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Spiritual Abuse Titles Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining or decreasing that person's spiritual empowerment.

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Old 08-25-2008, 04:52 AM   #501
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The teaching of deputy authority is nothing more than an invitation to abuse.

To see where the idea can lead, read this post.
Igzy, did you do all the research to find those quotes?

Those quotes are indeed scary, and remind me of my school age days in that system. Most of the ones I knew would never tolerate the outworking of those extremes. They were Catholics by culture and convenience. The worst thing for them could be summarized by the Lord's words, "your traditions make void the word of God." In my generation, in my extended family, just about no one is Catholic anymore. Usually, if they are, it is to send their kids to their schools.

My question about the teaching of "deputy authority" is this: what's the value? The risk of danger far outweighs the supposed value. While God does raise up certain men in the Bible to represent him, once we make that a teaching in the church, then men will raise themselves up ... to the detriment of others. Fallen man has enough weapons in his arsenal, just think what sanctioned teachings will do.

WN knew church history well, along with the "clear and present danger" of even mentioning such a thing as deputy authority, even with caveats on every page. I'm sure in RCC history the "checks and balances" of deputy authority were initially taught side by side, only to be set aside by ambitious leaders who don't want "checks and balances." One such Biblical balance is the presbytery, a group of elders. WN's other teaching of "the work" also propelled the concepts of deputy authority. Those who strongly reject all hierarchy in the church, just don't seem to balk at the same "monster" in "the work." Slowly as "the work" overtakes "the church," we have a "monster" in full authority, yet all the members seemingly are unawares. Change the name of "the work" to "the ministry" and we have today's situation, with "monsters' on the loose for decades.
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Old 08-25-2008, 05:24 AM   #502
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My question about the teaching of "deputy authority" is this: what's the value? The risk of danger far outweighs the supposed value. While God does raise up certain men in the Bible to represent him, once we make that a teaching in the church, then men will raise themselves up ... to the detriment of others.
Take heed in defining a "Universal Church" concept since that is precisely what permits an environment for this and other detrimental doctrines to grow and fester.

Also, probably need to go back to the Bible to find out what is meant by the Greek word \apostolos\ in the New Testament. Yes, it's defintion is commonly known but we must interpret the Bible with the Bible and the very common concept of "one sent with full authority" seems suspiciously like a doctrine of control in the "Universal Church."

Finally, Witness Lee taught that Silas, Timothy and Titus were "apostles" but the Bible apparently doesn't actually say that. So, consider that some doctrines about who are "apostles" and what those people do may be derived from Rome and also influenced by Lee's own flavor of hierarchy which he laid out fairly clearly in his 1988 booklet "A Timely Trumpeting and the Present Need."
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:26 AM   #503
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I did a quick search on an online Bible (both NASV & KJV) for 'God's economy', 'universal church', and 'deputy authority' - zero, zilch, nada. Did another search on love -more than 400 hits. It's rudimentary my dear Watson.

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Old 08-25-2008, 06:50 AM   #504
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Finally, Witness Lee taught that Silas, Timothy and Titus were "apostles" but the Bible apparently doesn't actually say that. So, consider that some doctrines about who are "apostles" and what those people do may be derived from Rome and also influenced by Lee's own flavor of hierarchy which he laid out fairly clearly in his 1988 booklet "A Timely Trumpeting and the Present Need."

I've often thought about someting. According to Lee's "Deputy Authority" teaching, Timothy should have succeeded Paul. In his two letters to Timothy it would seem that Paul was indeed grooming Timothy to at least carry out his burden. But does church history give any indication of Timothy doing anything? Or, maybe he just dropped the ball...oops...I mean "mantle."

Roger
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:39 AM   #505
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Default Idolatry (Continued)...

I took a break for a few days on posting while continuing to follow along. I just went back to my last post and read forward from there to here.

From the start, I have to apologize to the BlessD's of the forum who don't care for all the intellectualism. You're right, we tend to get stuck in it. I'm one of those analytical types that easily gets into it. Sorry. I think it was Igzy who noted that we need to get some of this straightened out in our heads with some more clarity.

About the forums: I've actually been happy that this forum came about and that I am not bearing all the weight of the past environment. I am very thankful for this forum and have felt no rejection by the departure from the other forum. In my mind, I've called this forum, Safe Harbor.

Maybe it's Safe Harbor except for me on this thread!!!

I have felt only to contribute to ONE topic on this forum. The topic is a kind of amalgamation (look it up, www.dictionary.com) of several things and thus it is somewhat confusing. I honestly believe we need light (God's light) on this thread. I don't have the utterance for what needs to be said here, but I have a portion of it.

Without names here are some positions I've seen:
View A - there are some 'holism's' (alcoholism, etc.) that many current and ex-LC are addicted to and this has impacted families.
View B - the leadership is a problem and committed the errors of the LC, but the regular folk are fine.
View C - there is a "good" LC and/or Witness Lee and a "bad" LC and/or Witness Lee and we saw these two things evolve over time.
View D - let's look at all this in concrete terms, but not use the words 'demons', 'idolatry', etc
View E - there is idolatry present that had a pervasive effect on individuals and families.

I believe that View A and View E are effectively one in the same.

When something is amalgamated it can be somewhat difficult to extract into it's respective elements.

I'm going to take a particular approach. I'm going to try to present some of this from God's perspective based on the substance of the OT. I'm not going to twist God's language to make modernists happy. I'm going to stick with His language and His perspective. I believe it is essential to tune into His perspective to understand idolatry, because the subject really is all about Him and His point of view. Idolatry is set in opposition to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind.

Idolatry is the single most prevalent topic related to disobedience and sin in the entire OT. If we don't know how to map it forward with a sober mind to the current day, then something is wrong. We are told to 'guard' ourselves against idols. If we are ignorant of what they are and how they come into our lives, then we are not on 'guard'. To the frightened, I say what Jesus said, "Fear not". Jesus said that a lot. For now, just learn knowing that God is full of mercy for you in anything you have erred if you are willing to repent of it.

More later...

Matt

P.S. I continue to believe that the consequences of idolatry are much of what we have witnessed across many families in the LC and therefore I continue to address it within this thread.

Last edited by Matt Anderson; 08-25-2008 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:33 AM   #506
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I'm going to take a particular approach. I'm going to try to present some of this from God's perspective based on the substance of the OT. I'm not going to twist God's language to make modernists happy. I'm going to stick with His language and His perspective.
Matt, if we can evaluate all Christianity to the same standard, and not "raise the bar" when critiquing all the things of the LC's, then that's great. There's no perfect church. All the warnings of the Bible can speak to all our hearts. I do hope your analysis can be tempered by the substance of the N.T. Perhaps the "wildly speculative O.T. interpretations" I have heard from "the ministry" have spooked me.

You have enumerated some viewpoints that the posters have. I could relate to all of them, because each view has merit, with each of us shaped by our own particular upbringings, experiences with local saints, differences with regional leadership, and times and lengths of times, etc.

I'm sorry you feel that this forum is a "safe harbor" for all but you on this thread. I don't think any of the posters intended that. I seem to have a "knee-jerk" reaction to what I perceive as "extremes." Perhaps I was trying to make it too "safe" for others. I'll do my best to let you develop your thoughts here without unnecessary interruptions. Peace in Christ Jesus.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:06 AM   #507
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I'm sorry you feel that this forum is a "safe harbor" for all but you on this thread.
My comment about being the exception to the 'safe harbor' of this forum was intended to lighten the air. Truly, I am not offended with your attempts to balance out what I am saying which is admittedly extreme. If it is extreme, but true, then I am personally okay with it. I may not be able to communicate it properly to others, but I do know that there are quite a few on this forum who can hear and understand the substance of what I mean. Maybe my 'extremeness' in this area can be tempered by others to something that is more easily digested by those who need help.

For now, let's just see if the substance of what I am saying holds any water or not. I believe it does.

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Matt, if we can evaluate all Christianity to the same standard, and not "raise the bar" when critiquing all the things of the LC's, then that's great.
I'm not here to play the game of equity on this particular subject. I think the LC has done all the 'beating up' of Christianity needed. I don't need to add to that side of the scale.

In my view, let's start with our own house. That's what my family has had to do. We are not done with this process, but God has been good to us in all these things even when it comes to judging us. It starts at home or else it is not a fair game. This was one of the core issues with the LC. It was always pointing at poor, poor Christianity. Well, let's start with the LC (homebase) and focus on it. If we don't get past that, then we don't have to worry about everybody else. I take the reverse view on this point from others. I do so intentionally at this time.

If you point to others, then it's easy to make and keep friends. If you point to your own home it gets a bit more difficult. Judgment begins at the House of God. Let's let God judge us first. He promises to judge us unto mercy if we are faithful to repent. But, He definitely promises to judge. If you fall on this rock, you will be broken. If it falls on you, you will be crushed.

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I do hope your analysis can be tempered by the substance of the N.T. Perhaps the "wildly speculative O.T. interpretations" I have heard from "the ministry" have spooked me.
As for the O.T. view of things versus the N.T. view of things I would like to add one point. Nothing in the N.T. has overriden anything in the O.T. Jesus Christ is the fulness of the Law and the Prophets. At one point in my life the Lord impressed an important fact upon me. Paul could write the N.T. because he knew and understood the O.T. so well. In my reading of Paul, I have found that the O.T. is the key to understanding what Paul says.

Let me solidify what I mean by means of the N.T. and Paul's express statements.

Gal 3:22-25
But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. (23) But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. (24) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The law is still a schoolmaster. We are not 'under' it, but we still need it's instruction.

1Co 10:1-14
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (2) And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (3) And did all eat the same spiritual meat; (4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (5) But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (6) Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (7) Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. (8) Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. (9) Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. (10) Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. (11) Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (12) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (14) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Paul writes to Timothy, whom Paul discipled in the Lord.

2Ti 3:15-17
And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

The holy scriptures that Paul is referring to when he speaks to Timothy are the O.T., not the N.T. The O.T. is able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is to furnish you unto all good works.

Don't leave behind the instruction of the O.T.. I believe it is folly to do so. Sometimes the O.T. is harder to swallow and sometimes men (me included) allegorize it too much. The N.T. changes some things for our benefit, but not God. God does not change. The O.T. gives us more of a window into the full character of God with many object lessons and examples. Without that context, the full meaning and reality of 'Christ in you, the hope of glory' cannot be understood and you can become prey to the evil one.

It has been my study of the O.T. that continues to make the N.T. a more fabulous part of the Bible. The N.T. does not exist without the O.T.

Matt

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:14 AM   #508
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Matt, if we can evaluate all Christianity to the same standard, and not "raise the bar" when critiquing all the things of the LC's, then that's great. There's no perfect church.
Sorry, Ohio, I had been writing another post when I saw yours. I responded to it first, but it included a perfect lead-in to what I was writing.

You're right. There is no perfect church. In fact, the Lord was very clear about this in Revelation 2-3.

TJ brought the Church in Pergamos into focus. Pergamos is from the N.T. and points to the O.T. for supporting the Lord's message.

I want to follow-up on it with some information about Rev 2:14 and the doctrine of Balaam.

This will only take care of half of the equation on Pergamos. The other half is in the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.

Revelation 2:14
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

There are parts of this verse that are a bit of a puzzle. You cannot find a verse in the OT that points to the fact that Balaam "taught" Balak the particular thing that Balak learned and used to 'cast a stumblingblock' in front of the children of Israel.

You can find a verse that shows that Balaam 'counseled' Balak (Numbers 31:16), but if you read through the entire account of Balaam (Numbers 22-25) you don't find him telling Balak how to cause the children of Israel to fall. Balaam works for personal profit (aka filthy lucre and selfish gain). Balaam even has direct contact with the Lord and speaks the Word that the Lord gives to Balaam. He was a prophet of God and spoke the words that the Lord gave him to speak to Balak, but he did it for his own (Balaam's) sake.

Balaam is asked 3 times to curse the children of Israel and 3 times he ends up blessing them. Balak finally gets disgusted with it and Balak and Balaam part ways. Balaam doesn't "teach" Balak anything in the typical sense we think of "teaching". But Numbers 31:16 says:

Num 31:16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against Jehovah in the matter of Peor, and so the plague was among the congregation of Jehovah.

The word "counsel" is H1697 / dabar which means speaking or words. It doesn't mean "teach". It basically means talking.

I can't find anything else in the OT that indicates that Balaam was "teaching".

But the Spirit expressly says in Revelation 2:14 that Balaam "taught". The word in Greek is didaskos, which is used in many other places as "teach", "taught", etc.

So, what did Balaam "teach"?

He taught him this: If you can't beat them, entice them by means of wile and join them in 'friendship'.

This is exactly what Balak did. Balak didn't come out to go to war with the children of Israel. No, he went out with the enticements.

Num 25:1-2 And Israel abode in Sittim; and the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab: (2) for they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

If you have forgotten or I haven't said it, both 'meat' and 'women' were an enticement at this time. The children of Israel had already tested the Lord for want of meat. They complained about only having manna from heaven. They wanted meat to eat. So, yes, an invitation to sit at the table with Balak and eat meat was truly an enticement. (I don't have to explain the other one!)

It should be noted that God saw this coming. Read what he said in Exodus 34 very closely. Okay, okay I'll bold it for you.

Exo 34:14-16 for thou shalt worship no other god: for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: (15) lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot after their gods, and sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee and thou eat of his sacrifice; (16) and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters play the harlot after their gods, and make thy sons play the harlot after their gods.

So back to what it says in Revelation 2:14. He says that some hold the 'doctrine of Balaam', who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.

The call to Pergamos is this: Repent or else the Lord will come quickly and make war with the sword of His mouth.

Connecting the Dots?

Is anybody starting to connect the dots here? If not, I'll take a stab at it pretty soon, but I think we should get a reminder of the 'doctrines of the Nicolaitans'.

What were the 'children (young people in the Lord in the 60's/70's) of the LC' enticed with?

Matt

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:56 AM   #509
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Ohio I suggest that most Christians I know would conclude at least one of the following if they visited the LCS:

1. it's cultic
2. it idolizes Witness Lee
3. it has addictive behavior patterns in relation to Lee
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:23 PM   #510
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The call to Pergamos is this: Repent or else the Lord will come quickly and make war with the sword of His mouth.

Connecting the Dots?

Is anybody starting to connect the dots here? If not, I'll take a stab at it pretty soon, but I think we should get a reminder of the 'doctrines of the Nicolaitans'.

What were the 'children (young people in the Lord in the 60's/70's) of the LC' enticed with?

Matt
Matt:

I don't have any dot-connecting to do just yet, but I do have a preliminary question regarding Revelation 2.

I find it interesting that in the letter to Pergamos, the Spirit holds the entire church accountable even though it is only "some who hold to the doctrine of Balaam" and only "some who in the same way hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans." The call, nevertheless, is for the whole church to repent for the beliefs of the some.

But even more interesting is the contrast with the letter to Thyatira. I really don't know why Thyatira is said to "tolerate" Jezabell - rather than accusing them of the same thing as Pergamos - holding to the teaching of Nicolaitans. It seems their error is identical: eating things sacrificed to idols and committing act of immorality. Yet the "source" or reason for each is different: teaching of Balaam in Pergamos and Jezabel in Thyatira.

And even yet more interesting, in Thyatira, it is not the whole church which is held accountable for the acts of the few. Verse 24: 'But I say to you, the rest who are in (BK)Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them--I place no other burden on you.

Why is the whole church responsible for the beliefs of some in Pergamos, but not in Thyatira? And why is one said to hold to the teachings of Balaam and the other said to be enticed by Jezabel, when their outward acts are the same? Unless their beliefs are literally based on Balaam/Nicolaitans and Jezable, respectively - why use one analogy for one and another analogy for the other, when their error seems the same? And why the different consequences for the churches?

Peter
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Old 08-25-2008, 04:14 PM   #511
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I find it interesting that in the letter to Pergamos, the Spirit holds the entire church accountable even though it is only "some who hold to the doctrine of Balaam" and only "some who in the same way hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans." The call, nevertheless, is for the whole church to repent for the beliefs of the some.
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But even more interesting is the contrast with the letter to Thyatira. I really don't know why Thyatira is said to "tolerate" Jezabell - rather than accusing them of the same thing as Pergamos - holding to the teaching of Nicolaitans. It seems their error is identical: eating things sacrificed to idols and committing act of immorality. Yet the "source" or reason for each is different: teaching of Balaam in Pergamos and Jezabel in Thyatira.

And even yet more interesting, in Thyatira, it is not the whole church which is held accountable for the acts of the few. Verse 24: 'But I say to you, the rest who are in (BK)Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them--I place no other burden on you.

Why is the whole church responsible for the beliefs of some in Pergamos, but not in Thyatira? And why is one said to hold to the teachings of Balaam and the other said to be enticed by Jezabel, when their outward acts are the same? Unless their beliefs are literally based on Balaam/Nicolaitans and Jezable, respectively - why use one analogy for one and another analogy for the other, when their error seems the same? And why the different consequences for the churches?

Peter
Hi Peter,

Here are two possibilities I see for the difference in the scope of accountability:

1) In Thyatira it is clear that only some were holding the teachings of the prophetess Jezebel and practicing what she taught. Thus only those were accountable. What God had against the others was that they “suffered” her or let her be. This was bad but not as bad as those who practiced what she taught.

In the letter to Pergamos, it says “thou hast there them that hold the doctrine....” The Greek word “hast” means “to hold” and implies accompanying and following. The whole church was holding to these men and their teachings, so they were all implicated.

2) The church in Thyatira was told that they had not known the depths of Satan. "Depths" here in Greek is “profundity” or "mystery." This could be referring to the “mystery” of the Babylonian religion that eventually infiltrated the church. Deeper initiation into the "mysteries" of the Babylonian religion was directly tied to advancement in the priestly class system or hierarchy--a system that was used to control the common people.

This was was not present in Thyatira, but it seems that it was present in Pergamos through the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes which produces a system used to conquer or control the people. Apparently, those who were “conquered” or “subdued” were guilty because they believed this teaching and practiced accordingly, allowing themselves to be subdued and brought into bondage.

As believers we are to stand fast in the liberty we have in Christ and not be brought into bondage. When there is hierarchical control (where people are fully submitted to others because of their rank or class) a situation of bondage or servitude is produced. God hates this because His people are not to be in bondage. “I am the Lord thy God that brought the up out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” He brought them out of bondage to be free to serve Him. Serving others than God Himself brings bondage. The principal of idolatry was serving other gods. This is why God hated it so.

Another thing -- in Ephesus there were “deeds” of the Nicolaitanes, but this was not as harshly spoken of as it was in Pergamos. (God only said he hated it.) In Pergamos the situation was much more serious because they held the the “doctrine” of the Nicolaitanes. Maybe God holds us more accountable for accepting false teachings, because we are responsible for what we believe and are supposed to examine teachings for their truth in the light of the Scriptures.

In the Local Churches, we had the deeds of the Nicolaitanes before the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes reached the common saints. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes was given to prospective members of the “governing” class in secret (like the mysteries?) in Texas as early as 1965; it was the early 1970s before it started to be taught openly among us. So, as in Pergamos, we all have to repent for this.

And one more thought--there is no such thing as group repentance whereby a representive repents for a group. The Spirit's call was to individuals to repent. When all the individuals in a group repent, then you could say there has been group repentance.

Thankful Jane

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Old 08-25-2008, 05:27 PM   #512
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Hi Peter,

Here are two possibilities I see for the difference in the scope of accountability:


In the letter to Pergamos, it says “thou hast there them that hold the doctrine....” The Greek word “hast” means “to hold” and implies accompanying and following. The whole church was holding to these men and their teachings, so they were all implicated.

Thankful Jane
Jane:

I will ponder further your second point and respond soon. I just don't see the first point. I don't think a translation of "to hold" enables the distinction between the situation of the two churches. I don't see the implications you do. It says "thou has there them that hold the doctrine..." Other translations say, "there are some who hold..." and still others, "you have there those who hold..."

Why not just say, "I have a few things against you: that you hold to the doctrine..." - similar to the construction and broad scope of the admonition to the Ephesions: "You [all of them - the whole church] have left your first love..." The constrcution of "you have some/those/ones..." doesn't carry the same scope - i.e. that they all - each and every one - held to the doctrine.

Nevertheless, the Spirit held them accountable. Thus, I think the distinction is more about the nature of the doctrine versus the enticing of Jezabel in Thyatira.

Still, I just don't see the distinction, yet. I found Matt's description of the teaching of Balaam compelling. But it could be condensed down to: the teaching was something that enticed the children of Israel. But put that way, I have an even harder time distinguishing it from the enticing of Jezabel.

Thoughts?

Peter
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:29 PM   #513
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Jane:

I will ponder further your second point and respond soon. I just don't see the first point. I don't think a translation of "to hold" enables the distinction between the situation of the two churches. I don't see the implications you do. It says "thou has there them that hold the doctrine..." Other translations say, "there are some who hold..." and still others, "you have there those who hold..."

Why not just say, "I have a few things against you: that you hold to the doctrine..." - similar to the construction and broad scope of the admonition to the Ephesions: "You [all of them - the whole church] have left your first love..." The constrcution of "you have some/those/ones..." doesn't carry the same scope - i.e. that they all - each and every one - held to the doctrine.

Nevertheless, the Spirit held them accountable. Thus, I think the distinction is more about the nature of the doctrine versus the enticing of Jezabel in Thyatira.

Still, I just don't see the distinction, yet. I found Matt's description of the teaching of Balaam compelling. But it could be condensed down to: the teaching was something that enticed the children of Israel. But put that way, I have an even harder time distinguishing it from the enticing of Jezabel.

Thoughts?

Peter
The one thing we know, Peter, is that God doesn't hold us accountable if we are not accountable. If the Spirit didn't hold them responsible in some way for the "them" in this church, then He would have not required them to repent. At this point, I don't see another way to look at it. (The verse actually says "you hold them there" that hold the doctrine ...). This seems simple enough to me. They clearly didn't hate this doctrine like God did. They should not have had such doctrine among them in the church there. It couldn't have remained there if it hadn't been accepted.

May I ask why the scope of accountability is important to you? The simple thing is to take this letter as one written to individuals in a church calling each of them to repent. If I am guilty of practicing/teaching the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, I need to repent.

I personally have never been on the end demanding others to submit to me, but I have been on the end of submitting to others absolutely. I have repented for this. I have set my heart to submit absolutely to only one person, Jesus. That takes care of the problem for me.

Thankful Jane

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Old 08-25-2008, 08:22 PM   #514
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Igzy, did you do all the research to find those quotes?
Are you kidding? No, I just got them off the Internet like everyone else does. I guess I should have provided a link.

http://www.mystery-babylon.net/mystery_babylon.html
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:48 PM   #515
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Idolatry is the single most prevalent topic related to disobedience and sin in the entire OT. If we don't know how to map it forward with a sober mind to the current day, then something is wrong. We are told to 'guard' ourselves against idols. If we are ignorant of what they are and how they come into our lives, then we are not on 'guard'. To the frightened, I say what Jesus said, "Fear not". Jesus said that a lot. For now, just learn knowing that God is full of mercy for you in anything you have erred if you are willing to repent of it.
Matt,

If you do a simple word study of the usage of idolatry in the New Testament it's pretty clear that it is associated with many of the baser works of the flesh. E.g.

"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like..."
(Gal 5:19-22).

"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Eph 5:5)

"For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry." (1 Pet 4:3)

What I'm saying is that these verses suggest that idolatry isn't something that nuanced. It's a gross manifestation of the flesh that is accompanied by other gross manifestations of the flesh. That's one side of it, at least.

I'm not so sure idolatry is the problem in the LC so much as gross deceptions based on warped visions of oneness, accord, leadership, one ministry, God's move, etc, etc. Once they are brainwashed into buying into the premises of their particular vision of oneness, the behavior they manifest is the logical result. They get locked in.

LCers are no more idolators of Lee's teachings than fanatical Calvinists are idolators of Calvin's teachings. Then again, fanatical Calvinists are kind of idolators of Calvin's teachings.
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:30 PM   #516
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I'm not so sure idolatry is the problem in the LC so much as gross deceptions based on warped visions of oneness, accord, leadership, one ministry, God's move, etc, etc. Once they are brainwashed into buying into the premises of their particular vision of oneness, the behavior they manifest is the logical result. They get locked in.

To try and convince anyone in the Living Stream Church that they are guilty of idolatry in an exercise in futility. It's not a matter of being bold to do so.

We've all had our moments of "boldness" when in our foolish youth we were willing to blow somebody away with all our acquired knowledge on any one subject. I can remember standing on my dad's toes, when I was fresh in the Lord, and telling him he was destined for hell without Christ.

Inaccurate information? Probably not. Foolish presentation? Absolutely.

Eventually my Father was led to the Lord in the most tender way, when he was open, and it was done with much prayer, discernment, understanding, and care.

It's been my experience that the greatest success comes while discerningly showing them how they have been deceived. This hasn’t been an easy lesson for me to learn. But I know it is the way.

Blowing people away with extreme terms and labels? We learned that in the Local Church. It's one of those residucal LSM traits that the Lord has to deal with in us.

Roger
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:16 AM   #517
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So we don't like the word idolatry. That's fine. So it is a strong label like the word 'cult'. Okay. As I said, I am going to stick with God's words on this subject because it has been one of the key things that has helped me see the light.

So, what's the message that underlies idolatry and how does it really apply to the LC and to today? The message and the meaning are still valid and relevant.

In the list of base sinful acts that Igzy quoted, I believe that we have all read (or at least some of us) about the following ones present with or supported by Lee.

sexual immorality,
hatred,
discord,
jealousy,
fits of rage,
selfish ambition,
dissensions,
factions and envy.

and yes

idolatry,

So, yes, idolatry is aligned with the more obvious stuff. We have examples of a number of these more obvious things in the LC.

I'm not talking about something nuanced here. We've all been in the garlic room too long. As djohnson has said and my wife experienced when we went to an LC meeting. It appears:

1. cultic
2. idolizes Lee

These two are more obvious to the human perception if you aren't initiated in the group already.

If anyone thinks I am being extreme just to be extreme, I'm not. I'm just keeping this subject on the table for everyone to continue to consider. If God says nothing to you through it, then fine.

I'm working on an exposition of 1 Corinthians 10 to help demonstrate from a NT point of view what Paul was saying about idolatry and the "table of the Lord" versus the "table of demons".

The main substantive questions are really related to whether idolatry can take a form that does not include physical idols and/or meats offered to physical idols among believers in a christian setting?

For example, when someone, in reverence, says "Brother Lee says..." and then offers up words from HWMR to others at the Lord's table is this something that is idolatrous?

As Paul says, the OT children of Israel were given manna from heaven which he equated with "spiritual food" that was Christ. Christ says I am the bread of life and that his words (I believe rhema) were spirit and were life. The words that the Lord Jesus Christ speaks to you are spirit and life to you. He provides them on a daily basis (Give us this day our daily bread) and puts them in our heart. If another man comes along through a system of Christianity and replaces the Word of God with things like HWMR and begins to provide you your daily bread is this not replacing your attention on the Lord with something else? Is this not idolatry?

If you choke on the word, idolatry, I am sorry. It's not my word. I'm just trying to pay attention to God for what God says the way He says it. I know this isn't very modern of me.

Most of those listening here are not inexperienced in the Word of God. You should be able to eat meat. There is no control here that forces you to believe one thing or another, so there is no real parallel to the LC. If you can discredit what I say and go on your way then more power to you.

Matt

P.S. One of the points that Paul makes in 1 Cor 10 is for the Corinthians to "judge for themselves". He's basically saying, listen to what I have to say on this subject and then decide for yourselves. I agree with Paul.

Last edited by Matt Anderson; 08-26-2008 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:51 AM   #518
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To try and convince anyone in the Living Stream Church that they are guilty of idolatry in an exercise in futility. It's not a matter of being bold to do so.
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We've all had our moments of "boldness" when in our foolish youth we were willing to blow somebody away with all our acquired knowledge on any one subject. I can remember standing on my dad's toes, when I was fresh in the Lord, and telling him he was destined for hell without Christ.

Inaccurate information? Probably not. Foolish presentation? Absolutely.

Eventually my Father was led to the Lord in the most tender way, when he was open, and it was done with much prayer, discernment, understanding, and care.

It's been my experience that the greatest success comes while discerningly showing them how they have been deceived. This hasn’t been an easy lesson for me to learn. But I know it is the way.

Blowing people away with extreme terms and labels? We learned that in the Local Church. It's one of those residucal LSM traits that the Lord has to deal with in us.

Roger
I may be wrong, but this thread is not about persuading the LSM folks about anything. They are like the "them" in Rev. 2. They aren't listening. If we are closely related to any of them and might be able to help them, I totally agree with the approach you've described--persuasion in love over time as God leads.

I believe this thread is primarily about understanding what happened to so many of us who were there, but are no longer. What went wrong to produce such evil fruit?

This understanding can help all categories of survivors: abused, abusers, and assentors. Why were we abused? Because we willingly submitted to the control of men more than the control of God. Why did we submit like this? We were taught to do so with leavened teachings. Why did we abuse? Because we coveted something other than God. We were enticed by the devil to be "someone." Why were we silent? Because we feared men more than God. Why did we fear? We were taught unhealthy fear through leavened teachings.

Abusive situations thrive in silence and in fear where the selfishness of the abuser can continue unchecked. In the case of God's family, to end silence, to face our unhealty fears in God's light, to purge out the leaven, and to say no to the selfishness of evil men is to end disobedience to God. We are told to expose evil deeds, not put on blinders and hope they go away. We are told to communicate in the light of God's truth, not in the hide in dark perversions of it.

We need to learn from what we have passed through so we don't repeat it in some other form, one that looks better. If we still have the basic building blocks of hierarchy in place and hold vestiges of deputy authority teachings which we may believe are the correct "cleaned up" version, it is only a matter of time before there will be bad fruit again. If we don't understand what it means for a Christian to "eat things sacrificed to idols" we'll be found chowiing down again on adulderated and leavened words of God.

We need to reach correct conclusions about the lessons God wants us to learn, with His help and light from His Word. So, what we are doing here is a worthy endeavor.

My husband and I are in contact with a number of people in the latest "home" church movement. These people are waking up to the evils and deadness in so many churches today and are wanting to come back to Jesus only. I think we have been able to help in some way with some of them as a voice of warning about the danger of making their focus "doing church right." We have been able to share some about how this seemingly good purpose can be used by the enemy to cause us to miss aim from our high calling to know Him. We've been able to warn them about wolves who come clothed in sheep's clothing as angels of light who intend to lord it over God's seeking sheep. Any "together" experience is about helping each other know Him and follow Him as the pre-eminent one, not about building a new and better church expression or offering selfish men a platform for their ambition and becoming objects of their abuse.

I am thankful for their sake that God has spent (and is still spending) a lot of time clearing up our minds by light and truth from the pure Word of God which sets free from deception. Otherwise, we might find ourselves spending more time in the wilderness trying again, with them, to do church right. We might even find ourselves as know-it-all wolves who come like angels of light to them but end up lording it over and abusing them.

Lord have mercy on us. Send your Word and heal our diseases. (Psa. 107:20)

Thankful Jane
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:28 AM   #519
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One thing that became very clear on the other forum was that there were many current LSM Church members who were lurkers, and were indeed affected by the tone of the forum. Several people made this clear to us. Several members pleaded with us to to change the tone for their sake, lest they go away confirmed in the things that the "Blendeds" were saying about us. I remember this because I was one the chief offenders in this area.

If memory serves me well, "kisstheson" was one who became enlightened because of the Berean Forum. Thank God the tone didn't turn him away. But I believe that many were turned away.

If we look at things from the Local Church perspective: Back in the day they were very fond of blasting everyone with the words, "Christianity is Babylon." Some were attracted by that, because it appealed to their radical personality. Many were turned away (although, we thank God for that). So, it's not just a matter of being doctrinally right. Even the matter of being doctrinally right is in the eyes of the one on the soap box.

Whether or not idolatry is rampant in the Living Stream Church is arguable. Personally, I don't have a problem with the concept, because I believe there is much truth there. But we must be considerate of those who are teetering on the brink.

Let's take the word "cult," for example. I learned the hard way that many Living Stream Church members, and many in break away Local Churches are very, very sensitive to this word. Originally, I thought it my mission to convince them that the word does indeed apply to the LSM Church. The evidence was clear, I thought.

But what was the result of my insistence? Bottom line? It made ME feel good to be on the soap box, displaying all I knew about the subject; and it might have made some who have the same ideas feel good ("yeah, that's it, get 'em"). But that was, I think, all there was it it.

Of course, we can do whatever we want, and it is certainly the prerogative of the one paying for all this to steer things the way they want it to go. The request for being considerate of those who might still come out of the organization is just that, a request.

But I think it behooves us to consider such a thing. It is easy to vent. Believe me, I know, because I've done a lot of it. But regardless of how much we like to think this is just a private room where like minded people can vent and agree, the fact is that it is on the World Wide Web. Every eye can see it. We should remember this. Current Local Church Members who are seeking and are still at varying stages of enlightenment, so far as the error of LSM is concerned, are watching with genuine interest.

But that's just my opinion. It's not my dime.

Roger
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:41 AM   #520
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Dear Forum,

For some reason, my home computer has been shut out of the forum. Several days ago I prepared the following. Just as I was preparing to post it, I lost the link to the forum and it has not come back. Thus I am taking a few minutes at work to post this.

Quotes from Matt’s Posts,

Let's be clear. It was Hope that started this line of reasoning at the beginning of the thread if you want to be factual about the introduction of influences from the dark side. He said, "remember there is an enemy". You didn't object to that.

He did this to deflect attention from some aspects of individual responsibility for sin. I started pushing on this fact by drawing out the issue of idolatry. Idolatry is a sin. It is a deed that each one of us can commit and must take responsibility for it when we do. If we take care of our sin, then God will protect us from the Enemy.

That's fine with me and I will defend my position rigorously on this issue. I'll also challenge the likes of SC and Hope when the defense that is attempted is subpar.



Matt,

May I assume your reference to me as “the likes of” is linked to your thought that my motive for mentioning the enemy, (Satan, the Devil with his evil forces) was an attempt to deflect some aspects of individual responsibility for sin?
We all will appear at the judgment seat of Christ and will be required to take personal responsibility for how we walked. At that time, all our motives will be exposed. Many times we do not know what our motives are. In my original post which may have been the Genesis for all the back and forth, I thought my motive was based on a desire to help the people who have been so hurt, both children and parents. Blaming a brother or sister who did not agree with an edict from Anaheim etc, destroyed many a conscience. They were brought into a "it is your fault" mind set and many times their walk with the Lord was destroyed. I have learned to seek to protect believers, in, out or never heard of the lc, from excessive blaming introspection. That was what I thought was my motive. Maybe I have displayed tendencies to avoid personal responsibilities on the two forums and when we have talked. No good if I have.

Idolatry was not only among the Israelites but also among all the nations around them. We all must be on guard against idols. A little side bar, at one time in the recent 10 years I was a frequent speaker guest at another assembly. A brother from that place heard some messages on idols given here in NC. I was invited to give a week-end conference there on the matter of idols. Wow, did that ever change my popularity!! Yes, there is an enemy. He uses idolatry to attack our individual Christian life, our Corporate Testimony and our families.

Idolatry is linked to greed because the idol promises to satisfy the greed’s desire whatever that is. Men do not worship idols for nothing. There is a promise of getting the things one lusts for. If we do not put our greed on the cross, we are a sitting duck for the enemy to seduce us through idolatry. The idol’s worship and service will require us to sacrifice something and almost always it is our family and for believers it will include the Lord’s children. This is true whether the person is a Christian or in or not in a local church. Consider how many dear believers in the local churches were sacrificed in order to prove the loyalty of different ones. I was amazed as greedy, ambitious members denounced godly saints as a means to advance in the LCS. Why could they turn on John Ingalls, John So, Bill Mallon and others? Because they had been seduced to believe their greed, ambition for position could be fulfilled by sacrifices, the killing of the Lord’s servants and prophets. See 2 Kings 9:7, 'And you shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets , and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. NASB

May I call for another deep breath and a step back? Matt, does have a vital point about idols. But I also think we all need a little more care lest we slay some of the genuine servants of the Lord. Consider the zeal but also care of Jehu, the destroyer of the House of Ahab and the priests of Baal. 2 Kings 10:23, "Search and see that there may be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but only the worshipers of Baal." NASB

Again, if I have taken a position of avoiding personal responsibility please let me know. I would prefer to walk in the light.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:58 AM   #521
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The one thing we know, Peter, is that God doesn't hold us accountable if we are not accountable. If the Spirit didn't hold them responsible in some way for the "them" in this church, then He would have not required them to repent. At this point, I don't see another way to look at it. (The verse actually says "you hold them there" that hold the doctrine ...). This seems simple enough to me. They clearly didn't hate this doctrine like God did. They should not have had such doctrine among them in the church there. It couldn't have remained there if it hadn't been accepted.

May I ask why the scope of accountability is important to you? The simple thing is to take this letter as one written to individuals in a church calling each of them to repent. If I am guilty of practicing/teaching the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, I need to repent.

I personally have never been on the end demanding others to submit to me, but I have been on the end of submitting to others absolutely. I have repented for this. I have set my heart to submit absolutely to only one person, Jesus. That takes care of the problem for me.

Thankful Jane

TJ:

I have felt and feel strongly in agreement with you: he holds us accountable for our specific beliefs in light of the truth to which we have been exposed.

Here’s the problem: given our stupid little heads and fallen nature, we often don’t realize we have failed in our responsibilities to God. Especially when the unhealthy teachings have for soooooo long been couched in Scriptural terms, etc… We may desire to heave out all forms of idolatry from our hearts and beliefs, but may be blind to its existence. This is, in part, why the discussion on whether idolatry can be subtle or whether it is necessarily obvious, is an important discussion. We need to hear something many many times and, finally, only through much fellowship, openness and time in His Word do we finally allow His light to shine and expose our hearts.

But even once we each, individually, assess our accountability and repent accordingly, it is important to understand clearly what the Scripture teaches, even if we are not dealing with our own current problem before God. Especially when it is relates to teaching very very serious matters and serious consequences for believers.

So, back to Revelation:

I agree that there is something about the tolerance of the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans which imbues the whole church in Pergamum with accountability. There is an implication, but not a clear one, that they perhaps allowed this teaching to be held and promulgated by leadership. As you say, it could not have remained unless they tolerated it.

But I see this in Thyatira as well. It wasn’t just practices that crept in. It was teachings. Verse 24 absolves “those who do not hold this teaching…” There was a doctrine present among the church in Thyatira just as it was in Pergamos. And the teaching introduced in Tyatira is arguably closer to idolatry than in Pergamos.

It true that the teaching of Balaam and that of the Nicolaitans did include eating sacrifices to idols. But Balaam sought to bring in anything which would entice Israel – that was his focus. Its known purpose was to entice Israel into corruption by means which Balaam knew were against God. The teachings of the Nicolaitans were similar, though perhaps less starkly ill-intended. It was an extreme usurpation of the gospel in order to bring in a broader group into Christianity while not requiring the purity of the gospel. It was intended to make Christianity easier to believe and practice, because it did not require the restraint of the flesh. But it was still a known and pointed perversion of the gospel Here’s Iraneas on the matter from Against Heresies:

The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles. They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is very plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, [when they are represented] as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

Thyatira was different. Jezebel, as far as we can tell – and those who came into Thyatira (Lydia?) – genuinely believed the mixture they brought in. Jezebel believed in Baal and Israel incorporated this belief alongside their belief in God. They weren’t knowingly perverting the truth, they had to be shown the error of their ways by an awesome display of the power of the Lord – See 1 Kings 18:

21Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him."

Furthermore, the mixture was specifically about bringing in idolatry. Where Balaam and the Nicolaitans used any means possible for their ends, which happened to include idolatry, Jezebel specifically brought in worship of pagan gods. But Jezebel genuinely believed this worship to be proper.


So, in short: here’s the distinctions I see:

1) the perversions brought in by Balaam and the Nicolaitans were known to be perversions and were brought in because of that reason

2) the perversions brought in by Balaam and the Nicolaitans weren’t specific unto themselves – they were simply anything and everything that could be brought in to pervert Israel or to broaden “Christianity,” respectively

3) The worship of Baal, on the other hand, was a genuinely held belief brought into Israel and was specifically about idolatry – not just mixture for the sake of mixture.

Now, why these distinctions result in different consequences for the churches in Revelation, I don’t know. Since I didn’t initially see the difference between the errors of the two churches (since the outward behavior was the same), I wanted to determine the distinctions first. The next questions are:

1) do these distinctions hold up?
2) If so, why the different consequences (i.e. scope of accountability) in the two churches?
3) Which, if any, is more applicable to the LC? One? The other? Both? Neither?


Thoughts?

Peter
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:05 AM   #522
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I believe we should pay close attention to the idea of the mystery of iniquity that Paul spoke about and to its development over time. From our vantage point centuries later we have the possibility of understanding something about this by looking at church history, including our own experience. I believe that the picture we see in the woman, Mystery Babylon the Great, is a picture of God's people caught in a system of idolatry.

As believers, we need to see this, not for the purpose of standing and pronouncing condemnations against a group of Christians or for slaying others with this truth, but for light on our own hearts because "coming out of her" is a heart matter. It is about personal obedience and absolute submission to Christ only. It is about each person learning to cling to Jesus only and each one following Him, not denying His name and keeping His pure word. It is so we can serve Him only and not serve other gods, so we can eat the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth and not the leavened bread of malice and wickedness. It is about being a participant in the new covenant where God Himself is writing His laws on each of our hearts and minds.

The following is taken from a commentary by Barnes on verse 2Th 2:7. I don’t believe anyone can argue successfully that the mystery of iniquity was not clearly at work among us in the Local Churches. Of course, it is at work in other places, but we need to look at where we were and learn:

For the mystery of iniquity - On the meaning of the word mystery ... It means properly what is hidden or concealed; not necessarily that which is unintelligible. The “mystery of iniquity” seems here to refer to some hidden or concealed depravity - some form of sin which was working secretly and silently, and which had not yet developed itself. Any secret sources of iniquity in the church - anything that tended to corrupt its doctrines, and to destroy the simplicity of the faith of the gospel, would correspond with the meaning of the word. Doddridge correctly supposes that this may refer to the pride and ambition of some ministers, the factious temper of some Christians, the imposing’ of unauthorized severities, the worship of angels, etc.

Doth already work - There are elements of these corruptions already existing in the church. Dr. Newton maintains that the foundations of popery were laid in the apostle’s days, and that the superstructure was raised by degrees; and this is entirely in accordance with the statements of the apostle Paul. In his own time, he says, there were things which, if not restrained, would expand and ripen into that apostasy. He has not told as particularly to what he refers, but there are several intimations in his writings, as well as in other parts of the New Testament, that even in the apostolic age there existed the elements of those corruptions which were afterward developed and imbodied in the papacy. Even then, says Dr. Newton, “idolatry was stealing into the church 1Co_10:14, and a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels.” (Col_2:18; see, however, my note on that passage.) “There existed strife and divisions 1Co_3:3, an adulterating and handling the word of God deceitfully 2Co_2:17; 2Co_4:2, a gain of godliness, teaching of things for filthy lucre’s sake 1Ti_6:5; Tit_1:11, a vain observation of festivals Gal_4:10, a vain distinction of meats 1Co_8:8, a neglecting of the body Col_2:23, traditions, and commandments, and doctrines of men Col_2:8, Col_2:22; compare 3Jo_1:9, “Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence.” These things constituted the elements of the corruptions which were afterward developed in the papacy, and which are imbodied in that system. An eye that could see all, would even then have perceived that if there were no restraint, these incipient corruptions would grow up into that system, and would be expanded into all the corruptions and arrogant claims which have ever characterized it; compare 1Jo_4:3.

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Old 08-26-2008, 09:16 AM   #523
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TJ: I have felt and feel strongly in agreement with you: he holds us accountable for our specific beliefs in light of the truth to which we have been exposed...
Peter, I saw your post after my last one. I'm on my way out the door to a tennis team drill to get some much needed exercise!! My brain and fingers on the keyboard have been getting all the exercise lately! I'll respond later today.

I have one thing to say quickly and that is, I don't think the purpose of this exercise is to apply teachings in Revelation to the Local Church as a whole. The LC has all kinds of characteristics. I don't think anything is going to be a perfect overlay for any group. It's the old "if the shoe fits, wear it" saying.

Most importantly, we need to lay hold on our own personal responsibility. That is all for which we will be required to give account. Beyond that we need to grasp enough to understand how to avoid such perversions. We need to be able to recognize those teaching the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes whether we know their motive or intention or not. We need to be able to recognize the doctrine of Balaam and of Jezebel.

If we open our heart to him, He will show us what shoe fits us. If we seek truth to help us stand in freedom, He will surely give it to us.

Gotta run,
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:39 AM   #524
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May I call for another deep breath and a step back? Matt, does have a vital point about idols.

Hope, Don Rutledge
Hope (and others),

Well said. I personally took a deep breath over the weekend! But, I don't think many think I have!!!

During my deep breath I thought about a few things. Many current and ex-LCer's don't have any real level of conception of the role of 'idols' in our modern context and especially when it relates to the christian setting.

I believe you have more education on this topic from the OT. I have studied it for a while. Why don't you and I toss it back and forth for a little bit. I think there is a lot we can put on the table for consideration. As I mentioned in my last post, let's let others be the judge. They can decide for themselves.

Whether people realize it or not, I'm not here to beat anyone up. I just believe that we have to really think about this in light of God's perspective which He establishes quite clearly in the Word of God even if it causes some reactions. We can work through the reactions too. Reactions to the content are welcome in my mind.

When I referenced "the likes of", it was two-fold:
1. I was reacting to the idea that there were exceptions in the LC and that your locality was one of them. Yes, I am saying reacting. Some of the reaction was fair and some of it was unfair on my part. Sorry.

2. I was also referring the idea that each thing that we hold on to from the LC must be closely inspected. I did not express this when I said, "the likes of", but it was part of my thought as I wrote. For example, how about "deputy authority" versus "spiritual authority". I've heard you talk about DEPUTY AUTHORITY being very bad, but it is built on top of Nee's conceptions of SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY. What of "spiritual authority" are we holding onto? I'm not trying to go on a tangent. That is another thread.

But, each one of these conceptions of God and conceptions of how the church is supposed to operate that is not fully under the Lord can become a source and root cause of idolatry. Now, this kind of idolatry gets more subjective. I've been working on the more objective idolatry for the most part. Conceptions of God become idol based upon how we relate to it in our hearts. The idol is not the thing in itself, but how we relate to it.

What I did not use to understand, but makes sense to me now is that idolatry is about wrong relationship. We talk about the need for right relationship with God which is good. God asks us to be in right relationship to Him and our 'neighbors'. When we get into improper relationship to Him and our neighbors because we want (lesser form of greed) something that God hasn't given us then we start getting out of sorts with the Lord.

When we move into the heart level area of idolatry, it almost impossible to separate out the Baal worshippers from the servants of God, because it is a heart level issue. It's very difficult to judge. So, I'm guilty as charged of painting with a broad brush. I'm trying to bring into focus that the way the Lord sees idolatry and has shown by many examples is that it is extremely pervasive throughout all of Israel. I think this is still the case with the idea in mind that we are all Israelites as Paul says, but not according to fleshly birth.

As for the more objective aspects of idolatry it is a little easier to look at them. That's most of what I've been doing. I've been pressing on the more objective aspects of idolatry in the LC that we can see with our eyes. Yes, there are still some challenges in proving it out the satisfaction of others and there is a lot of resistance to the idea of even exploring it.

Part of the problem at this stage (on this thread) is that there are a number of people who don't even want to talk about it, even if we separate out the Baal worshippers from the servants of God.

I have a real hard time being willing to accept an unwillingness to address such an important subject. The most recent appeal is that we should stop talking about this because we want this forum to be more palatable to current LCer's. Are there any proposals for where we should discuss it if we want to preserve this forum?

Matt

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Old 08-26-2008, 09:57 AM   #525
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Matt,

One of my main objections to your “idol talk” was the black-and-white aspect to it. You said that every single saint was tainted by idolatry. Your logic was that just being in that environment was all it took.

Well, what about Thyatira? Here’s a church that was steeped in idolatry and other evil practices yet the Lord says, “Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets.”

Where in your assessment of the LC are “the rest of you” in the LC system?

I have other objections to your condemnation, but this one certainly deserves a response.


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Old 08-26-2008, 10:25 AM   #526
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Part of the problem at this stage (on this thread) is that there are a number of people who don't even want to talk about it, even if we separate out the Baal worshippers from the servants of God.
Matt,

The only person who really didn't want to talk about it was SC. I didn't hear anyone else say they don't want to talk about.

(Actually, if we could "talk" about it we would probably understand each other better. In this format it's often very hard to make ourselves understood even when we feel we've expressed ourselves well. Honestly, I often think we express ourselves better when we keep our posts short. Remember the great advice the father gave his son when reviewing his essays in A River Runs Through It? "Very good. Now make it half as long.")

Let me say that I do not think that it is unlikely that idolatry exists in the LC, nor do I think the word "idolatry" is inappropriate, nor do I think the subject is unworthy of discussion. I'm not opposed to Matt's burden.

I've just been throwing out some ideas from my perspective, mainly because when I hear the talk about idolatry it seems to me like a blunt instrument going "thud, thud, thud," and I respond more to dagger-like intellectual arguments. Perhaps I'm too "sophisticated." As Nigel Tomes made clear, not everyone responds to the truth delivered in the same way.

By all means carry on, Matt. I might learn something.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:47 AM   #527
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We have the term "teen idol" in our culture. Does this term = a physical stature of the star is made out of bronze and put in a temple and people bring sacrifices and bow down to it? Not likely. It means that teenagers are crazed about the star and follow them and what they wear and how they act and what they say, etc. And the studios and record companies feed this frenzy with savvy marketing. In such a fashion Lee is an idol to some in the LCS and the LSM marketing machine feeds it with their endless stream of adulation.

"Personality cult" is another term used in our society. If a disc jockey is said to have a cult following does that mean he is asking his audience to move to Guyana and kill themselves? Not likely. It means he has a group of people who excessively cling to every word that proceeds out of his mouth and in turn yap about him and his show to anyone who will listen.

Idol and cult are not shock words. They are words commonly used in our society everyday and when properly applied aptly describe the Lee/LCS situation.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:53 AM   #528
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The only person who really didn't want to talk about it was SC. I didn't hear anyone else say they don't want to talk about.
Igzy,

That, my friend, is a fabrication. I've not only talked about it but I have continued to talk about it.

What's up with you, Igzy? You seem to want to pick a fight.


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Old 08-26-2008, 11:20 AM   #529
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Igzy,

That, my friend, is a fabrication. I've not only talked about it but I have continued to talk about it.

What's up with you, Igzy? You seem to want to pick a fight.

SC
SC,

Sorry for the misunderstanding. The only person I've ever tried to pick a fight with was Steward, who had it coming.

I said that based upon the fact that you are very opposed to implications of idolatry and then you said (I thought) you were through talking about the subject. I took that to mean you didn't want to talk about it. I hadn't noticed your participation since then.

Sorry if I misread you.
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:33 AM   #530
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I have other objections to your condemnation, but this one certainly deserves a response.

SC
The very fact that you take what I am saying as "condemnation" is part of the problem here. I am not condemning you. Your trying to 'paint' me into something I am not doing. I will admit to 'judging' (attempting to rightly assess deeds based on God's Word and what I know), but not unto personal condemnation. Also it is important to note that my judgment is on words and deeds, not intent.

I've been party to some bad things in my life. I don't condemn myself, because God doesn't condemn me. I repent when God shines the light in my heart and helps me to see the error of my deeds.

Why was it acceptable for Lee to point at RCC and say idols, idols, idols and it is not acceptable for me to point at the LC and say idols, idols, idols? (This is mostly rhetorical)

We will all be judged. All God's ways are judgment. He rightly divides between that which is holy and that which is profane. When it comes to us, those who believe in Jesus Christ we will be counted righteous in that day and granted mercy, but we will be judged.

Judgment unto condemnation is quite another thing. I am not doing this. I am judging, but not with condemnation in my heart. God is a consuming fire. He will burn up the wood, hay and stubble. A long time ago, I gave him permission to burn whatever he needed to burn in me. He still working on it because I am a pretty stubborn, hard-hearted, stiff-necked, strong-minded little fellow who needs a lot of heat and pressure to get some things through to my little pea-brain.

Let me be very honest, I believe that the fact that you take it this way (as me condemning you) is due to the very fact that you hold something precious about the LC. I'm not telling you that you are wrong to hold something precious about the LC. I am acknowledging the fact that you are doing so.

What is it that you hold precious? I'm not poking fun at you or trying to give you a hard time. As honestly as you can say it, what do you hold precious about the LC? (This too can be treated as rhetorical)

We've seen so much wood, hay and stubble from the LC that it is hard for me to understand why it is still held in such high regard? When I seen this kind of discussion run it's course before, I can remember hearing that it is the "good" things of the LC (aka don't throw the baby out with the bathwater) that some are trying to hold onto.

On your part, I've seen the repeated denial of the "proof" presented about Lee an the LC. You repeatedly say, there is no evidence. I would strongly recommend that you take some time to read Morris Fred's paper on the LC written in the late 60's/early 70's. You will see the patterns of the BB in Lee while he was in Taiwan. You'll see the utterly shocking fact that Lee was staying in close contact with his top lieutenants in Taiwan while he was here in the US (1960-1966) to reestablish his preeimence over the Taiwanese LC by the 70's. This is the very time that Lee was "under the blessing of the Lord and somewhat repentant" based on what I have heard from the likes of Bill Mallon.

This is why I am painting with black-and-white even though I know there are many shades of gray. We are hiding things in the gray that need the light of God shining on them. Again, I know I cannot shine the light. It's not my job. It is my job to point at the deeds and make some attempt to connect the dots to the Word of God. If the light shines in then praise God. If I'm wrong, then okay. Only I will suffer loss in this case.

I posit that some of the gray is where the idols lie. I think the easiest way to see this is to look at what it takes to hold on to only Christ. In your mind, what does it take to hold on to only Christ? Once you establish that, then you can look and see what else you are holding that goes beyond that. This is the kind analysis that will surface the idols. When you hold up the "gray" things against the Word of God the light begins to shine in and some portions of the "gray" thing turns black and other portions turn white. With God, there are no shades of "gray". The shades of "gray" are a thing of man.

I'm not pointing my finger at you specifically. Don't get offended with me. I'm not condeming you. In my heart, I don't judge you nearly as much as it may appear to you in these posts.

In recently addressing Balaam, we see an actual prophet of God who only spoke what God told him to speak but he did it for profit and personal gain. Is it not entirely possible that Lee was just like this? The fact that he had such high knowledge of the Word of God does not rule out the fact that he may well have been doing it for very wrong and selfish reasons (personal and family wealth). See 1 Peter 2 it's talking about christians (at least in part, see v20) and it shows that some can be overcome after they have come to know the Lord.

Matt

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Old 08-26-2008, 11:35 AM   #531
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I said that based upon the fact that you are very opposed to implications of idolatry and then you said (I thought) you were through talking about the subject. I took that to mean you didn't want to talk about it. I hadn't noticed your participation since then.

Sorry if I misread you.

Igzy,

No prob. I guess I did say I was done talking about it. Anyway, I have no problem at all with the discussion.


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Old 08-26-2008, 11:41 AM   #532
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Matt,

Well, what about Thyatira? Here’s a church that was steeped in idolatry and other evil practices yet the Lord says, “Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets.”

Where in your assessment of the LC are “the rest of you” in the LC system?

SC
What about Thyatira? Each church has differing conditions and differing judgments.

So, the question is which one is more applicable to the LC? Thyatira or Pergamos? Or is it one of the others?

It's not a relevant challenge to what is being said if you aren't going to lay claim to one of them being the actual condition of the LC. Do you think the LC was Thyatira? If so, why?

If you are speaking in the hypothetical and saying that it is possible to have a church condition that doesn't apply to everyone in the church and which God does not hold all responsible, then sure I agree with this. It appears that this is not the case in Pergamos.

So, which shoe best fits for the LC? It's quite possible for there to be multiple shoes that fit to some degree, but what's the best fit?

Matt
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:48 AM   #533
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Matt,

For starters, I am not the least offended with you and don't think you're pointing a finger at me in particular. I understand your view, I think, quite well.

I will gladly answer your questions here but only after you clearly answer mine. Where are "the rest of you" in your assessment of this matter of idolatry? It seems you took a single word of my post -- condemnation -- and used it to sidestep the central issue.

As for that point, I agree you aren't condemning me, but you are condemning the local churches for having idolatry. That's why I chose the word.

But before you tackle that, answer my question about the "rest of you."


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Old 08-26-2008, 11:52 AM   #534
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SC,

I think I did answer in my second post. Ask again if you don't think I did.

If I am condemning anything then it is idolatry. Are we not all to condemn sin even in our own lives in agreement with God?

What I am saying is that there is idolatry in the LC and not just here a little and there a little. It's pervasive and part of the very underpinnings of the entire system of the LC.

Matt
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:55 AM   #535
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What about Thyatira? Each church has differing conditions and differing judgments.

So, the question is which one is more applicable to the LC? Thyatira or Pergamos? Or is it one of the others?

It's not a relevant challenge to what is being said if you aren't going to lay claim to one of them being the actual condition of the LC. Do you think the LC was Thyatira? If so, why?

If you are speaking in the hypothetical and saying that it is possible to have a church condition that doesn't apply to everyone in the church and which God does not hold all responsible, then sure I agree with this. It appears that this is not the case in Pergamos.

So, which shoe best fits for the LC? It's quite possible for there to be multiple shoes that fit to some degree, but what's the best fit?

Matt

Matt,

My last post must have been at the same time as yours. So you have now answered my question.

My point concerning Thyatira is that within an idol-worshipping church there are some who do not qualify. (I don't interpret the LC as Thyatira; I agree with Nee on Thyatira being the Roman church.) I can't recall your original wording, but I do know you said virtually everyone in the LC was guilty of idolatry. Right?

As for Pergamos not having any exceptions, I disagree. "You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality." You "have people there" indicates clearly it was not a monolithic situation.

What say you?


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Old 08-26-2008, 12:06 PM   #536
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If we spent as much time talking about the topic as we spend talking about talking about the topic, we might actually be talking about what we are talking about talking about. Sounds like we are getting really close to everybody being ready to talk about what needs to be talked about .....

TJ
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:09 PM   #537
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Matt,

My last post must have been at the same time as yours. So you have now answered my question.

My point concerning Thyatira is that within an idol-worshipping church there are some who do not qualify. (I don't interpret the LC as Thyatira; I agree with Nee on Thyatira being the Roman church.) I can't recall your original wording, but I do know you said virtually everyone in the LC was guilty of idolatry. Right?

As for Pergamos not having any exceptions, I disagree. "You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality." You "have people there" indicates clearly it was not a monolithic situation.

What say you?

SC
It's impossible to have 100% of people in any group 'lording it over' others. So, you need some subjects to be subjected to those who will act as 'lord'.

Balak = one who lays waste/destroyer
Balaam = devourer
Nicolaitan = to conquer the people

doctrines of Balaam in the hands of Balak + doctrines of Nicolaitans = Bad combination for which we see much evidence in the LC.

It is important to note that the responsibility in Pergamos appears to point to everyone. God tells them all to repent. Not just some. Those who acted as 'lord' and those who were willing to submit to this improper authority and receive the food sacrificed to these idols. It was to their destruction that they partook.

Think HWMR. It is the "processed" spiritual food handed out as a replacement to the Word of God which is the manna that God intended for us.

Matt

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Old 08-26-2008, 12:19 PM   #538
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It's impossible to have 100% of people in any group 'lording it over' others. So, you need some subjects to be subjected to those who will act as 'lord'.

The responsibility appears to point to everyone. Those who acted as 'lord' and those who were willing to submit to this improper authority and receive the food sacrificed to these idols. (Think HWMR. It is the "processed" spiritual food handed out as a replacement to the Word of God which is the manna that God intended for us).

Matt

Matt,

I'm not sure what you're saying here. It sounds like you're saying if you read things like HWMR, you're guilty of idolatry. I'm not buying that one bit.

I have read many Catholic works (well, some) and received some real benefit. Most everyone I know has read and even quote St. Francis of Assisi's prayer: "Lord, give me the strength to change what I can, give me the strength to resist what I cannot change and give me the wisdom to understand the difference between the two." Good stuff, right? Well, this is the same guy who, "claimed to have had a mystical experience in the Church of San Damiano just outside of Assisi, in which the Icon of Christ Crucified came alive and said to him three times, "Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins"." [Wikipedia]

Does that make all of us who have read and even appreciated him idolators?


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Old 08-26-2008, 12:25 PM   #539
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Matt,

I'm not sure what you're saying here. It sounds like you're saying if you read things like HWMR, you're guilty of idolatry. I'm not buying that one bit.

SC
SC,

We all know that HWMR is not optional in an LSM driven LC. It is the very source used for each Lord's table meetings. The last meeting I went to was just like this. Everyone had their HWMR's out and shared primarily from it. Many people didn't even have a Bible with them.

I'm not talking about individual free-will reading of christian materials. I'm talking about systematically replacing God's Word with something like HWMR and providing it as the primary source of spiritual nourishment even at the Lord's table.

One more elemental point: Think about how hard it has been for the Midwest to set some distance between itself and the LSM. It's been atrociously difficult and the "destroyer" has worked hard to keep the Midwest under the "lordship" of the "lord" which controls the LSM/LC. The Midwest didn't quietly leave. It's been a huge fight. Why? What's all the fuss? Those who "lord" it over others don't like to give up control. This is object evidence of the deeds of the Nicolaitans. Furthermore, there is objective evidence of the doctrine of the Nicolaitans being fully brought to bear. Spiritual Authority which is the root of Deputy Authority laid the groundwork for Lee to establish "lordship" over many people, but people had to commit themselves to it. There are examples of those who left early on. They saw what was wrong. T.A. Sparks spoke clearly in the form of admonition and warning about the coming "lordship" in 1957.

Matt

P.S. If you want to be strict in your interpretation of the OT based on what Paul says in 1 Cor 10 and follow through on that (which I think Lee did at one point) then you could say that God wants you to eat the heavenly manna He provides as the only source of spiritual nourishment. Currently, I'm not going that far. From God's point of view, I'd say it like this. Isn't God's Word good enough for you? Why do you want other meat?

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Old 08-26-2008, 01:18 PM   #540
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Hi Peter,

I think the statement that the teaching of Jezebel was not held by everyone in Thyatira was made because this was the case. This can be construed to mean that if there had been some in Pergamos that didn't subscribe to the doctrines of the Niolaitanes and of Balaam, the Spirit would have told us so. He didn't, so I don't believe there were such ones.

I don’t agree that Thyatira is arguably closer to idolatry than Pergamos. That statement is dependent on your definition of idolatry. I am not defining evidence of idolatry as only eating things sacrificed to idols and committing fornication. I am also defining it as an idolatrous hierarchical system of worship with one at the top dictating the beliefs and practices of all. This is systematized idolatry, clearly seen in the fulfillment of Mystery Babylon the Great. She is the queen of abuse, carried out through men in her hierarchical structure. She is drunk on the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

The Babylonian religion was is a system of worship which was designed to bring worship to the one behind the idol. The N.T. makes it clear that the Gentiles were sacrificing to devils. Satan, in his quest for being like God, wants to be worshipped by the people of God. Mystery Babylon the Great is a religious system of his creation to cause God's people to serve him instead of God. It is filled with filth.

That is the the purpose of idolatry. Satan still wants to be number uno with all others bowing to him and under his control.

I think that the doctrines of Balaam, the Nicolaitanes and Jezebel all are applicable to the LC in varying degrees. We certainly had the teaching of the Nicolaitanes (just open the book Spiritual Authority by W. Nee and start reading and you’ll find hierarchical teaching leaven imbedded everywhere.) I started writing down some of the statements that are false last night. I kept writing in the margin ... where is support for this statement in the Bible? There is clearly the practice of the Nicolaitanes.

As for Balaam, no question about that. We had a prophet of God who was clearly all about his ministry and his interests and pursued this goal even if it brought harm to others. This was due to his covetousness to be the top ministry. He actually took from others and then shaped it to be his own and claimed his teaching was the high peak of the divine revelation. This behavior shows him to be a false prophet. True men of God receive all others and receive other ministries. He led other men into this error and a hierarchy of Blendeds, elders, and fulltimers carry on proclaiming the name of Lee and feeding people the leavened HWMR. To teach people to read only the HWMR instead of sending them to the pure unleavened Word of God, is to feed people leavened bread and to have them eat things sacrificed to idols. Lee offered up his leavened teachings to the idol of his covetousness, and now the exalted One Publication is systematically fed to his followers.

As for Jezebel, there is actually teaching in the Local Churches today that supports fornication and adultery. In one place a brother asked one of the leaders about why brothers who were adulterers and fornicators were tolerated in the church and the answer was to just love them and set an example of good behavior for them. This teaching supports the committing of fornication.

It is not a pretty picture.

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Old 08-26-2008, 05:15 PM   #541
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...My point concerning Thyatira is that within an idol-worshipping church there are some who do not qualify. ... I can't recall your original wording, but I do know you said virtually everyone in the LC was guilty of idolatry. Right? SC
I'm just going to jump in here and make an observation about the "some who do not qualify." Those in the LC who do not qualify, or, those who do not "worship the idol", do not remain. Or, should I say, cannot remain. How can anyone remain in the LC without worshipping the idol? Is that possible?

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Old 08-26-2008, 08:01 PM   #542
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What I did not use to understand, but makes sense to me now is that idolatry is about wrong relationship. We talk about the need for right relationship with God which is good. God asks us to be in right relationship to Him and our 'neighbors'. When we get into improper relationship to Him and our neighbors because we want (lesser form of greed) something that God hasn't given us then we start getting out of sorts with the Lord.
Concerning right relationship with God, commandment #1 says "I am the Lord your God .... you shall have no other Gods before Me." This is the antithesis of idolatry. This commandment is addressed to the individuals who collectively made up the children of Israel. The ten commandments (the old covenant) looked out for the highest good of each person, addressing matters important to each one and to their relationships with God and one another. The commandments were to be obeyed by individual people. Each person was accountable for their sins and all the various offerings were set up for individuals who sinned. I think there is only one mention of some kind of offering for the whole congregation but that was only for when every person in the whole congregation had sinned.


Matt once told me that he learned studying Western Civilization history that the Hebrew people were responsible for the introduction of the thought that the individual was valuable and of prime importance to God. They were also credited with the idea of personal responsibility. These were unheard of thoughts before the ten commandments were given. The Hebrew thought actually elevated the worth of man. Because God had such intimate concern for each individual, man saw himself in a new light. (Matt, maybe you could quote some of this you read me before.) Furthermore, the Hebrew God set His people free from bondage. He would not have His people in servitude to other nations and other gods. He brought them out of Egypt, from a house of bondage and gave them a moral will with a law that allowed them to choose to obey it and He promised to reward them accordingly. It was important to Him that they be free to serve Him. (Let my people go that they may serve me.) The value of the individual was at the center of God's view of His people.

As believers each of us are called to be in a new covenant relationship with God which is a very personal and intimate. We are each called to freedom and charged to remain in freedom so we can serve him without fear.

Heb 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.

The new covenant is between God and every person who believes the gospel. For us to think of the Body of Christ as some kind of entity that can exist apart from individual people in direct, unhindered relationship with God is simply wrong. The Body of Christ is made up of individuals who have been set free from bondage and have freely chosen to be in relationship with God. Because of this they can be in godly relationships with one another.

For a Christian to submit to any kind of control that competes with Jesus being his/her one Lord and Master is the same as entering into bondage and servitude to other gods. Each person in the body of Christ is called to stand in the liberty they have been given in Christ. (Jerusalem which is above is free and is the mother of us all.)

2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters [i.e., not a collective reference but a reference to individuals], saith the Lord Almighty.

The Christian walk is not about Jesus and me alone on an island somewhere (though it could be if that is what he wanted), but it is about Jesus being first as my Lord and Master, with no intermediary in between me and Him. The real experience of the body of Christ is dependent upon you and me each knowing Jesus as the one Lord and master of our individual lives.

This is the battle point for the devil. He hates this. We can play church all day long and talk body life talk until the cows come home, and the devil will just smile. We can try and produce some kind of collective unity by men exercising hierarchical authority, and the devil will smile even more. What wipes the smile off of his face is each individual finding and experiencing their own new covenant relationship with Jesus.

Can Texas culture with rugged individualists be given credit for making strong individual believers? (If it could, then the believers in Texas in the mid 60s would not have snapped their heels and started saluting Lee and becoming his lieutenants.) Only Jesus can make us each stand up strong in Him. He is in the business of doing just that. That is how he builds His church. Just read Eph. 4: " ... for the perfecting of the saints" [individuals]. The job of the gifted ones is to perfect each individual saint's walk with Christ; it is not to directly produce a collective building. It is not to act in the place of God and rule over God's people claiming to represent God to them.

Why does God hate idolatry (serving other gods)? Because it hinders individual people from being in right relationship with Him. It introduces another master and damages our individual walks with Christ. We cannot serve two masters. If we are serving another god, we are not serving Him.

Thankful Jane

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Old 08-26-2008, 11:22 PM   #543
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I'm just going to jump in here and make an observation about the "some who do not qualify." Those in the LC who do not qualify, or, those who do not "worship the idol", do not remain. Or, should I say, cannot remain. How can anyone remain in the LC without worshipping the idol? Is that possible?

Nell

Yes, absolutely. There are many dear saints in the Local Churches (splinter groups) and the Living Stream Church who do not bow their knee to idols. Many of them don't have a clue that there is even such a thing as idolatry in the LSM Church. We cannot paint them all with a broad brush.

Can we draw a line in the sand and say that all who refuses to cross it are guilty of idolatry? In the Old Testament, yes. That’s the easy way. But not in the New. Such behavior does not reflect the heart of the true Shepherd.

It's easy to do a study of idolatry in the Bible and blast everyone with it. It's not easy to shepherd the Lord's sheep.

Roger
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Old 08-27-2008, 05:27 AM   #544
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Yes, absolutely. There are many dear saints in the Local Churches (splinter groups) and the Living Stream Church who do not bow their knee to idols. Many of them don't have a clue that there is even such a thing as idolatry in the LSM Church.

Roger
Ignorance alone does not exclude someone from idolatry.

What makes you think that there are many who do not bow their knee to idols? One of the reasons I ask this is because the OT shows us that there were only 7000 individuals who did not bow their knee to Baal in the Northern Kingdom at the time of Elijah. This was a very small number of the total residents in the Northern Kingdom. (Note: there are other reasons too).

Idolatry is not about completely abandoning God. It's about who you rely on. Do you really think there are many in the LC who are relying totally on God or have they been led astray to relying on the "Minister of the Age" and their membership in the "Recovery". In some cases, they are stuck their out of fear, but it is fear that they are leaving the "highest thing of God". We know that God is working all over the place and that this fear is not real. We know that the Lord is worthy and able to take care of each one of us, no matter what group we meet with, but many in the LC believe that they must remain anchored to the LC group for their protection. This is another implicit evidence of the presence of idolatry. I believe many are relying on the wrong thing and this has drawn them into a wrong relationship with God. They are required to revere Lee too highly for the sake of the ministry (aka Recovery) and this is idolatry.

This issue of reliance applies to me too, but not in a religious context. I don't exclude myself. I'm not better. I'm subject to the same issues and I have stumbled at times. Even when I do it ignorantly it does not provide an exclusion for me. A lot of Levitical law was setup to make provision for sins done in ignorance. God didn't make exclusions for sins done in ignorance. He made provision for them.

I do understand where you are coming from, but I think we should be clear on this issue. It's not for the purpose of beating up or condemnation. It's for the sake of light and hope.

Let's listen to Paul again on a few things... Let's see his mindset.

2Co 7:8-10
For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. (9) Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. (10) For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

2Ti 2:25-26
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (26) And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Sure, you can accuse me of lacking meekness here, but I don't think it will completely stick. After pausing for a few days, I have resumed my mode of making appeals on this matter. I am not condemning. I am putting important things on the table for close inspection. I am working to persuade by means of scripture and willing to accept that I may not have the best way to do it. If you can help, rather than just resist the idea of it, then please show me how to present it more meekly.

So far, I am seeing denial. It is denial that is partly based on a sincere belief that 'idolatry' does not apply at the level that I seem to be saying that it does. However, it is also denial that may be partly based on an unwillingness to acknowledge the underlying truth of the matter.

I'm not judging either way on this last point regarding the reasons that others don't think 'idolatry' is as prevalent. I do not know. However, I am going to continue to bring more scripture to bear on the subject and try to discuss it with everyone as things come up. I'm doing this for the sake of the truth and not for the sake of being right or wrong.

Matt

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Old 08-27-2008, 07:26 AM   #545
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:24 AM   #546
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I have been searching my heart, as well as my observational memory, in taking the assessment of idolatry in the LC seriously.

I must say I am conflicted in my conclusion. I want to say that I agree with Matt that "Idolatry is not about completely abandoning God. It's about who you rely on." I will say first, that I recognized this in the LC and have since struggled with this in other "mainstream" groups. I have continually wrestled with it internally as well as in what I have observed in those around me - both in the LC and in other groups. This definition of idolatry catches us all in its net. And I think rightly so. I think this was the spirit of Christ's speaking in Matthew 5, to ensure that none of us felt we could live up to the law simply because its terms were so black-and-white.

Idolatry seems to me to be one of the most insidious of the sins which the law speaks to. If you look at all the other commandments, its pretty obvious that we've violated them if we get pinned down on our actions. Idolatry, however, is not so clear to us. Why? Because, it seems, that idolizing something is so often done in the service of our "faith". We do it because we think it is what we should do. We perceive our faith to be "better" because of the presence of the idol (though we don't recognize it as such).

Each and every one of us (with LC backgrounds or not), should be in a constant struggle to guard against the enticing of idols - because it is so easy for something other than God to become that thing we rely on and turn to. This matter should convict us all.

But this broad definition of idolatry, it seems to me, is not exactly what's being discussed here. Because, in the LC, there was a much clearer potential idol than the subtle type ones which entice every Christian every day: Witness Lee and "the ministry." Even "the recovery."

So it is not the weak claim being made here - i.e. that every Christian, including those in the LC, allow subtle idols into their hearts, which replace their reliance on God. Rather, it is the strong claim being made her, it seems, that everyone in the LC made Witness Lee and "the ministry" their "idol" - which they placed higher, in a conscious and systematic way, than God.

In regards to this strong claim, my conclusion is mixed. I can say that I saw much more of this type behavior when I lived in Southern California. And I can't remember much if any of this sort of behavior growing up in Cleveland. Admittedly, I lived in Cleveland primarily as a young person and thus am not as experientially knowledgable to speak with authority on this. But it also did not characterize all of the saints in So. Cal.

I was not raised on "Truth Lessons" etc... in Cleveland And I was not raised on Witness Lee. The bible studies we had in high school were Word-centered, and we were specifically instructed not to consult the footnotes in the process of our study. The leading ones recognized that we were getting "killed" with "truth" (read: ministry) in the SSOT - which was coined the "summer school of death." The re-focus of those summer schools was to center on the person of Jesus in our lives and hearts.

The first two years I lived in Anaheim, there were a number of college age kids living in Anaheim and not in school - just working. They weren't on a campus, part of the FTTA "work." Many of these kids had grown up in the LC - some had even grown up in LSM, and still others were even kids of BBs. We all started gathering together on a regular but informal basis. We dove into the Word. We were aware of and concerned with everything in one-another's lives - including "non-spiritual" matters. Some of us were re-finding our faith. Some had never really lost it, nor had they every really been serious about it. We loved one another and cared for the spiritual and human growth of one antoher - and we weren't sure there was a distinction. We were rough around the edges, but falling in love with Christ. I remember specific and very lengthy discussion on the "primacy of Witness Lee" and the uniqueness of "the recovery" etc... There was no insistence among us. In fact, I think the mutual understanding among us, as articulated by one son of an LSM editor was that: "The recovery is a way, not the way."

Now, we weren't separated from the "church in Anaheim" nor the "So. Cal young people's work". We met with Anaheim (some more than others) and attended all the college Mountain Retreat conferences at Big Bear (since we were the only "group" that weren't at the conferences as representing a campus work, we called ourselves "the University of Anaheim" :-)). Many helped work on Grace Gardens or worked part time in LSM. There were some that believed Witness Lee's particular ministry was unique, but it rarely, if ever, manifested in a way that curtailed mutual care and/or rigorous study of the Word itself.

Yet even in this context, what characterized our interactions was not "the ministry" or Witness Lee - but a struggle to find Christ as our center. Not by the process of "eating" and ingesting, but in concrete ways in our lives. So many of us were broken and freshly awakened to our Savior. We wanted to live together with the Lord in all we did - not just in "spiritual" matters. And we cared for one another in this way as well.

This is just a snippet of my experience - in the GLA as well as in Anaheim among those in my generation (I'm 30 years old). There is much more. I offer these experiences to be somewhat of a counter-point to the claim of idolatry. And it is definately presented as a counter-point to Nell's question: "How can anyone remain in the LC without worshipping the idol? Is that possible?"

That said, eventually our little "lively group" in Anaheim became more well-known and was looked at as a "positive example." Once it was recognized as such, we started having full-timers and more "shepherds" at our meetings. I think a few FTTA folks were actually designated to meet with us. Without commenting on why, I lost a taste for meeting formally at that point - though many of us still continued to care for one another in non-meeting settings as we had been doing.

To be clear, there is no denial here of the presence of idols and the subversion of our reliance on God alone. I have repented of this and I have noted it's existence even in systematic form in the LC. But I want to offer these experiences for the sake of a full picture and making sure the "gray" doesn't turn "black" when it shouldn't.

Thanks for indulging.

Peter
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:07 AM   #547
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I have been searching my heart, as well as my observational memory, in taking the assessment of idolatry in the LC seriously.

...

To be clear, there is no denial here of the presence of idols and the subversion of our reliance on God alone. I have repented of this and I have noted it's existence even in systematic form in the LC. But I want to offer these experiences for the sake of a full picture and making sure the "gray" doesn't turn "black" when it shouldn't.
Peter,

As usual, you state your case well. I understand what you are saying.


Generally, it seems, however, that one could make the case that restricting someone's liberty in Christ can be seen a kind of forced idolatry. Once someone says "Obey me rather than your own conscience," then he is effectively saying, "You should view me as above your conception of God."

Of course, like most things this can be taken to extremes, as when your child pleads "God told me to eat the last donut."
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:11 AM   #548
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Dear Roger,

I hear where you are coming from somewhat. You seemed to be concerned about current LCers and how this topic fits them or how they would receive it. You view the strength of this discussion as blasting everyone. I personally don’t think that is what is happening here, though I understand your concern.

Clearly the topic of idolatry is not something with which to blast current LCers. I’m in agreement with you on this. Maybe you are concerned about LCers who are coming here and reading this discussion? If so, I would say that is beyond our control. It's their choice to be here.

This is a complex topic and it is made more complicated by our various reactions to it. (We all have feelings about this based on our own situations.) I don't know if this will help anyone or not, but I am trying to be more objective about the topic (trying, I said..). I am looking at it from four sides:

1) the truth – what is idolatry as shown by God in the Bible

2) its application to me – how does it apply to me in the present and how did it apply in the past?

3) its application to the LC system as a whole- what characteristics of the LC system are clearly idolatrous

4) its application to others I care about – how can I use this understanding to help others I love that are in bondage find freedom?

If I tangle these 4 up in my head, it becomes difficult to discuss. For now, I'm spending most of my time looking at 1-3.

I'm trying to keep my feelings about the topic in check! (again I said trying .... )

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Old 08-27-2008, 10:22 AM   #549
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How can anyone remain in the LC without worshipping the idol? Is that possible?
Roger's answer was an unqualified "yes". I still say "no" because, Roger, you didn't say how they remain and still follow the program. Peter has come up with the only possibility I can think of.

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...That said, eventually our little "lively group" in Anaheim became more well-known and was looked at as a "positive example." Once it was recognized as such, we started having full-timers and more "shepherds" at our meetings. I think a few FTTA folks were actually designated to meet with us. Without commenting on why, I lost a taste for meeting formally at that point - though many of us still continued to care for one another in non-meeting settings as we had been doing. ...
Peter,

You changed the parameters of the program!

If I read you correctly, you all were having a good time until the FTTA shepherds came along. Then you "lost a taste for meeting 'formally'" and "continued to care for one another in non-meeting settings...". So you changed the standard operating procedure.

When the FTTA shepherds came in and began replacing the leading of the Holy Spirit, you turned from this idol and began to fly under the radar. Is that accurate?

I'll rephrase: How can you remain in the LC without worshipping the idol unless you change the SOP? I'll concede that this may be possible.

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Old 08-27-2008, 10:23 AM   #550
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I think we are beginning to get somewhere. From what I’ve been reading, few, if any, have said that idolatry does not exist, or is not applicable just as it has been mentioned. But it is like one of those ailments that doctors, with a lot of tests, can determine to actually be one of a shopping list of actual diagnoses but until those tests are run and the ultimate diagnosis is made, has some generic name. The generic name is not unimportant, but it is not always as helpful as you would presume. I believe that colitis is one of those. It describes the overall effect of the actual illness, but does not help arrive at a cure. Determination of the actual illness is required.

Similarly, idolatry is a general term. That does not mean that it is meaningless. In its purest form, it speaks clearly of a willful act of giving worship to another god, or more accurately, a god that is not a true god, and is not God. There is really no alternative way to deal with this. The idolater is worshipping another god. But in the broader sense, it sweeps in a host of separate offenses that result from our hearts being drawn to other things. But those offenses stand on their own without also being clearly or even obliquely identified as idolatry.

When we willfully sin, we have clearly turned our hearts from God. That is, by definition, lowering God’s status in our hearts. So in the broader sense of the term, every sin involves idolatry. So, if every sin is idolatry, why isn’t every call for repentance put in terms of turning from idolatry? A few put it in the mix in relation to certain things, but not as an umbrella under which all sins could be found.

How many in the LC qualify as “the rest” and are not engaged in idol worship (in the narrow sense of idolizing Lee)? Probably a lot. Maybe most of the rank and file. There are many who have followed a way and teachings because they did not recognize the talented orator (even in a less familiar language) as he turned “do” into “do not,” and “do not” into “do;” result into cause, and cause into result; descriptions into prescriptions; righteousness into an unnecessary thing. They do not do it because they adore Lee. They do it because his speaking leads to the conclusion he wants, and they cannot decipher the difference.

“People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.” While that line from a movie (that will remain unnamed) is talking about a very different subject, it is appropriate to this discussion. Many in the LC have not decided to drink sand because they have decided it is better than water. They are drinking sand because they have been convinced that it is water. They believe the rhetoric that what they follow is truly God’s heart. They accept that there will be problems along the way. They know that there is an enemy. They continue to stand for what they have come to believe God wants. You need to attack the core of the beliefs. Attack it as apologetics. Attack it as bad fruit. Put 12 baskets full in front of them.

This thread started as an opportunity to demonstrate the baskets full of bad fruit. To look at the things that were done wrong that lead to that bad fruit. But we have turned to labels. And by turning to those labels, we have put the whole problem effectively on the leadership and not on the individual. Why? Because it is quite difficult to say that every LC member who has had a child end out in serious sin, or who failed in marriage, was guilty of idolatry unless you broaden the term to such an extent that you and I get swept in right now in our current conditions.

Sometimes labels are relevant. But not necessarily helpful. When you attack everything as idolatry, the ears will shut. It is a waste of time. You may feel better because it now has a direct link to the original 10. But we have missed the real points. The real error.

An unfortunately, we cannot lay all of the failures of the LC second generation at the feet of Lee, the BBs, the local elders, or the LC. Even where you can make a case, there is more to it than the LC. This broad brush does not increase the responsibility of the LC and its teachings in the errors of the children. It is what it is and discovering some link to idolatry did not solve anything. It merely added a potential second cause for each already existing error.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:27 AM   #551
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Dear Posters,

Since this is the discussion about Spiritual Abuse and has been filled with many charges, I would like to introduce a few key passages for consideration.

I asked the following question regarding sharing issues that counterbalanced pure spiritual abuse, “By the way does it cut both ways? I have been accused of trying to shut people down. But then, is anyone trying to shut down any positive evidence or positive experience while in the local church at …

A poster replied,

"No, I don't think it cuts both ways on this thread. We reacted to talk about positive things because it is inappropriate on this thread. For example, no matter how good a family is or how many positive things there are about it, when child molestation is discovered, it is not appropriate for family members to want to somehow balance that bad by pointing out the good things about the family.

Child molestation, wow!!!

In parallel thinking, it also would seem that one bad family is enough to label the whole bunch. Therefore should all memory of anything of Christ be obliterated? Could it be that the use of such explosive language as “child molestation” would have the effect of wiping out any testimony that was there? Could it be that contending that four churches with all their elders present was for the purpose of completely discrediting all leadership and all churches in the Texas area?

I have not failed to point out flaws in Witness Lee, the local churches, the Living Stream Ministry and the Blended Brothers. If I continue to write my history, more will be forth coming. But here is a warning from the Old Testament for out consideration. Jerusalem was defeated because of their idolatry and unfaithfulness. Jeremiah prophesied that it would happen but when it did he wept over the city and the people. On the other hand, the nation of Edom gloated and wanted to destroy it to its foundation and eliminate all memory of Jerusalem. God’s judgment of His people is for their restoration not for their utter destruction. Note in the following passage that Babylon went too far in carrying out the Lord’s judgment on Jerusalem.

Psalms 137:7-9, Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who said, "Raze it, raze it, to its very foundation." O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, how blessed will be the one who repays you with the recompense with which you have repaid us. How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock.

Lam 4:21-22, Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, who dwells in the land of Uz; but the cup will come around to you as well, you will become drunk and make yourself naked. The punishment of your iniquity has been completed, O daughter of Zion; He will exile you no longer. But He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will expose your sins!

Ezek 25:12-14, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Because Edom has acted against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt, and avenged themselves upon them," therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "I will also stretch out My hand against Edom and cut off man and beast from it. And I will lay it waste; from Teman even to Dedan they will fall by the sword. "And I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel. Therefore, they will act in Edom according to My anger and according to My wrath; thus they will know My vengeance," declares the Lord GOD.

Obad. 10-14, "Because of violence to your brother Jacob,You will be covered with shame, and you will be cut off forever. On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth,And foreigners entered his gate And cast lots for Jerusalem — You too were as one of them. Do not gloat over your brother's day, the day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah In the day of their destruction; Yes, do not boast In the day of their distress. "Do not enter the gate of My people in the day of their disaster. Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity in the day of their disaster. And do not loot their wealth in the day of their disaster. And do not stand at the fork of the road to cut down their fugitives; and do not imprison their survivors in the day of their distress. “

We all should have some Godly fear. Yes, it does cut both ways.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

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Old 08-27-2008, 10:40 AM   #552
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Concerning how this topic applied to me in the past, I asked myself, “Was I ever in idolatry while I was in the LC?” A few years ago, I might have answered, “No,” but after spending more time in the Bible considering what idolatry is and the evidences of it, I now have to say, “Yes. I was an idolater.” Here are the reasons:

1. I was terribly afraid that I would offend God if I left the LC. I was controlled by my loyalty to the vision of the LC and WL’s ministry—a false belief controlled my behavior and bound me there (evidence of idolatry). If I had been serving the Lord alone, His love would have cast out fear and I would have had the freedom to stay or go as I chose.

2. I preferred leavened words over the Word of God (evidence of idolatry). I let Lee’s words govern my whole thought about the Bible. Every where I read I could only see it through his template (the line of life, the line of building, etc.) I had given up reading it to see what it said on its own. I believed I couldn't get anymore from it than what Lee saw. I was dependent on his interpretation. “What did Brother Lee say about this?” Whatever he said I believed, even if the Bible seemed to say differently....(after all sisters could not get revelation.) (Eventually I heard that only the apostle could get revelation, but I had left by then.) I put Lee’s leavened words in a higher place than God’s pure Word. The Bible tells me to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, not leavened words out of the mouth of others. I was not eating unleavened bread, as the Bible tells me to do (the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth).

3. I fully/absolutely submitted to leaders who convinced me they were God’s deputy authorities (evidence of being in an idolatrous system). I didn’t need to ask God because he would say the same thing as the leaders. I believed it was wrong to follow God as an individual. I needed to follow the Body and listen to the members.

4. As for how I spent my time, which shows what I loved first, the LC meetings and service got top priority (evidence of idolatry). My family was sacrificed. My husband’s and children’s needs came after the needs of the church. This was clearly in violation of the Word. I have a vivid memory of thinking one night that the Lord wanted me to stay home with my children and miss the meeting. However, instead of hearing His voice (“the words I speak to you”), I applied one of Lee’s speakings of his leavened teachings about not loving my children more than the church and dismissed this speakng as my “self” and went to the meeting. Both of my children suffered longterm effects of my longterm neglect (sacrificing children is evidence of idolatry).

All of these are clear evidences of my idolatry while in the LC. I am happy to report that after a long period of treatment with some pretty intense rehabilitative therapy by the great physician, I am doing well.

1) I have no more fear and am free to choose to follow the Lord wherever He leads.
2) I love the pure word of the Bible above all else.
3) I only have one Master and His name is Jesus.
4) My children have forgiven me and been able to find healing from the Lord and are walking with him today. I can never make up for the time I stole from them as children, but I’m trying. Concerning the harm done to my children by my idolatry, this was the hardest area. It has required a thorough repentance to them (not just “I’m sorry,” but a complete acknowledgement of my sin against them and turnaround in my behavior).

Idolatry and its resultant bondage is a big deal.

It's a big deal to God: He wants a walk with us as free individuals.

It's a big deal to the devil: It's his M.O. He doesn’t want us to understand how he works secretly among God’s people to snare them and bring them into bondage to him by mixing in his things with the things of God. He will not give up that ground without a fight.

It’s now also a really big deal to me: I have seen in my own life that when idols are smashed, God begins to show Himself mighty to save and set captives free.

I think I may need to put a reminder on my calendar to have a regular complete spiritual checkup with Dr. Jesus, requesting Him to run special diagnostic tests in the idols in my heart department. He’s the great spiritual cardiologist before whose eyes all things are naked and opened. I may not see my heart's diseases, but He does and is able to save me to the uttermost.

Thankful Jane
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:44 AM   #553
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Excellent point and corresponding verses, Hope.


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Old 08-27-2008, 11:57 AM   #554
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... When you attack everything as idolatry, the ears will shut. ...
There have been 7,956 views on this thread! That means 15,912 ears. No ears shut here!

It looks like the ears have it!

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Old 08-27-2008, 12:49 PM   #555
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A poster replied,

"No, I don't think it cuts both ways on this thread. We reacted to talk about positive things because it is inappropriate on this thread. For example, no matter how good a family is or how many positive things there are about it, when child molestation is discovered, it is not appropriate for family members to want to somehow balance that bad by pointing out the good things about the family.

Child molestation, wow!!!
I disagree with the poster in blue above.

There is nothing wrong with trying to balance a point by injecting something positive.

There is something wrong with trying to avoid a point by injecting something positive.
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:17 PM   #556
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...There is something wrong with trying to avoid a point by injecting something positive.
This is the point Jane was trying to make. Please read her whole post (in blue) in context. Injecting something positive on this thread was avoidance and inappropriate.

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Old 08-27-2008, 01:55 PM   #557
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This thread started as an opportunity to demonstrate the baskets full of bad fruit. To look at the things that were done wrong that lead to that bad fruit. But we have turned to labels. And by turning to those labels, we have put the whole problem effectively on the leadership and not on the individual. Why? Because it is quite difficult to say that every LC member who has had a child end out in serious sin, or who failed in marriage, was guilty of idolatry unless you broaden the term to such an extent that you and I get swept in right now in our current conditions.
OBW, I think you are starting to get the point. What you said in the bolded sentence is exactly what God portrays in the Word. We are going one step beyond the general applicability of idolatry to everyone and pointing towards a system of idolatry that was constructed and implemented that has brought quite a few into a unique and painful form of bondage to a stronger form of idolatry.

In fact, let me summarize it this way. The entire Northern Kingdom of Israel was so steeped in idolatry that the Lord says this:

Hos 4:15-19
Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Beth-aven, nor swear, The LORD liveth. (16) For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place. (17) Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. (18) Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye. (19) The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

Note: "Israel" here is only the Northern Kingdom and "Ephraim" is synonomous with Israel in this context with an additional pointer towards the responsible leadership of the Northern Kingdom. "Judah" is the Southern Kingdom. Judah was not a great deal better off, but they were preserved for the sake of the Lord and His servant David.

The Northern Kingdom has a special applicability to us and so my use of them as the typological example is in line with the intent and substance of the Word.

If you will notice in my posts, I've painted myself into the picture of idolatry and not out of it. Why? Because God painted me into it.

I don't condemn myself, nor do I condemn others, but I do condemn my own idolatry. Thank God that He is merciful and full of lovingkindness for me!

Matt

P.S. I have a more thorough response to Hope. His verses have introduced a logical error from a typological point of view. His warning is valid, but only under some key assumptions about the context which I will point out (probably this evening).

Last edited by Matt Anderson; 08-27-2008 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:57 PM   #558
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There have been 7,956 views on this thread! That means 15,912 ears. No ears shut here!

It looks like the ears have it!
Not a very relevant comparison. You first have to consider that everyone that posted here has probably viewed more times than they posted. And those that are viewing are often the same ones coming back day after day to see where it is going. The thread has been active for about 16 days. I know I came back in to see it multiple times on some days. While not necessarily a good assumption, if everyone viewed it once each day, then there are only 497 separate people. Now there are 23 that I quickly counted as contributing to this thread. Many of these viewed 2 or more times on many days. The number of separate persons shrinks.

I’m not discounting that people see the words. I’m not even discounting the significance of the actual number of people who have observed, whether it was in the earliest days when we were discussing the bad fruit, or subsequently when we began trying to prove through faulty logic that Don was full of wind and beer, or after that was shown to be a fallacy, when the idolatry thing came up.

But what gets through the gatekeeper of the mind is not identified by “hits” on a thread. The hits have been on this thread because for a few days it virtually took over the activity of the part of the 23 that were actually posting. The rest of the forum went silent. So if you were someone who occasionally came to this forum to see what was going on, the only significant activity is here, so you looked. What did you see? A few people broad-brushing the entirety of the LC as idolatrous and saying that was the reason that any of the second generation of the LC was less than perfect. Even if there was some basis for a charge of idolatry in some circumstances, by getting out a large crew with spray paint guns to cover the whole of LC existence even the legitimate cases get ignored as they laugh their way back to “afaithfulword.org.”

The point is not how many see the words. It is the number that will have ears to hear. And if what we are saying is too obtuse, they won't even consider them as worthy of "hearing." This particular rabbit trail has wasted the energies of several very good resources in the efforts to make meaningful dialog concerning the LC that might have a hope of making a difference. You are among that group. Very good discussions could be engaged concerning the various writings of Nigel or others that keep putting weight of evidence after weight of evidence that there is something systemically wrong with the LC. Or engage in one of the Apologetics discussions where Lee’s teachings are stacked up against scripture.
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Old 08-27-2008, 02:00 PM   #559
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Roger's answer was an unqualified "yes". I still say "no" because, Roger, you didn't say how they remain and still follow the program. Peter has come up with the only possibility I can think of.



Peter,

You changed the parameters of the program!

If I read you correctly, you all were having a good time until the FTTA shepherds came along. Then you "lost a taste for meeting 'formally'" and "continued to care for one another in non-meeting settings...". So you changed the standard operating procedure.

When the FTTA shepherds came in and began replacing the leading of the Holy Spirit, you turned from this idol and began to fly under the radar. Is that accurate?

I'll rephrase: How can you remain in the LC without worshipping the idol unless you change the SOP? I'll concede that this may be possible.

Nell
Nell:

Yes, we did change the parameters. But we didn't leave (at least not then, and there are many who still haven't). We found a way to seek Christ first, even while fully connected and in the LC, even if not governed by LC norms and system.

And I am hestitant to say that when the full-timers or others came in to shepherd, they replaced the Holy Spirit. Their motives were undoubtedly out of love and nurturing. But there was something so subtlely present that I felt took away the freshness and purity of just seeking Christ in His word.

In fact, at the time, I was upset. Bitter. I made a lot of the strong claims about idolatry. In the subsequent years, As I met less and less in any formal way, I made many pronouncements (to myself and others) concerning what I saw as a subtle usurpation of individual accountability to the Lord and a subtle demotion of Christ alone.

Believe me, I am not denying these things. I have just come full cycle in some respects. I believe there are some, perhaps many, when are "in" the system, but don't operate based on it. They are exposed to Witness Lee, appreciate Witness Lee, but do not rely on Witness Lee instead of God. I do believe these were "the rest" who did not worship Baal, despite being in a group of folks who did.

I can't say that I had a lot of the experience that Jane describes in her recollection of her idolatry, at least not at the time I was in the LC. From the time I returned to the Lord, I was vigalent not to hand over my accountability to others, vigalent to follow my conscience (even though I often faultered) and vigalent ot study the Word itself.

However, after I stopped meeting, there was a lot of fear, such as Jane describes:

"I was terribly afraid that I would offend God if I left the LC. I was controlled by my loyalty to the vision of the LC and WL’s ministry—a false belief controlled my behavior and bound me there (evidence of idolatry). If I had been serving the Lord alone, His love would have cast out fear and I would have had the freedom to stay or go as I chose."

I guess I was not afraid to leave - since I didn't go back and forth about leaving - but I was fearful once I already left. I did not see the truth of deputy authority in the Word. I was clear about that. But I also had the ingrained thought in my head that sometimes there are some things you submit to whether you understand them or not. I feared that I had violated God's government. But the thing was, the Lord never made it clear to me that I had. I could not see it in the Word and He did not convict me of this. Eventually, I had to rebuke Satan for his lies. If I had apparently done something so aggregious - had asked and plead with the Lord to reveal it to me in His word and in my heart - and I still couldn't see it - then my fears were unhealthy and lies.

Well, I've carried on again. I have to learn to be more cogent. SC, and tips on concise writing?

Peter
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Old 08-27-2008, 02:04 PM   #560
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Ignorance alone does not exclude someone from idolatry.
Then the whole Christian world is guilty of idolatry. Do you believe in Christmas Matt? I am not assuming you do, but if you do, there are certainly many Christians who would be willing to go "toe-to-toe" with you, and prove that you engage in idolatry. And...they would probably do a better job than you have done on the Local Church idolatry thing. But, if it's not Christmas, then it will be something. The only people that I know who are totally clear on this subject are the JW's...oh wait, I forgot about their idol, The Watchtower Society.

Quote:
What makes you think that there are many who do not bow their knee to idols? One of the reasons I ask this is because the OT shows us that there were only 7000 individuals who did not bow their knee to Baal in the Northern Kingdom at the time of Elijah. This was a very small number of the total residents in the Northern Kingdom. (Note: there are other reasons too).
Well, perhaps your "many" is different from my "many." I would say that 7000 is nothing to snuff at, considering the Lord is willing to leave the 99 to go and find 1.

Quote:
Idolatry is not about completely abandoning God. It's about who you rely on. Do you really think there are many in the LC who are relying totally on God or have they been led astray to relying on the "Minister of the Age" and their membership in the "Recovery". In some cases, they are stuck their out of fear, but it is fear that they are leaving the "highest thing of God". We know that God is working all over the place and that this fear is not real. We know that the Lord is worthy and able to take care of each one of us, no matter what group we meet with, but many in the LC believe that they must remain anchored to the LC group for their protection. This is another implicit evidence of the presence of idolatry. I believe many are relying on the wrong thing and this has drawn them into a wrong relationship with God. They are required to revere Lee too highly for the sake of the ministry (aka Recovery) and this is idolatry.
Matt, do you think that Madame Guyon was an idolator? Do you think that Brother Lawrence was an idolator? And, have you come to the point of total reliance upon God?


Quote:
So far, I am seeing denial. It is denial that is partly based on a sincere belief that 'idolatry' does not apply at the level that I seem to be saying that it does. However, it is also denial that may be partly based on an unwillingness to acknowledge the underlying truth of the matter.

I'm so sorry that all you are seeing denial. If so, then you are terribly in need of enlightenment. Check my posts. I didn't deny that that there is idolatry in the Living Stream Church.

Matt, nobody is trying to stop you from doing anything. Nobody CAN stop you from doing anything. I've stated my last on the subject. Please carry on.

Roger
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Old 08-27-2008, 02:13 PM   #561
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OBW, I think you are starting to get the point. What you said in the bolded sentence is exactly what God portrays in the Word. We are going one step beyond the general applicability of idolatry to everyone and pointing towards a system of idolatry that was constructed and implemented that has brought quite a few into a unique and painful form of bondage to a stronger form of idolatry.
And you completely missed the point.

At this point, other than to look back at my most recent post (to Nell), there is not much left to say except "whatever." This is a witch hunt. Some claim of finding an underlying thread of idolatry is nothing short of a witch hunt. The verse you quoted says nothing to support the current efforts. If anything, it would seem to be an effort to take the misdeeds of some who may have honestly been involved in idolatry and paint everyone else with it.

And if you say you have painted yourself into it, then why worry about the LC? You've got more important things to deal with than worrying about the LC's idolatry if you have it yourself. Starting a bonfire for them does not reduce your sin.

Don't misunderstand. I am not saying you are sinning. But if the level of idolatry that we have to move down to is so broad that we all are included, then why point a finger at anyone else? There has to be some less general definition at which we stop. Once we return toward the basic standard, then it cannot simply be broadcast onto everyone in the LC. Stick with one definition for all purposes. Otherwise it is equivocation.

As I told Nell, you are wasting your very worthwhile energies on this thread, at least as it is currently headed. You have not been a participant anywhere else lately. This discussion is taking on more heat from the rest of us "outsiders" than it is from the LC faithful, not that many of them actually participate here. It looks as if about three or four people are determined to have this hearing despite almost everyone else calling it into question. Doesn't that say something?
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Old 08-27-2008, 02:20 PM   #562
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Injecting something positive on this thread was avoidance and inappropriate.
Positivity doesn't necessarily equal avoidance. Attempting to avoid does. There's a difference.
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Old 08-27-2008, 02:21 PM   #563
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I agree with the concern expressed here over defining the scope of the definition of idolatry. As I mentioned in a previous post, there can be a weak claim and a strong claim of idolatry as it pertained to the LC - and its imporant to be clear about which claim is being made here (so far, it has gone back and forth):

Idolatry seems to me to be one of the most insidious of the sins which the law speaks to. If you look at all the other commandments, its pretty obvious that we've violated them if we get pinned down on our actions. Idolatry, however, is not so clear to us. Why? Because, it seems, that idolizing something is so often done in the service of our "faith". We do it because we think it is what we should do. We perceive our faith to be "better" because of the presence of the idol (though we don't recognize it as such).

Each and every one of us (with LC backgrounds or not), should be in a constant struggle to guard against the enticing of idols - because it is so easy for something other than God to become that thing we rely on and turn to. This matter should convict us all.

But this broad definition of idolatry, it seems to me, is not exactly what's being discussed here. Because, in the LC, there was a much clearer potential idol than the subtle type ones which entice every Christian every day: Witness Lee and "the ministry." Even "the recovery."

So it is not the weak claim being made here - i.e. that every Christian, including those in the LC, allow subtle idols into their hearts, which replace their reliance on God. Rather, it is the strong claim being made her, it seems, that everyone in the LC made Witness Lee and "the ministry" their "idol" - which they placed higher, in a conscious and systematic way, than God.


I think both the strong and weak claim are important to pursue, but it should be clear in each discussion which claim is being made - it can otherwise lead to confusion and unnecessary defensiveness.

Peter
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Old 08-27-2008, 02:30 PM   #564
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Positivity doesn't necessarily equal avoidance. Attempting to avoid does. There's a difference.
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Mine in blue.
Igzy,

Please read the original post which I have provided the link above. It puts what Jane said in context. The bold in Don's post was added by him, not by Jane. Context is important.
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:20 PM   #565
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Igzy,

Please read the original post which I have provided the link above. It puts what Jane said in context. The bold in Don's post was added by him, not by Jane. Context is important.
Nell
Nell, I've read it. What is it you want me to realize that you don't think I do?
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:43 PM   #566
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Igzy,

Please read the original post which I have provided the link above. It puts what Jane said in context. The bold in Don's post was added by him, not by Jane. Context is important.
Nell

Hi Nell,

My bad that I failed to point out that I added the bold type to high light the phrases on which I was commenting. I will do better next time.

But other than a failure to acknowledge I was the one marking the bold text, what was the difference? What am I missing?

Also I am curious and waiting for Matt to point out the mistake of using the passages about Edom as a warning against piling on when the Lord is judging His people. Frankly, many times I feel there is too much piling on. We all saw it in the lc done by WL in public meetings. I saw him pile on in private meetings. Some of us witnessed dear saints piled on in our own assembly and in private type fellowships.

Why were John Ingalls and John So among others writhen out of the annals of the LC? They were attacked and others with whom they had fellowshiped were deemed worthy of being razed down to the foundation and any positive testimony or memory erased. I am so sad to say so but sometimes I witness right here a piling on and blanket dismissal toward anyone who does not join in 100% in judging 100% everyone and everything from the LC, LSM past.

I am also in tune with OBW as to the lack of value of broad sweeping generalizations of judgments. Furthermore, I am not seeing any balancing appeals to mercy. It seems that the Lord almost always tempered justice and judgment with mercy. Here are a few verses. (Please do not just write me off as trying to dodge or deflect personal responsibility or accountability.) I believe we are all responsible to judge righteously and to show mercy.

Matt 5:7, Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

James 2:13, For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 3:17-18, But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. NASB


Nell, I appreciate any call to honor proper context. Good Job. Context and correct details should be important to me and I hope they are. This helps me stay accurate and minimize any personal agenda.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:51 PM   #567
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Matt,

I really think you need to consider researching and writing a formal paper explaining from top to bottom, front to back, your beliefs about idolatry in the LCs. And I think you would do well do submit such a paper for review by a trained theologian. I just think the format here make everything come out too piecemeal to be appreciated.

I'm serious. This is obviously something you feel very strongly about and it seems to be too broad in scope to fit into this forum in a way people can get their heads around. It seems to not be getting traction and I think the reason is that it requires a lot of things to be defined, it requires a lot of pretext, before the main point can be appreciated. It could be a book actually, I think.

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Old 08-27-2008, 04:04 PM   #568
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Well, I've carried on again. I have to learn to be more cogent. SC, and tips on concise writing?
Peter,

Here's how I do it. I write till I'm done then go back and cut out all the stupid stuff, all the offensive stuff, and all the dumb illustrations and ponderous metaphors. That cuts out about 80%.

This post, to illustrate, was originally 5,000 words in length.


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Old 08-27-2008, 04:05 PM   #569
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But really how complicated is it? Do some in the LCS idolize Lee? Clearly yes. Do all in the LCS idolize Lee? Probably not. I think this is merely stating the obvious.

The issue some have legitimately raised on this thread is that when discussing abuse let's stay focused on that instead of saying: "Yes there was abuse but here are 10 positive things to counterbalance it." There are loads of LCS sites advertising all the positive aspects of their church while hiding the negative. I started this thread to explore what, if any, influence the LCS had on social problems among their members. I think the rampant Lee hero worshiping is one thing that surely influenced people negatively so the discussion of idolatry does have a place here but...obsessing over it? Not so much!
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:40 PM   #570
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Could it be that the use of such explosive language as “child molestation” would have the effect of wiping out any testimony that was there? Could it be that contending that four churches with all their elders present was for the purpose of completely discrediting all leadership and all churches in the Texas area?
Dear Hope,

Are you suggesting that this was the motivation behind what I wrote?

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Old 08-27-2008, 04:44 PM   #571
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Not a very relevant comparison.
It wasn't meant to be a relevant comparison. It was a joke. Don't you think the visual of 15,912 ears is kinda' funny?


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The point is not how many see the words. It is the number that will have ears to hear. And if what we are saying is too obtuse, they won't even consider them as worthy of "hearing." This particular rabbit trail has wasted the energies of several very good resources in the efforts to make meaningful dialog concerning the LC that might have a hope of making a difference. You are among that group. Very good discussions could be engaged concerning the various writings of Nigel or others that keep putting weight of evidence after weight of evidence that there is something systemically wrong with the LC. Or engage in one of the Apologetics discussions where Lee’s teachings are stacked up against scripture.
Mike,

If we want to discuss idolatry in the LC on this forum, what is that to you? If you choose not to join the discussion, that is your liberty. If there is no interest in a topic, it will drop to the bottom never to be seen again. That hasn't happened on this thread. Let those of us who are posting and/or viewing be persuaded by Him as to whether we come or go. That's not your job.

There are plenty of threads, and those who are interested will find what they want to read. Let them. If some are interested in this thread, so be it.

You're trying to censor what others read by shutting down this discussion. The LC leadership censors what their membership reads. What's the difference? There is no heirarchy on this forum. Be at peace, Mike, and let Him do his job. He is able.

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Old 08-27-2008, 05:39 PM   #572
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Peter,

Here's how I do it. I write till I'm done then go back and cut out all the stupid stuff, all the offensive stuff, and all the dumb illustrations and ponderous metaphors. That cuts out about 80%.

This post, to illustrate, was originally 5,000 words in length.


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Old 08-27-2008, 05:42 PM   #573
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I'm just going to jump in here and make an observation about the "some who do not qualify." Those in the LC who do not qualify, or, those who do not "worship the idol", do not remain. Or, should I say, cannot remain. How can anyone remain in the LC without worshipping the idol? Is that possible?

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Old 08-27-2008, 05:46 PM   #574
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Idolatry is not about completely abandoning God. It's about who you rely on. Do you really think there are many in the LC who are relying totally on God?
In all of Christianity today, do you really think there are many who are relying totally on God?
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:54 PM   #575
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Matt,
I really think you need to consider researching and writing a formal paper explaining from top to bottom, front to back, your beliefs about idolatry in the LCs. And I think you would do well do submit such a paper for review by a trained theologian. I just think the format here make everything come out too piecemeal to be appreciated
Igz,
while I think I know where you are coming from, and your points here are well taken (by me at least) I would say that Matt has a right to post in a manner that he thinks will get his point across. Some posters like to keep it short (thank you Ohio) while some others like to stretch things out a bit. This thread is only about two weeks old, and it IS a very important topic, so I don't see the problem in giving Matt and some others a little more time to develop their points to maturity.

Like Nell said, nobody is forced to participate (or even read for that matter), and there are LOTS of other boards with all sorts of juicy topics to delve into. I bet Mr. KSA is cooling his jets right at this very moment, waiting for some of us to come back and reenter some of the interesting topics over there on the apologetics boards.

This is one of the big reasons that the software and website was purchased and set up the way it has been...so that people can have choices and enter into discussions which interest and affect them the most. Certain topics may not interest them, or maybe a certain topic just gets their blood boiling too much to make it worth it. Hey...no problemo!...just mosey on over to one of the other boards and "get yur post on" saints.

I am NOT asking that any particular person not post on any particular board. Just don't make it your life's work to attempt to "counter" and/or "balance" everything that is posted. Address the issues at hand. Address the issue with the Word of God and with your practical experience. I think Peter D did a rather nice job of this a little earlier. He refuted and rebutted with some real practical experiences. (I think he used some verses too). Of course, some of us oldies but goodies are probably going to hit him back with some refutations and rebutting of our own...but this is what a discussion forum is all about!
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:23 PM   #576
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Dear Admin,

I have no problem with what you are saying. I was simply trying to make a suggestion to Matt which, quite honestly, I hope he will consider. Not that I want him to not post about this subject here, but that I want his ideas to have the best chance of making sense to people. Right now I think those ideas are struggling a bit.

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Old 08-27-2008, 07:46 PM   #577
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Last night Roger said:

"We cannot paint them all with a broad brush."

This morning Matt said:

"Idolatry is not about completely abandoning God. It's about who you rely on. Do you really think there are many in the LC who are relying totally on God or have they been led astray to relying on the "Minister of the Age" and their membership in the "Recovery"."

Peter said:

"I was not raised on "Truth Lessons" etc... in Cleveland And I was not raised on Witness Lee. The bible studies we had in high school were Word-centered, "

Matt, I do understand what you're saying, but I do agree with what Roger said; you cannot paint everyone with a broad brush.

I can totally relate to Peter. I was not raised on Witness Lee and I was not raised on Watchman Nee. Living in Alburquerque (73-75) and later in Anaheim (76-79), Witness Lee and Watchman Nee were just authors of books my parents had on their bookshelf. I didn't know the correlation between the books and the local church until I was in junior high. Even attending conferences listening to Witness Lee speak was no big deal. He was just a different brother speaking than I had been used to. In high school, when the SSOT started in 84, the focus was on the New Testament. Primarily in the Book of Romans. In the Young People's Conference, the brother who took care of the high school brothers from my locality encouraged and challenged us to read the Bible clear through from Genesis to Revelation.

I believe the points Matt was making is directed at the minority rather than the majority. Those that appear to be relying on what Witness Lee said or didn't say, need to be cared for. These ones need to be taken care of in a simple way. The ministry is a tool to help people know the Lord. The ministry of Witness Lee is not meant to replace ones faith, nor to become a crutch in their personal relationship with the Lord. Sure in the local churches many have an appreciation for Witness Lee's portion, but do they idolize him? The majority does not.

Just to provide a concluding word, when I was at the West Coast Conference this past July, a brother spoke a word of appreciation for brother Kaung. Just as with Witness Lee, one could easily lift up Stephen Kaung without knowing how it might effect other believers. When we assemble, sure we can appreciate certain ministries privately, but there's only one whose name needs to be lifted up and that's Jesus Christ.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:23 PM   #578
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I have no problem with what you are saying. I was simply trying to make a suggestion to Matt which, quite honestly, I hope he will consider. Not that I want him to not post about this subject here, but that I want his ideas to have the best chance of making sense to people. Right now I think those ideas are struggling a bit
Hey, I'm a product of California public schools (Kinder through State College)..so I am very sensitive to having to struggle with all sorts of ideas! Really, I don't think it's the ideas that are struggling so much, but rather those of us on the other end that are having to grapple with the weighty consequences of idolatry. It's pretty heavy-duty stuff folks. Again, I think this is going to take some time. It's going to take some patience, and even some gritting of our teeth a little to work our way through this. Nevertheless, let's try our best to not cut light, truth and historical facts off at the pass.

Ok, I just got to review Terry's post here.

Here's the deal folks, from my perspective. I go back a ways - just about three and one half decades. I lived in "brother's houses" with more then one of the "blended brothers" before they were married, and before they were even a prominent member. I have also lived with and "mingled" with hundreds upon hundreds of us run-of-the-mill, average saints, including all you guys out there reading this post right now. I know that there is a terrible dark thread that runs through the whole thing. Sorry to be so blunt. The terrible dark thread is indeed idolatry. Idolatry of a man, a mere creation of God. There was (is) idolatry of a man's personal ministry. There was (is) idolatry of a "vision". Yes, "without a vision the people parish"...but I tell you before God right now, what good is a vision if it causes those who follow it to parish after all, and then take their family and loved ones down with them?

The Local Church that many of the younger ones here speak of is a Local Church that I do not know. Nor is it a Local Church that is reflected in the writing and speaking of the current leadership. This leads me to believe that things did not “get better” after I left. The current publications and speaking at the trainings and conferences reflect a people - a movement, that is still, to a great degree, idolizing a man and his ministry. They have replaced the Creator and His Word with a mere creation and the words that come out of the mouth of this creation. This is where the rubber meets the road as far as idolatry in the Local Church is concerned. Do we love and fear man and his words more then we love and fear God and His Word? Sorry to say, when the holy cry came: “Chose you this day whom ye will serve!” many of us failed the test. I dare not say most, but I know it was many. For sure we know that those who have taken the lead in the Local Church can be counted among the many. So, we know for sure that there was idolatry in the past, and we know for sure that there is idolatry now. To deny that there was significant idolatry in the middle defies all logic and reason, I’m afraid.

The moral of the story is that our sacred cow does not necessarily look like a golden calf, and even if it did, we would never admit that it is our sacred cow anyway.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:25 PM   #579
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It may be that it is the subject of idolatry that needs its own thread, so that those of us who want to discuss abuse can do so without being burdened down by tons and tons of lengthy and convoluted posts.

Frankly, I think the book idea is a good one.

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Old 08-27-2008, 11:27 PM   #580
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I have been busy so just now catching up since Monday AM. Interestingly, the subject has not changed. I enjoy reading every member's posts even if comes to mind. Someone in the last week may have mentioned this, but I attributed the abuses to false teachings. According to my experience, it fits as a root cause more than idolatry. My healing and freedom from the false teachings came through the pure Word (no footnotes needed) and support from my true friends (you know who you are).
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:37 AM   #581
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... but rather those of us on the other end that are having to grapple with the weighty consequences of idolatry. It's pretty heavy-duty stuff folks. Again, I think this is going to take some time. It's going to take some patients ...
Little pun here Unto? Sometimes I feel like a "patient."

While I tend to avoid all doctors and hospitals like the plague (people die there!), my wife spends much more time with them and has this chief complaint about the medical profession -- "they don't listen to me, they think they already know what's wrong with me, especially these young doctors right out of school."

I'm starting to understand how she feels.

Repeatedly posters try to explain our symptoms. We say, "no it's not a cult, but occasionally it kind of felt like that." You can tell the "doctor" is still not listening. He has some long fancy title like "apologetics." He has already made up his mind -- I believe you have a bad case of "idolatry." No, I don't think so, doctor, I grew up with that, and this is really different. Explain to me again what "idolatry" looks like. Well, if that's true, then everyone I know has got it too. All mankind is sick with it.

Now ... when people ask how I'm doing, I just tell them "I'm fine, just gettin' old, like the rest of us." I guess I'm in denial.
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:10 AM   #582
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I believe the points Matt was making is directed at the minority rather than the majority. Those that appear to be relying on what Witness Lee said or didn't say, need to be cared for. These ones need to be taken care of in a simple way. The ministry is a tool to help people know the Lord. The ministry of Witness Lee is not meant to replace ones faith, nor to become a crutch in their personal relationship with the Lord. Sure in the local churches many have an appreciation for Witness Lee's portion, but do they idolize him? The majority does not.
My points I am making are directed at the systematic introduction of idolatry that will bring the majority into it. I believe that in fact, it did bring the majority into it. Steering clear of it was the the minority. I think all the evidence, including the speaking of many on these forums supports this conclusion.

My initial reaction to this thread and my decision to post here was based on a key fact. Hope was trying to exclude his locality from the rest of the Texas bunch. I stood up in opposition to this attempt. The reason I did is not because Dallas was the best or worst, but because it was part of a whole set of churches that were under the strong sway of an idolatrous system that was engineered and whose engineering started all the way back in the mid-60's.

In taking this stance, it has swept everyone into the problem. No one gets away "clean". I realized that this would happen from the beginning.

The objections have come from many directions because no one wants to be included in this grouping (idolatry), just like no one wants to be included in the label (cult).

In the past, I was unable to tell others that I grew up in a Christian cult/sect. I've still gone back and forth on whether it was a cult or a sect, but one thing is sure. I've become comfortable with admitting that I grew up in an abberant christian group (whether you call it a cult or a sect). This is just a basic fact. It's not something you can move around.

There is an effort by at least some to paint themselves out of this picture and into a prettier picture. Personally, I feel that this should be resisted because there are so many facts and so much anecdotal evidence that points the other way.

Matt

P.S. I do think I am going to open another thread and start introducing some things that are "background material" based primarily on the Word of God. These background materials form part of reason why I am pointing strongly at idolatry at this time. This could take me months to complete, but I've been encouraged by no less than 10-15 people to write a book on this subject. My response has always been the same. I don't have time, but the truth is that working one piece at a time I do have the time. The primary subject is not exactly "idolatry" but it ties in very heavily.

P.S.S. I've started a TOC (table of contents) on this book about 2 or 3 times, but never finished. I may introduce a table of contents as a structure and go from there. But on another thread...

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Old 08-28-2008, 06:21 AM   #583
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Default God's warnings from OT cut in every direction

This my response to Hope's post about God's warning through Edom. I've got a busy day ahead, so you are free from me for the day!!!

Preface: No one that I am aware of on this forum (including djohnson) is jumping on Christ in the believers or attempting to discolor the reality of the Lord in any individual's life. No one is even close to that. What is happening is that the "collective" / "corporate" aspects of the LC are being strongly challenged and how association with the LC over time will bring an individual believer into a compromised state in their relationship to the Lord. If the believer tries to recover their right standing before the Lord, the only option is to leave the LC. You cannot maintain good conscience and a right relationship with the Lord and stay in the LC. This was true in the past and it's true presently.

Hope's warning from the OT used Edom. Most know that Esau (father of the Edomites) is a type of the flesh. Galatians 5:13-26 establishes the opposition of the desires of the flesh and spirit. This is the same tension that existed between Jacob/Esau and Israel/Edom.

Hope's warning based on Edom has validity, but it must be set in context. Edom is a type of the flesh and God will completely and utterly deal with the flesh.

In type Edom's mockery and ridicule of the downfall of Judah is repugnant to God because it comes from the flesh. I don't think anyone is mocking or ridiculing Christ in us, Christ in others or even Christ in the LC and it's past. We are saying that idolatry was systematically introduced and mixed with the believers' experience of Christ. It was done in such a way that almost all were brought into idolatry within the LC from it's inception in the US.

To make a fair comparison of Hope's example with Edom, this should be juxtaposed against a prophet of God who prophecies against Israel and/or Judah. They prophecy according to the Spirit of the Lord and there is no warning for them when they speak out against God's own.

Is Hope saying that everything being said against the LC is just coming from the "flesh"? If not, how does Hope separate it out in his mind? As an estimate what percentage of what is being said is from the "flesh" versus what percentage is coming from some acting like the prophets? Jeremiah weeped because he saw the judgment coming on Judah and it broke his heart. This is from the Spirit of God. Edom mocked and ridiculed Judah when the judgment was coming. This was not from the Spirit of God, it was in the "flesh". (Note: I don't claim to be a prophet, nor do I claim to operate solely apart from the "flesh")

What will we do if and when the LC is judged? Where is our heart? Notice I say, "if". I don't presume they will be in any way that is completely obvious from an outside viewpoint.

If our words against the teachings and practices of the LC come from the "flesh" then we should integrate some Godly fear. If however, we speak more like the prophets attempting to remind a people whose ears have been closed, then we should fear not speaking more than we fear this warning from Hope.

Consider what the Lord says to Ezekiel. This is a warning too. So, I conclude that warnings from God in the OT cut in every direction.

Quote:
Ezekiel 3
4 Then He said to me, 'Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. 5 'For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel, 6 nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you; 7 yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate. 8 'Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads.

16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 17 'Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. 18 'When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 'Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. 20 'Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 'However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.'

27 'But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.
Matt

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Old 08-28-2008, 06:28 AM   #584
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Default Question for Hope about "The Testimony"?

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In parallel thinking, it also would seem that one bad family is enough to label the whole bunch. Therefore should all memory of anything of Christ be obliterated? Could it be that the use of such explosive language as “child molestation” would have the effect of wiping out any testimony that was there? Could it be that contending that four churches with all their elders present was for the purpose of completely discrediting all leadership and all churches in the Texas area?
What testimony is Hope referring to? Is he referring the testimony of the saints who have passed through the fire and who have been purified by the Lord? Or is he referring to the testimony of the group as a collective?

If it is a reference to the "testimony" of the individual saints and the Lord in their lives, then there is absolutely no disagreement.

However, If it is a reference to the "testimony" of the group as a collective, then it is quite another thing. We move closer to the heart of the problem and why I think there is still a thought being held that is wrong according to the Lord.

I would like ask an open question to Hope under the assumption that part of what he is referring to is the "collective" / "corporate" aspect

1. What do you propose we should keep from the "collective" / "corporate" experience of the LC? Let us see it and inspect it in the light of God's Word. Please be as specific as possible. This is a kind of challenge, but not because I am trying to cause you a problem. I really want to know what are the good things you are holding onto from the "collective" / "corporate" experience of the LC.

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Old 08-28-2008, 06:34 AM   #585
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Default Final Note

I really do understand the reactions to what I am saying. I get it. I also get the idea that a number of people don't like this and would prefer to just see it go away.

No one should change your mind if they cannot persuade you based on the Word of God and the Spirit shining light into your heart. So, I have little to no expectation that I will change anyone's mind who is convinced otherwise.

Igzy is right there is a lot of base material that needs to be introduced and this topic is confusing, difficult and charged. Given these three (confusion, difficulty, and charged) and combining them with the fact that this is the most important thing to God from a "No-No" point of view I think we should endeavor to keep looking at it.

Matt
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:57 AM   #586
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1. What do you propose we should keep from the "collective" / "corporate" experience of the LC? Let us see it and inspect it in the light of God's Word. Please be as specific as possible. This is a kind of challenge, but not because I am trying to cause you a problem. I really want to know what are the good things you are holding onto from the "collective" / "corporate" experience of the LC.
Matt,
Are you kidding? Even djohnson has recalled in the past some positive things that we gained from the "collective"/"corporate" experience of the Local Church. This is the problem with your approach. You come in with elbows flying, insisting upon drawing a line in the sand, as if you are an Old Testament prophet who's gotten THE word from on high. Please re-consider.

I know my words may be futile here because you have the favor of the administration. But please consider beginning a whole new thread on this matter of idolatry. Please don't insist that all of the abuse in the Living Stream Church has to be summed up in the one word, "idolatry."

Some of us have slightly different point of views, and some of us have other aspects of abuse that we would like to discuss. If every time we come here to do so, we have to wade through volumes of lengthy posts, on the one subject of “idolatry,” I'm afraid we will just go away. Do we want a ghost town like exists over at Berean?

Sorry you don’t have time to write a book. But it’s not fair to drop it on our heads, one mega-post at a time. All here may not have in common the fact of paying for this forum. But most of us have in common that we have spent at least a decade or two, or three of our adult lives in the group being discussed. Please don’t drown us out on the abuse thread.

Roger
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:57 AM   #587
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The objections have come from many directions because no one wants to be included in this grouping (idolatry), just like no one wants to be included in the label (cult).
This is statement is one of the reasons you are getting so much push-back. You are accusing us of avoiding this because we want to avoid the label ourselves. That is a lie. We have all said the opposite.

The problem is that you are bringing the definition to the level at which no one escapes, yet you want to point at someone else. If we are going to look at it at this most general level, then you are responsible for yourself and I am responsible for myself. Get your own sackcloth and ashes. Don’t throw yours on me. I have enough of my own.

You’ve got a serious thing to consider. What you feel is right you have to stick to. But when there is a preponderance of others who disagree, you have to determine what is happening. Are they merely blind? Or is there a better sense in the group than in the individual?

Either can be correct.

Now, while I do not rank any of us with the various scholars who write, I do note that we tend to accept the common position more than the lone position. (Following Lee was surely an exception on many issues.) Are you so clear that your sense of the situation is right and everyone else is wrong?

Most of us have agreed with the varying levels of idolatry that you have brought forward. But we disagree that it is as meaningful as a systemic thing when you get to the level where every sin is effectively linked to idolatry. We also agree that we can fully see how certain ones clearly abdicated their following of Christ to follow Lee and his ministry. But what we “obviously” see now has not always been so obvious. Few saw the things that we now speak of as facts. They were somewhat hidden. The fact that those persons were mostly the leadership and set the direction for the LC does not make the rest willing idolaters at the same level.

As I pointed out previously, most have followed they way they do because they have understood scripture to say what Lee’s teachings did. That was not because they worshipped Lee, but because they were fooled by his ways of speaking. Lee and the leadership are the workers. The rest are the farm, the building. The workers are judged harshly for the wood, hay and stubble that they use in building. That passage in 1 Cor 3 is not about you and me. It is about Lee and Benson and the other leaders.

So other than finding this kind of idolatry at the core of the leadership, it is fairly well certain that the thing this thread is about, the failures in the second generation, are only remotely connected to that and are more definitely connected to a multitude of different things at the case-by-case level. Some of those are full of LC problems, some little.

You feel so strongly to stand up to anyone with whom you disagree. I can do the same. Someone has to stop this. And a bunch of us have tried. You are not the arbiter of right and wrong. You have no separate standing to stop anyone, be it Don, SC, Ohio, or me. You are speaking for yourself. I believe that I am speaking consistent with a significant number of people who have said in one way or another that this is not right. It’s your turn to back down. Your continuance in this line is coming through as arrogance. If the “body” is speaking, it is you that is not listening. If you consider your calling above that, then consider Lee and his ways. He took no counsel from anyone. Are you headed there?

It might be best if the chirping of crickets is the only response.
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:30 AM   #588
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Chirp ... chirp ... chirp ...
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:05 AM   #589
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This is statement is one of the reasons you are getting so much push-back. You are accusing us of avoiding this because we want to avoid the label ourselves. That is a lie. We have all said the opposite.
Please show me one place you have said the opposite. I'm curious to see a quote on this one.

I'm not accusing you avoiding a label. I said, no one likes being labeled. Me included. Your skewing my words. That's just a simple fact.

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Old 08-28-2008, 08:07 AM   #590
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Matt,
Are you kidding? Even djohnson has recalled in the past some positive things that we gained from the "collective"/"corporate" experience of the Local Church. This is the problem with your approach. You come in with elbows flying, insisting upon drawing a line in the sand, as if you are an Old Testament prophet who's gotten THE word from on high. Please re-consider.

Roger
Your characterization of me (my person) is false. My elbows aren't flying. I'm not slapping anyone around. I'm not even claiming to be any kind of OT prophet. I think I specifically noted this fact.

In your reaction you are closer to doing this than what I am doing. Sorry, Roger, if this whole subject is upsetting you and the things I am saying are also upsetting you.

I am not like Lee. I have zero control over you. I cannot exercise any authority over anyone here. I'm not asking the owner of this site to support what I am saying. I'm not asking anyone to support what I am saying. If I am flat wrong, then okay. I can live with that and the only loss is to me.

In your responses your simply asking me to "shut up". I am not asking the same thing of you. Your responses are welcome and the reader will benefit from them. These things should be weighed out properly in the hearts and minds of each person before the Lord. In the process, you can call me anything you want. I may object to some of your characterizations of my person. That's my right.

But, prove me wrong. I've never said there was no value in the "corporate" / "collective" aspect of the LC. I've asked what some are holding valuable because depending upon what aspects are held valuable there could be a real problem. There's a big difference if you read what I'm actually saying and don't just react to it, because you don't like my thought about it.

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Old 08-28-2008, 08:12 AM   #591
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I've always found when I start my own thread on a subject I'm interested in that I have a little more leverage on where it goes. An idolatry thread could easily be initiated in Matt's name and relevant posts copied over through the technical wonders of board admininstration software. Just a humble suggestion.

Frankly, I've never know what this thread has been about. What does does "The LCS Factor" mean, anyway? Sounds like a TV drama. For that matter, what does "LCS" stand for? I'm really confused. Perhaps that's the reason I've introduced so many irrelevancies here.
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:18 AM   #592
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I've always found when I start my own thread on a subject I'm interested in that I have a little more leverage on where it goes. An idolatry thread could easily be initiated in Matt's name and relevant posts copied over through the technical wonders of board admininstration software. Just a humble suggestion.

Frankly, I've never know what this thread has been about. What does does "The LCS Factor" mean, anyway? Sounds like a TV drama. For that matter, what does "LCS" stand for? I'm really confused. Perhaps that's the reason I've introduced so many irrelevancies here.
Igzy,

We've gotten stuck on idolatry simply because it was posited as a source / root cause of some of the damage done to the 2nd generation of LCer's, due to what the 1st generation of LCer's got themselves mixed up in (knowingly or unknowingly).

Specifically, we've gotten stuck on the fact that there was a system of idolatry implemented over the course of the years (i.e. what I see as a big part of the LCS Factor) that has had a large impact on individuals and families.

The only reason I haven't gone to another thread is because everything about idolatry has come up in context of the impacts of the Local Church System on the 2nd generation of the LC.

Idolatry is a topic that can stand on it's own, but it is the very connection of this subject to the context of the LC that makes it so important (and yes, touchy).

I realize that your suggestion is an attempt to 'moderate' the situation and it's not a bad suggestion. I don't think the context should be lost in any transition if it is going to happen.

djohnson,

Do you want me to go elsewhere with this subject?

Matt

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Old 08-28-2008, 08:24 AM   #593
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So, what does "LCS Factor" mean?
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:28 AM   #594
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I have been busy so just now catching up since Monday AM. Interestingly, the subject has not changed. I enjoy reading every member's posts even if comes to mind. Someone in the last week may have mentioned this, but I attributed the abuses to false teachings. According to my experience, it fits as a root cause more than idolatry. My healing and freedom from the false teachings came through the pure Word (no footnotes needed) and support from my true friends (you know who you are).
Hi BlessD,


I wish this was a dead horse. The problem it is that it is very much alive. It’s like trying to put a halter on a horse while hecklers are popping out from behind bushes and throwing rocks at it. J

The beating of the dead horse smilie makes me think of what happened to you and me and many others. The guy with the stick is a priest in the Babylonian priesthood. He just swung away while we laid there passively like a dead horse. Only, we weren’t dead and felt every blow. Today, when dead horses start speaking about the stick (false teachings) and the authority structure that has the power to wield it (the ruling class), those who treasure the man and the stick start screaming foul play. Go figure.

So, yes, I also believe that the abuse is laid primarily at the feet of false teachings. My posts on idolatry have mainly been about pointing out the idolatrous Babylonian religion style system that gave the teachers the power to embed these false teachings into our hearts and minds as being words from God and then to abuse us when we deviated.

That is the idolatry I’m talking about and that is why I'm talking about it and calling it what it is. We all were in that structure (except SC who managed to do his own thing. Good for him.) That is the all I’m talking about. If anyone out there can tell us you were fully committed to the LC vision and were not in or under the leadership structure there, please speak up (again, SC excepted.)

What am I doing? What is Matt doing? We are attempting to nail down the characteristics of an idolatrous leadership practice, so we can flee from those that practice such things. Without false teachers who have the power to shape a man’s mind because he’s given away his power, false teachings don’t get very far. Neither does spiritual abuse. We need to be able to nip the Babylonian principles in the bud.

Satan is afraid we will do this. He doesn’t want to lose his ability to write things into our hearts and minds like he was god. He knows that this is exactly what God will do when we are fully yielded to Him and treasure His pure word.

That is what the fight on this forum is about. It is not flesh and blood but prinicipalities and powers who do not want the light to shine on their deceitful methods, of which we are all victims. If we don't see these principles clearly and understand at a core level what went wrong we will circle this way again.

The fact is that the LC leadership was and is, a very, very, sick idolatrous system. People who yield to it's control get sick also.

The LC leadership has a track record of targeting the faithful after getting their orders to do so straight from hell. There is a trail of blood that cannot be hidden.

Thankful Jane

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Old 08-28-2008, 08:31 AM   #595
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So, what does "LCS Factor" mean?
I understood LCS to mean "Local Church System". I understand factor to mean "one of the elements contributing to a particular result or situation".

Matt

P.S. And I said I would shut up for the day. I should have known better.
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:42 AM   #596
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I understood LCS to mean "Local Church System". I understand factor to mean "one of the elements contributing to a particular result or situation".

Matt
See, I never considered that.
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:53 AM   #597
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Igzy the first post on this thread explains my intended purpose in starting it.

Matt I think you and/or the forum admin should decide whether to start a separate thread on idolatry. It is not my role to decide such things.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:00 AM   #598
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Igzy the first post on this thread explains my intended purpose in starting it.
Well, I know, but I still didn't know what "LCS factor" means. And the thread was moving so fast I felt stupid asking. I don't feel stupid now, though I may still be.

Is Matt's definition correct?

In your first post you seem to imply that LCS factor means something that corrupts youth, but if so the subject has broadened considerably.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:08 AM   #599
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Originally Posted by djohnson;3007[B
Matt[/B] I think you and/or the forum admin should decide whether to start a separate thread on idolatry. It is not my role to decide such things.
djohnson,

Don't bow down to the "powers that be"! You opened the thread and that is why I asked you.

Matt
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:13 AM   #600
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The LC leadership has a track record of targeting the faithful after getting their orders to do so straight from hell. There is a trail of blood that cannot be hidden.

Scene in hell:

Demon Zula: Hey, Zanatron, you got anything scheduled for today?

Demon Zanatron: (Checking Blackberry). Just a couple lawyers at 2:00. Why?

Zula: The Master wants an interaction with the LSM gang up on La Palma.

Zanatron: (Groaning) Not them again. I’ve had it with those guys. They can’t get anything right.

Zula: Whachutalkinabout?

Zanatron: Would you cool it with the Gary Coleman stuff? You don’t even sound like him. Plus he’s like twenty years out of date.

Zula: Whatever. Anyway, what’s your problem with the LSM gang? They’re cooperative.

Zanatron: To a fault. Like when I gave them the directive about the Q, --

Zula: Q?

Zanaton: Quarantine. When I told them it was the slickest way to rid themselves of the TC problem, what do they do? They pull this “One Publication” thing out of their rears.

Zula: One Pub? What’s wrong with that? It worked, didn’t it?

Zanatron: (Sticking a marshmellow on his pitchfork which he then stokes in the fire.) Worked? They had to run up to Canada to hold the trial. How pathetic.

Zula: (Firing a flaming dart into the ether) Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Zanatron: (Pulls marshmellow from pitchfork and eats it delicately) I’m tired of the whole mess. Just once I’d like to work with a decent man, someone who didn’t hide behind faux rationales and idiotic symbols.

Zula: Hm. A Don Corleone type?

Zanatron: (Grabs his Blackberry) Uh-oh, I’m getting something from the boss. (Reading) “Get up to the Bereans forum and stir up some dust about idolatry … IMMEDIATELY!”

Zula: The Bereans?

Zanatron: He means that new site. He can never remember.

Zula: Well, I’ve got some good news for you.

Zanatron: (Putting on his hat and grabbing a whip) What’s that?

Zula: No need to head to the site: they’re already knee-deep in idolatry dust.

Zanatron: No kidding? (Taking off hat and hanging whip back on hook) And they’ll probably blame us.

Zula: Hey, if it gets you an afternoon off, don’t complain. Me, I’ve got to go to Denver.

Zanatron: I feel your pain. (He places another marshmellow on pitchfork, yelping in pain as he accidentally singes his finger)

Fade out.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:19 AM   #601
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Matt I know why you asked me but I've never thought the role of a thread starter is to decide who can post what and where they can post it.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:22 AM   #602
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Matt I know why you asked me but I've never thought the role of a thread starter is to decide who can post what and where they can post it.
It's a courtesy to the thread starter to keep the subject on what he or she intended. For example, if I start a thread on Disneyland and you decide you want to talk about Six Flags, and force the issue, that's rude. Of course, everything within reason.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:48 AM   #603
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Igzy on my initial thread I mentioned some behaviors and asked this question: "What role, if any, do you think the LCS played in the development of these behaviors?"

I think it is clear that Matt and Thankful think idolatry in the LCS is a cause of some problems among the second generation. I don't think it can be argued that idolatry does not exist in the LCS. It's self-evident. Lee is idolized by many including the high priesthood in Anaheim. Nor do I think it can be credibly argued that where idolatry exists people will not be negatively affected. Obviously idolatry will have an adverse effect on people and their children.

Is idolatry the only issue? I don't think so. Was everyone involved? I have no way of knowing this and neither does anyone else. How can we know the hearts and minds of thousands of people?

I am well aware that my original thread starting question falls within the realm of social science and that social science is considered a "soft science" in terms of arriving at conclusive irrefutable data. I opened this thread not because I thought some conclusive cause and effect item would be discovered but because I thought it would be a good idea to explore the issue. We do know environment plays a significant role in child development and subsequent adult behaviors. And since the LCS was such a pervasive environment it surely played a role. We may never determine the exact measure of that role but we might be wiser for the exploration. I think the number of readers of this thread is an indication that the issue is of high interest to many.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:53 AM   #604
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dj,

So "LCS" stands for "local church system?"
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:54 AM   #605
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Igzy if some feel they are outside the bounds of courtesy they should do something about it. It is not my role to decide this for others.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:55 AM   #606
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Scene in hell:
Quite creative, SC. You must feel like

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The LC leadership has a track record of targeting the faithful after getting their orders to do so straight from hell. There is a trail of blood that cannot be hidden.
But, on this one. Who knows what the actual scene in hell is or how directly the orders were delivered, but with all the carnage we know the orders aren't coming from the Lord.

I think the Midwest has been on the sharp end of this "stick" in recent times. It isn't that hard to see that brothers & sisters are acting against brothers & sisters for the sake of trying to reinforce the subjugated status of many congregations and individuals to a "system".

Since we know this isn't inspired of God, where do you propose that it is inspired from if it is not from hell?

Matt

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Old 08-28-2008, 09:56 AM   #607
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I think the number of readers of this thread is an indication that the issue is of high interest to many.
Either that or another example of people's fascination for train wrecks.


It's just a joke, folks.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:59 AM   #608
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Igzy yes LCS = Local Church System. How do you like it? I was thinking of WLS i.e. Witness Lee System but he's dead - sorta. Then I thought maybe BBS i.e Blended Brothers System but then I was thinking that with all the divisive activity going on it wasn't inclusive enough.
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:01 AM   #609
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Igzy yes LCS = Local Church System. How do you like it? I was thinking of WLS i.e. Witness Lee System but he's dead - sorta. Then I thought maybe BBS i.e Blended Brothers System but then I was thinking that with all the divisive activity going on it wasn't inclusive enough.
Works for me. Thanks for clarifying.
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:40 AM   #610
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Is idolatry the only issue? I don't think so. Was everyone involved? I have no way of knowing this and neither does anyone else. How can we know the hearts and minds of thousands of people?
Well, since you are the thread starter and you mentioned there might be other factors, let me take the opportunity to talk about some others.

First, I think second-generation failure is a concern for many church leaders and a reality for the LCS. Why does it happen? Why aren't the children of the faithful faithful?

The first reason is probably related to children's natural desire to distinguish themselves from their parents, combined with their seeing the hypocrisy and inconsistences they are privy to by living with their parents. This is probably true in all cases.

In the case of the LCS, I think the problem is likely significantly due to failing to put the message in a form which the young people find compelling and accessible. Kids, it's been show again and again, are attracted to things which relate to them and which fit into their world. This is always a challenge and since the LCS believes in not tinkering with WL's message or delivery, the kids pretty much get the same stuff in the same way the grownups do. This is a great way to encourage failure.

This leads us back to the fact that a church diet consisting mostly of high theology doesn't appeal to everyone. It's been a hard lesson to me, and I think a practical lesson for many pastors, that some people are just, as Lee called them, "mooing cows." Well, guess what? God called you to shepherd those cows and if serving them your high theology seven days a week isn't getting the results you want, maybe that should tell you something. As the Lord told his disciples, "You feed them." If they aren't eating what you are dishing up perhaps you should try a different recipe.

JMHO.

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Old 08-28-2008, 11:01 AM   #611
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Please show me one place you have said the opposite. I'm curious to see a quote on this one.
You want quotes? Virtually every one of my posts agrees with the general contention, just not the method of application. We’ll start with the one you just responded to.

#587 “The problem is that you are bringing the definition to the level at which no one escapes, yet you want to point at someone else. If we are going to look at it at this most general level, then you are responsible for yourself and I am responsible for myself. Get your own sackcloth and ashes. Don’t throw yours on me. I have enough of my own.

The then one yesterday: #550 “When we willfully sin, we have clearly turned our hearts from God. That is, by definition, lowering God’s status in our hearts. So in the broader sense of the term, every sin involves idolatry. So, if every sin is idolatry, why isn’t every call for repentance put in terms of turning from idolatry? A few put it in the mix in relation to certain things, but not as an umbrella under which all sins could be found.

Do you see me wiggling out of either of these?

I’m not going back further than that. You can do it on your own. Your response to me suggests that you are not actually reading what I say, just responding to my displeasure in the course this has taken. Deny it if you will, but your response above is its own evidence for my statement.

Take offense in that statement if you will. To paraphrase someone else’s statements here, I’ve just got to stop this nonsense. Sound familiar? Well, it cuts both ways. I’ve got the same rights you claim to have. And by the way, the last time you trotted that “stop someone” line out, concerning the Dallas thing earlier, you were very wrong, and were party to a gross fallacy of logic. And you never admitted it, but simply quit the argument and turned to this. It’s high time you admit your own bull-headedness rather than accusing the rest of us of avoiding the broader definition of idolatry. It never happened.

The fact is, that while we despised the interference of the BARM super-moderators, left to our own devices, there is beginning to be an undesirable flavor here. This was not the first, although it is hard to compare any others to it. We have thrown off the shackles of the BARM, and even managed to leave enough of the actual LC group behind that we suddenly have little boundary except our own consciences. Those may be failing. There is a bit of a “I’ll be damned if anyone is going to stop me now” attitude that is beginning to rule. Well, you seem to have elected yourself as the stopper of others. You need to listen to someone else at least occasionally. This is probably just such a time.
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:16 AM   #612
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Do you see me wiggling out of either of these?
No. I don't see you wiggling out of anything. I just wanted to see some instances where you felt you were in agreement. I did not remember them off-hand.

I read your whole post. I went back and read it again just a minute ago and realized I had missed one of your questions. While you were posting, I was PMing and it's in your inbox right now.

I will reiterate the fact that the broad definition I have used, I have also pointed at myself (not just others). Capiche?

It is true I have avoided some of your comments. If there are ones that you still consider important, please put them forward and I'll address them. If you want to point out a particular logical fallacy that is clear and ask me to admit to it, then fine. I'll admit to it.

Matt
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:20 AM   #613
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Since we know this isn't inspired of God, where do you propose that it is inspired from if it is not from hell?

Matt,

Well, not everything we do comes "directly from hell" as TJ put it. We're not just puppets in the war between God and Satan. We have souls, we have minds, we have choice. Witness Lee said something interesting when covering the book of Ruth. I'll paraphrase: Ruth represents the good part of humanity.

That was an eye-opener for me at the time. I had never seen that humanity had anything other than a dark side, a fallen side. I was a Calvinist from day one. The trouble with that view is, the people of earth constantly prove it wrong. People do good things, selfless things. How about Pat Tillman, the former NFLer who decided to do something that was a higher calling than blocking linemen. He risked, and gave, his life for his belief in America.

Furthermore, Satan isn't, as has been pointed out here, omnipresent. Even his minions are limited in number. Do you really think every thought of ours is whispered into our ears by either demons or angels?

Actually, your view -- that our thoughts are either God-inspired or Satan-inspired -- really proves Lee's theory that Satan was injected into us at the fall.

At any rate, I reject the puppet theory of mankind. Men have a free will. We can think our own thoughts, make our own choices. True, we are the battleground between God and Satan, but even in a war there are many, many places where life goes on as if nothing has changed.


SC
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:26 AM   #614
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Matt,

Well, not everything we do comes "directly from hell" as TJ put it. We're not just puppets in the war between God and Satan. We have souls, we have minds, we have choice.

SC
Agreed (but TJ did not say "everything", just the targeting of the faithful). So, the fact that we have a choice makes it all the more damning for each of us when we find ourselves succumbed to a situation that causes us to lose our choice (even violating our conscience) for the sake of the "collective" or "movement".

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Furthermore, Satan isn't, as has been pointed out here, omnipresent. Even his minions are limited in number. Do you really think every thought of ours is whispered into our ears by either demons or angels?
No, I do not. However, I do know that Satan can integrate himself by means of influence when we harbor a sinful approach to various aspects of our life. When this happens we become blind to the truth. I speak for myself. Anger was embedded in me at a very young age and it blinded me for many years. My target: Thankful Jane.

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Old 08-28-2008, 11:51 AM   #615
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One of the main causes of divorce is adultery. Young children typically do not understand adultery but they are effected by the divorce.

In the bible there is such a thing as spiritual adultery. There is a divorce of sorts going on in the LCS right now and FYI your children are watching it and being effected by it. What or more pointedly who is this divorce about? Answer: Witness Lee. Another lover competing with the Lord's rightful place in the church.
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:51 AM   #616
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Matt,
Are you kidding? Even djohnson has recalled in the past some positive things that we gained from the "collective"/"corporate" experience of the Local Church. This is the problem with your approach. You come in with elbows flying, insisting upon drawing a line in the sand, as if you are an Old Testament prophet who's gotten THE word from on high. Please re-consider ... I know my words may be futile here because you have the favor of the administration. But please consider beginning a whole new thread on this matter of idolatry. Please don't insist that all of the abuse in the Living Stream Church has to be summed up in the one word, "idolatry." Some of us have slightly different point of views ...
With Matt's present approach regarding idolatry, he has growing similarity to the late Jim Moran. Both of whose views I have had to protest, because of the unbalanced extremes they presented. One of the common threads with them both is that neither had any positive experiences in the LC's, that I have heard of. Their point of view is not balanced by anything sweet of Christ.

Even with all the abuse and improprieties of LC leadership, I still received Christ from LC ministries. I still had many experiences of the anointing in LC meetings. The Lord spoke to me so many times. I had so many precious times with wonderful saints. All the precious times I have had must temper my critiques, or else I am neither fair nor honest.

Neither Jim Moran nor Matt are guided by these experiences. Their writings display this.
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:02 PM   #617
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Your characterization of me (my person) is false. My elbows aren't flying. I'm not slapping anyone around. I'm not even claiming to be any kind of OT prophet. I think I specifically noted this fact.
Well, Matt, that response is about what I expected. There is no reasoning with you. So from this point on I'll just say:

what...ever. Do as you like on your forum.

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Old 08-28-2008, 12:13 PM   #618
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Default Stopping abuse in the body of Christ.

The second generation of LCers are the result of growing up in religious environment that was majorly out of whack with God and the Bible. It was a mixture of the things of God with the ways of the devil. In this environment many children were neglected, treated as objects of "authority" needing to be subdued, and were left with deep rooted false beliefs about the nature and character of God as a result. I'll say more about this later. Like glue that held the hold place together, the religious control exercised over families by the leadership hierarchy is a fundamental cause of these problems.

Before I say more in this vein in another post, let me say this is not about condemning a group, this is about educating ourselves. We need to be educated about what produces religiously abusive environments. Our situation is not the first, nor will it be the last. We need to learn something from all of this. Here are characteristics we need to be able to spot a mile away, even in seed form. They do not belong anywhere in the body of Christ.

Characteristics of an idolatrous system which the Bible calls mystery Babylon the Great:

1. A consecrated hierarchy of men in willing and absolute submission to those above them who actively and vigilantly silence, subdue, and conquer the common people in line with their prime religious directive. They accept no responsibility for the actions they take which are dictated by their superiors. They believe they will not give account for such actions because they are obeying others and acting on God’s behalf.

2. A body of leavened teachings by one man, who is considered to be the mouthpiece of God on the earth, which is systematically written in the hearts and minds of adherents day after day and never questioned.

3. Common people, held by fear, who are willingly submitted to leavened false teachings and false teachers and who believe they are submitting to God in doing so.

4. An absolute consecration to a God-given vision of the church that is uniquely theirs, one that makes them unique and special, superior to other Christians.

5. Teachings and practices that tolerate sexual sin among believers.

6. Taking financial advantage of God’s people for the financial gain of those at high levels of the hierarchy who handle monies without open public accountability.

I am sure that there are some who can truthfully claim that they did not absolutely follow Lee's teachings in heart and mind, but I don't believe there are hardly any who can claim that they were not in or under the LC leadership hierarchy (other than SC). Those who openly resisted were rejected overtly. If their resistance was passive, they survived longer. To continue to submit meant more and more compromise of conscience.

For an example of how this works on individuals in the system, just ask those elders who hid the sin of a Texas elder at the dictate of Lee and had to lie from that day forward to cover up this deed. Ten years down the road that decision and related lies resulted in the destruction of two LC families.

For an example of how this works on a mass scale and what happens when there is resistance to it, take a look at the wielding of unholy authority at Whistler and the subsequent demand for the masses to line up behind that public horse whipping and continue to beat that horse until it couldn’t move any more. As we post here today, who is still suffering from that? Families and brethren who were divided as a result.

When you any of see these characteristics at work, you can call it whatever you want, only flee it and purge your mind of any leaven that got sown into it while subject to its darkness. God calls it idolatry. The Spirit calls it Mystery Babylon the Great and cries out, “Come out of her my people that you be not partakers of her sins and of her plagues.”

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Old 08-28-2008, 12:19 PM   #619
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Do as you like on your forum.

Roger
It's not my forum. You should note that on the Berean's I never brought this subject up. Did I suddenly become unreasonable? Or has my view always been different than others?

I didn't bring it up because I did have some "lordship" over there and it would have been inappropriate for me to do it in that environment. It is appropriate here.

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Originally Posted by Ohio
One of the common threads with them both is that neither had any positive experiences in the LC's, that I have heard of. Their point of view is not balanced by anything sweet of Christ
I understand that you haven't heard about any positive experiences of mine in the LC, but to claim that my point of view isn't balanced by anything sweet of Christ is completely false.

I've actually had some of the exact same kind of experience that many here talk about in the "early days" of the LC where the Lord was among you and He was the head over the meetings in a body of believers who were not under any kind of deputy control. I really enjoyed those times.

In fact, those meetings were with ex-LCer's who claimed that although the meetings weren't as large, they were just as rich with the Lord among us.

So let me re-emphasize that point: I have tasted the presence of the Lord and seen the work of the Holy Spirit in a christian context much like what you experienced in the early days of the LC. God arranged it for me with witnesses who can attest to the fact that it was like that. This was in the early to mid 90's.

I believe that on every point of "credentials" you can throw at me, I am "credentialed". I have no "credentials" from men. No degree. No seminary education. I have never been a "member" of a denomination. I have only consecrated myself to the Lord plus nothing. I meet with other believers in an elder driven church which has the freedoms that the LC lacks. I am steeped in the teachings of the inner life and can testify to "Christ in me, the hope of glory". God has been real to me in my personal walk with him. The Body of Christ has ministered to me over many years to bring me from a bad state towards one with a healthier walk in the Lord. What else do you want to try me on? Make a list.

Note: Keep in mind. My witness is not just my own. It's backed up by two parents who have all the time you require and desire for someone to be able to speak up on this subject.

I am not being prideful. I am checking your statements against the facts of my life. Your statements don't hold.

Feel free to trot out here and perform some character assassination. I can deal with it. I'm not being belligerent. I'm just going to be steadfast in presenting some information about idolatry.

Matt

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Old 08-28-2008, 12:39 PM   #620
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The Lord spoke to me so many times. I had so many precious times with wonderful saints. All the precious times I have had must temper my critiques, or else I am neither fair nor honest.
Yes, Ohio. No one is saying we did not experience the Lord there. I am not saying that. There was a mixture of both things there. Jesus and a system that would not allow Jesus to be King over each of us.

This is the problem we are talking about. We need to understand what happened there. I was loving Jesus, reading my Bible, reading other's Christian testimonies, loving the brothers and sisters and sharing what I was enjoying from times with the Lord in the Word. I was starting to find my freedom in Christ and realizing I did not have to submit to what men were telling me was God with regard to my practical life. I had not one thought against Witness Lee. I spoke not one word against Witness Lee. I was enjoying God and my Christian family. Then came the ax. It was wielded by the power invested in the hierarchy and I bowed to it and kept my face in that dirt until God mercifully lifted me up out of the pit I had been left in.

Should that have happened? Of course not. That was spiritual abuse, pure and simply. This kind of behavior does not belong in the body of Christ. It is Mystery Babylon the Great behavior. We have to face it. It was present among us. We have to get free to the core from the principles that allow the mystery of iniquity to work among us.

The devil's targets: those who are loving and walking with Jesus.

Tools to accomplish this:

. men with who will practice hierachy among brothers and who are coveting something other than pleasing God only and can be influenced by money

. men who want to be told by others what to do to please God

. men who want to be more "special" to God than others, (who want to sit on the left and right hand of Jesus)

We need to learn our lessons so we can have wonderful experiences of Christ together without the devil making inroads and destroying the basic building blocks of the kingdom of God: you and me walking with Jesus.

Thankful Jane
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:13 PM   #621
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I find this current strain of argument to be kinda obvious. It's like discussing the RC being rampant with child molesters among their priesthood. Did all priests do it? No. Is a system in place filled with people in power that covered it up? Yup. Sick huh? Yet the same RC has Mother Teresa, etc. So...obviously any place is going to have the good the bad and the ugly.

Problem is: the crazies who have blind loyalty to the RC, LCS or anywhere else. They are like Americans, etc with blind patriotism. Our country can do no wrong die hards. Then on the other extreme we have the yahoos saying: our country can do no right. Which is it? Neither. Surprisingly I didn't have to become a rocket scientist to figure this all out.
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:45 PM   #622
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I understand that you haven't heard about any positive experiences of mine in the LC, but to claim that my point of view isn't balanced by anything sweet of Christ is completely false.

I believe that on every point of "credentials" you can throw at me, I am "credentialed". I have no "credentials" from men.

Feel free to trot out here and perform some character assassination.
Brother Matt,

I never implied that you have never tasted the sweetness of Christ, not at all, only that it was not in an LC context. Are you now saying that during your time in the LC, you had many sweet times in the Lord?

I understand you to mean that there were ex-LC'ers present, but that isn't the same. I'm sure those times were rich and sweet indeed. So ... you were disagreeing with something I didn't say. Sorry about the confusion ...

I don't think being in the GLA LC's from the mid-70's makes me at all "credentialed." But your comments about the church in Dallas, as Hope described it, neither makes you adequately "credentialed" to dispute him, don't you think? If you have not lived in Dallas for a period of time in the church while Hope served there, how can you discredit his comments while there?

I only compared your views on "idolatry" with Moran's views on "cults." There was no character assassination. It is a valid observation, is it not? Both of you had some first hand experience with the LC's, so your views are very important. But those views are not balanced by a memory of sweetness. That was my only point. The point is not derogatory of you personally. Many others have only bitter memories of the LC's. To date, I have only heard of those times when you "resisted the program," if that was a fair way to describe it.

The only rebuttal you can make about my last post is to come forth and tell the posters that the sweetness of Christ, i.e. "Taste and see that the Lord is good," was tasted by you while you were meeting with with the LC's.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:08 PM   #623
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Yes, Ohio. No one is saying we did not experience the Lord there. I am not saying that. There was a mixture of both things there. Jesus and a system that would not allow Jesus to be King over each of us.

This is the problem we are talking about. We need to understand what happened there. I was loving Jesus, reading my Bible, reading other's Christian testimonies, loving the brothers and sisters and sharing what I was enjoying from times with the Lord in the Word. I was starting to find my freedom in Christ and realizing I did not have to submit to what men were telling me was God with regard to my practical life. I had not one thought against Witness Lee. I spoke not one word against Witness Lee. I was enjoying God and my Christian family. Then came the ax. It was wielded by the power invested in the hierarchy and I bowed to it and kept my face in that dirt until God mercifully lifted me up out of the pit I had been left in.

Should that have happened? Of course not. That was spiritual abuse, pure and simply.

Thankful Jane
, I agree wholeheartedly and have stated this often. Yours was a tragic case of abuse, lording it over, etc. It should never have happened! I have mentioned some of the stories of abuse which I have experienced and also witnessed in others. Three years ago, as I stopped serving, I realized the "program produces bullies out of beloved brothers." I wrote this in posts. Your story in ToG simply confirmed that. It was not just my LC, my regional leaders in the GLA, and a ministry in Anaheim, but Texas too! Sounded systemic! There was too much abuse everywhere! Not with all brothers, of course, but many practices in this "program" are just plain bad. People got hurt. People got abused. Others, who witnessed this, won't admit it. They would like to cover up the abuse, and discredit those hurt ones who left. This is perhaps the primary reason why I post on the forum.

I have never said that every LC member was an abuser, and ... I have addressed only that abuse which could be considered in the mind of the abused as "perfecting," or "being one with the ministry," or the like. I don't like sweeping generalizations, which like prejudices, are not fair.

Now ... when we jump from "instances of abuse" to "everyone is an idolator," I have a few reservations.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:46 PM   #624
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I understand you to mean that there were ex-LC'ers present, but that isn't the same. I'm sure those times were rich and sweet indeed. So ... you were disagreeing with something I didn't say. Sorry about the confusion ...
It's the same Lord. It's His little ones gathered together in His name. It's His Spirit moving and speaking. If it's not the same sweetness, then either

a) something is wrong with the group I was meeting with
b) something is wrong with the group you were meeting with
c) there is something special about the group you were meeting with that makes the presence of the Lord there more in some way than the presence of the Lord in the gathering I was in.

Do you have additional options? Please present them. I'm interested.

What you have to think about here is the very real possibility that I have experienced the same thing you have in a different setting (not LC specific).

The meetings I have been to most recently were in LSM driven localities and they were not good. When I went to some other Midwest localities, they were better.

Quote:
I don't think being in the GLA LC's from the mid-70's makes me at all "credentialed." But your comments about the church in Dallas, as Hope described it, neither makes you adequately "credentialed" to dispute him, don't you think? If you have not lived in Dallas for a period of time in the church while Hope served there, how can you discredit his comments while there?
I lived for 15 years in Dallas and know a number of young people that grew up there. I have attended meetings in the Church in Dallas after Hope's departure. My parents helped to initiate the Church in Dallas at it's inception before it was "organized" under the LSM/LC.

But no, I'm not specifically "credentialed" to dispute Hope on the topic of Dallas. I am "credentialed" enough to object to his characterization that it was better from the "systematic" point of view.

You need to read back through what he says and realize that the main party he is carving out of the picture is himself. When challenged on issues related to Dallas the response is that he and his family tried to do it differently. I do believe him and there is fruit demonstrated even here on this forum that what he says is true about his own efforts.

These efforts do not counter the environmental effects of the LC environment.

When Hope indicates that he started removing his own children from LSM driven activities this is a clear indication that even he knows the system was messed up and would have an adverse impact on the 2nd generation.

I don't really have to have my own "credentials" in regards to Dallas. I have the witness of others including Hope himself. There are other witnesses that have spoken up on this very forum (at least two: bookworm, Process).

Dallas shouldn't be painted black, but it shouldn't be painted white either. It should be painted with the same color of gray as the rest of the LC with a little whitening effect for the time that Hope was there. What about now? I can tell you that now it is the same color of gray as the rest of the LC. It is an LSM/LC church. It's no exception in 2008. It succumbed to the strong influence of the LC system just like many others have.

I have personal access to quite a few members of the church in Dallas and we could have a very direct conversation with direct witnesses on this subject in a face-to-face mode. I'm willing for truth to be established concretely.

Final Note:

Brother Ohio,

Truly, I'm not offended with you Ohio. I'm just holding your statements up to the light, just as you are doing to some of what I am saying.

Questions:
a) Would you ever go back into the RCC? Why not?
b) Would you ever go back into an LSM/LC driven church? Why not?

Matt

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Old 08-28-2008, 05:28 PM   #625
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Matt,

I appreciate your obedience to the Lord. I don't want to stand before Him one day with any sin in my life of any kind. The light is bright on this thread and I want to pay attention to what He is saying to me about sin. Judgment begins at the house of the Lord, and as I look around at what's going on, I think we must be there.

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Old 08-28-2008, 06:20 PM   #626
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Hello Forum and special greetings to Matt,

Quote from Matt
My initial reaction to this thread and my decision to post here was based on a key fact. Hope was trying to exclude his locality from the rest of the Texas bunch. I stood up in opposition to this attempt. The reason I did is not because Dallas was the best or worst, but because it was part of a whole set of churches that were under the strong sway of an idolatrous system that was engineered and whose engineering started all the way back in the mid-60's.

This quote says a lot Matt. Actually I was attempting to counter the broad brush approach of dj and a few other posters. I had no idea we were headed toward a discussion of idolatry. This is a false premise, simple and basic. I prefer to speak about what I know personally and directly. Often you see the phrase in the NT “seen and heard.” The apostles spoke about what they had seen and heard. I would prefer to only address what I do know. Of course there were many commonalities among the various churches in Texas. For the most part they all flowed out of Houston and then also out of Dallas and then Austin etc.

Benson Phillips was the very dominating leader. In my opinion he possessed the first gift mentioned in Rom 12:8, he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. NASB Benson was an incredible leader. He shaped everyone and one thing he will never be accused of is being lazy. Look up the word diligence in the dictionary and you will find his picture. But isn’t it interesting that showing mercy follows the mention of the gift of leading and is of equal importance with all the other gifts of teaching, prophesy etc. The mutual life of the believers in the Body of Christ cannot work well without some of the members having this gift of showing mercy. (I love to fellowship on Romans chapter 12 and the gift of showing mercy.)

Matt, your above quote shows the mindset, bias, to throw everyone into the same bucket. Unfortunately when anyone tries to point out to you that your view may be anything less than a true report or conclusion or it is time to reconsider at least a little, you take offense that people are trying to shut you up. Perhaps you could consider ole Billy Shakespeare, when he said “me thinks thou dost protest too much.”

Hope's warning based on Edom has validity, but it must be set in context. Edom is a type of the flesh and God will completely and utterly deal with the flesh.

Types are good. I think sometimes we can overwork types. Witness Lee may have been among the all time best teachers of types but he often missed the simple points of an OT passage. Matt, I appreciate your study of the OT and of idolatry. I have studied the OT some myself and have found idolatry to be very relevant to today’s society and church. But many times it is best to just first of all take the OT story for what it is and let the Lord speak to the reader regarding his own current situation. I believe the story of Edom could have a message for the former members of the LC who have a valid interest in pointing out the errors of the system.

Is Hope saying that everything being said against the LC is just coming from the "flesh"? If not, how does Hope separate it out in his mind? As an estimate what percentage of what is being said is from the "flesh" versus what percentage is coming from some acting like the prophets? Jeremiah weeped because he saw the judgment coming on Judah and it broke his heart. This is from the Spirit of God. Edom mocked and ridiculed Judah when the judgment was coming. This was not from the Spirit of God, it was in the "flesh". (Note: I don't claim to be a prophet, nor do I claim to operate solely apart from the "flesh")

Matt, I assume you were speaking rhetorically when you called of my take of the percentage of flesh vs the percentage of Spirit. I prefer not to get too fine in analysis and then too sweeping in conclusion. This is a common error I see among zealous Christians.

What will we do if and when the LC is judged? Where is our heart? Notice I say, "if". I don't presume they will be in any way that is completely obvious from an outside viewpoint.

I am not presuming, be assured that judgment is coming and has already begun. The LSM will be judged in this age and the coming age. As it is unfolding, I do not want to be with Edom.

If our words against the teachings and practices of the LC come from the "flesh" then we should integrate some Godly fear. If however, we speak more like the prophets attempting to remind a people whose ears have been closed, then we should fear not speaking more than we fear this warning from Hope.

How about fearing both without prejudice. I know that is not easy.

If it is a reference to the "testimony" of the individual saints and the Lord in their lives, then there is absolutely no disagreement.

However, If it is a reference to the "testimony" of the group as a collective, then it is quite another thing. We move closer to the heart of the problem and why I think there is still a thought being held that is wrong according to the Lord.


Yes, and yes, the Lord’s testimony is the Lord’s testimony. Our job is not to parse out which context we like or do not like but to recognize whatever God has done. If my history continues, I now realize I will need to bring out more of the positive experiences of the group as a collective as well as individual experiences. Thank you for the input.

1. What do you propose we should keep from the "collective" / "corporate" experience of the LC? Let us see it and inspect it in the light of God's Word. Please be as specific as possible. This is a kind of challenge, but not because I am trying to cause you a problem. I really want to know what are the good things you are holding onto from the "collective" / "corporate" experience of the LC.

Matt, as a student of the OT, you know there was always a mixed bag with the Israelites, the Kings etc. They had good days and bad days. The same with the early churches and with the seven churches in Revelation chapters 1-3. The Bible is faithful to tell of both. How about us? The LSM can only speak of the good days, real or imagined. They can only refer to John Ingalls, Bill Mallon etc in evil terms, real or imagined. Lord save us from their example.

I pray and trust I am not holding onto anything from the past. I have a great hope for the future. The Lord's principle is that the glory of the later house will be more that the glory of the former house. Also, whatever the Lord does is new. He always does a new thing. We have much to look forward to.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:10 PM   #627
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This is the problem we are talking about. We need to understand what happened there. I was loving Jesus, reading my Bible, reading other's Christian testimonies, loving the brothers and sisters and sharing what I was enjoying from times with the Lord in the Word. I was starting to find my freedom in Christ and realizing I did not have to submit to what men were telling me was God with regard to my practical life. I had not one thought against Witness Lee. I spoke not one word against Witness Lee. I was enjoying God and my Christian family. Then came the ax. It was wielded by the power invested in the hierarchy and I bowed to it and kept my face in that dirt until God mercifully lifted me up out of the pit I had been left in.

Should that have happened? Of course not. That was spiritual abuse, pure and simply. This kind of behavior does not belong in the body of Christ.

We need to learn our lessons so we can have wonderful experiences of Christ together without the devil making inroads and destroying the basic building blocks of the kingdom of God: you and me walking with Jesus.

Thankful Jane
Jane, when I learned of your story, blessD's, Bill W's, and who knows how many more, I have empathy. When one member of the Body suffers, we all suffer. I have.
Specifically about offenses, that is a matter that cannot be trivialized. If we're serious about being One Body in Christ, we will be serious about taking care of our relationships with all the members. There is ample opportunity in this life to resolve offenses providing the Lord grants us time. After that is the judgment seat.

Terry

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Old 08-29-2008, 04:46 AM   #628
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It's the same Lord. It's His little ones gathered together in His name. It's His Spirit moving and speaking. If it's not the same sweetness, then either:

a) something is wrong with the group I was meeting with
b) something is wrong with the group you were meeting with
c) there is something special about the group you were meeting with that makes the presence of the Lord there more in some way than the presence of the Lord in the gathering I was in.

Do you have additional options? Please present them. I'm interested.

Final Note:

Questions:
a) Would you ever go back into the RCC? Why not?
b) Would you ever go back into an LSM/LC driven church? Why not?
Brother Matt,

We need an ... (e) none of the above.

Regarding your final questions ... I have visited both, with the saying in heart, "hate the system, but love the people."
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:24 AM   #629
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Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Hello Forum and special greetings to Matt,

This quote says a lot Matt. Actually I was attempting to counter the broad brush approach of dj and a few other posters. I had no idea we were headed toward a discussion of idolatry. This is a false premise, simple and basic.
Hope,

Yes, it does say quite a lot. You are correct, but it's not about bucketing everyone the same. I hadn't been posting on this forum at all until what happened on this thread.

a) You reacted to dj and a few others (mostly dj).
b) I reacted to your reaction.

Thus the cycle that brings us here began. During times of difficult communication, I try to spend a few minutes each day to think back through what everyone is actually saying. I want to make sure that I am hearing while I am talking. I know it appears that I am hearing nothing in this case. That's an appearance. I didn't suddenly fall off my rocker.

I will be brief this morning. I have a lot to do today, but I do have a bit more to say in response to your post later one. You brought up the point about false premise. Here is the definition of a "false premise".

Definition of a False Premise:
A false premise is an incorrect proposition that forms the basis of a logical syllogism. A syllogism is a kind of logical argument in which one proposition (the conclusion) is inferred from two others (the premises) of a certain form.

I want to make sure I understand your usage of "false premise" here. It may be important. I cannot clearly deduce your meaning from the text of your message.

Can you elaborate on the details of the "false premise" in this case? (Note: I am not trying to point out logical argumentation error. I am trying to understand the substance behind your use of "false premise".)

Note to others: This may seem like a technical detail that is irrelevant to most, but Hope is a really smart guy and he doesn't use a phrase like this without having a specific meaning. I want to make sure I hear the meaning before I say more.

Thanks,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Anderson; 08-29-2008 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:32 AM   #630
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Originally Posted by Hope View Post
...Benson was an incredible leader. He shaped everyone and one thing he will never be accused of is being lazy.
There's no question about Benson's leadership skills. The question is: who was leading Benson? Was Benson following a man, or was he following the Lamb? Was Benson leading all of us to follow Christ? Let each of us be persuaded to answer these questions in their own minds.

Quote:
Look up the word diligence in the dictionary and you will find his picture.
Again, the question, diligent for what? Was Benson diligent to follow the Lamb himself, and diligent to help others to follow the Lamb? Or, who or what was Benson following?

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But isn’t it interesting that showing mercy follows the mention of the gift of leading and is of equal importance with all the other gifts of teaching, prophesy etc. The mutual life of the believers in the Body of Christ cannot work well without some of the members having this gift of showing mercy.
Do you mean that Benson was a diligent leader who showed mercy to those he was charged with the responsibility of leading? Sorry, Don. I'm just not sure about what you're saying.

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Old 08-29-2008, 06:37 AM   #631
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...Matt, your above quote shows the mindset, bias, to throw everyone into the same bucket. Unfortunately when anyone tries to point out to you that your view may be anything less than a true report or conclusion or it is time to reconsider at least a little, you take offense that people are trying to shut you up. Perhaps you could consider ole Billy Shakespeare, when he said “me thinks thou dost protest too much.”
From my vantage point, it appears to me that there has been a lot more "protesting too much" on the parts of Mike, Ohio, Roger, SC and you too, Don. Matt has stood his ground and made efforts to present his case. I think it's clear that a lot more effort by some, (Mike comes to mind...sorry Mike) has gone into trying to shut Matt up than to listening to what he's saying. I would get a little upset by this dogpile on the rabbit, too. Especially if I was the rabbit.

Matt has pretty thick skin, in case anyone doesn't know that by now. However, he's still a person with something to say. God has put it in his heart to deliver a message to a tough crowd.

Nell

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Old 08-29-2008, 06:56 AM   #632
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Smile I like your questions.

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Originally Posted by Nell View Post
There's no question about Benson's leadership skills. The question is: who was leading Benson? Was Benson following a man, or was he following the Lamb? Was Benson leading all of us to follow Christ? Let each of us be persuaded to answer these questions in their own minds.

Unfortunately a believer may have a genuine gift and misuse it. Some have brought up the matter of vision or calling. Benson had a personal calling or vision and used his gift plus diligence to carry it out and to fulfill it. His calling or vision was deficient and contrary to God's administration and thus he is responsible for many tragedies.

Quote:
Again, the question, diligent for what? Was Benson diligent to follow the Lamb himself, and diligent to help others to follow the Lamb? Or, who or what was Benson following?
Quote:
Do you mean that Benson was a diligent leader who showed mercy to those he was charged with the responsibility of leading? Sorry, Don. I'm just not sure about what you're saying.
Benson did not show mercy. He desperately needed brothers and sisters around him who had the gift of showing mercy. The Body of Christ needs both of these gifts to work in tandem. Unfortunately the teaching of deputy authority and the way it was practiced overrode mercy.

By the way consider the verse in Hebrews, Heb 13:17, Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. NASB This verse is best translated as "Be willing to be persuaded" rather than obey and submit. The leading in the Body of Christ is not one that expects obedience and submission but rather gently seeks to persuade those over whom they are tenderly watching.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all.

Hope, Don Rutledge

PS I enjoy this type of analysis and seeking to match the scriptures with various practices that we all might learn and progress in our walk with Christ.

Thanks Nell for the questions and the opportunity to make my observations clearer.

Last edited by Hope; 08-29-2008 at 06:58 AM. Reason: making quotes clearer
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:01 AM   #633
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Originally Posted by Hope View Post
By the way consider the verse in Hebrews, Heb 13:17, Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. NASB This verse is best translated as "Be willing to be persuaded" rather than obey and submit. The leading in the Body of Christ is not one that expects obedience and submission but rather gently seeks to persuade those over whom they are tenderly watching.
TJ recently brought this exact same point to my attention. It is an excellent point and worthy of much consideration in light of how the "obey and submit" rendition of the verse has been used in so many settings (not just the LC).

Matt
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:41 AM   #634
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Default False Premise

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Originally Posted by Matt View Post
Hope,

Yes, it does say quite a lot. You are correct, but it's not about bucketing everyone the same. I hadn't been posting on this forum at all until what happened on this thread.

a) You reacted to dj and a few others (mostly dj).
b) I reacted to your reaction.

Thus the cycle that brings us here began. During times of difficult communication, I try to spend a few minutes each day to think back through what everyone is actually saying. I want to make sure that I am hearing while I am talking. I know it appears that I am hearing nothing in this case. That's an appearance. I didn't suddenly fall off my rocker.

I will be brief this morning. I have a lot to do today, but I do have a bit more to say in response to your post later one. You brought up the point about false premise. Here is the definition of a "false premise".

Definition of a False Premise:
A false premise is an incorrect proposition that forms the basis of a logical syllogism. A syllogism is a kind of logical argument in which one proposition (the conclusion) is inferred from two others (the premises) of a certain form.

I want to make sure I understand your usage of "false premise" here. It may be important. I cannot clearly deduce your meaning from the text of your message.

Can you elaborate on the details of the "false premise" in this case? (Note: I am not trying to point out logical argumentation error. I am trying to understand the substance behind your use of "false premise".)

Note to others: This may seem like a technical detail that is irrelevant to most, but Hope is a really smart guy and he doesn't use a phrase like this without having a specific meaning. I want to make sure I hear the meaning before I say more.

Thanks,

Matt
The phrase in bold is from me not Matt. Thanks again Matt for the complement. Boy, do you ever put me under pressure. Now all the posters will be looking at my posts is a much more critical light. Thanks for nothing friend. Does Matt ever have the advantage now!

Your definition is fine by me. Let me go over some of my thinking.

Quote from Matt
My initial reaction to this thread and my decision to post here was based on a key fact. Hope was trying to exclude his locality from the rest of the Texas bunch. I stood up in opposition to this attempt. The reason I did is not because Dallas was the best or worst, but because it was part of a whole set of churches that were under the strong sway of an idolatrous system that was engineered and whose engineering started all the way back in the mid-60's.


Quote from dj

Hope I think the fact there is an enemy seeking whom he may devour is a given for most Christians. But this cannot be the catch-all excuse for a lack of responsible parenting. It appears the issue with the LCS is not: we did everything we could to raise our kids in a healthy well adjusted manner etc but at the end of the day many just went off the deep end. But rather: our children were raised in an environment that was basically anti-family so it's a miracle that any of them survived and became healthy adults.__________________

I believe if you go back to my original post #13 I wrote very generically about the issue of children of Christian parents who get into trouble. I believed I clearly expressed that this is a genuine concern and is very important to me. Then dj in the post quoted above made his case and position much clearer. (Bold words are from me not dj.) I responded to this charge based on what I personally knew. There were many wonderful parents and families that I knew well. In Dallas, not Houston or Austin or OK City, I was intimately acquainted with parents and many of the children. I held them in high esteem and realized it is not easy raising children in the current environment.

Your conclusion of the idolatrous system going back to the mid-60's applying across the board and thus all church members got the same result is the premise that needs to be re-examined. You must consider many factors in why children developed the way they did. There are cases in the same family where the outcomes are widely different.

Finally for your argument of parental neglect, little church autocrats hurting children and bad teachings or lack of healthy teachings to be true, you do not have to subject each and every individual to the same analysis and conclussion. If some current or former lc believer reads that all are the same, they most likely will focus on what was not the same and reject the fundamental facts of your argument.

Just a little brother trying to get along the best he can.

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:16 AM   #635
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Dear Hope,

You have not responded to my earlier question in this link:

http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...&postcount=570

Did you see it?

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Old 08-29-2008, 09:51 AM   #636
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...Benson did not show mercy. He desperately needed brothers and sisters around him who had the gift of showing mercy. ...
Don,

Benson also needed people around him who had the gift of speaking the truth in love. WL had that same desperate need, as do we all.

You were close to Benson. I know there were times you've told us about when you were in Dallas (at least I think I know this) that you were in the difficult position of telling Benson "no." Did you speak a word of truth to him along with that "no"? You don't have to answer that. I know there are plenty of opportunities I would like to have back when I could have spoken truth and didn't. I usually think of the best "stuff" after the opportunity is long gone.

I've also had the experience of "the truth in love" coming to me in the form of a "2 by 4". It was pretty bad. Ultimately I realized Lord's word to me was for my highest good.

Here's another sharp breaking curve on the outside corner knee high : have you spoken with Benson since you left Dallas? I think you said you spoke with him around the time of Don Looper's passing, but I mean conversations of substance regarding the past?

Nell
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:44 AM   #637
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Originally Posted by Hope View Post
...my original post #13 I wrote very generically about the issue of children of Christian parents who get into trouble. I believed I clearly expressed that this is a genuine concern and is very important to me.
Wow, I read the latest posts and found them very insightful and motivating. The genuine concern appears to be important to all as continually identified by the amount of responses and views on the subject.

It boggles my mind when I hear my mom recollect events where her children were mistreated or handled improperly by the LC youth ministers or elders (or others). She gets so angry and can go on and on about how wrong it was - how it affected our family and her children. She is completely aware this is why many of her children would never set foot in another meeting and most won't even talk about it. In the next breath she will tell me how much she has received from WL. My parents are getting older and I don't see them ever changing their viewpoint on the LC so I just sit and listen.

I, like 9,145 other viewers/members to date, are seeking light in this area. Thanks to everyone for helping me find answers.
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:04 AM   #638
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
I have never said that every LC member was an abuser, and ... I have addressed only that abuse which could be considered in the mind of the abused as "perfecting," or "being one with the ministry," or the like. I don't like sweeping generalizations, which like prejudices, are not fair.
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Now ... when we jump from "instances of abuse" to "everyone is an idolator," I have a few reservations.
Dear Ohio,

In an earlier post, I defined three broad categories: abusers, abused, and assentors. I believe the assentors are the largest category. There are shades and degrees and overlaps of all these categories. I do, however, believe that there is one thing that every LC member had in common and that is that they participated to some degree in the authority based hierarchy that developed among us, from Lee down to that “littlest” sister he used to mention. Can you say you never participated in that? In that sense only, will I say that it is clear we all were involved in idolatry.

As for the teachings of Lee, the level of appreciation also varies, but I think it is safe to say all were on the Lee bandwagon to some degree. Was that idolatry? Only if his teachings replaced or changed the truth of the Word of God in our hearts.

It is easy to point to instances of abuse and say they were bad, however, I do not believe we can make proper assessments about the root causes by just looking at them as stand alone "instances." We have to ask, “Is there something that connects them?” What is the common factor in all the abuse cases? All the abuse wasn’t done directly by a few bad apples. It was carried out by men lined up under their “authority.”

All of us participated in that system to some degree. I did. I am downright ashamed to say it, but it is the truth. I supported it. I participated in it. I submitted to it. I promoted it. Didn’t you? I brought others to do the same and some are still there today. I thought I was following God in doing so. We all did. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “Hmmm, I think today I will start practicing idolatry.”

It took God close to 30 years to wake me up and show me that I couldn’t just walk away and forget about a place that contained an evil authoritarian system which is still at work which I supported and helped build. I had played a role in building that tower, so I had to do my part in righting things. I had to repent to God and to others for the part I played. I had to openly renounce that system of error. I had to expose evil deeds done in the name of the Lord. I finally saw that the Bible requires these things of me

Why do we need to repent? To show our sorrow and to change! Why do we renounce the hidden things of dishonesty? To break the shackles the devil put on us when we willing held our hands out to let him snap them on. Why do we expose evil deeds? To help those who committed them come to repentance. The Bible is clear about these requirements on us.

Do you think God said what He did in the Bible about idolatry so we could have intellectual discussions about it and scratch our tickling ears? Or, did he just need a topic to fill the pages of the Bible with? Just why did God have so many words to speak to us about idolatry? It’s not a hard answer: He was seeking to convince and convict us that we had left Him! Why don’t we just weep for that? Why are we so defensive? I just don’t get it. I want to be convicted of my sins now. Don’t you?

I think one of the most shocking things to me about what has gone on the last week on this thread is the response to the idea that we have committed idolatry. On one hand some say, “Everyone has, so don’t talk about it!” On the other hand they say, “We are not all idolaters, only some are!”

Why don’t we all just repent in sackcloth and ashes? Isn’t that the safest path? What might God do if we all did that? Instead, I see defensive postures and flying fig leaves. I see some who have resorted to picking up pebbles and popping up out of the bushes to throw them at those who are posting according to the burden the Lord gave them.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Lord woke me early one morning before all this began, with specific verses from Ezekiel (for the third time in 2 years and the other 2 bore out to be of Him) and told me to not be afraid in the face of what was coming and to speak the words He gave me to speak, I would have folded as soon as the demands to shut up on this thread began.

The information control mode that kicked in on this thread was nauseatingly similar to the past. Instead of being given the common courtesy of talking about the actual points being made, posters’ motives were called into question by some. Instead of being afforded the freedom to speak whatever God put on their heart to say, posters’ have been subjected to rebukes, accusations, twisting of their words, and straw-man arguments built by misshaping pieces of what had actually been said.

Is this how Christians communicate in good faith? Questions asked of the pebble throwers to clarify communication appear to be have been ignored and bad communication techniques have continued.

God is weeping for us, Ohio. I know it as sure as my name is Jane. He weeps in me when I see up close in the present the rubble and ruin of real people’s lives which are directly tied to their experiences under the authoritarian local church system. He is grieved in heart with what He sees.

We did contribute to this, Ohio. God is weeping for us.

TJ

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Old 08-29-2008, 11:32 AM   #639
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From my vantage point, it appears to me that there has been a lot more "protesting too much" on the parts of Mike, Ohio, Roger, SC and you too, Don. Matt has stood his ground and made efforts to present his case. I think it's clear that a lot more effort by some, (Mike comes to mind...sorry Mike) has gone into trying to shut Matt up than to listening to what he's saying. I would get a little upset by this dogpile on the rabbit, too. Especially if I was the rabbit.

Matt has pretty thick skin, in case anyone doesn't know that by now. However, he's still a person with something to say. God has put it in his heart to deliver a message to a tough crowd.

Nell
Let's see: a lot more "protesting too much" from Mike, aaand Ohio, aaand Roger, aaand SC, aaand Don. But the lone Matt has got it right. Oooookay.

If Matt has a case to make, then let him make it. He is free to post here no matter what we say. Why doesn't he ignore us and just do so. He should stop protesting counsel from the Body of Christ and just do what what he wants to.

I may be overstepping here, but I get the distinct impression that Matt is not someone who can be persuaded from doing what he wants to. Of course, I don't really know him well enough to make that judgment. Just commenting what I've seen of him here.

But I still think it would be better for him to start a whole nuther thread on "idolatry," instead of trying to smother all of us out with book excerpts.

Roger

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Old 08-29-2008, 11:34 AM   #640
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Default Are you kidding? That is a high hard one!!

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Don,

Benson also needed people around him who had the gift of speaking the truth in love. WL had that same desperate need, as do we all.

You were close to Benson. I know there were times you've told us about when you were in Dallas (at least I think I know this) that you were in the difficult position of telling Benson "no." Did you speak a word of truth to him along with that "no"? You don't have to answer that. I know there are plenty of opportunities I would like to have back when I could have spoken truth and didn't. I usually think of the best "stuff" after the opportunity is long gone.

I've also had the experience of "the truth in love" coming to me in the form of a "2 by 4". It was pretty bad. Ultimately I realized Lord's word to me was for my highest good.

Here's another sharp breaking curve on the outside corner knee high : have you spoken with Benson since you left Dallas? I think you said you spoke with him around the time of Don Looper's passing, but I mean conversations of substance regarding the past?

Nell
It was not easy to say no to Benson for several reasons. He was and as far as I know still is today not a bad scary person. 95% of the time he was pleasant. I admired how he stoically handled his debilitating disease. He was always kind to my sons.

He got things done. Look at the number of meeting halls built under his regime. He did not let things fall through the cracks. Part of his leadership gift was used to collect loyal followers. He did not need to invoke deputy authority to gain a following. By a following, I mean gaining a number of folks who were personally loyal and ready to carry out the latest directive. In addition, his following was jealous lest anyone be seen as a rival.

I heard many of the Texas brethren refer to Benson in reverent tones in much the same way they might refer to WL. If you said no to WL, whatever influence for good you may have had would be over. The same kind of atmosphere existed in Texas regarding Benson. A few times when Benson lived in Dallas, I exerted a little pressure and met with stern discipline. Nothing said officially but just frozen out of any meaningful contributions. During one of these periods, I asked if I could work on the verses for the morning watch sheets. At the time, I had been exiled from any function in the meetings or service groups. Benson told me no. Someone else can do that. I realized that my little counter fellowship in the past, had effectively eliminated my function in the eldership.

Once Samuel Chang was in Houston. Benson and the three other elders at the time planned to go to Houston to fellowship with him and the elders from Houston. He specifically said I was not to go. There was nothing going on in Dallas that needed my presence and I was not involved in any function anyway. Brother Chang had never come to Texas before and I desired to see him and learn about why he suddenly appeared. I made the decision to go anyway. I drove myself to Houston. During this time, I learned of the plans of Benson, Ray and Ben to have WL move his operations to Texas. This was news to me. And my knowledge of this was not good for my relationship with Benson.

I was very much before the Lord regarding what I should do. I realized how unhappy Benson was with me and how I was being isolated from the church at large. I was very concerned about the saints and was about two inches away from withdrawing from the eldership to be free to care for the brothers and sisters. Also I felt that the removal of my presence from any elder meetings would be a relief to Benson and eliminate tension that was there.

Suddenly WL and JI challenged Benson on why he was not utilizing my function. We almost never spoke to WL or JI as a group, but one Saturday we were on the phone to them when they challenged Benson directly. I have no idea where that came from. At any rate, we now had a number two and I was it.

Here are two other little glimpses into our coordination. Benson had become very close to Bob Bynum. WL gave some admonition at an elders meeting about not having an inner circle in the eldership. Lusby decided to confront Benson about the clique of he and Bob. All of us could easily see it. I was not aware of what Lusby planned but right afterwards he came to see me and let me know how it went. I was in the yard washing my car. He told me how he had gone to see Benson with the above mission. He told Benson he wanted to discuss a clique that had developed. Benson then agreed that we had a problem and that he too was concerned about George Whitington and Don Rutledge forming a special party. Lusby confessed he held his peace and let Benson tell him that he had been waiting for confirmation and now he would confront George and Don. Lusby apologized to me for not saying what he really wanted to talk about. Then we both broke out laughing and laughed and laughed. We realized there was nothing Lusby could have done and George and I needed to get ready for a dressing down. I warned George what was coming and he just shook his head. Next meeting Benson corrected George and I and complemented Lusby for bringing it up. We just all took it.

While Benson was in Anaheim building the hall, Mickey Buice moved to Denver. Mickey is now deceased. After Benson left Dallas, I discovered some bad deeds on Mickey's part. I did not expose him but he unfortunately took action to deal with me just in case. He contacted Benson in Anaheim and told him how badly I had treated the other elders in Benson's absence. His motive was clear to me. He desired to cloud any charges I may bring against him. Benson asked myself and the other two elders who were in Anaheim to meet him for dinner. There he read me the riot act for what I had done to the other brothers in his absence. No one spoke up. Lusby and Tim and I were all in the same hospitality and rode home together after the meal. I said nothing. Tim spoke first and said strongly that Benson's charges were false and Lusby joined in and agreed with Tim and sought to encourage and comfort me. Finally I asked them why they said nothing at the meal. They both shook their heads and said they "were too chicken." They apologized profusely to me. For my part, I just considered it par for the course and we needed to focus on the church in Dallas and the dear ones we were attempting to shepherd.

Nell, saying no to Benson was just not an option. It is hard to explain. You had to be there.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

Hope, Don Rutledge

PS I have not spoken to Benson since 1988 except for his phone call regarding the death of Don Looper. Due to WL's urging, He wrote me a short letter in 1989 and announced he was coming for a visit.. I wrote back and told him it was not convenient for me and rebuked him for what he was doing toward other brothers. That was the last communication.

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Old 08-29-2008, 03:44 PM   #641
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Dear Ohio,

In an earlier post, I defined three broad categories: abusers, abused, and assentors. I believe the assentors are the largest category. There are shades and degrees and overlaps of all these categories. I do, however, believe that there is one thing that every LC member had in common and that is that they participated to some degree in the authority based hierarchy that developed among us, from Lee down to that “littlest” sister he used to mention. Can you say you never participated in that? In that sense only, will I say that it is clear we all were involved in idolatry.
TJ, your post is too long, so I'll start with Par 1.

First of all, there are lots of other folks in the LC's who don't fit those 3 categories. They would say they never saw anything they would call "abuse."

How in the world does "participation to some degree in authority based hierarchy ... involve us all in idolatry?"

Whoa! folks, let's think about this a little more.

From what you have said here, then just about every church in the N.T. was idolatrous, every congregation in America, every congregation in the world, past and present, etc. Matt's congregation is idolatrous too, since they have elders, which could be construed by some as an "authority based hierarchy."
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:39 PM   #642
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Hi Ohio,

Let me qualify. I meant "absolute" submission to others. Sorry I didn't make that clear. Meaning ... submit without question. That was the LC leadership dynamic was it not?

Regarding the categories, I agree with you. So, there's at least another category--those who didn't see abuse. Weren't these also in unquestioning submission to the leadership?

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Old 08-29-2008, 04:44 PM   #643
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Let's see: a lot more "protesting too much" from Mike, aaand Ohio, aaand Roger, aaand SC, aaand Don. But the lone Matt has got it right. Oooookay.
Naaoooowwwwwwwww Roger, I didn't say "lone Matt" got it right. Did I?

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If Matt has a case to make, then let him make it. He is free to post here no matter what we say. Why doesn't he ignore us and just do so. He should stop protesting counsel from the Body of Christ and just do what what he wants to.

I may be overstepping here, but I get the distinct impression that Matt is not someone who can be persuaded from doing what he wants to. Of course, I don't really know him well enough to make that judgment. Just commenting what I've seen of him here.
Do you mean the Baaaaaaahhhhhddddyyyy? Sorry. I couldn't resist.

I think you'd enjoy getting to know Matt in person. In fact, that's gonna' happen one day.

Sorry to point the finger at you guys, Roger. Matt is a strong guy and he has a good heart. I have the same thought about you.

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Old 08-29-2008, 06:44 PM   #644
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A funny and interesting response...

I spoke to a wise counselor about many experiences I had while in the LC. I spoke objectively, not drawing any conclusions - just stating factual incidents that occured. I tried to remain unbiased and speak fairly.

His response... "Soooo, you were in a cult". I laughed. Hey, I didn't say it. I spent so much effort and time trying to make everything sound okay and average. In the end, it still got called a cult.

I still laugh about it when I remember his response.

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Old 08-29-2008, 07:36 PM   #645
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I can totally relate to your words...and until very recently I would find myself still in some ways defending it as "not that bad" because of strange loyalty issues!?! Strange! I guess this helps me understand why some on here are still so stuck on defending parts of this sect.

What causes the intense loyalty to this group!?!? Myself included.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:16 PM   #646
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Looking at myself, with regards to this question, some loyalty comes from my love for the people (especially those I lived with in corporate settings). I consider many of them like my own family. However, as I matured, no amount of loyalty could drown out the erroneous teachings I was hearing.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:52 AM   #647
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BlessD and Process,

I am so thankful that you two continued to post both during and after the “fireworks” that occurred on this thread. You may have felt that your voices were almost drowned out. I am writing to let you know that I heard you and am praying for you. What your voices did were to put real people with real Local Church abuse in front of us.

BlessD, you mentioned that all of the doctrinal discussions don’t help much with the pain. As I have asked the Lord what I could share with you, I haven’t had anything specific until recently. So, here’s some practical help that you may have already tried: write letters to the ones who hurt you.

I did this when I was in my middle-age years. It did help a little. I had read a book that mentioned this, and it said that you didn’t even have to mail the letters. This gave me somewhat of a more secure feeling and helped me write freely. (By the way, I am not a professional in these matters; I’m just mentioning what I read and what I tried.)

I remember writing to my father. It took a long time to come up with the words, but I just put myself back in my memory and wrote. I tried to remember all the things that hurt me. It didn’t take too long because he abandoned my mother and me when I was around twelve. I just wrote the letter and put it away.

I also wrote to my mother who had died by then. I had always considered her as being loving and caring to me. I realized, however, that I did suffer some abuse from her because of a measure of neglect. I don’t really blame her for this as she was trying to cope with the mess my dad left behind and the fact that he ran off with another woman.

I also wrote to one of the Local Church elders who had abused me. I wrote many years after it had occurred, but I did my best to explain the situation and how it made me feel. His mistreatment had begun an ordeal that was extremely traumatic for me and my family and lasted for quite awhile.

These are the three letters that come to mind. At a later date, I mailed the two of them. The responses were not very good. At one point, I did get a one-sentence apology from my dad. From the elder, eventually I got a sermon.

I think that letter writing does help to get things out of you, but, if mailed, may not get the response you hope for. In other words, writing to the persons who hurt you may help you process through the pain, but the real situation may not change much. This should not dissuade you from trying, however. A letter that is mailed also brings the matter to the attention of the offender, which is proper.

One particular elder I went to see in person. His offense to me was done unconsciously. At a point in time, he had told me that he was my spiritual father. As I was working through some of my past Local Church mess, I realized that I should bring this up to him since I had realized that it was an offense to me. The reason that it was offensive is that he spent almost no time with me. I told him that he was no better than my earthly father. He apologized for having hurt me.

This elder still characterizes for me several former Local Church elders whom I have met since leaving the system. All of us quit meeting with the Living Stream Ministry Local Churches, but some still retain their former elder personas. These brothers, when they have come to our home meetings, try to take over, as if we assembled for the purpose of listening to them. They don’t seem to know how to be a brother among brothers and sisters. One was so egotistical that I could not wait for him to leave. This one even told his wife to “shut up” in our meeting! We were all dumbfounded. The next time he came to visit, one brother confronted him about it when he put down his wife again in front of us. In the end, he only made excuses for himself.

Let me add that a few former Local Church elders who have visited us were not like this. In my opinion, I think that most, though, have a hard time with our lack—lack of organization, lack of “elders,” lack of an order of worship, etc. We like it; and it seems to me that the Holy Spirit likes it too. Apparently, they don’t see a place that they can occupy among us that befits the way they see themselves. Several times, it has been difficult to have a meeting with an “elder” around.

Process, I experienced abusive elders in the Local Church, but you had to endure abuse from a Local Church elder at home. I am so sad for what you have had to endure. The Lord is our good shepherd who does restore our souls.

In closing, I’ll pass on a verse which has intrigued me of late: For freedom Christ frees us! Stand firm, then, and be not again enthralled with the yoke of slavery (Concordant Literal Version, Gal 5:1).
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:39 AM   #648
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Several on this thread have mightily resisted being lumped together in a bucket. They seem to insist that it’s not fair.

I asked Jesus about this whole situation, and remembered these words: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Matthew fills an entire chapter with a scathing rebuke by Jesus. Jesus lumped all the experts in the law and the Pharisees into one bucket.

The other thing that Jesus reminded me is that Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews. Early on, Nicodemus went to Jesus at night to find out more about Him. He later tried to influence other Pharisees to listen to Jesus before judging Him, and, finally, he went secretly to help prepare the body of Jesus for burial.

To my mind, maybe Nicodemus didn’t deserve to be in the same bucket with the rest of the scribes and Pharisees. I’m sure that there were many different kinds of people in that bucket with many different experiences and individual heart conditions. Jesus rebuked them all with the same “Woe!”
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:35 AM   #649
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From what you have said here, then just about every church in the N.T. was idolatrous, every congregation in America, every congregation in the world, past and present, etc. Matt's congregation is idolatrous too, since they have elders, which could be construed by some as an "authority based hierarchy."
You're right Ohio. The group I am in is no exclusion. Very recently they have exercised some abuse against a woman in the congregation that some don't like. After the woman and her husband spent an amount of time trying to address the matter, the door was open for others to speak up. In a respectful manner, I have spent time with one of the elders helping him to realize that they violated a few key things: exercising discipline over a wife without properly involving the husband, and exercising discipline even after clear repentance had been made. This elder has repented to them for his part and has addressed the other elders on this matter. The elders are still struggling with this issue while this woman continues to suffer. This elder who I addressed is unique. He has a willingness to be wrong even as an elder. He only considers himself to be an "older brother" as an elder and believes it is necessary to "get out of God's way" when God is interacting with one of His children. He makes mistakes and doesn't even like being in the position of elder. It took them a long time to convince him to serve as an elder. He was "elected" by the congregation. Everyone had a part in agreeing that he was a good choice for the role.

He recognizes the inherent problem with being in this position of "authority" and how it causes you to be in a bad situation in dealing with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

The situation I am in is unique in that I can speak up to some of the elders without fear of retribution. In many situations, this would not be the case. I think there might be one of the elders that might exercise some retribution, but not with intent. He would do it out of a passive/aggressive flaw in his character.

Soon, I may have to be part of addressing all of the elders as a witness to what has happened. It's not fun, but I have already expressed my willingness to participate as a witness to help establish the matter properly before the Lord. I'll lose some standing in the minds of at least one or two of the elders and will receive accusations in the process, but if the truth of the matter is established then the Enemy will not be able to lay down roots.

In summary, your argument on this point is valid and the group I am in can easily progress into an idolatrous situation if the "authority" that exists is respected even in the face of sin. Sin has no standing in the Lord's mind even if it is done by some "authority". It is sin. A group of believers who allow sin to remain that God brings to the surface which needs to be addressed because of "eldership" or "authority" is one that can easily move into an idolatrous condition. This is how prevalent and pervasive idolatry was in Israel. It was everywhere. This is not my perspective, but God's.

Only one king in all of Israel and Judah ever dealt with all the idolatry. Only about 5 ever dealt with parts of the idolatry. I don't think idolatry existed in David's time.

Matt

P.S. I remembered the following little paper I previously wrote about "God's Perspective" (Click Here) and linked to the Berean's. Here it is again. You'll recognize the "extremeness" in it as you look at it!

P.S.S. For those who've gotten on my case for being hard-headed. Trust me, you haven't seen even 20% of it. Ask TJ, she took a 110% and survived, but just bearly. I'm no one's enemy here and no one is mine. I am holding an extreme position on an important issue. You can call me anything and accuse me of anything as a result. I'll live.

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Old 08-30-2008, 06:49 AM   #650
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Benson Phillips was the very dominating leader. In my opinion he possessed the first gift mentioned in Rom 12:8, "he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness" -- NASB. Benson was an incredible leader. He shaped everyone and one thing he will never be accused of is being lazy. Look up the word diligence in the dictionary and you will find his picture. But isn’t it interesting that showing mercy follows the mention of the gift of leading and is of equal importance with all the other gifts of teaching, prophesy etc. The mutual life of the believers in the Body of Christ cannot work well without some of the members having this gift of showing mercy.
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Unfortunately a believer may have a genuine gift and misuse it. Some have brought up the matter of vision or calling. Benson had a personal calling or vision and used his gift plus diligence to carry it out and to fulfill it. His calling or vision was deficient and contrary to God's administration and thus he is responsible for many tragedies. Benson did not show mercy. He desperately needed brothers and sisters around him who had the gift of showing mercy. The Body of Christ needs both of these gifts to work in tandem. Unfortunately the teaching of deputy authority and the way it was practiced overrode mercy.
Hope, thanks much for introducing the complementary matter of mercy in Rom 12.8. This is a very helpful explanation for me and many others, I believe. As I read your description of BP in Texas, I could easily substitute the GLA region under TC, or Anaheim under WL. Diligent leadership must be balanced by gifts of mercy. The Apostle Paul was one such pattern to us all. He was "diligent" like a father, but "merciful" like a mother.

I have also witnessed some tender leaders, possessing gifts of mercy, get "beat up" by the "diligent" one, and today they are gone. Too many stories of this in Anaheim and the GLA. With each departure of a "mercy gift," the whole becomes more skewed. The environment becomes more oppressive, rigid, and legalistic. The "mercy gifts" who do remain, often are effectively silenced, knowing the results of "opening their mouth."

This pattern of "the diligent" beating up "the merciful" happened too often in church history; it didn't just happen to us. Perhaps I could substitute another couple phrases to explain this pattern of "the zealous" beating up "the spiritual." This "unbalance" in gifts was also the downfall of the Plymouth Brethren.

A.N.Groves, whom I believe was the original and most spiritual of the Plymouth Brethren, once wrote a long prophetic letter to J.N.Darby warning him of this. He addressed so many issues the LC's also face. On this matter he concluded, "the most narrow-minded and bigoted will rule, because his conscience and cannot and will not give way, and therefore the more enlarged heart must yield." Darby never took his fellowship. Less than a decade later, the Brethren were divided, the blessing was over.

One exception in history did take place in Bristol. Darby, "the Diligent," the hot-tempered Irishman, ran into a German, a man of God, with the resolve of steel, and child-like faith, who clung to the scriptures, who had the courage and the audacity to stand up to Darby, "the Bully." Darby came to town, pushing people around, and he said "No." His name was George Muller. He loved orphans more than programs.
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:06 AM   #651
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I can totally relate to your words...and until very recently I would find myself still in some ways defending it as "not that bad" because of strange loyalty issues!?! Strange! I guess this helps me understand why some on here are still so stuck on defending parts of this sect.

What causes the intense loyalty to this group!?!? Myself included.
What you call "intense loyalty" is to me a twofold love for many of the people there and a desire for fairness.

Neither extreme loyalty nor extreme hatred is of the Lord.
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:28 AM   #652
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Hi Ohio,

Let me qualify. I meant "absolute" submission to others. Sorry I didn't make that clear. Meaning ... submit without question. That was the LC leadership dynamic was it not?

Regarding the categories, I agree with you. So, there's at least another category--those who didn't see abuse. Weren't these also in unquestioning submission to the leadership?

Thankful Jane
Hi Ohio,

I want to add a little more to my above response to your questions. By absolute submission to authority, I don't mean that everyone under the hierarchy is necessarily carrying out such submission, because there may be levels of passive resistance present. I think a better way for me to say it would be to say that the leadership system is one which expects absolute submission. If the expected submission is not given at any point, the system will carry out discipline or punishment.

Isn't this what was present among us in the LCs?

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Old 08-30-2008, 09:38 AM   #653
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Several on this thread have mightily resisted being lumped together in a bucket. They seem to insist that it’s not fair.

I asked Jesus about this whole situation, and remembered these words: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Matthew fills an entire chapter with a scathing rebuke by Jesus. Jesus lumped all the experts in the law and the Pharisees into one bucket.

The other thing that Jesus reminded me is that Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews. Early on, Nicodemus went to Jesus at night to find out more about Him. He later tried to influence other Pharisees to listen to Jesus before judging Him, and, finally, he went secretly to help prepare the body of Jesus for burial.

To my mind, maybe Nicodemus didn’t deserve to be in the same bucket with the rest of the scribes and Pharisees. I’m sure that there were many different kinds of people in that bucket with many different experiences and individual heart conditions. Jesus rebuked them all with the same “Woe!”
John, I appreciate the example. It even may be fitting, but not over the whole system as a whole. I see it possibly fitting those with functional responsibility. There may be those who individually are like a Nicodemus, but collectively wish to remain in one accord. Elders or deacons like a Nicodemus can only speak for themselves, but not for others. Perhaps the deputy authority teaching is partly the cause of no Acts type of fellowship?

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Old 08-30-2008, 09:39 AM   #654
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... I think a better way for me to say it would be to say that the leadership system is one which expects absolute submission. If the expected submission is not given at any point, the system will carry out discipline or punishment.

Isn't this what was present among us in the LCs?

Thankful Jane
Jane,

Good point. I think Don's last post about Benson is a great example of what you describe.

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Old 08-30-2008, 01:04 PM   #655
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I think a better way for me to say it would be to say that the leadership system is one which expects absolute submission. If the expected submission is not given at any point, the system will carry out discipline or punishment.

Isn't this what was present among us in the LCs?

Thankful Jane
Not absolutely. Not all localities expect absolute submission. A big difference is whether one writes against the leadership system.

If I may be so bold to say Jane, such as what you experienced in Houston is what I define as an obsession. The leadership system you were under expected absolute submssion to this obsession. As I read in an earlier post of yours:

"This is the problem we are talking about. We need to understand what happened there. I was loving Jesus, reading my Bible, reading other's Christian testimonies, loving the brothers and sisters and sharing what I was enjoying from times with the Lord in the Word. I was starting to find my freedom in Christ and realizing I did not have to submit to what men were telling me was God with regard to my practical life. I had not one thought against Witness Lee. I spoke not one word against Witness Lee. I was enjoying God and my Christian family. Then came the ax. It was wielded by the power invested in the hierarchy and I bowed to it and kept my face in that dirt until God mercifully lifted me up out of the pit I had been left in."

The leadership had a particular obsession which you were not promoting nor opposing. You were being built up in Christ through His Word. Since you didn't share what your local leadership were pushing, your indifference spawned the improper discipline wielded against you. Which in turn adversely affected fellowship with the saints in Houston and presumably in other localities. Had you been in a place like Atlanta, would the same type of obsession result in discipline? I think not.

Sister Jane, it's one thing to have improper conduct towards a brother or sister. There's time for repentance and reconciliation. When we turn our back when offenses are brought to our attention, it only exposes where the heart is. This isn't specifically directed towards you, but for any brother or sister that has been truly offended.

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Old 08-30-2008, 01:27 PM   #656
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BlessD and Process,

I am so thankful that you two continued to post both during and after the “fireworks” that occurred on this thread. You may have felt that your voices were almost drowned out. I am writing to let you know that I heard you and am praying for you. What your voices did were to put real people with real Local Church abuse in front of us.

BlessD, you mentioned that all of the doctrinal discussions don’t help much with the pain. As I have asked the Lord what I could share with you, I haven’t had anything specific until recently. So, here’s some practical help that you may have already tried: write letters to the ones who hurt you...
John,

I appreciate your experience and thanks for hearing and praying. I am pondering on the approach of writing letters.

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Old 08-30-2008, 01:28 PM   #657
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A.N.Groves, whom I believe was the original and most spiritual of the Plymouth Brethren, once wrote a long prophetic letter to J.N.Darby warning him of this. He addressed so many issues the LC's also face. On this matter he concluded, "[/the most narrow-minded and bigoted will rule, because his conscience and cannot and will not give way, and therefore the more enlarged heart must yield." Darby never took his fellowship. Less than a decade later, the Brethren were divided, the blessing was over.

One exception in history did take place in Bristol. Darby, "the Diligent," the hot-tempered Irishman, ran into a German, a man of God, with the resolve of steel, and child-like faith, who clung to the scriptures, who had the courage and the audacity to stand up to Darby, "the Bully." Darby came to town, pushing people around, and he said "No." His name was George Muller. He loved orphans more than programs.
Thanks for sharing this, Ohio. It says a lot.

“Darby came to town, pushing people around.” I don’t think Darby just woke up one day and decided he would be the boss. This started somewhere in seed form and grew. When he began to think more highly of himself than he should and began thinking he had the right to tell others what to do, he was on the slippery slope. When those gathered around him supported his belief, the fallout from going down that slope became much worse. The brethren movement started with all involved on the same level as brothers in Christ and no thoughts of hierarchy.

The strength of George Mueller was his “resolve of steel” and “child-like faith” and that he “clung to the scriptures.” This is what we are all called to be like. He loved God and put Him above all else. Darby could not lord it over him because Mueller was serving God only. He treated Darby as an equal, which he was, not a superior. It appears that God was faithful to warn Darby through A. N. Groves’ speaking and through Meuller’s example.

Thankful Jane

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Old 08-30-2008, 01:47 PM   #658
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Several on this thread have mightily resisted being lumped together in a bucket. They seem to insist that it’s not fair.

I asked Jesus about this whole situation, and remembered these words: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Matthew fills an entire chapter with a scathing rebuke by Jesus. Jesus lumped all the experts in the law and the Pharisees into one bucket...
This example of how Jesus addressed the Pharisees fits the situation very well. He did not address where a Pharisee lived. The bucket was full of snakes. I might happen to get an apple out of the bucket without getting bit, but it would be a matter of chance; more than likely, I would need antivenum.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:12 PM   #659
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Hope, thanks much for introducing the complementary matter of mercy in Rom 12.8. This is a very helpful explanation for me and many others, I believe. As I read your description of BP in Texas, I could easily substitute the GLA region under TC, or Anaheim under WL. Diligent leadership must be balanced by gifts of mercy. The Apostle Paul was one such pattern to us all. He was "diligent" like a father, but "merciful" like a mother.

It is clear to me from looking into the Bible about mercy, that it does not mean something akin to turning a blind eye. In the Bible, mercy is given to those that love Him, fear Him, hope in Him, return to Him, are His servants, confess and forsake sins, and similar language. Mercy frees us from paying our debt, but it doesn’t appear to be given without our acknowledgment of need for it (by confessing, admitting). (Matt. 18:23-27, Prov. 28:13)

I don’t think that being silent when we see our brother sin is to be merciful (not that I think anyone is saying that, but that is a conclusion that could be drawn from what has been said). If we don’t tell him his sin, that is not mercy, that is failure to love (Lev. 19:17). If we love our brother we will tell him his sin. Then we are in a position to show him mercy.

The brothers who allowed Benson to take action based on false assumptions and false information and who did not tell him the truth, were not showing him mercy. Neither were they loving him. Their silence hurt him.

I was guilty of the same when Benson came down on me. If I had truly cared about him, I would have attempted to tell him the truth and show him his false assumptions concerning the action he took against me. My submission to his treatment was actually a self protective hiding place. Instead of loving him, I was loving myself. Of course, I didn’t understand this at the time, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

I was primarily struggling to survive mentally. Somewhere under all of that was also my fear of losing my church family. I can find a number of believable excuses for my silence if I wanted to, but there is no point to do so. It took the Lord a long time (after we were out!) and some difficult circumstances to get me to a place of obedience to his word concerning addressing offenses. I finally spoke the truth in love to Benson in a long letter in the early 90s.

The fact that my obedience had no apparent effect at that time is not important. I needed to be obedient to God. The requirement to obey wasn’t nullified by the passage of time. God required my obedience for Benson’s sake as well as my own.

Where might Benson be today if the majority of those of us who were around him had been faithful, as each offense happened, to risk ourselves and to tell him the truth in love.

Sooner or later we will all be obedient. Offenses don't just evaporate and neither do their longterm effects. There is no statute of limitations on our need as God's children to properly address offenses against each other. According to the Bible, all whom Benson has directly hurt or offended are obligated to communicate with him about the specifics privately, with a few other witnesses, and then publicly. (This is true with anyone for that matter!)

Actually, now that I think about it, according to the Bible we are clearly taught to do this before we speak publicly about the offenses of others.

Yes, here again are those good 'ole Matt. 18:15-17 commands of Jesus.

Thankful Jane

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Old 08-30-2008, 03:16 PM   #660
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I really want an escape from debate and politics when it comes to spirtual things. When I open my Bible, I want to quit thinking so hard and SIMPLY enjoy and be enlightened. The same goes for when I write on this forum. I have considered that maybe I should just read and not post... ? don't know... just thinking 'out loud'...
Yup, that's about what I've been doing -- read and not post so much. I'm not looking to score any points for one side or another. I'm tired of so many "sides".

I came to the churches because that was where I found so many who knew and loved the Lord. The main stream denominations that I knew about didn't have much to offer in terms of experience or doctrine.

I got a lot of help from the experiential teachings of WL and Titus (though I pretty much held to the systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary).

I am disappointed (but not altogether surprised) that things have turned out so poorly. I am still struggling with baby and bathwater questions:

What to keep?
What to throw out? and
How to go on from here?
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:38 PM   #661
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