the moderators with my own views. What just happened on this thread is a repeat of last months' events, which concluded with unanswered private messages, more deleted posts, and the departure of another poster which I have long appreciated.
I doubt that you ever will be able to reconcile one person's attitude with your personal views. We are not robots. Each of us has an attitude and each of us has a certain viewpoint. When we were in the Local Church there was only one attitude and only one viewpoint allowed. This is why we didn't see a lot of "conflict" in the LC. But this was a kind of artificial harmony. It was a forced "oneness". Now that we are out here in the real world so to speak, we find ourselves a little unsettled and confused on how to conduct a reasonable dialog regarding all that we saw and experienced. We all need to exercise a little bit of understanding and grace. Sorry if Igzy and I have fallen short here. We're going through the same process as everyone else!

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To prevent further conflicts, I would like to wish you all a pleasant farewell. This forum, with its many members, has provided me with immense help in my own journey since leaving the Recovery. I came here 7 years ago needing to know "how could something so good become so bad," and all my questions were answered.
I think I already addressed your concern about "how could something so good become so bad" in my last post. However I don't think all your questions have been answered, and that is understandable. I do think you may be short circuiting the process by leaving the only place that you can enter into dialog. Of course this will at least have the side benefit of preventing further conflicts.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:23 AM   #111
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Why "didn't you see what was clearly there all along"?
A lot of what Witness Lee did was cloaked in "spiritual" terms for public consumption and his true colors mostly came out backstage. Once I got a backstage pass I began to see the light!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:34 AM   #112
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And why not just be honest to acknowledge all the positive things?
Speaking for myself I have never denied that Witness Lee had some positive things to offer. Earlier on this thread I wrote: "I acknowledge he was a Bible teacher. Some of his teachings I agree with and others I don't." I have stated basically same thing on numerous occasions.

However IMHO a history of the LC system that concludes a before and after scenario existed i.e. Witness Lee's ministry was good and then at a certain defined point on the time line it became bad does not accurately reflect the reality of the situation i.e. good and bad simultaneously existed in Witness Lee's ministry from beginning to end.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:45 AM   #113
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Anyway, I have to agree with Mike on this one. Scripture seems to point to the fact that God is about relationships - individual relationships. Enoch walked with God, and then was not. Abraham talked with God, and was counted His friend. Jacob wrestled with God. Moses saw God face to face. The prophets spoke with Him, the disciples followed Him, and Saul met Him on the road to Damascus, receiving a commission to preach to the Gentiles. Is the church being built by God? Absolutely, He says He's building it - but it's a church we can't see and touch and it isn't unified. It never was. Each of the 12 disciples were called to a different ministry, in a different place (church history outlines the areas minstered to by each, and the ends they met in their different callings - and the ways each were used uniquely and individually by He who called them). Each "church" in Scripture is different, and each has a different "messenger" or angel and each receives a different commendation or admonition. Each church has overcomers, to whom Christ wrote as individuals. What does this mean?

It means the conclusions Lee drew from his initial hypothesis, that "The Church (big "C") is God's primary dwelling place" were proven wrong. The "Church" isn't even a word in the Bible. The word we translate as "Church" is the Koine Greek "Ekklesia", or the Old Testament Hebrew "kahal". These words mean "assembly of called-out ones" - "ones" being a key-word. The emphasis is on the individuals*, and the English word "Church" never even appeared once in the original English translations of the Bible (which used the word "assembly" - A group of individual people gathered together in one place for a common purpose - for the ekklesia. Understanding this, and seeing that the facts disprove Lee's hypothesis (hermeneutic) shouldn't Lee's hermeneutic be abandoned? If it isn't, then what does that leave you with?
Let me answer this as best as time allows.

When I say Church, I simply mean God's people. In this age we are called they Church, but I'm not using the term Church in the sense of age-specifics, but as a general term for God's collective people.

I'm not talking about when they meet in a specific place or anything like that. I'm just talking about them as people and on the essential fact that people relate, i.e. have relationships.

God has a relationship with each of us individually. This relationship is so complete in potential that he is actually "in" us. He "dwells" in us. But it's all about relationship. He dwells in us to have a more complete relationship with us.

Now, God just doesn't want to dwell and relate to me and you separately. He also wants to dwell in us as we relate to each other. That is, he wants to dwell in our relationships.

So I think we are talking about two different connotations of the word dwell.

Our common meaning of dwelling is where someone dwells physically. And even though we know God isn't physical we still think of him dwelling in heaven as a kind of physical equivalent, as a kind of specific spacial location where God lives, even though when pressed we can't explain how a non-physical being can be in any specific physical locale. This tendency to view the spiritual idea of "dwell" in physical terms carries over to God being "in" us.

But what I'm talking about is more where God dwells emotionally. That is where his heart resides. I believe that is in us and our relationships with him and each other (not to mention with his Son). When Jesus said "in that day you will know that I'm in my Father and you in me and I in you" he was making an emotional, relational statement.

To me it just doesn't make sense that a non-physical being would be primarily concerned with where he dwells physically. I think we have to think about what it means to be a spiritual being. It means you have no physical needs for one thing. And so that would seem to indicate that your primary needs are going to be emotional, that is deeper needs of the soul/spirit, at the forefront of which is having meaningful and rewarding relationships. A spiritual being would not be concerned where he dwells physically, but where he dwells emotionally/spiritually. And those are not about being in a place, but about being in a condition.

OBW offered the, to me, weak idea that God may have never intended to live in people spiritually in the first place. I can't prove that is wrong, but then again most things can't be proved, but we choose not to believe them anyway. I.e. we engage in induction. We make sensible generalizations based upon our view of specifics.

The specific I see all over the Bible is that God is interested in relationships above all, and that his dwelling in us is for relationships. Therefore, to me, his people are his primary dwelling. An analogy might be that I do indeed dwell in my house, but my primary dwelling is with, indeed in a sense in, my family. If I was a non-physical being then the physical house would mean little to me, except that it was the place my family lived.

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Old 01-28-2013, 03:14 PM   #114
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A lot of what Witness Lee did was cloaked in "spiritual" terms for public consumption and his true colors mostly came out backstage. Once I got a backstage pass I began to see the light!
If that is the case then it wasn't "clearly" there all along, rather it was there but "cloaked".
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:21 AM   #115
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If that is the case then it wasn't "clearly" there all along, rather it was there but "cloaked".
As I mentioned it mostly came out backstage - not always. But you bring up a good point which I neglected to communicate well. The thought I meant to convey is that clearly Witness Lee was the same and there is no before and after scenario on the time line.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:35 PM   #116
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OBW offered the, to me, weak idea that God may have never intended to live in people spiritually in the first place. I can't prove that is wrong, but then again most things can't be proved, but we choose not to believe them anyway. I.e. we engage in induction. We make sensible generalizations based upon our view of specifics.
I have offered many things. And that was among them. It was not intended to be a centerpiece or to suggest anything about what I think is actually true. I sure don't think that I can prove it, and wouldn't care to try. Neither can I prove that there is a primary place of residence that is man's heart.

Now in the above quote you say "but we choose not to believe them anyway." You mean to say "choose to believe them" — right? Otherwise, I am confused.

(Not trying to get into the now dead discussion. Just making sure that I am following your intent here.)
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:01 PM   #117
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I have offered many things. And that was among them. It was not intended to be a centerpiece or to suggest anything about what I think is actually true. I sure don't think that I can prove it, and wouldn't care to try. Neither can I prove that there is a primary place of residence that is man's heart.

Now in the above quote you say "but we choose not to believe them anyway." You mean to say "choose to believe them" — right? Otherwise, I am confused.

(Not trying to get into the now dead discussion. Just making sure that I am following your intent here.)
Not it wasn't a typo (though I know I'm the typo king). What I meant was that most things that have potential for being believed are false. Just like most numbers are irrational numbers.

What I meant was as we gaze out on all the potential things we can believe in, we naturally don't believe in most of them, not because we can prove (deduce) that they are false, but because we induce that they are probably false. I think we make most of our decisions based upon what is probable, rather than upon what is provable. This is why I was encouraging you (if that's the right word) to not place so much stock on what can be proved, because most things can't be proved, and what can be proved is still based on first principles (axioms) that cannot be proved, that we take on faith (as self-evident). So the foundation of all knowledge starts with faith.

Proof is overrated. Faith in what is likely is much more valuable. We are to live by faith, not by proof. In a way proof is boring, because it's just a formula. There's no more wonder once it's done. And no more need for faith.

I'm not saying proof is useless, just that it's too hard to come by in the real world. Atheists want proof of everything, and they think they have everything over a barrel because of lack of proof. But the question is not what one can prove, but what first principles one took on faith on which one's proofs were based. Because everyone takes some first principles on faith. They cannot be avoided. So, I think, everyone will have to answer to God for what they had faith in, because everyone has faith in something.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:42 AM   #118
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Not it wasn't a typo (though I know I'm the typo king). What I meant was that most things that have potential for being believed are false. Just like most numbers are irrational numbers.

What I meant was as we gaze out on all the potential things we can believe in, we naturally don't believe in most of them, not because we can prove (deduce) that they are false, but because we induce that they are probably false. I think we make most of our decisions based upon what is probable, rather than upon what is provable. This is why I was encouraging you (if that's the right word) to not place so much stock on what can be proved, because most things can't be proved, and what can be proved is still based on first principles (axioms) that cannot be proved, that we take on faith (as self-evident). So the foundation of all knowledge starts with faith.

Proof is overrated. Faith in what is likely is much more valuable. We are to live by faith, not by proof. In a way proof is boring, because it's just a formula. There's no more wonder once it's done. And no more need for faith.

I'm not saying proof is useless, just that it's too hard to come by in the real world. Atheists want proof of everything, and they think they have everything over a barrel because of lack of proof. But the question is not what one can prove, but what first principles one took on faith on which one's proofs were based. Because everyone takes some first principles on faith. They cannot be avoided. So, I think, everyone will have to answer to God for what they had faith in, because everyone has faith in something.
OK. That makes sense. And I guess I sis not ask in vain.

I could say much, but I have been out of town a lot, I don't have a lot of time. So I will say a little.

I agree that faith is the only important thing. And proof is not really important. Except where the issue is about what is important to have faith in/about.

I agree that the axioms, as you called them, underpin our faith. Those would be things like "there is God," and "the Bible is his fully inspired speaking." While we do a lot of induction to discover things that we think are there but not spelled-out, most of the things that are important do not require such induction.

Believe in Jesus. Follow him. Obey all he commanded.
Things like these. Things clearly stated.

Other things are nice to know, or may or may not be entirely correct. But they are not the things that drive our belief and faith. Even needing a doctrine of the Trinity is problematic. Almost no one has a problem with the things directly said about God (in general), the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. There are many things said. But when we get to defining it as "trinity" in terms of "essence" and "persons," or in some other manner, we are beyond "what is written."

That does not make it wrong. But it raises the question of its importance. Is it important that the "orthodox" view of these extra-biblical declarations be correct or that we hold to them? Even if they are ultimately spot-on (as we could learn in the age to come), the fact that it was not discussed for us in scripture seems to indicate that all we need to know and trust (have faith in) is what was spelled-out. Are we fooling ourselves to think otherwise? Is claiming to know something that is not clearly knowable much different than thinking that saying it better makes your experience better? And more acceptable to God? I've been told that is so by some of the LRC faithful.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:01 AM   #119
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Now, gladly leaving that dead horse on the side of the road and moving on, I was reading back through some of the earliest posts and had an interesting thought concerning the raising of the ministry to take the place of the church as the cornerstone of anything (the "Lord's recovery," or whatever).

If the ministry is above the churches rather than for the churches, then it would appear that every song (whether we think legitimate or not) concerning the "church" could be rewritten to replace "church" with "Ministry" or "LSM," or something like that. You would get some interesting lines like the following:

"Christ and the Ministry, Christ and the Ministry . . ."

"Then one day, I found Him. He brought me to the Ministry."

"The Ministry's one foundation is . . . "

These could be seen as simply ridiculous, or even insulting. But it does show some of how the Ministry has exceeded its sphere and usurped the place of the church. And I'm not just talking about within the closed system of the Local Churches who hold to the teaching of the "ground of the church" as taught by Watchman Nee. Respect for the Ministry and the LSM's authority over the operation of churches has gone at least as far as the most heinous denominational structure. Its modus operandi is completely out of sync with its own doctrinal claims of church autonomy and authority (at least if you go with the earlier versions of autonomy and authority).

And its continual morphing of rules looks more like the development of the man-made religion of Islam.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:04 AM   #120
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And I think that referring to it as "the Ministry" or "The Ministry" rather than just "the ministry" justly reflects its exceedingly high opinion of itself.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:29 AM   #121
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And I think that referring to it as "the Ministry" or "The Ministry" rather than just "the ministry" justly reflects its exceedingly high opinion of itself.
I agree with only one change:

And I think that referring to it as "the Ministry" or "The Ministry" rather than just "a ministry" justly reflects its exceedingly high opinion of itself.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:07 PM   #122
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A lot of what Witness Lee did was cloaked in "spiritual" terms for public consumption and his true colors mostly came out backstage. Once I got a backstage pass I began to see the light!
Can you elaborate on the time frame when this occurred?
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:18 PM   #123
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I can give an example: Daystar. There was the public part: this is for "the Lord's work" and the behind the scenes part: Witness Lee's son's involvement, unaccounted for missing funds, prostitutes on site at the factory in Taiwan, etc. And Witness Lee's nonchalant response after people lost their money on his family scheme was also said backstage: So what? The saints have lost their virginity. (paraphrase)
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:47 PM   #124
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Can you elaborate on the time frame when this occurred?
Let me give you another example before Daystar. A family was "burdened" to migrate from LA for the "Lord's move" to a major city. The brother immediately became an elder in his new locale. That's the front end of things. The real backstage story is that he had an affair with a brother's wife in LA and they wanted to separate them with distance. So Witness Lee told him to move. Now in this instance I don't expect them to make the true story public but neither do they need to make up a fake "spiritual" version nor do they have to make him an elder.

Another example is a major migration that took place under the guise of "the Lord's move" etc. About half the church moved to another place. The actually real backstage story was that some of the elders couldn't get along with a certain elder so instead of starting a church down the street (not allowed per ground of locality doctrine) they manufactured a "spiritual" story and moved to another city because they were "burdened by the Lord" to move for his testimony on the earth, etc. The elders that could get along stayed to run their church and the rest left to run their new church with 1/2 of the brothers and sisters in tow. This was the solution Witness Lee came up with and the story to go along with it.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:37 PM   #125
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Seems what your posts are alluding to is some type of spin as happened in the late 70's with Max and a decade later when a number of responsible brothers left. All these departures had to be explained in a fashion that would not detract Lee's ministry and the explanation would need to put the departing brothers in an unfavorable light.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:23 PM   #126
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Not sure if you mean "same type of spin..." If so, then yes it was the same sort of thing with the notable difference that Max Rapoport and the coworkers in the late 1980s were scapegoated and publicly ousted. In these other incidences people were just moved around with a big "spiritual" story to tell people while the real reasons were kept hush hush.

There are many examples but two more come immediately to mind of this sort of thing:

1. A coworker in southern California who became outspoken to other elders and coworkers about Philip Lee's involvement in LSM being a problem was sent to a small church in another part of the country. It was so sudden and the contrast from where he was to where he was sent was so vivid it raised many eyebrows and of course there was a story to go along with it i.e he was burdened from the Lord, etc. (This occurred after Max incident and before late 1980's.)

2. A coworker from southern California was sent to a church on the east coast. He and an elder already there could not get along. Eventually it was impossible for them to work together so he was sent to another city because "the Lord burdened him to migrate for His move on the earth, etc." (This occurred before Max incident.)
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:44 PM   #127
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A coworker in southern California who became outspoken to other elders and coworkers about Philip Lee's involvement in LSM being a problem was sent to a small church in another part of the country. It was so sudden and the contrast from where he was to where he was sent was so vivid it raised many eyebrows and of course there was a story to go along with it i.e he was burdened from the Lord, etc. (This occurred after Max incident and before late 1980's.)
Always wondered if this type of situation is what caused a coworker's relocation from LA to OKC?
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:24 PM   #128
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I suspect...errrr....I HIGHLY suspect that the two examples that alwayslearning has given us are but the tip of a ginormous iceberg. And these two examples highlight two major cancers that have plagued the Local Church movement since the beginnings - gross immorality and dissention among the leadership. Just recently we have been presented with some rather significant testimony that these type of sins may have even entwined the venerable founder of the LC movement himself, Watchman Nee. While the jury may be still be out with respect to what this Medical Doctor has presented recently in a lengthy book, Nee no longer may get the benefit of the doubt as he once did.

But getting back to the theme of this thread.... I think there is more than enough evidence that the ministry of Watchman Nee had surely become the lampstand of the Local Churches in Mainland China by the time he was detained by the Communists. I don't think this fact was lost on one Witness Lee, but apparently the little island of Taiwan was not a big enough lampstand for him. Besides he had apparently worn out his welcome among some of the wealthier saints in the Far East anyway....so he might as well come to our fair shores and start the process all over again. How long did it take him? Yes, the argument is simply a matter of when Lee's ministry became the lampstand.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:01 PM   #129
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Just recently we have been presented with some rather significant testimony that these type of sins may have even entwined the venerable founder of the LC movement himself, Watchman Nee. While the jury may be still be out with respect to what this Medical Doctor has presented recently in a lengthy book, Nee no longer may get the benefit of the doubt as he once did.
That doctor did not present "rather significant testimony" about anything. She merely repeated the accusations that were brought against Watchman Nee in his communist show trial.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:33 AM   #130
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"She (Dr. Hsu) knew the woman in the film and was told by her, “I told him (Nee) over and over again to destroy that film.”

This is significant testimony, APART FROM THE SHOW TRIAL, that some of the allegations were indeed true. This person is giving DIRECT testimony that she was told by the young girl in question that there was such a film made by Watchman Nee.

There is absolutely no evidence that Dr. Hsu was/is a communist stooge. As a matter of fact her testimony is that she was a devout follower of Watchman Nee, and even became a leader among the young people in Shanghai. There are probably people still alive who might refute her testimony. Many are probably still buried in communist China, but I would imagine there is still a good number who are in Taiwan or other countries. The book is apparently published in Chinese. Hsu is awaiting publication in English.

At the end of the article Hsu states
“If we do not learn the lessons that God blessed and disciplined the Local Churches in China, it can continue to happen,” Hsu writes, comparing Nee to Samson in her book’s conclusion. 'Samson shamed the name of God but in the end glorified God'." These do not sound like the words of a bitter former member, evil opposer or false accuser. They sound like the words of an elderly, experienced saint who is reflecting upon her early Christian life in the Local Church movement, along with her experience as a devout follower of Watchman Nee, and wishes for people to know "the other side of the story".

WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY, THE INFORMATION AGE.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:39 AM   #131
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That does not make it wrong. But it raises the question of its importance. Is it important that the "orthodox" view of these extra-biblical declarations be correct or that we hold to them? Even if they are ultimately spot-on (as we could learn in the age to come), the fact that it was not discussed for us in scripture seems to indicate that all we need to know and trust (have faith in) is what was spelled-out. Are we fooling ourselves to think otherwise? Is claiming to know something that is not clearly knowable much different than thinking that saying it better makes your experience better? And more acceptable to God? I've been told that is so by some of the LRC faithful.
Well, again, overall that's a matter of induction not deduction. There is no right or wrong answer for every case.

Some things we see as important that the Bible doesn't spell out quite as clearly as we'd like, or even seems to contradict itself, like the matter of eternal security. I happen to think the Bible is clear enough that security is secure, but some disagree. Does that mean the matter is not important?

Then there is the whole question of why the Bible seems to suggest certain things that it does make as clear as we'd like.

But in general I think it's sound that we should focus on the things the Bible makes clear and not the things we think we can see if we squint. But another extreme is to completely ignore the things that aren't clear to us.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:50 PM   #132
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I suspect...errrr....I HIGHLY suspect that the two examples that alwayslearning has given us are but the tip of a ginormous iceberg.
Very true!
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:42 AM   #133
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There are many examples but two more come immediately to mind of this sort of thing:

1. A coworker in southern California who became outspoken to other elders and coworkers about Philip Lee's involvement in LSM being a problem was sent to a small church in another part of the country. It was so sudden and the contrast from where he was to where he was sent was so vivid it raised many eyebrows and of course there was a story to go along with it i.e he was burdened from the Lord, etc. (This occurred after Max incident and before late 1980's.)

2. A coworker from southern California was sent to a church on the east coast. He and an elder already there could not get along. Eventually it was impossible for them to work together so he was sent to another city because "the Lord burdened him to migrate for His move on the earth, etc." (This occurred before Max incident.)
I was commenting on the idea of a "lampstand" as the LSM-affiliated churches call them - local testimonies of the universal Body of Christ. But I was cluttering up someone's personal testimony thread (they didn't seem interested in engaging any of my ideas) so I felt it might be proper to move my comments over here.

What typically happens in the LSM-affiliated local churches is that they'll give a few verses and say, "this is the lampstand". But they don't critically engage what actually happens on the ground in the LC, as seen above, or what has actually occurred in Christian history, as seen below. Instead you get the "Christianity became degraded and we recovered the proper church life" story with a few verses.

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But what I was trying to address was the idea of a "lampstand" or local expression of the Church. When one delineates a lampstand, one perforce delineates what is not, and in this case that's all but one's own group... my question was to ask, how one does that? What criteria are used? It seems to me that one's inclusionary criteria will include others, and one's exclusionary criteria will exclude oneself.

For example, how do we know there was no lampstand in Ethiopia before the LSM arrived? There were believers there since the book of Acts was written. At what time therefore did the lampstand get removed, until the LSM re-established it?

Or Geneva and Bern, which had one church per city, strictly enforced I might add, under Calvin's auspices - if that's not a "proper lampstand" then what is? Especially since Calvin is listed as a "minister of the age" in LSM lore. At what point then did Geneva and Bern lose the lampstand? Or the Puritans in New England for that matter - they never tolerated any but one church per city. If this wasn't a lampstand then why not?

Ultimately it seems to be, when we do it, it's a lampstand but with anyone else it's not. There are then two sets of criteria, one used for our group and one for everyone else.

If "degradation" is the exclusionary criteria, then what of Daystar, Phosphorus, and Overseas Christian Stewards? What of "Phillip Lee is the Office"? If operational purity is one's defining characteristic, then how can one stand? Witness Lee wanted others to overlook his "messy kitchen", so why couldn't he overlook the rest? One must be consistent with applied criteria, else one's subjective experiences become untethered from objective reality and become absurdist fantasies.
My point was that whatever your criteria for "proper ground" or "proper standing" will eventually be found to include others (thus other lampstands), or whatever exclusionary criteria of "degradation" will eventually be applicable to yourself as well, and the removal of your lampstand.
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:44 AM   #134
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I was commenting on the idea of a "lampstand" as the LSM-affiliated churches call them - local testimonies of the universal Body of Christ.

What typically happens in the LSM-affiliated local churches is that they'll give a few verses and say, "this is the lampstand". But they don't critically engage what actually happens on the ground in the LC, as seen above, or what has actually occurred in Christian history, as seen below. Instead you get the "Christianity became degraded and we recovered the proper church life" story with a few verses.

My point was that whatever your criteria for "proper ground" or "proper standing" will eventually be found to include others (thus other lampstands), or whatever exclusionary criteria of "degradation" will eventually be applicable to yourself as well, and the removal of your lampstand.
This brings up a serious ecclesiastical issue for anyone related to the "Recovery" -- who and what decides which collection of believers constitute a "lampstand," and which are merely denominations, free groups, divisions, or other such labels, etc. Lee officially taught that the condition of a church (or collection of believers) is irrelevant, and that the standing of a church is everything. So what determines the proper standing of a church?

In the Midwest region of the USA, I have witnessed untold church related activities during the last half century. The official LC teaching on this matter, supposedly based on Revelation chapters 2-3, is that a LC must have the proper name to possess the proper standing in order to obtain the proper blessing as a proper testimony of the Lord.

Supposedly the best "name" is the "church in my city," but an alternately acceptable name is the "church of my city dwellers." Over the years a number of blatant contractions to this foundational "recovered" truth became readily apparent. What if another church already had this proper name? Can there then be two lampstands in one city? What if a "new" church is an obvious division in the body, not recognized by local elders or workers, but recognized by LSM authorities? For years TC tried to persuade WL not to recognize these "renegade" LC's in his region.

The conclusion to this matter is really simple. WN/WL/LSM developed skewed ecclesiastic teachings which legitimizes only those churches which they adjudicate. They firstly established themselves as ruling judges, and then determine who else is legit. The teachings from the scripture supposedly sanctioning this practice were merely a smokescreen.
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:06 PM   #135
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...what determines the proper standing of a church? ...The official LC teaching on this matter, supposedly based on Revelation chapters 2-3, is that a LC must have the proper name to possess the proper standing in order to obtain the proper blessing as a proper testimony of the Lord.
.
... WN/WL/LSM developed skewed ecclesiastic teachings which legitimizes only those churches which they adjudicate. They firstly established themselves as ruling judges, and then determine who else is legit. The teachings from the scripture supposedly sanctioning this practice were merely a smokescreen.
What's "proper" and "legitimate" in the LC are based on criteria arbitrarily chosen and selectively applied. Because the teachings aren't objective or unbiased, there's little opportunity to have open, mutually edifying discussion about them.

But it's worth raising these questions even if the ministry advocates won't address them, as a warning to those who are naive as we once were. What does it say of an idea if it's own promoters won't constructively engage it? It isn't very robust, is it?
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:03 AM   #136
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

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I was reminded of a comment Titus Chu would say, when faced with accusations from LSM'ers -- "everything I have came from Witness Lee." At the time, the comment sounded so good, actually it was deceptively horrible...
This kind of speaking is a veiled control mechanism. TC claimed such absolute and abject fealty to WL, with the tacit understanding that everyone under him would also say, "I owe everything to TC".

The Local Churches claim "no hierarchy" but they have the most rigid, strict and unwavering hierarchy imaginable. Thus the repeated "storms" and "rebellions" when the burden of hierarchy becomes too great and the system ruptures.

The "stand" or "ground" of their "lampstand" is personal loyalty of the most severe kind. As was mentioned on this thread, it's been there all along, just cloaked in 'spiritual' garb so that the newbies get sucked in.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:21 AM   #137
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

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This kind of speaking is a veiled control mechanism. TC claimed such absolute and abject fealty to WL, with the tacit understanding that everyone under him would also say, "I owe everything to TC".

The Local Churches claim "no hierarchy" but they have the most rigid, strict and unwavering hierarchy imaginable. Thus the repeated "storms" and "rebellions" when the burden of hierarchy becomes too great and the system ruptures.

The "stand" or "ground" of their "lampstand" is personal loyalty of the most severe kind. As was mentioned on this thread, it's been there all along, just cloaked in 'spiritual' garb so that the newbies get sucked in.
Some time after the disastrous consequences of the "New Way" and the passing of WL, I had a conversation with an elder about following the Lord. He told me that he had learned a lot from the Lord from all the failures we all experienced. I was encouraged by that since "being absolutely one with WL" was so disruptive to the rank and file saints in the LC's.

Eventually I came to learn what he had "learned from the Lord." With time it became apparent that he had merely transferred loyalties. No longer loyal to Anaheim, he became loyal to Cleveland, where his "spiritual father" was. Thus fealty to "next of kin" going up the totem pole was the veiled control mechanism which all zealous brothers were trained by.

From my earliest days in the LC's, I had always witnessed a battle of loyalties, sometimes hidden behind the curtain, sometimes in full battle garb. Like the Lord said, no man can be loyal to two masters, and LC history in the Midwest region proved that leading brothers could not be loyal to both Lee and Chu. The inherent policies of the program prevented that.

I left during the run up to the Midwest quarantines. We all were forced to make a serious decision. "Choose ye this day whom you will serve!" Actually what each side told me was, "you must take a stand for the truth!" Just another veiled control mechanism . . .
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:28 AM   #138
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

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From my earliest days in the LC's, I had always witnessed a battle of loyalties, sometimes hidden behind the curtain, sometimes in full battle garb. ...I left during the run up to the Midwest quarantines. We all were forced to make a serious decision. "Choose ye this day whom you will serve!" Actually what each side told me was, "you must take a stand for the truth!" Just another veiled control mechanism . . .
The same thing was happening in South America. People were forced to choose between two despots: the one in Anaheim CA or the one at Estancia Arvore da Vida. Either way they were expected to follow a man without question. The only question was, which one?

But these culturally-sourced expectations were cloaked in scriptural garb, to hide their true origins. The talk was of seeking "oneness" and "fellowship" and "authority" and "lampstands" while avoiding "ambition" and "deviation" and and "divisions". But it was all about who got to be a certain flavour of Top Dog, if you know what I mean. Who got to be despot and who had to kow-tow. I paid a high price for this realisation, but it was worth it.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:28 PM   #139
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

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But these culturally-sourced expectations were cloaked in scriptural garb, to hide their true origins. The talk was of seeking "oneness" and "fellowship" and "authority" and "lampstands" while avoiding "ambition" and "deviation" and and "divisions". But it was all about who got to be a certain flavour of Top Dog, if you know what I mean. Who got to be despot and who had to kow-tow. I paid a high price for this realisation, but it was worth it.
Recently reading thru II Corinthians 10-12, Apostle Paul makes it plain that these same ministry battles were waged in the early church. While the disciples were with the Lord Jesus, He spent a good amount of time addressing this. I think this bore much fruit, unfortunately the successive generations never got the message.

Lee made a huge deal about "ambition," but neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor the Bible do. Lee made ambition first among the "seven deadly sins." Reading Paul, however, one gets the impression that ambition is virtuous, especially when pointed in the right direction. "Be burning in Spirit, serving the Lord."

What Jesus, the Apostles, and the Bible does address in ministers is the lust of being first, of being in control, of having sway over others, of lording it over the people of God. In Acts 20, Paul exposes those who would speak perverted things so that the saints would be drawn after them. Any talk or teaching in church history about a Pope, Holy See, Deputy Authority, Seer of the Age (SOTA), Oracle, MOTA, or "First among equals" is just perverted.

P-e-r-v-e-r-t-e-d.

Only Jesus deserves any such singular title in the church of God.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:33 AM   #140
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand

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Lee made a huge deal about "ambition," but neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor the Bible do. Lee made ambition first among the "seven deadly sins." Reading Paul, however, one gets the impression that ambition is virtuous, especially when pointed in the right direction. "Be burning in Spirit, serving the Lord."
Actually those ambitious for selfish gain and selfish position have a clear route to the top - slavishly laud the MOTA. Tell everyone, "We owe him our lives" and so forth. Those who promote the MOTA at every turn, themselves get promoted. As one serving in FTTT put it, "If anyone else does it, it's a hierarchy, but if we do it, then it's not a hierarchy."

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In Acts 20, Paul exposes those who would speak perverted things so that the saints would be drawn after them. Any talk or teaching in church history about a Pope, Holy See, Deputy Authority, Seer of the Age (SOTA), Oracle, MOTA, or "First among equals" is just perverted.

P-e-r-v-e-r-t-e-d.

Only Jesus deserves any such singular title in the church of God.
This is Christianity 101, folks: if you want to be great, be the least. Those who lift themselves up in this age will be put down in the next. I'm sorry this doesn't jibe with the culturally-derived expectations in the Church of Lee, but the scriptures are clear.
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