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Old 05-30-2013, 07:17 PM   #1
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Default The Churches of God, ch 9, Ministry & Oversight

This chapter of Lang's book The Churches of God is available online from Kingsley Press ...

Chapter 9 - Ministry and Oversight

In the “Daily Meditations” of that rare saint and scholar, George Bowen, of Bombay, are the following reflections for October 8:

“Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Cor. 14:26).

On successive Sabbaths, having a definite object in view, we visit various churches. We sit down with the people of God of a certain denomination, hear the sermon that is preached, and observe the worship that is rendered to God. Again, we worship with those of another denomination. We notice many points of difference in their mode of celebrating divine worship and seeking their own edification; but at length we come to a worshipping body whose customs are so fundamentally different from those of the churches previously visited that the differences among the latter appear to be quite trifling in comparison. In the church that we have now stumbled upon in an out-of-the-way place (in the Epistle to the Corinthians) instead of one man officiating for all, while all sit silent save when they sing or make common responses, and where everything is arranged to exclude as much as possible anything like spontaneousness, we find that when the members come together, “everyone hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.” One, two, or three speak in an unknown tongue; and another interprets. Prophets speak, two or three in succession. If anything is revealed to another that sitteth by, the first holds his tongue. May we not learn from this that the Holy Ghost loves a larger liberty than is accorded by our arrangements? We cleave to them as though they had been imposed by the solemn and unalterable decree of the Great Head of the church: and a proposition to depart from them is regarded almost as treason against Christ. It is singular, however, that the apostolic church should be completely defunct to us, as regards the force of its example in these matters. There were some great abuses in those early churches; think you they were the greatest conceivable abuses? Is it not possible that the apostle Paul, coming into one of our staid and orderly churches, would look upon the whole of the decorous and tasteful service as one unmitigated abuse? He would, perhaps, say, Is the Holy Ghost dead, that you make no provision for his manifestation? Is there no communion of the saints in the assemblies of the saints?

“Let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discriminate. But if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence. For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted” (1 Cor. 14:29–31).

The picture here given of ministry in an apostolic gathering excludes the presiding officer of whom we have read as arising in the second century. It shows (1) that in the church there were several persons known to have been chosen by the Holy Spirit for the ministry of the word of God; (2) that each and all of these had power and right delegated from the Lord to address the assembly; (3) that the control of their utterance was (a) by the Holy Spirit direct, who, while one was speaking, might give to another a message for the assembly; (b) by the prophet himself, who retained control of his own spirit, even though energized by the Holy Spirit, and could resume silence.

The control of the assembly by one man was thus unknown. The Lord Himself, by His Spirit, was as really present as if He had been visible. Indeed, to faith He was visible; and He Himself being there, what servant could be so irreverent as to take out of His hands the control of the worship and ministry?

But, on the other hand, most certainly it was not the case that anybody had liberty to minister. The liberty was for the Holy Spirit to do His will, not for His people to do as they willed. The notion that every believer had an equal right to speak was not allowed. Everyone who was chosen, qualified, and moved thereto by the Lord the Spirit had the right, and no one else had any right. All rights in the house of God vest solely in the Son of God.

The post-apostolic church quickly departed from this pattern. It has been seen and adopted only occasionally throughout the centuries, notably in seasons of powerful revival. A hundred and thirty years ago it was rediscovered by the first Brethren, followed for a while with almost apostolic blessedness, and has been, and is being, very considerably forsaken, with great spiritual loss.

The spiritual energy which accompanied Brethren in their first years is little appreciated today. Robert Govett deemed it the mightiest movement of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost, while the writer of the article “Plymouth Brethren” in Blackie’s Popular Encyclopaedia says that it “seemed at first to be a movement great enough to threaten the whole organization of the Christian church.” In the light of Holy Scripture we may with profit study their experience as a practical and modern example, both of encouragement and warning.

Dr. S. P. Tregelles has left precise first-hand information as to the original practice of Brethren in several localities, including Plymouth (the first such assembly in England), Exeter, Bath and London. He united with the Plymouth assembly as early as 1835. In 1849 he wrote:

“Stated ministry, but not exclusive ministry,” has been the principle on which we have acted all along here. . . . By “stated ministry” we mean that such and such persons are looked on as teachers, and one or more of them is expected to minister, and they are responsible for stirring up the gift that is in them; but this is not “exclusive ministry,” because there is an open door for others who may from time to time receive any gift, so that they too may exercise their gifts.

This was then the principle acted on in Plymouth before there was any other gathering for communion in England. . . . When such meetings did arise in other places, there was no thought, at least for several years, of setting up liberty of ministry in the sense of unrestrainedness. Liberty of Ministry. . . was intended to signify that all who were fitted by the Holy Ghost might minister; it was as needful for such to shew that they had fitness, as it was for those who wished for fellowship to exhibit to their brethren that they were really taking the stand of Believers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tregelles continues:

I am well aware that some years ago there were introduced in London very democratic views of ministry—utterly subversive of all godly order, utterly opposed to subjection to the Lordship of Christ, and contradictory to all Scriptural doctrine of the gifts of the Spirit bestowed on individuals. . . when these democratic views were circulated he (Mr. G. V. Wigram) published a tract (in 1844, I believe), of four pages, entitled, “On Ministry in the Word.” I extract two of the questions and answers:

“E.—Do you admit “a regular ministry”?

“W.—If by a regular ministry you mean a stated ministry (that is, that in every assembly those who are gifted of God to speak to edification will be both limited in number and known to the rest), I do admit it; but if by a regular ministry you mean an exclusive ministry, I dissent. By an exclusive ministry, I mean the recognizing certain persons as so exclusively holding the place of teachers, as that the use of a real gift by anyone else would be irregular. As, for instance, in the Church of England and in most dissenting Chapels, a sermon would be felt to be irregular which had been made up by two or three persons really gifted by the Holy Ghost.

“E.—On what do you build this distinction?

“W.—From Acts 13:1, I see that at Antioch there were but five whom the Holy Ghost recognised as teachers—Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul. Doubtless, at all the meetings it was only these five, one or more of them, as it pleased the Holy Ghost, who were expected by the saints to speak. This was a stated ministry. But it was not an exclusive ministry; for when Judas and Silas came (15:32), they were pleased to take their places among the others, and then the recognised teachers were more numerous.”

These statements [adds Dr. TregellesJ are sufficiently explicit.

Of late there has been considerable departure amongst Brethren from these principles. The democratic idea that everyone has equal right to minister, which is departure in one direction, has necessarily given opportunity for unedifying speaking. Well merited is Spurgeon’s keen comment, that where the whole is mouth the result is vacuum. This, in turn, had led to departure in the opposite direction by a form of control of ministry which directly conforms gatherings to the very conditions around from which the early Brethren broke away to return to the spiritual, apostolic pattern.

As yet, happily, meetings for worship or for prayer continue in form to be apostolic, but other gatherings pass increasingly under human control. More and more conferences adopt a closed platform, with a chairman in control and ministry restricted to selected speakers. Sometimes these speakers are left free among themselves as to ministering; at other places their order is settled. At one important annual conference the chairman announced explicitly that the brethren on the platform had been selected by the conveners, and that no one else would be allowed to express himself under any circumstances, and this was enforced by the suppression by the chairman of any others who commenced to speak. This example at an important centre greatly accelerated this course elsewhere.

Let this be considered narrowly. A statement by a Christian to the brethren is declared to be a statement to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3): thus the announcement before us is really, however unintended, an intimation to the Holy Spirit that under no circumstances is He at liberty to use any other of His servants to edify the assembly than those the conveners have selected. And this is tacitly the situation created by every closed platform.

A certain measure of unpleasing and unedifying talking is, no doubt, prevented by such measures, though selected speakers also may be tedious and unprofitable; and a certain superior style of speech can, no doubt, be generally secured which, in itself, is good, but the psychical effect of which is easily mistaken for spiritual unction. Sixty-five years’ constant experience has satisfied me that, on the whole the spiritual profit of gatherings is distinctly less than in former days.

I remember a large missionary conference at which the late Mr. E. S. Bowden gave a most powerful, soul-exercising account of the days of revival in India. The whole audience was bowed before God, and had the Lord been free to hold His people under the influence of that moment, had the assembly been allowed to wait upon God, there was every likelihood of an unusual and blessed visitation of the Spirit. But the chairman had a programme! The golden moment was spoiled; the meetings sank again to the ordinary.

If a meeting or meetings be arranged avowedly for ministry by an announced person or persons, well and good, though the rights of the Holy Spirit should always be acknowledged, and there should be liberty for Him to use any servant He pleases. With this proviso I would see nothing unscriptural in one and the same qualified brother holding preaching and teaching meetings all the year round in the same hall. That general meetings of Christians were held in that building would not affect the principle. These latter should be under the sole leading of the Holy Spirit, as should be every such assembling of saints; those former might rightly be in the hands of one competent minister of the Word. In Acts 19:9 we see a church gathered by Paul at Ephesus. In that church were the apostle (so long as he stayed in the city), prophets, pastors and teachers, and other saints, every joint, privately or publicly, supplying something to the growth, strength, usefulness of the body (Eph. 4). Here, in the assembly, is the liberty of the Spirit. But, in addition, Paul, as an evangelist and teacher, had a regular place of his own for ministry, “he reasoned daily in the school of Tyrannus.” From the immediate connexion of the words, “he separated the disciples, reasoning daily, etc.,” it looks as if that school was the meeting place of the church at that time, which suggests the dual picture I have now presented. Yet even so, I take for granted that if, while Paul was speaking, another spiritual person had received a revelation the apostle would have conformed to his own regulation, “if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first (speaker) hold his peace” (1 Cor. 14:30).

But what is sorrowful is the solemnly significant feature that gatherings formerly convened for waiting upon God, that His Spirit should lead and should supply ministry, steadily change from this apostolic type to the prevailing human arrangements, and that new conferences tend from their beginning to adopt the lower method. The departure is symptomatic of spiritual decay, and is already promoting further deterioration of the body corporate by hindering soul exercise as to ministry, and therefore the development of fresh ministers of the Word.

Now that the closed platform, with selected speakers, chairman, and programme, has become the regular method of conferences, how shall the rearing of thousands of young people in this method aid the churches of the next generation to depend upon the presence, government, and leading of the Holy Spirit, confessedly the apostolic plan? Referring to 1 Cor. 14:29-30 (which shows how primitive assemblies were ordered), Dr. Rendle Short well said to a large gathering of Sunday School teachers and workers in November, 1924:

We spoil God’s workings, and we starve our souls, if we depart from this principle.

Someone may say, “But will not things get into dreadful confusion if you seek to follow out these practices? In those days they had the Holy Spirit to guide them, and shall not we go wildly astray, and have dull, confused, unprofitable, perhaps even unseemly meetings, unless we get someone to take charge?”

Is not that practically a denial of the Holy Spirit? Do we dare deny that the Holy Spirit is still being given? The Holy Spirit is at work today as much as He was at work in those days, and we may all join in that creed of all the Churches: “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”

Please do not think that what is sometimes called the “open meeting” means that the saints are at the mercy of any unprofitable talker who thinks he has something to say, and would like to inflict himself upon them. The open meeting is not a meeting that is open to man. It is a meeting that is open to the Holy Spirit. There are some whose mouths must be stopped. Sometimes they may be stopped by prayer, and sometimes they have to be stopped by the godly admonition of those whom God has set over the assembly. But because there is failure in carrying out the principle, do not let us give up the principles of God.

I very gladly quote this re-affirmation of primitive principles, and earnestly invite all conference conveners and speakers courageously and dutifully to re-adopt the practice of the same, with faith in the Spirit of God, giving heed to the above closing exhortation I have italicized.

The divine method just indicated of dealing with unprofitable talking is effective, without departure from the vital principle of the Lord directly prompting ministry. Paul instructed Titus that the mouths of certain teachers “must be stopped” (Tit. 1:10-14). The word is strong, and means to put on a bridle or muzzle, which was to be effected by “reproving them sharply”; no doubt privately when possible, but publicly if necessary, and always graciously. In the first days of Brethren this was practised. Tregelles says:

Liberty of ministry was recognized amongst those who possessed ability from God; but it was considered that ministry which was not to profit—which did not commend itself to the consciences of others—ought to be repressed.

And this was the sense in which the phrase “liberty of ministry” was used. . . . On one occasion Mr. Newton had in the assembly to stop ministry which was manifestly improper, with Mr. J. N. Darby’s and Mr. G. V. Wigram’s presence and full concurrence: a plain proof that they then fully objected to unrestrained ministry. . . there was restraint, not upon edifying teaching, but upon that which was unedifying; advice and exhortation in private were generally resorted to, but when needful the case was met in a more public manner. . . . I have had pretty much acquaintance with several localities, and I may specify Exeter and London as places in which it was believed to be right to judge whether ministry was to edification, and to put a stop to that which was considered to be not so. In London this was done repeatedly—far oftener to my knowledge, than ever in Plymouth.

One who was present told me that, long years ago, at Salem Chapel, Bristol, an untrained brother announced he would read two chapters; but upon his early making mistakes in reading, George Müller interposed with: “Dear Brother, as it is very important that the Word of God should be read correctly, I will read these chapters for you.” And he did so.

I well remember, at a large conference, a good man so mishandled a certain text that the whole assembly was quickly restive. After perhaps ten minutes, W. H. Bennet rose and said, sweetly but decidedly, “Beloved Brother, I think it is the general feeling of the meeting that you have said enough upon this subject.” The speaker at once desisted.

But so delicate, invidious a duty requires for its discharge men of spiritual wisdom, weight, authority, men to whom, because the unction of the Holy One is upon them, others bow. It is simpler, though unspiritual and worldly, to resort to the pre-arranged platform; but let us clearly understand that not even the germ of it is in the New Testament: it is a departure from the apostolic method; and from the ways of the early Brethren; and every departure leads towards a barren “far country.”

This directs our thoughts to another departure. In each apostolic church there were elders, men qualified for ruling and caring for the house of God. Who they were in each church was known. They were set in office (tithemi) by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28); sometimes appointed by those who were used of God to found the local church in question (Acts 14:23); sometimes only recommended to the church without formal appointment (1 Cor. 16:15-16; 1 Thess. 5:12-13): sometimes appointed by one sent by Paul for the purpose. But there they were, known and acknowledged, with duty, right and power to rule the house of God for its well-being and for His praise therein.

At the very first Brethren followed this pattern.

At Plymouth (says Dr. Tregelles), Mr. J. N. Darby requested Mr. Newton to sit where he could conveniently take the oversight of ministry, and that he would hinder that which was manifestly unprofitable and unedifying. Mr. J. N. Darby addressed Mr. Newton by letter, as an Elder: I have seen a transcript of such a document made (apparently for circulation here) in the handwriting of Mr. G. V. Wigram; it was written by Mr. J. N. Darby, from Dublin, and it is addressed to B. Newton, Esq., Elder of the Saints’ Meeting in Raleigh Street, Plymouth (Three Letters, 7, note).

But after fifteen or so years, by 1845, “Darby had taken up very strong views against the formal recognition of elders.” It was in that year he found himself frustrated by the elders of the Plymouth assembly in his desire to prosecute his war against Newton within that assembly. This at once suggests one of the chief reasons for having “elders in every church” (Acts 14:23): they are a garrison to keep out disturbers. Such an arrangement, had it existed everywhere, would have largely thwarted Darby’s measures of universal domination of the Brethren assemblies and universal excommunication. Here is seen the wisdom of the divine arrangement and the folly of departing therefrom.

The grounds alleged for this disastrous departure were two. First, a theory that the church is so utterly in ruins that restoration of its original order is quite impossible. Darby and Newton came to agree about this at least, and their combined influence gave to the phrase “a day of ruin” a sanction amongst Brethren scarcely less than that of Scripture itself.

But what is in ruins? The invisible church, composed of all Spirit-baptized persons, is indefectible, it cannot be ruined; against it “the gates of Hades shall not prevail.” The local assembly may indeed be sadly ruined; but it can be restored, as, by the grace of God, has been seen times without number—at Corinth, for example. The only other institution in question is that agglomeration of sects which is called Christendom. But that is unrecognized by the New Testament, is not of God at all, and that it is in ruins is no matter for regret. Hence this specious phrase does but cover a very misleading fallacy. Again it was the undefined notion of something universally visible that allowed of the theory that that something was irreparably ruined as to external form. The only visible body known to the New Testament, the local church, can be maintained, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Upon this vital matter Anthony Norris Groves in 1847 wrote the following decisive sentences, which fix the issue precisely:

Of this I think I can now feel practically convinced (as I ever have in theory) that recognised pastors and teachers are essential to the good order of all assemblies; and as such are required and commanded of God; and though I should not object to unite with those who had them not, if it were the result of the Lord’s providence in not giving them any, I should feel quite unable to join personally those who rejected them as unnecessary or unscriptural. If the question were put to me (as it often has been), do you consider the Spirit unequal to the task of keeping order in the way we desire to follow? my reply is simply this: Show me that the Lord has promised His Spirit to this end, and I at once admit its obligation in the face of all practical and experienced difficulties: but if I see pastorship, eldership, and ministry recognised as a settled fixed service in the Church to this end, I cannot reject God’s evidently ordained plan, and set up one of my own, because I think it more spiritual.

D—— seems (? feels) justified in rejecting all such helps as the way of obtaining proper subordination in the assembly of God’s saints, by saying the “Church is in ruins”; this is his theory; but neither in the word, nor in my own experience or judgment, do I realise that this state of the Church, even though it existed to the full extent that he declares, was to be met by the overthrow of God’s order, and the substitution of one so exceedingly spiritual (if I may so use the term) as it seemed not good to the Holy Spirit to institute, when all things were comparatively in order.

The other opinion by which the assertion that elders cannot now be appointed was supported, was that none but apostles, or apostolic commissioners, such as Timothy or Titus, could make such appointments. The obvious defect in this theory is that it makes more of the first servants of the Lord than of the Lord Himself, it puts Him to a permanent limitation for want of them; the Holy Spirit indeed abides with the church for ever (John 14:16), but in this matter He is permanently inefficient for lack of certain of His own agents. And it leaves all local assemblies since that first generation under permanent deprivation and danger. It also sets aside apostolic practice as not being for permanent guidance, and nullifies those parts of the New Testament in question. We, on the contrary, maintain that in these matters of church order, as in all others, the New Testament and the apostolic example are of permanent import and value, and ought to be followed.

When, in 1832, the Lord sent George Müller and Henry Craik to Bristol, He used them mightily to the commencing and building up of a church on simple, primitive lines. They were as necessarily the first rulers of that church as any apostolic evangelists were of churches they founded. But as the fellowship multiplied, and they saw the Spirit qualifying other brethren for oversight, and moving them to addict themselves thereto of their own will (1 Cor. 16:15; 1 Tim. 3:1), they invited such formally to join them in the eldership, and then announced to the assembly the names of those thus invited, which followed the example of Paul’s exhortation regarding Stephanas. Thus there was no selection of rulers by the ruled—a principle contrary to the divine order, since all authority is by delegation from God, the Sole Fount of authority, not by conferment from below, from the subjects: but there was recognition by the church, with opportunity for stating any valid objection. This method has continued, with real advantage to that assembly. In 1848 it was the spiritual wisdom and energy of that body of elders that saved the Bethesda church from disintegration in the Darby–Newton controversy. They were the sea wall that kept out the tidal wave of Darby’s divisive principles and personal influence. There never was any Scriptural reason why this plan should not have been followed in all other cases when brethren were used of God to commence churches. Following the precedent in Acts 6:3, the church at Bethesda has always itself selected deacons to attend to business affairs.

If it be urged that such God-equipped leaders are few, the answer is swift: “Ye have not because ye ask not.” The Head of the Church has hands ever full of gifts and a heart most willing to bestow them where they are “earnestly desired” (1 Cor. 14:1). If any assembly, however young or small, is honestly prepared to forswear the democratic spirit of the age, and to submit to God-given rule, He will give the rulers, if believing prayer is offered. There is no reason on the Lord’s side why churches should be evermore dependent upon outside ministry. The history of Brethren meetings has itself often afforded proof of this. But it is one more impoverishing departure from the New Testament that it is generally held that the supernatural conferring of gifts is not now the will of God. One elder brother boldly asserted in a large conference: “I ignore the possibility until the return of the Lord”; and only one voice spoke to the contrary.
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Old 05-31-2013, 05:40 AM   #2
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This chapter of Lang's book The Churches of God is available online from Kingsley Press ...

Chapter 9 - Ministry and Oversight

[COLOR=Indigo][I] In the “Daily Meditations” of that rare saint and scholar, George Bowen, of Bombay, are the following reflections for October 8:

“Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Cor. 14:26).

On successive Sabbaths, having a definite object in view, we visit various churches. We sit down with the people of God of a certain denomination, hear the sermon that is preached, and observe the worship that is rendered to God. Again, we worship with those of another denomination. We notice many points of difference in their mode of celebrating divine worship and seeking their own edification; but at length we come to a worshipping body whose customs are so fundamentally different from those of the churches previously visited that the differences among the latter appear to be quite trifling in comparison. In the church that we have now stumbled upon in an out-of-the-way place (in the Epistle to the Corinthians) instead of one man officiating for all, while all sit silent save when they sing or make common responses, and where everything is arranged to exclude as much as possible anything like spontaneousness, we find that when the members come together, “everyone hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.” One, two, or three speak in an unknown tongue; and another interprets. Prophets speak, two or three in succession. If anything is revealed to another that sitteth by, the first holds his tongue. May we not learn from this that the Holy Ghost loves a larger liberty than is accorded by our arrangements? We cleave to them as though they had been imposed by the solemn and unalterable decree of the Great Head of the church: and a proposition to depart from them is regarded almost as treason against Christ. It is singular, however, that the apostolic church should be completely defunct to us, as regards the force of its example in these matters. There were some great abuses in those early churches; think you they were the greatest conceivable abuses? Is it not possible that the apostle Paul, coming into one of our staid and orderly churches, would look upon the whole of the decorous and tasteful service as one unmitigated abuse? He would, perhaps, say, Is the Holy Ghost dead, that you make no provision for his manifestation? Is there no communion of the saints in the assemblies of the saints?
If you gathered every verse from the NT about Christians should meet this verse is certainly far more important than anything we could use to infer preaching to a large congregation is the preferred method. Yet it is very rare to actually see this in practice.

Where do you actually see "Whenever we come together each one has..." in practice?
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:49 AM   #3
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Where do you actually see "Whenever we come together each one has..." in practice?
How about "Whenever we come together each one has a word of appreciation for Witness Lee's latest speaking"? I remember that one. Everyone got to stand up, quickly, and repeat a few words of Lee's latest speech, say how much they liked it and it helped them, and then sit down.
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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But after fifteen or so years, by 1845, “Darby had taken up very strong views against the formal recognition of elders.” It was in that year he found himself frustrated by the elders of the Plymouth assembly in his desire to prosecute his war against Newton within that assembly. This at once suggests one of the chief reasons for having “elders in every church” (Acts 14:23): they are a garrison to keep out disturbers. Such an arrangement, had it existed everywhere, would have largely thwarted Darby’s measures of universal domination of the Brethren assemblies and universal excommunication.
What was said about the Brethren can be said about the Recovery. Just as Darby was frustrated by the elders, as was Lee in the late 1980's. Perhaps in part because their care was more for the locality they were responsible for than they were for the work of LSM?
Just as I had underlined, if elders had been elders instead of hirlings, the unscriptural quarantines would not have been followed and LSM would not have undermined the understood course of fellowship. Just what can be said about the Brethren in relation to Newton and Mueller being out of favor with Darby, same can be said about former elders and co-workers who found themselves out of favor with Lee.
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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What was said about the Brethren can be said about the Recovery. Just as Darby was frustrated by the elders, as was Lee in the late 1980's. Perhaps in part because their care was more for the locality they were responsible for than they were for the work of LSM?
Just as I had underlined, if elders had been elders instead of hirlings, the unscriptural quarantines would not have been followed and LSM would not have undermined the understood course of fellowship. Just what can be said about the Brethren in relation to Newton and Mueller being out of favor with Darby, same can be said about former elders and co-workers who found themselves out of favor with Lee.
Indeed the arrangement discussed by G.H. Lang protects churches from "disturbers" prosecuting a war against a church and expanding it universally i.e. to all the other churches. Which is what John Darby did and what Witness Lee did on numerous occasions. It is the way MOTAs operate: you will do things my way or I will prosecute a war against you and spread it throughout the entire fellowship of churches. (I love the very apt language Lang uses to describe this way of doing things!)

Ultimately Darby was able to wreck havoc on the Plymouth assembly and then the Bristol assembly and eventually throughout the entire Brethren movement even though he was from the assembly in Dublin. He put himself above the local leaders in the movement and tried to dictate to them what they will do and not do.

In the LC system during the late 1990s with the overt promotion of The Ministry and The Ministry Office Witness Lee took it upon himself to denigrate the elders by relegating them to being schedulers i.e. they can decide when meetings will be, etc. Why? Strong local elders would took shepherding and protecting the flock seriously could rebuff the over extension of his ministry and those who operated it at LSM. Weak elders would simply do his bidding (and that of his son at the time.)

Clearly strong local congregations and elders are the bane of MOTAs and their egos.
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:58 PM   #6
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What was said about the Brethren can be said about the Recovery. Just as Darby was frustrated by the elders, as was Lee in the late 1980's. Perhaps in part because their care was more for the locality they were responsible for than they were for the work of LSM?

Just as I had underlined, if elders had been elders instead of hirelings, the unscriptural quarantines would not have been followed and LSM would not have undermined the understood course of fellowship. Just what can be said about the Brethren in relation to Newton and Mueller being out of favor with Darby, same can be said about former elders and co-workers who found themselves out of favor with Lee.
This is an exactly true understanding of history.

Based on all I have read about that first split among the Plymouth Brethren, it had nothing to do with some supposed heresy purported by B. W. Newton, rather it had everything to do with Darby having supreme command over all the assemblies, and all the other Bethren leaders, including Newton and Muller, were forced to submit to his whims or else.

In this regard, both George Muller and Henry Craik in Bristol absolutely refused to behave as hirelings. They refused to submit to the forceful demands of Darby and they remained loyal to both the Lord, the word of God, and the saints they served, even at great cost to their own souls.

This part of history Lee would never tell us.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:43 PM   #7
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This is an exactly true understanding of history.

Based on all I have read about that first split among the Plymouth Brethren, it had nothing to do with some supposed heresy purported by B. W. Newton, rather it had everything to do with Darby having supreme command over all the assemblies, and all the other Bethren leaders, including Newton and Muller, were forced to submit to his whims or else.

In this regard, both George Muller and Henry Craik in Bristol absolutely refused to behave as hirelings. They refused to submit to the forceful demands of Darby and they remained loyal to both the Lord, the word of God, and the saints they served, even at great cost to their own souls.

This part of history Lee would never tell us.
Controlling personalities will always be with us. That part of the "old man" never dies.
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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Controlling personalities will always be with us. That part of the "old man" never dies.
The real men of God, who are real shepherds over God's people, will stand up to this controlling personality.
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:49 PM   #9
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The real men of God, who are real shepherds over God's people, will stand up to this controlling personality.
Who stood up to Titus?
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:00 AM   #10
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Who stood up to Titus?
Several have over the years, and they were all ousted.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:24 AM   #11
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Several have over the years, and they were all ousted.
So they stood up and walked out. Oh the carnage!
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:49 AM   #12
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Controlling personalities will always be with us. That part of the "old man" never dies.
Thank the Lord for that. Who do you think is training us, for free, to deal with that?

Early in his career Michael Jordan was a very prolific scoring threat. The other team put their best defensemen on him every night. They trained him, for free. Ultimately he became defensive player of the year for multiple years.

Or in the words of a little brother from Houston, "all he could do, the foe, was just release the flow".
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:54 AM   #13
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But after fifteen or so years, by 1845, “Darby had taken up very strong views against the formal recognition of elders.”It was in that year he found himself frustrated by the elders of the Plymouth assembly in his desire to prosecute his war against Newton within that assembly. This at once suggests one of the chief reasons for having “elders in every church” (Acts 14:23): they are a garrison to keep out disturbers. Such an arrangement, had it existed everywhere, would have largely thwarted Darby’s measures of universal domination of the Brethren assemblies and universal excommunication. Here is seen the wisdom of the divine arrangement and the folly of departing therefrom.
Watchman Nee, obviously affected by Darby's views, also bemoaned the matter of church eldership. He felt that the pattern of Revelation chapters 2-3 signaled the need for church leaders to be nothing more than "messengers," as the opening verse records, "To the messenger of the church in Ephesus write."

Based on these scriptures, J. N. Darby felt that the offices of elders and deacons were a failed experiment of the earliest church, long discarded by the time the Spirit of God inspired John on Patmos. Looking back at Darby's abuses, and those of others like Taylor Junior in his lineage of Oracles, one can see how "convenient" it was not to have elders in the churches.

I would agree with Darby and Nee if the message actually came from the Spirit of the Son of Man walking in the midst of the golden lampstands, but if "the message" is merely the Holy Word for Morning Revival coming out of the Blendeds in Anaheim, then for sure we need strong elders and deacons in all the churches.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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Watchman Nee... felt that the pattern of Revelation chapters 2-3 signaled the need for church leaders to be nothing more than "messengers," as the opening verse records, "To the messenger of the church in Ephesus write."
Interesting how the hermeneutic drives the text, rather than vice versa.

Hermeneutic in Webster's -- "the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible)"

Once Nee got his hermeneutic down ("I need to control"), the Bible followed suit. Then, the actual words could get modified in order to fit his pre-conceived understanding. So if he wanted ekklesia to be an assembly (Psalm 22:22, Acts 19:41) it was an assembly, otherwise it could be a church. If he wanted angelos to be an angel (e.g. Luke 1:26) it was an angel; but if that word made his heremeneutic any weaker, he could just translate it as messenger. That way he could essentially dismiss the word, and focus our attention on the more useful parts of the Bible.

Lee did this par excellence; if he couldn't couldn't translate away the troublesome parts of the scriptures, or explain them within the structure of his hermeneutic, he would just call them fallen, natural, and man-made. Because his hermeneutic was surely divine, wasn't it?

Who else would you possibly want with spiritual oversight of all the Christian assemblies on the earth, other than brother Witness Lee, God's chosen oracle? Because his hermeneutic was inspired by God, while yours and mine are natural, darkened, and fallen.

Thank God for the Maximum Brother, God's chosen oracle! What would we do without him? How could we possibly go on together? How could we possibly approach the word of God? Thank God for the Maximum Brother! Thank God for the oneness!
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:27 AM   #15
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Thank God for the Maximum Brother, God's chosen oracle! What would we do without him? How could we possibly go on together? How could we possibly approach the word of God? Thank God for the Maximum Brother! Thank God for the oneness!
John Darby said that the church as a whole had failed God, becoming a fallen system. His basic point of reference was the Anglican Church of England, with the king of England as its head. Initially Darby was ordained in their program. Since he was able to convince many Brethren members that the church had failed so miserably, he was able to introduce new systems of Oversight suitable to his ambitions.

Anthony Groves, George Muller, Henry Craik, and Robert Chapman in the Southwest of England, the principle proponents of the office of elders for every assembly, were Darby's chief obstacles to total domination. They, however, mostly came from a background of Baptist churches.

It was said by many that Darby's system became far worse than the "system" he condemned. Most of his false principles of excommunication were developed in an attempt to justify his treatment of Newton and Muller. In the hands of his zealous minions, like George Wigram, these "principles" took on a life of their own, as we have witnessed among the Exclusives after Darby retired.

Likewise Nee and Lee read the scripture and developed authoritarian systems based on their background. The Chinese customs of dominance and submission seemed to suit their desires fairly well. It was mainly not the Chinese brothers who stood up to Witness Lee demanding reforms at LSM, but the American brothers like Rapoport, Ingalls, Mallon, etc. who had some solid background in fundamental Christianity.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:36 AM   #16
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It was said by many that Darby's system became far worse than the "system" he condemned...

Likewise Nee and Lee read the scripture and developed authoritarian systems based on their background. The Chinese customs of dominance and submission seemed to suit their desires fairly well...
Yes, but what a well-ordered church life we had. No need to think ("get out of your mind!" -- remember that?), or wonder what was next. Big brother had it all figured out.

If it wasn't for those periodic rebellions, led by ambitious brothers who couldn't submit, things really would have been swell.
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:53 PM   #17
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It was said by many that Darby's system became far worse than the "system" he condemned. Most of his false principles of excommunication were developed in an attempt to justify his treatment of Newton and Muller. In the hands of his zealous minions, like George Wigram, these "principles" took on a life of their own, as we have witnessed among the Exclusives after Darby retired.
It's almost unimaginable that Darby would target the likes of Muller with his bitter outbursts and attempts at excommunication - but such are the egos and narrowmindedness of MOTAs!

Muller was obviously a man of God and widely respected inside and outside of Brethren circles. He was even friends with Charles Spurgeon and Hudson Taylor. Spurgeon and him both supported Taylor with finances, prayer, etc. and used their influence to encourage others to do the same. His view of God's work was not limited to the confines of the Brethren movement and especially not to the sheer pettiness of the Darbyites.
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Old 06-01-2013, 02:50 PM   #18
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It's almost unimaginable that Darby would target the likes of Muller with his bitter outbursts and attempts at excommunication - but such are the egos and narrowmindedness of MOTAs!
Newton in Plymouth had far and away the largest Brethren congregation. Dozens of the "Chief Men among the Brethren" got their start there. Newton was a scholar in the truest sense, and many gifted seekers thrived under his lead. Darby, however, was the traveler. He preferred to have one hundred assemblies of ten saints each than Plymouth's thousand-plus strong. Darby's competitive nature would never allow him to share the glory with Newton. The events which transpired in Plymouth over several years as Darby worked to destroy Newton, and to bring all the Plymouth saints under his rule, are just despicable.

Newton's scholarly genius and excellent character initially neutralized Darby's spurious attacks until Darby and his thugs eventually wore him down. Darby resorted to vicious rumors in order to destroy Newton's character, and invented a system of lies to destroy Newton's reputation as a minister. During this time Newton was widowed, and eventually was abandoned by all Brethren just to appease the fury of John Darby. I pray the Lord will honor Brother Newton in that day.

At the time of Newton's demise. Muller was only beginning to be known among Brethren circles and beyond due to his work with the orphans. He also was a growing threat to Darby, not because of his genius, but because of his incredible strength of character trusting in the Lord. There was just no way that John Darby, with all his assets, could beat George Muller into submission.

As Darby unleashed his wrath on Muller for not complying with his excommunication mandates, at one point Muller and his scholarly co-worker Craik separated themselves for two weeks just to pray and study the scriptures about church oversight. Following this, Muller was like an unmovable rock under the attack unleashed by Darby and his minions. What Muller learned from the Lord in that fiery furnace became the means of blessing for myriads of orphans and children of God.
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Old 06-01-2013, 03:00 PM   #19
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Muller was obviously a man of God and widely respected inside and outside of Brethren circles. He was even friends with Charles Spurgeon and Hudson Taylor. Spurgeon and him both supported Taylor with finances, prayer, etc. and used their influence to encourage others to do the same. His view of God's work was not limited to the confines of the Brethren movement and especially not to the sheer pettiness of the Darbyites.
For years in the Recovery I learned church history from Witness Lee thinking I was being provided with some tremendous insight. I heard much about John Nelson Darby and Hudson Taylor of England. Naturally I assumed that the MOTA John Darby initiated and supported the burden of Hudson Taylor to bring the gospel to inland China.

What a shock it was to me to learn that Taylor and his mission had nothing to do with Darby, and instead was greatly helped by George Muller, a brother hated far and wide among all the Darby exclusives.

You are also right about Spurgeon and Darby. Read this article.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:46 PM   #20
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“Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Cor. 14:26).

Of late there has been considerable departure amongst Brethren from these principles. The democratic idea that everyone has equal right to minister, which is departure in one direction, has necessarily given opportunity for unedifying speaking. Well merited is Spurgeon’s keen comment, that where the whole is mouth the result is vacuum.
Much as this forum may be considered as "unedifying". That was also my experience in my last tour in the LC where unedifying speaking goes unchecked. Partly because rants against non-LSM Christianity became the norm and I as a brother silent in the local church instead of speaking a correcting word.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:41 PM   #21
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For years in the Recovery I learned church history from Witness Lee thinking I was being provided with some tremendous insight. I heard much about John Nelson Darby and Hudson Taylor of England. Naturally I assumed that the MOTA John Darby initiated and supported the burden of Hudson Taylor to bring the gospel to inland China.

What a shock it was to me to learn that Taylor and his mission had nothing to do with Darby, and instead was greatly helped by George Muller, a brother hated far and wide among all the Darby exclusives.

You are also right about Spurgeon and Darby. Read this article.
Great article! Thanks for recommending it. It exactly sums up the Darbyites attitude and could just as easily be referring to the LC system.
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:50 AM   #22
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Upon this vital matter Anthony Norris Groves in 1847 wrote the following decisive sentences, which fix the issue precisely:

Of this I think I can now feel practically convinced (as I ever have in theory) that recognised pastors and teachers are essential to the good order of all assemblies; and as such are required and commanded of God; and though I should not object to unite with those who had them not, if it were the result of the Lord’s providence in not giving them any, I should feel quite unable to join personally those who rejected them as unnecessary or unscriptural.

If the question were put to me (as it often has been), do you consider the Spirit unequal to the task of keeping order in the way we desire to follow? my reply is simply this: Show me that the Lord has promised His Spirit to this end, and I at once admit its obligation in the face of all practical and experienced difficulties: but if I see pastorship, eldership, and ministry recognised as a settled fixed service in the Church to this end, I cannot reject God’s evidently ordained plan, and set up one of my own, because I think it more spiritual.
I consider A. N. Groves to be the "father" of Brethrenism if such a thing could be said. He provided the connection for the original Brethren founders in Dublin from the various areas in Britain. He was well-respected by all Brethren, before and after their split, yet his positive influences on the movement were diminished because of his missionary work around the globe. His comments above are in response to Darby and his ideas about church offices.

During the heyday of the Brethren's first split (1845-1848), Darby challenged Brethren leaders "do you consider the Spirit unequal to the task of keeping order in the way we desire to follow?" Under the pressures of John Darby face to face, who would have the courage to say "no"? Who would venture that "of course, the Spirit is unequal to the task of keeping order in the assembly" and "that's why the New Testament prescribes elders in every church." Darby's challenge played into his plan. His rhetorical question was designed to expedite his takeover of the movement by eliminating the authority of elders in the assemblies.

Darby's conclusion, then, is that elders and deacons are totally unnecessary to the Spirit keeping order. But what was the reason Darby would even challenge others with that question? Why even consider the elimination of the eldership? This short exchange shows how the truth of scripture can be manipulated for base gain.

A. N. Groves' response here had a huge impact upon the future "Open" Brethren who resisted Darby's quest for total domination. By this time the elders at Plymouth were cowering under the enormous pressures imposed upon them by Darby and Wigram. Eventually all were persuaded by Darby to throw B. W. Newton under the bus. Plymouth, the largest Brethren assembly, by which they had all became known, was in shambles. The quest for power cares nothing about "stumbling the little ones."
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:16 AM   #23
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Much as this forum may be considered as "unedifying". That was also my experience in my last tour in the LC where unedifying speaking goes unchecked. Partly because rants against non-LSM Christianity became the norm and I as a brother silent in the local church instead of speaking a correcting word.
As a high school teacher I struggle with this issue all the time. Should the class be run by a single teacher giving the "word"? The results of numerous studies and my own personal experience is no. It seems there is no way for students to receive correction unless they are the ones who are speaking or writing. The fact that you are "teaching" something does not in any way mean that students are "learning" that same thing. Rants against non LSM christianity is a window into what the real situation is. Silencing those voices doesn't change that reality.

I now run my classes much like a band director or coach. Students are literally "playing their own instrument" for much if not all of the class. This is possible as a result of much programming on my part, on the power of computers, and a personal investment of several thousand dollars.

This forum is merely one possible example of how this could work in a church setting.

The bottom line is that a church only has the appearance of edification if you have 1,000 people sitting in chairs listening to a speaker. People learn by doing. Paul said very little about how to meet, which makes the words he did speak that much more important. One word he spoke is that whenever you come together "each one has". If you ignore that word you short circuit the value of meeting. Instead of the reality of edification you only have the appearance.

For example, if you take a simplistic view of US education you would say that we rank 18th. However, if you filter this to look at poverty and single parent families, etc. you will see that we rank #1. Our suburban school systems in upper middle class neighborhoods are #1 compared to similar demographics in other countries. Likewise, our inner city schools with 40% or greater below the poverty line and a large number of single parent families is also #1 when compared to a similar demographic. The "crisis" in education is really an explosion of poverty which is based on our having the highest rates of childhood poverty in the developed world, which is very closely aligned with our having a very high rate of single parent families.

Appearances are deceiving. I would much rather meet with a church that has the reality of edification rather than just the appearance.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:23 AM   #24
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For example, if you take a simplistic view of US education you would say that we rank 18th. However, if you filter this to look at poverty and single parent families, etc. you will see that we rank #1.
Interesting point of view.

Reminds me of Mark Twain's famous line, "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:42 AM   #25
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Interesting point of view.

Reminds me of Mark Twain's famous line, "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."
Although this is technically off topic, I think there is a very strong parallel between the errors of the LRC and the errors of today regarding education.

My youngest son has attended a charter school for the last 5 years so I can speak from experience as both a teacher and a parent.

If your goal is to get a top score on the state exam administered every year then the charter school is the place for you and they let you know that every day. They have charts and posters filling the halls on how they compare on this one exam. What they don't tell you is that they prep for the exam beginning in January. So from 3rd grade on half of your elementary school experience involves prepping for a standardized exam.

They don't have a gymnasium (too expensive for a corporation trying to make a profit) hence PE involves walking around the block. They don't have a play (too expensive) or a music program. Also, they have half the special ed kids of a public school. This is what people are missing, what is the cost of focusing on a state exam. If you complain that the LRC is a bunch of parrots, take a look at what is happening to your school system.

Why? Well, just like the LSM, there is a profit motive. Corporations can only make a profit running schools if they are extremely one dimensional, hence the big brouhaha on standardized test scores, this lays the foundation for corporations to get a profitable piece of the pie.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:34 AM   #26
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Although this is technically off topic, I think there is a very strong parallel between the errors of the LRC and the errors of today regarding education.

If your goal is to get a top score on the state exam ...
Many who have left the LC's still miss those training exams, laboring in the word od God, preparing your designated points, and then sharing with the congregation.

Outside of the LC's, there is nothing like that to be found.
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:14 AM   #27
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Many who have left the LC's still miss those training exams, laboring in the word od God, preparing your designated points, and then sharing with the congregation.

Outside of the LC's, there is nothing like that to be found.
Unless you go to Bible college or seminary, which is really available to all now that we have the internet.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:02 PM   #28
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Many who have left the LC's still miss those training exams, laboring in the word od God, preparing your designated points, and then sharing with the congregation.
Since I never experienced "training exams", I cannot say I miss it.
Please answer me this in preparing your designated points is this based upon what was spoken or the light you receive when laboring in the Word over your designated points?
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:56 PM   #29
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Since I never experienced "training exams", I cannot say I miss it.
Please answer me this in preparing your designated points is this based upon what was spoken or the light you receive when laboring in the Word over your designated points?
It was all over the map, from tasteless regurgitations to enlightened inspirations. The benefit was in the personal study, in the personal preparation, and in the personal oratory in front of audiences of all sizes.

I doubt if those experiences would be available anywhere outside of the Recovery.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:00 PM   #30
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It was all over the map, from tasteless regurgitations to enlightened inspirations. The benefit was in the personal study, in the personal preparation, and in the personal oratory in front of audiences of all sizes.

I doubt if those experiences would be available anywhere outside of the Recovery.
If there is, it would likely be from assemblies, conferences, etc that has in some capacity been influenced by Watchman Nee's ministry. Just because some of us have not experienced it outside the recovery should we think it cannot be found anywhere else.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:40 PM   #31
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Since I never experienced "training exams", I cannot say I miss it.
Please answer me this in preparing your designated points is this based upon what was spoken or the light you receive when laboring in the Word over your designated points?
I had some great experiences of laboring over the word and speaking based on light I received. Many saints were terrified so would shy away from the microphone, but generally about half the saints that came would speak.

In your locality you might speak in front of 100 or 200 saints, but here you have 1,000 or 2,000. My first training was in Anaheim when they used the entire hall. I think they had 4,000.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:41 PM   #32
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If there is, it would likely be from assemblies, conferences, etc that has in some capacity been influenced by Watchman Nee's ministry. Just because some of us have not experienced it outside the recovery should we think it cannot be found anywhere else.
Let's be honest, the Recovery under Nee and Lee had their ways, and it was generally unique among Christian gatherings. There were many positive things to applaud, and speaking in the meetings by all the members was one of them. It was not "the" way of ways, but it was "a" way with both pluses and minuses.

The issue I have with the Recovery was not their liberty to have a "new" approach to Christian meetings. I personally am convinced that no "way" is the right way, and a multitude of different "ways" are scriptural and beneficial to God's people.

My objections to the Recovery, and the reason why I even post on these forums, have nothing to do with how they meet, whether one pastor prepares a message, or many brothers prepare a message. My objections have to do with the behavior of the leaders over the course of history which have hurt the many members. I have continually stated that LC leaders have spoiled a good thing. They have taken advantage of God's blessing upon them. They have hijacked what God has done for their own base gain.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:09 PM   #33
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The issue I have with the Recovery was not their liberty to have a "new" approach to Christian meetings. I personally am convinced that no "way" is the right way, and a multitude of different "ways" are scriptural and beneficial to God's people.

My objections to the Recovery, and the reason why I even post on these forums, have nothing to do with how they meet, whether one pastor prepares a message, or many brothers prepare a message. My objections have to do with the behavior of the leaders over the course of history which have hurt the many members. I have continually stated that LC leaders have spoiled a good thing. They have taken advantage of God's blessing upon them. They have hijacked what God has done for their own base gain.
Of course Ohio. Different fellowships have different ways of worship. In the Recovery we used piano, organ, and acoustic stringed instruments. While we met in the Recovery, to think using drums, bass guitar, and electric guitar was unthinkable. Now we have a reference point. When we in the Recovery used predominantly piano and acoustic guitar, to the Exclusive Brethren, that was unthinkable.
Similarly to you much of my posting is an overflow of the late 80's turmoil and what has transpired since. Mistreatment of elders and co-workers, brothers and sisters who voice concerns. In essence Isaiah 5:20 has become the norm. TO say there is a misunderstanding is responded with "there is no misunderstanding". 1 Corinthians 13:4 says "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,". If we are those who are patient and kind, we might learn a more excellent way.

In the late 80's turmoil it was not much different than the Brethren experience in the 19th century.

"Patience is just as important in church leadership today as it was in Paul's day. Many times a leader's patience is put to the test. Robert Chapman, for example, was well known for his love. And like all loving leaders, he showed remarkable patience with difficult people and problems.
Perhaps his patience and love was most evident when a clash developed in a prominent church in Plymouth, England, between two powerful personalities: John Nelson Darby, the architect of dispensational theology, and Benjamin W. Newton, the primary teacher of the church. When Darby and Newton were unable to reconcile their differences, Darby announced plans to start a new, rival church in Plymouth. Darby's proposal alarmed many people within the church, as well as those who attended churches associated with it. Because of Chapman' live for both men, he felt compelled to seek reconciliation. He urged Darby not to proceed with his intentions, but Darby refused to heed Chapman's advice.
Darby's action created two similar congregations in Plymouth of about equal size. These churches continued to be at odds with each other, which caused other churches of similar beliefs to choose sides. Then, a year later, John Darby made more serious accusations against B.W. Newton's doctrine. In time, Newton recognized his doctrinal error and publicly confessed his wrong. But Darby and his colleagues insisted that Newton's reversal was not genuine. Over time they were able to influence many other churches to exclude Newton and his church from their circle. Newton recognized defeat and left the church in Plymouth permanently, but the battle was far from over. It would escalate beyond all reasonable proportion, as church fight often do, causing untold heartache. People on both sides were heartbroken over the bitter division and made continued attempts at reconciliation, but to no avail. A meeting of twelve influential leaders convened to try to resolve the growing divisions. During the meeting, Robert Chapman made one of his most memorable statements. He challenged John Darby: "You should have waited longer before separating," referring to Darby's inability to resolve his conflict with B.W. Newton.
"I waited six months," Darby replied.
Chapman's reply was uncharacteristically testy: "But if it had been at Barnstaple, we should have waited six years."
History proved Darby to be impatient and harsh-not only with B.W. Newton but with many others. Although some began to speak of Darby in less than gracious terms and refuse him fellowship, Robert Chapman did not. His love for John Darby remained unabated. Instead of disparaging Christian brothers and sisters who followed Darby, he referred to them as "brethren dearly beloved and longed for." Chapman's sorrow was genuine because he lived according to the "more excellent way."
Leading with Love pages 43-44
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:30 PM   #34
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Let's be honest, the Recovery under Nee and Lee had their ways, and it was generally unique among Christian gatherings. There were many positive things to applaud,
Isn't that why it hurt so much to leave?

But when they start contradicting their own teachings their whole system falls down. And then you can't trust them any more.

That broken trust runs as deeply as your investment in the LC. which was all-in. It hit me so hard I couldn't trust myself for the longest time, and came to question everything I had been standing upon.

It's like, if you can't trust the local church, who can you trust?
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:44 AM   #35
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Isn't that why it hurt so much to leave?

But when they start contradicting their own teachings their whole system falls down. And then you can't trust them any more.

That broken trust runs as deeply as your investment in the LC. which was all-in. It hit me so hard I couldn't trust myself for the longest time, and came to question everything I had been standing upon.

It's like, if you can't trust the local church, who can you trust?
Your post reminds me of the book of Ruth. Why was Ruth considered "the widow of an Israelite" whereas Orpah was considered a Moabitess? This is according to the Lord's word "as you have judged so shall you be judged".

Orpah judged that she was a Moabitess and returned to her own people, Ruth judged that she was a widow of an Israelite and judged that "your people shall be my people".

Who ever said that the church belonged to the blendeds, or WL or WN? Who ever said that the NT teachings had become confiscated by WL or WN? The NT warns precisely about WL and WN.

The church of God, the church of Jesus Christ, the church of the saints. Never is it the church of WL or the church of the apostle, etc.

The reason it hurts is because we were warned about this and didn't heed the warning.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:16 AM   #36
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Isn't that why it hurt so much to leave?

But when they start contradicting their own teachings their whole system falls down. And then you can't trust them any more.

That broken trust runs as deeply as your investment in the LC. which was all-in. It hit me so hard I couldn't trust myself for the longest time, and came to question everything I had been standing upon.

It's like, if you can't trust the local church, who can you trust?
Exactly. Years invested into relationships which have ended.

Your exodus was even more intense than mine, since my "departure" happened over several years, at least in heart. We were basically indoctrinated into a stronghold mindset that Christ and the church were inseparable. Once blatant church hypocrisy came to light, our relationship with the Lord was also damaged. Witness Lee designed things to be that way, so that his movement would hold us like a prison with no easy way out.

Currently I am taking a class on the book of the gospel of John, going through verse by verse. It is helping my "reconnection" with the Lord Himself. Last night was more than refreshing. What a Savior we have! While the Jews manipulated Pilate and the crowds into crucifying Jesus, God was orchestrating each event to fulfill all prophecy for our salvation!

What you and I are going through is the same as those early Jews. Their "holy" leaders got exposed for killing a righteous man. God had voiced His displeasure with earthquakes, darkness, and the like. The God they thought they knew in the temple became quite different to them. By faith they were now beginning to know what they should have known all along.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:19 AM   #37
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Of course Ohio.
Can you please use fonts, colors, paragraph spacing, references, and that QUOTE link to help the reader understand your post?
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:22 AM   #38
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...Darby's challenge played into his plan. His rhetorical question was designed to expedite his takeover of the movement by eliminating the authority of elders in the assemblies.

Darby's conclusion, then, is that elders and deacons are totally unnecessary to the Spirit keeping order. But what was the reason Darby would even challenge others with that question? Why even consider the elimination of the eldership? This short exchange shows how the truth of scripture can be manipulated for base gain.
Like Witness Lee it seems John Nelson Darby was very good at using "spiritual" sounding language to advance his schemes!

Darby's tactic was to try to eliminate local leadership/eldership so they could not counter balance his power and protect the flocks from his overreaching.

Lee's tactic was to appoint elders that were loyal to him and turn them into mouthpieces for The Ministry i.e. his ministry and to remove them if they ever refused to play this role. Eventually in his view the only authority they had was deciding when to have meetings and other trivial matters. In essence they were unpaid "employees" of Witness Lee and his LSM.

Either method worked for the purposes of the MOTAs - to have authority and control over the churches in their respective systems by making themselves and their ministries paramount in the life of the believers and assemblies.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:41 AM   #39
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Lee's tactic was to appoint elders that were loyal to him and turn them into mouthpieces for The Ministry i.e. his ministry and to remove them if they ever refused to play this role. Eventually in his view the only authority they had was deciding when to have meetings and other trivial matters. In essence they were unpaid "employees" of Witness Lee and his LSM.
To appoint brothers as elders who were loyal to his decision making, Lee can very well say "I don't control any church", but that is not the same as saying "I don't influence any church". Just be having elders in place partial to you, they will do your bidding and able to implement Lee's influence without Lee controlling the church. Yet with brother Lee now gone for nearly 16 years, just reinsert Brother Lee with Blended Brothers or Titus Chu wherever you may reside.
Back to brother Lee in the late 80's, when certain elders were caring more for localities than the work of LSM, that frustrated brother Lee, and that is when I believe he made the benign suggestion some elders should consider steppining down. Of course this was in favor of younger, inexperienced elders/elders to be who were more partial/biased to LSM's work than the more mature experienced elders.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:50 AM   #40
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Who ever said that the church belonged to the blendeds, or WL or WN? Who ever said that the NT teachings had become confiscated by WL or WN? The NT warns precisely about WL and WN.
One warning in particular not directing at any single person, but at a system. A system we read about in 19th century England among the Exclusive Brethren that was repreated more than a century later in North America.

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church. 3 John 1:9-10
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:26 PM   #41
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To appoint brothers as elders who were loyal to his decision making, Lee can very well say "I don't control any church", but that is not the same as saying "I don't influence any church". Just be having elders in place partial to you, they will do your bidding and able to implement Lee's influence without Lee controlling the church.
True but IMHO this is just linguistic gymnastics. Witness Lee indeed on numerous occasions declared that he did not control the churches but what did he control? The local leadership of the churches, the curriculum of the churches and who was allowed to minister to the churches i.e. who was allowed to be elders, who was allowed to be coworkers, who was allowed to minister and what they were allowed to minister. If this isn't control I don't know what is!
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:47 PM   #42
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Witness Lee indeed on numerous occasions declared that he did not control the churches but what did he control? The local leadership of the churches, the curriculum of the churches and who was allowed to minister to the churches i.e. who was allowed to be elders, who was allowed to be coworkers, who was allowed to minister and what they were allowed to minister.
There was control then just as there is control now through influence. One may not be spelling it out definitively, but wouldn't you say there is inferring. Meaning catch phrases/coded language is used to bring about a desired result or expectation so the brothers may be in one accord. For example if you're an elder in a local church and a blended brother wants to give you/offer fellowship on a situation, that is coded to mean "if you are one with the brothers, you will heed and follow through with my advice".
IMHO when fellowship@co-workers.net was terminated without notice and questions were raised by GLA elders about it's termination, the fact questions were asked severely perturbed leaders at LSM. My impression is LSM co-workers don't like being put on the defensive, and probably felt these particular GLA elders were not taking their fellowship and thus not in one accord. I recognize I could have it all wrong, but this was my perspective.

Alwayslearning, following up on your phrase "what they were allowed to minister", I never had the impression brother Lee was telling elders what to speak on Sunday morning. The time frame I am referring to is Fall 83-Spring 86.
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:25 PM   #43
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I never had the impression brother Lee was telling elders what to speak on Sunday morning.
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True but IMHO this is just linguistic gymnastics. Witness Lee indeed on numerous occasions declared that he did not control the churches but what did he control? The local leadership of the churches, the curriculum of the churches and who was allowed to minister to the churches i.e. who was allowed to be elders, who was allowed to be coworkers, who was allowed to minister and what they were allowed to minister. If this isn't control I don't know what is!
Terry, as alwayslearning as aptly pointed out, Lee didn't have to tell them what to speak, for they were only allowed to repeat his messages (most of the time by strictly following one of Lee's comprehensive outlines). Back 25-30 (70s & 80s) years ago some elders took some liberties and strayed a bit, but that was the exception not the rule. From my observation, nowadays there is absolutely no straying allowed - the speaker does nothing more than just go over the outline...word for word with very little additional comment (except for some occasional Local Church jargon added, and maybe a few extra AMENs and HALLELUJAHs) Even the Blended brothers are afraid to stray too far away from the reservation. It's actually pretty sad. May God have mercy.
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:35 PM   #44
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Alwayslearning, following up on your phrase "what they were allowed to minister", I never had the impression brother Lee was telling elders what to speak on Sunday morning. The time frame I am referring to is Fall 83-Spring 86.
First let's talk about before 1983. Starting from the 1960s 3 brothers in addition to Witness Lee held conferences mainly in the U.S. & Canada: John Ingalls, James Barber and Bill Mallon. If you listen to their messages from back then and throughout their time in the LC system they basically repeated messages Witness Lee had already given either in the Far East or America. You could easily trace their messages back to Stream magazine, books by Witness Lee, conferences or training messages by him. At the local level elders were doing the same thing more or less.

Fast forward to 1986 when most of the elders and coworkers signed a loyalty pledge to Witness Lee and the (his) ministry stating their oneness with him and the (his) ministry and and also stating he was indispensable to their oneness. IMHO this signed published declaration was merely an open admission of what everyone knew was the case all along. It was no secret that these 400 +/- men for the most part did not have their own ministries - they were repeaters of Witness Lee messages.

Post 1986 the elders and coworkers now faced a litmus test: how well can you repeat Witness Lee messages and promote LSM events and flows e.g. The New Way? And further how one are you with The Ministry Office and it's GM Philip Lee? What was the question openly asked at Whistler when they ousted Titus Chu? What would Witness Lee do? They should all get bracelets with the letters WWWLD on them just in case they forget to ask that very important question before they do anything!
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:20 PM   #45
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When, in 1832, the Lord sent George Müller and Henry Craik to Bristol, He used them mightily to the commencing and building up of a church on simple, primitive lines. They were as necessarily the first rulers of that church as any apostolic evangelists were of churches they founded. But as the fellowship multiplied, and they saw the Spirit qualifying other brethren for oversight, and moving them to addict themselves thereto of their own will (1 Cor. 16:15; 1 Tim. 3:1), they invited such formally to join them in the eldership, and then announced to the assembly the names of those thus invited, which followed the example of Paul’s exhortation regarding Stephanas. Thus there was no selection of rulers by the ruled—a principle contrary to the divine order, since all authority is by delegation from God, the Sole Fount of authority, not by conferment from below, from the subjects: but there was recognition by the church, with opportunity for stating any valid objection. This method has continued, with real advantage to that assembly. In 1848 it was the spiritual wisdom and energy of that body of elders that saved the Bethesda church from disintegration in the Darby–Newton controversy. They were the sea wall that kept out the tidal wave of Darby’s divisive principles and personal influence.
Reading the mention of Muller and Craik as co-workers at Bethesda, I have an excerpt to share about these brothers from Leading With Love pages 49-50.

None of us are immune from petty, self-centered envy. Even the most committed missionaries and servants of the Lord have struggled with this sin. George Muller was the founder of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England. While co-pastoring with Henry Craik at a church in Bristol, England, George Muller saw that the people enjoyed the other man's teaching more than his own. Henry Craik was not only an excellent Bible teacher, but he was also a first rate classical and Hebrew scholar. Unlike King Saul, however, Muller was a man of extraordinary faith and prayer. He confessed his nvious feelings toward his co-worker and confronted his sin:

"When in the year 1832, I saw how some preferred my beloved friend's ministry to my own, I determined, in the strength of God, to rejoice in this, instead of envying him. I said, with John the Baptist, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). This resisting the devil hindered separation of heart."

George Muller's and Henry Craik's friendship lasted for thirty-six years, until Craik died. Although both were strong, multi-gifted men with quite different personalities, their long relationship was a public testimony to the power of Christian love. Muller was well known for his many lifelong friendships with people like Hudson Taylor, Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, Robert Chapman, and others. Envious people, unfortunately, have few real friends and many conflicts.


How does this relate to the thread? I'm not exactly sure, but as brothers who led a church together, love had to overcome envy and deference and to overcome ambition. See Luke 22:24 as a point of reference.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:55 AM   #46
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in the late 80's, when certain elders were caring more for localities than the work of LSM, that frustrated brother Lee...
In this system, illustrated by WL and LSM, we eventually ended up with divided loyalties, and conflicts. We were asked, Do we care more for the "local" church, or the "body of Christ"? Do we care more for "the ministry", or the "vision of the age", or "the work"? Etc, etc. New masters continually sprang up, and induced struggle against others. Brother Lee was continually frustrated; as were we all.

Contrast that to the focus provided by "love God with all your heart and soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself". There is only one God, so our heart is unified and strengthened by this love, and not divided. Our neighbor is simply the person, or persons, nearby. The God we love desires that we love our neighbor also, and we have an opportunity to demonstrate our love for God by paying attention to the person next to us.

Instead, if we focus on "the work", or "the local church", or some philosophical rendering such as "God's economy", our neighbor becomes merely a means to an end, and easily discarded or ignored if they distract us in any way from our primary directive.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:06 PM   #47
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Reading the mention of Muller and Craik as co-workers at Bethesda, I have an excerpt to share about these brothers from Leading With Love pages 49-50...

George Muller's and Henry Craik's friendship lasted for thirty-six years, until Craik died. Although both were strong, multi-gifted men with quite different personalities, their long relationship was a public testimony to the power of Christian love. Muller was well known for his many lifelong friendships with people like Hudson Taylor, Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, Robert Chapman, and others. Envious people, unfortunately, have few real friends and many conflicts.
Terry thanks for posting this great excerpt! I especially like the last paragraph (above). Except for Craik and Chapman these men came from different denominations but so what? Muller recognized that God was working through them and that's what counted. They were peers and friends. BTW Muller was also friends with G. Campbell Morgan who was asked by Moody to minister at the Northfield Conferences which he did many times. Moody also supported Hudson Taylor.

Contrast this with Witness Lee who considered friendships as fleshly to be avoided at all costs and had no peers because he preferred to be surrounded by men who would kowtow to him and his whims.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:13 PM   #48
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... Witness Lee... considered friendships as fleshly to be avoided at all costs and had no peers because he preferred to be surrounded by men who would kowtow to him and his whims.
Hey, it's lonely at the top, but someone's gotta do it. Surely Lee didn't want to be the "big potato"... God's selection just happened to fall on him because he had the vision of the age. And if that vision included the stipulation that only one person can possess the vision, well, that is probably just coincidental.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:21 PM   #49
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Let's be honest, the Recovery under Nee and Lee had their ways, and it was generally unique among Christian gatherings. There were many positive things to applaud, and speaking in the meetings by all the members was one of them. It was not "the" way of ways, but it was "a" way with both pluses and minuses.
And with this I can agree.

And while it does not make many of the pluses invalid, I keep noting to myself that most of them somehow play into the American mentality of self-sufficiency. "I can speak." "I have the spirit and need no teacher"
(besides Lee). We like freedom. We have a culture that doesn't like bosses even though most of us have them. We don't want to need someone else to feed us right thinking. But most of us think what someone else says we should think. We may choose which person we will follow. But we follow.

It does not make anything about the perceived pluses of the LRC bad. Just provides a different view. They were what we wanted at the time. We wanted anything different from what we had. Such an open forum kind of system was just about as different as you could get.

Some people were finding it by getting in charismatic things — even within the context of their existing "traditions" in many cases.

In hindsight, I wonder if the extreme "difference" of the meeting style was (intentionally or unintentionally) responsible for our missing the early signs of wandering off of the reservation of orthodox sanity. Not saying "orthodox" on every side issue. Just the big things that we were fed that should have set off red flags and warning sirens.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:44 PM   #50
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Let's be honest, the Recovery under Nee and Lee had their ways, and it was generally unique among Christian gatherings. There were many positive things to applaud, and speaking in the meetings by all the members was one of them. It was not "the" way of ways, but it was "a" way with both pluses and minuses.
Having "open mike" is great if people aren't expected to repeat Witness Lee messages or merely confirm them with their "testimony". The focus is still Witness Lee whether 25 people jump up and say something or 1 person does.

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My objections have to do with the behavior of the leaders over the course of history which have hurt the many members. I have continually stated that LC leaders have spoiled a good thing. They have taken advantage of God's blessing upon them. They have hijacked what God has done for their own base gain.
Absolutely! IMHO the leadership of the LC system cannot be trusted. They have no credibility at all. Most elders at the local level have become unpaid LSM promoters that would make P.T. Barnum blush. Under their tenure they have allowed the local churches to become the Witness Lee churches and I would suggest at this point any attempts at reform would be futile. They are completely engrossed with Witness Lee and his current incarnation i.e. the LSM and its staff,
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:00 PM   #51
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Having "open mike" is great if people aren't expected to repeat Witness Lee messages or merely confirm them with their "testimony". The focus is still Witness Lee whether 25 people jump up and say something or 1 person does.
The problem is with those who have the appearance of being someone in the church. They have to get up and speak to maintain the appearance, but since there is no reality they have no testimony to share. Therefore the footnotes made it extremely easy to get "canned testimonies". They would feign revelation and light and wax euphoric over some footnote.

Open mike is great if you are having experiences of the Lord and sharing those. However, if you aren't it exposes the churches lack of Christ. This is why most denominations do not do it.

Again, this substitution of footnotes for real experience was tied to LSM making merchandise of the saints. Prior to the full RcV you didn't have to have a RcV in the meeting. True, we had the individual books of the Bible like John and Matthew, but many saints would just read a KJV or some other version. Since the RcV wasn't different enough to really require its purchase the footnotes were really the only thing that made it a must have. To make this work RG and EM developed a system of using footnotes for testimonies, and then they would make a big deal of that testimony. Many times I was in the meeting and some saint would give a wonderful testimony of an answered prayer or preaching the gospel or some other experience. Really the highlight of the meeting. Then EM would share some footnote and RG would then go off about all the light from EM's testimony. I would think, 'wow, I guess there are two completely different views of that meeting'. But EM was the first I saw to perfect this using footnotes for testimonies approach. Shortly after this first began in Houston RG then announced the move to Irving and his ascension in the LSM hierarchy. The RcV was called the "gold brick" and was clearly the cornerstone of the LSM publishing business. RG with the help of EM had figured out how to market it so that every saint would have to have one.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:57 AM   #52
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Absolutely! IMHO the leadership of the LC system cannot be trusted. They have no credibility at all. Most elders at the local level have become unpaid LSM promoters that would make P.T. Barnum blush.
I would agree. In the late 90's it was promoting the standing order, promoting the hard bound life studies, promoting the building project in Taipei, etc. Seeing how many books would come out with the standin order, #1 how did one have time to read all those, and #2 where was the financial resources to keep up?
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:01 PM   #53
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Contrast this with Witness Lee who considered friendships as fleshly to be avoided at all costs and had no peers because he preferred to be surrounded by men who would kowtow to him and his whims.
Until I have the time to speak soemthing further, can someone answer why Witness Lee had no peers? Because between Theodore Austin Sparks, Stephen Kaung, and A.W. Tozer, I never saw a lack in peers.
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:16 PM   #54
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Until I have the time to speak soemthing further, can someone answer why Witness Lee had no peers? Because between Theodore Austin Sparks, Stephen Kaung, and A.W. Tozer, I never saw a lack in peers.
IMHO I would not consider TAS, Kaung and Tozer as peers of Witness Lee mainly for two reasons:

1. The depth and caliber of their ministries far surpassed Lee's and so did their personal characters.
2. Their ministries were widely accepted outside their own churches.

And within the narrow confines of the LC system Witness Lee had no peers because he didn't like having equals who could challenge and counter him and his whims. Basically "the work" was a monarchy. Lee was a big fish in a small pond and he liked it that way!
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:06 AM   #55
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None of us are immune from petty, self-centered envy. Even the most committed missionaries and servants of the Lord have struggled with this sin. George Muller was the founder of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England. While co-pastoring with Henry Craik at a church in Bristol, England, George Muller saw that the people enjoyed the other man's teaching more than his own. Henry Craik was not only an excellent Bible teacher, but he was also a first rate classical and Hebrew scholar. Unlike King Saul, however, Muller was a man of extraordinary faith and prayer. He confessed his envious feelings toward his co-worker and confronted his sin:

"When in the year 1832, I saw how some preferred my beloved friend's ministry to my own, I determined, in the strength of God, to rejoice in this, instead of envying him. I said, with John the Baptist, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). This resisting the devil hindered separation of heart."
-- Alexander Strauch, Leading With Love
Muller was newly saved in his mid-20's when he testified this. Craik was only a year older than him, but began his Christian life at a much earlier age. Both of these gifted men were tremendously affected by A. N. Groves, whom I consider the original Brethren. The scholarly Craik was initially hired to tutor the Groves children. After Craik was suddenly widowed in early 1832, he and Muller began to minister in Bristol, which continued life-long for both of them. Muller married Groves' daughter Mary.

I appreciate this testimony of Muller's. He confessed his envy to the Lord, experiencing the the cross of Christ and the renewing of his mind via the word of God, and thus overcame the evil one. Thus competition was terminated between them and a lifelong trusting partnership was forged. The Head of the body was obviously pleased, blessing this on behalf of the saints. Muller, a strong-willed Prussian, and Craig, a classical English scholar in the truest sense, were very different, yet God had fitted these members together as it pleased Him.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:06 PM   #56
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Envious people, unfortunately, have few real friends and many conflicts.
The local churches I feel was and is by now means immune to envy. How else to you explain the number of turmoils? Naturally, the easiest way to explain the turmoils is rebellion and personal ambition. In a sense yes, but it goes deeper than a one or two word response.
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:42 AM   #57
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Until I have the time to speak something further, can someone answer why Witness Lee had no peers?
The same could be said of Titus Chu, and I could ask similar questions about the way he treats his peers over the years.

I have often wondered how a minister like Titus Chu could mercilessly pummel his coworkers publicly in front of others, and when these "victims' finally decide to leave Titus chu and his work, he apologizes with heartfelt and genuine tears, only to continue the same treatment with the other brothers with him.

This pattern was obviously hammered into him from his youth, and apparently it was, by Witness Lee and those around him in Taiwan back in the 50's. Titus often testified that just about no one else in his generation survived this mistreatment. Besides the obvious links with Chinese culture, the only justification ever offered for this treatment of one's peers was that the British missionary Margaret Barber "perfected" Watchman Nee by mercilessly rebuking him.

In such a culture of "perfection," it becomes readily apparent why these ones never had peers. It is more like the culture of the military, with a drill instructor and his enlistees. With the military's requisite "chain of command," it becomes understandable how this construct would influence and damage the Recovery.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:00 AM   #58
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In such a culture of "perfection," it becomes readily apparent why these ones never had peers. It is more like the culture of the military, with a drill instructor and his enlistees. With the military's requisite "chain of command," it becomes understandable how this construct would influence and damage the Recovery.
It also explains why there is some good with the bad. With all that "perfecting" going on, there is bound to be some positive achievement, even producing some excellence that more compassionate methods do not. However, all that is ultimately compromised by the inevitable disfunction.

It's like the story of Todd Marinovich, the young man whose father trained him from the cradle to be a football quarterback. And he did produce an excellent quarterback. Unfortunately, the humanity of the man was damaged. He wasn't allowed to grow normally. The approach was ultimately abusive, and Todd had an overwhelming desire to quit football, even though in a sense he loved it.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:20 PM   #59
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It also explains why there is some good with the bad. With all that "perfecting" going on, there is bound to be some positive achievement, even producing some excellence that more compassionate methods do not. However, all that is ultimately compromised by the inevitable disfunction.

It's like the story of Todd Marinovich, the young man whose father trained him from the cradle to be a football quarterback. And he did produce an excellent quarterback. Unfortunately, the humanity of the man was damaged. He wasn't allowed to grow normally. The approach was ultimately abusive, and Todd had an overwhelming desire to quit football, even though in a sense he loved it.
It's one thing for Christian leaders to challenge younger believers in order to assist their growth, but it is another matter altogether to interfere with the leading of the Lord within the younger believers. Many LC leaders take the attitude that "I know what's best for you," when actually they overstep their place, negate the Lord within, and lord it over the young people. I saw this numerous times in the Recovery -- directing, or should I say strongly suggesting, who to marry, where to live, which major to study in college, whether to serve full-time, etc. Sometimes it worked out for their good, and the saints were appreciative, but often times it did not.

There is a fine line between ministry / oversight and all the tragic features that accompany controls, abuses, and lording it over the saints.

Todd Marinovich is the premier example of a dominant, aggressive, type A personality father living vicariously through his son. Todd's free will decision-making ability in life was basically stolen from him, and his only means of escape, unfortunately, was drugs. Initially, being so talented, he could get away with his dual life in drugs and sports, but it soon caught up with him. Then, as his sports career went sour, he had to deal with the tremendous guilt of failing his father. Today Todd is known as one of the biggest sports failures in history. Yet, I doubt his father ever took ownership of what he has done.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:21 PM   #60
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Todd Marinovich is the premier example of a dominant, aggressive, type A personality father living vicariously through his son. Todd's free will decision-making ability in life was basically stolen from him, and his only means of escape, unfortunately, was drugs. Initially, being so talented, he could get away with his dual life in drugs and sports, but it soon caught up with him. Then, as his sports career went sour, he had to deal with the tremendous guilt of failing his father. Today Todd is known as one of the biggest sports failures in history. Yet, I doubt his father ever took ownership of what he has done.
ESPN had program about it. Worth watching. His dad didn't profusely admit guilt, but he did admit that he may have done some things wrong. The good news is that Todd, being a son, reached out to his father and they are good friends now.

But it's that old story of a father-figure pushing a son/daughter too hard and with selfish motives. Lee did it with thousands of sons and daughters. They, like Todd, have trouble sorting out responsibility, blame and guilt, while still at some level wishing for a good relationship with their "father."
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:46 PM   #61
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But it's that old story of a father-figure pushing a son/daughter too hard and with selfish motives. Lee did it with thousands of sons and daughters. They, like Todd, have trouble sorting out responsibility, blame and guilt, while still at some level wishing for a good relationship with their "father."
I'm not sure if I would compare Witness Lee to a father unreasonably pushing his children too hard towards "perfection" or any other goal. Most parents who do this kind of thing want their children to do better than they did whether in sports, academics, financially or whatever the pursuit might be.

The methods of Witness Lee created life-long spiritual infants. He pushed them toward complete dependency on him and his ministry. The picture I have in my head whenever I think of this is from a British sitcom I once saw when a grown man was sitting on his mother's lap breastfeeding.

Of course the most glaring case in point is he didn't develop a replacement for himself and instead resorted to setting up Brothers We to be promoters and repeaters of himself after he died. After decades and decades of service he equipped nobody to have their own ministry like he did? They can only repeat his messages over and over and over again? Can you imagine a man of 60 walking around being very careful that whatever he said and did matched what his deceased dad said and did? And would invoke his dad's name at every given opportunity to "prove" he was one with his dad? That's not the fruit of overzealous helicopter parents wanting their children to succeed - it's nuts!
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:35 PM   #62
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ESPN had program about it. Worth watching. His dad didn't profusely admit guilt, but he did admit that he may have done some things wrong. The good news is that Todd, being a son, reached out to his father and they are good friends now.

But it's that old story of a father-figure pushing a son/daughter too hard and with selfish motives. Lee did it with thousands of sons and daughters. They, like Todd, have trouble sorting out responsibility, blame and guilt, while still at some level wishing for a good relationship with their "father."
I saw that program. Good article you linked. Even mentions Tebow. Todd's father, btw, went way too far, and was called "one of sports worst fathers." Glad to hear they are working on reconciliation.

Parenting, like coaching or shepherding, requires challenging the young ones. Each and every child is unique, and once the child feels it is no longer his own life which he is living, then difficulties start.

Witness Lee and Titus Chu and their supporters will swear up and down that they care only what is best for God's children in their "perfecting" of the brothers. They will claim that is how they were "perfected" by others. In this regard, I suppose we should initially give them every benefit of the doubt, and I did so for 30 years. Eventually, however, we must "test everything." We must compare the practice with the scripture. We must look at the fruit. Is the church hurt or blessed? Were all the brothers "perfected" or not? Were all the public reproofs in the best interests of the receivers? Or do we, over time, see other motives appearing?

In this regard, I have watched many dear brothers leave the Recovery after being mistreated by Titus Chu. There has been a long trail of departures. Many times no one understood his outbursts, yet afterwards we were told to believe that "Titus sees things we do not." Departing brothers, loved by all, had no reason to leave other than "they had a problem with Titus." That line stopped working when I observed too many well-respected brothers leave. That line was a falsehood used to coverup the abuses of their leader.

Eventually I had to conclude that what I once considered "perfecting," had to be called bullying and the false use of authority. It was the domination of all potential rivals by small-hearted leaders. Either submit or exit! Abusive leaders in the Recovery take away one's free will, one's ability to follow the Lord directly. The Apostle Paul was never this way. For the Recovery to be healthy, it must return to the Apostles' pattern of ministry and oversight.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:40 PM   #63
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But it's that old story of a father-figure pushing a son/daughter too hard and with selfish motives. Lee did it with thousands of sons and daughters. They, like Todd, have trouble sorting out responsibility, blame and guilt, while still at some level wishing for a good relationship with their "father."
I never viewed WL as a father figure. He did seem to have a relationship with BP and RG, both from Houston, but I had a much closer relationship to my grandfathers than to WL. Anytime that I actually did meet him he seemed much more "hollywood", like he was on stage.

I have no idea what this story of one quarterback means. I do find it ironic that the greatest quarterback ever is generally considered to be Joe Montana. He was once asked where he learned to play quarterback since he had played for several very famous coaches. He gave the credit to his father, an insurance salesman who had little or no football background.

A story that is oddly similar to Larry Bird who also gave credit to his father. Which most people thought was a joke since Larry Bird's father was famous for his disdain of Basketball. But then Larry Bird told a story of what he meant and it is very clear that his father led by example.

Mike Tyson is another example. He was an orphan, still he credited all of his success to his "father". Gus D'amato treated him like a son. As long as Gus was alive Mike was an unbeatable world champion, the minute Gus died Mike collapsed.

Venus and Serena Williams are another example (virtually all tennis players have a "pedigree" of tennis in their family). Tiger Woods is another example. But since you brought up football quarterbacks, what about Eli and Peyton Manning?

It seems to me that the real "old story" is of kids blaming their failures on their parents.

As a teacher I have observed something that is becoming a truth. You see a boy in high school that is unruly and rebellious, you call home and you will hear one of two things: a single mother will say "I can't control that kid"; or if you do get a man on the phone he is a step dad, not the boy's father. To me the "old story" isn't of a father making a mistake in raising the kid, that is universally true of all fathers, the old story is of ungrateful kids clueless to how fortunate they are to have a father.

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11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet...
11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
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Old 06-11-2013, 03:48 PM   #64
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I never viewed WL as a father figure.
I never related well with Titus Chu. I appreciated much of his insight, yet did not feel comfortable talking to him one-on-one. I remember talking to a close friend about this. He was well-respected by all, with great communication skills, much better than my own. His initial comment shocked me. He said, "every time I talk to Titus, I feel stupid."

That actually was a huge encouragement to me. I was not alone. The problem was not all "mine." Though Titus taught often about being spiritual fathers, he was not a spiritual father to me.

Even though my friend had a simple surname to pronounce, Titus also used to mispronounce it on purpose, just to get a laugh from the audience, I suppose. It was very troubling to my friend, since he felt that trying to pronounce someone's name correctly was one of life's basic courtesies.
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:21 PM   #65
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ESPN had program about it. Worth watching. His dad didn't profusely admit guilt, but he did admit that he may have done some things wrong. The good news is that Todd, being a son, reached out to his father and they are good friends now.

But it's that old story of a father-figure pushing a son/daughter too hard and with selfish motives. Lee did it with thousands of sons and daughters. They, like Todd, have trouble sorting out responsibility, blame and guilt, while still at some level wishing for a good relationship with their "father."
I just watch the movie and I think it does bring out some major errors, but doesn't support the conclusion that this was a father with selfish motives.

Error 1 -- Fame and publicity. To my opinion this was the biggest mistake. It led to the divorce, the change of school, and his beginning to experiment with drugs. Almost everyone is clueless as to the dangers of fame and publicity. I don't fault his father for not realizing the dangers. His father encouraged the publicity because he felt it would lead to college scholarships. Instead it led to the label "Robo Quarterback", it led to national fame when he is only 14, it led to ridiculous image of a kid who never ate a hamburger or twinkie, which was a farce. Once this false image was created Todd was always compared to that false image for the rest of his life.

Error 2 -- I feel that too much is said how this is about the father, and little or nothing is said about how this is about the mother. According to the Bible you need to honor your father and mother that it may be well with you and that you may live a long life. It is very clear from the story that Todd enjoyed tremendous success. It was well with him, and all credit for that success was his honoring his father. However, he did not have a long career and I think that is much more to do with his mother. Although the movie skates over her involvement it appears she bailed on the marriage, she was afraid to stand up to her husband, and Todd's drug use in some ways resembles her attitude of "escape". To me this is a very big hypocrisy, the Bible makes it clear that raising a child is the responsibility of both a mother and a father. It tells children to obey the commandments of their mother and father. Yet when you watch this movie is the mother held accountable for anything?

Error 3 -- Rivalry with his college coach. His fame in HS led to him being a bigger name than his college coach. This created a very negative situation that he didn't know how to deal with. Being dumped into college was an especially dangerous situation for him than others because of his celebrity and access to free drugs. I think this was when he probably needed his mother more than ever to be actively involved, but she had bailed a long time ago. This is the second big evil of fame, it stokes the flames of envy. As a result, even though he was fabulously successful, he felt he needed to leave USC after his Sophomore year. He said he loved the school but couldn't take the coach anymore. By all accounts, if college was bad situation for him, the pros was ten times worse. Also, I don't think it was a coincidence that when he is declaring for the NFL draft the cops pull him over and search for drugs. If the star quarterback is going to leave then nothing like a little revenge.

Finally, his goal was to play quarterback in the NFL. He said once he did that he felt he had achieved his goal and was done with football. So he was incredibly successful at achieving this goal (youngest quarterback ever drafted in the first round, probably the youngest to play an NFL game, youngest to win an NFL game).

I find the contrast with Montana amazing. Montana was a 3rd string quarterback at Notre Dame, when Montana went to San Fran no one knew who he was (one player thought he was the kicker). Montana was always trying to prove himself. Todd's father was already very successful in football, Todd had very little to prove, but Montana's father was an insurance salesman. No one knew if they should even give him credit (why isn't "the catch" called "the throw"?) Also, consider the Mannings, Archie did not have a particularly stellar pro career, probably because the Saints stunk. Perhaps the kids goal in life is to prove, not just that they can play in the NFL, but that they are truly elite. It is like the verse in Matt 11, no one knows the father except him to whom the Son reveals him. Montana revealed his father to us. Larry Bird revealed his father to us. Jesus revealed his Father to us.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:54 PM   #66
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I never viewed WL as a father figure.
It's not the son that is The Father ... it's Witness Lee.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #67
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Envious people, unfortunately, have few real friends and many conflicts.
In taking this a step further I suggest there was an issue of envy or jealousy towards some of the former co-workers.
Ohio said in post #16 http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...ead.php?t=4261

"Lee was threatened by the two- five- and ten-talented members who could minister quite well without him. These ones were rivals that needed to be "dealt with." He would always claim that these ones were "doing their own thing." The system he created was designed to neutralize these gifted ones and nullify their function. "

Not only Lee, but also many of the current Blended brothers. In recent years with Titus, they must have envied Titus's talent and sought to reduce his function to a one talent brother. With the former co-workers from the late 80's, the blendeds know all too well there was no "rebellion". Their envy towards these brothers, some of the blendeds were more than too happy to see quarantined brothers become "personna non grata". In spite of truth and the facts, the blendeds have no desire for themselves nor anyone else to re-examine the past.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:01 PM   #68
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In taking this a step further I suggest there was an issue of envy or jealousy towards some of the former co-workers.
Ohio said in post #16 http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...ead.php?t=4261

"Lee was threatened by the two- five- and ten-talented members who could minister quite well without him. These ones were rivals that needed to be "dealt with." He would always claim that these ones were "doing their own thing." The system he created was designed to neutralize these gifted ones and nullify their function. "

Not only Lee, but also many of the current Blended brothers. In recent years with Titus, they must have envied Titus's talent and sought to reduce his function to a one talent brother. With the former co-workers from the late 80's, the blendeds know all too well there was no "rebellion". Their envy towards these brothers, some of the blendeds were more than too happy to see quarantined brothers become "personna non grata". In spite of truth and the facts, the blendeds have no desire for themselves nor anyone else to re-examine the past.
This is their fundamental flaw. If you are promoted in the church based on political intrigue, then you cannot stand based on your relation with the Lord. As a result all gifted brothers who demonstrate a relationship with the Lord are going to be a direct threat to you. The only way to resolve this dilemma is to confess and repent. If you refuse to do that, saying that it is "ancient history" and "no one is interested in that anymore" then you will have hardened your heart. As a result you will be afflicted with an evil spirit of jealousy and envy, just as Saul was once Samuel stripped him. In the end the Lord will deal with them, as He dealt with Saul. He didn't do it immediately with Saul because Saul was still useful in the Lord's preparation of David. But there is nothing merciful about leaving Saul as king temporarily. He was completely paranoid, and completely humiliated himself.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #69
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Not only Lee, but also many of the current Blended brothers. In recent years with Titus, they must have envied Titus's talent and sought to reduce his function to a one talent brother.
Yes and no.

Titus Chu was not an innocent victim of the Whistler "lynch mob." He was traveling the globe for years sowing discontent about the Blendeds, the Blindeds, the Blundeds, and the Blandeds. He was creating parties and followers in many regions and countries, knowing that the time will soon come when all LC'ers around the globe will have to choose between Anaheim and Cleveland. There were undertones in Taiwan of "Nee, Lee, Chu" which were starting to spread. He definitely saw himself as heir apparent to Witness Lee. Lee knew this, and knew that his many minions had nothing of their own, so he started this talk years ago about, "the age of spiritual giants is over."

If Titus were content to labor in metro Cleveland, the quarantine would never have occurred. If Titus had learned to treat his peers respectfully, the quarantine would not have been successful.
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Old 06-16-2013, 02:57 PM   #70
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Default Re: The Churches of God, ch 9, Ministry & Oversight

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[I]

“Let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discriminate. But if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence. For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted” (1 Cor. 14:29–31).

Please do not think that what is sometimes called the “open meeting” means that the saints are at the mercy of any unprofitable talker who thinks he has something to say, and would like to inflict himself upon them. The open meeting is not a meeting that is open to man. It is a meeting that is open to the Holy Spirit. There are some whose mouths must be stopped. Sometimes they may be stopped by prayer, and sometimes they have to be stopped by the godly admonition of those whom God has set over the assembly. But because there is failure in carrying out the principle, do not let us give up the principles of God.
Many who had the same experiences as I while meeting with the local churches know the emphasis of 1 Corinthians 14:26. The so-called open meeting that used to exist in the local churches, where one could testify according to their daily walk with the Lord through the Word, no longer exists. Meetings are open based on the condition your speaking is lining up with the One Publication.
I have emphasized in bold the portion I was touched by. There has been failure to carry out the principle. Meetings are not for expressing a ministry, but to express the Holy Spirit through the brothers and sisters.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:33 PM   #71
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Default Ministry and Oversight

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If Titus were content to labor in metro Cleveland, the quarantine would never have occurred. If Titus had learned to treat his peers respectfully, the quarantine would not have been successful.
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It seems unreasonable to think a ministry needs to be confined so as not to offend "the governing body". Is it really reasonable to say that TC should have been "content to labor in metro Cleveland"? Is this truly a viable alternative? WL did not treat his peers respectfully (did he even have peers?). That is the point, only a "peer" can question the ministry. You put people down so that no one questions.
The underlying question for me, which strikes at the very core of Biblical "Ministry and Oversight," is whether the politicking and back-biting which had existed for years between Anaheim and Cleveland was all about shepherding the saints and the love of the truth, or was it simply rivalry to succeed the "throne" of Witness Lee. No one can deny that both parties, whether publicly or behind the scenes, used their ministries to denigrate the ministry of their opponent. This went on for years. Even the "Phoenix Accord" did little to improve the conduct of either side.

Years ago I used to comment that both sides had "sleeper cells" in the audience ready to be activated by "code words" spoken from the platform. Both sides had been prepped for years with the failings of the other. Most LC members had long ago declared their "party affiliation," and it would be the undeclared "independents" who would decide the outcome of this political "election" to succeed outgoing MOTA Witness Lee. Though early polls indicated great strides were being made by the challenger from Cleveland, in the end the leaders voted for "no change" by siding with the incumbents from Anaheim. As the pressures increased, many Titus supporters decided to flip-flop their loyalties, sinking any chance Titus might of had.

Supporters on both sides would no doubt rigorously reject any notion that politics was in play. Both stood by their "guy" because he alone was faithful to the Lord, and the "vision" he had uniquely been entrusted with in the Recovery. The "concerned" brothers voiced their "concerns," and the Blended brothers claimed to be the "faithful" ones.

Back to my initial question. Was the "fight" of the Lord? Did they really fight on behalf of the saints? Did they really stand as overseers on the word of God? Were they ministering or were they ruling as the Gentiles do?
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:48 PM   #72
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An incredible and informative post bro Ohio. Thanks ... and well put ...
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:34 PM   #73
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An incredible and informative post bro Ohio. Thanks ... and well put ...
Thanks ... I was just looking for some way to get back on topic ... without losing any contributors.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:45 PM   #74
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The underlying question for me, which strikes at the very core of Biblical "Ministry and Oversight," is whether the politicking and back-biting which had existed for years between Anaheim and Cleveland was all about shepherding the saints and the love of the truth, or was it simply rivalry to succeed the "throne" of Witness Lee.
I have always been under the impression that in the NT the end does not justify the means. Walking contrary to the Lord because "you have a good heart" or some other form of deceit is always an error. Arguing that your motive was pure, or you were doing this for good reasons is just the fig leaf of a sinner. These arguments are often made as some kind of deeper spiritual truth that you, the questioning one, are too immature to understand. If that is not enough to subdue you then you are chastised for questioning and bringing in death, etc.

Merely the deceits of a liar and fraud.
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