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Old 07-15-2013, 08:09 PM   #1
james73
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Default Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

Something I find difficult with books from LSM is the lack of bibliography and referencing - both on an individual book level and in general.

I am reading Walter Wink's excellent Powers trilogy (thanks Aron for the headsup on that one!). What I enjoy so much about the writing is not only Wink's great insight, but also his scholarly nature. As many leading theology writers, he references almost every idea and concept which is not his own, with 50+ footnotes per chapter. He points out pros and cons of other points of view, treating even his own ideas objectively and sometimes even defeating his own arguments! This is true confidence and scholarship at work.

By contrast, Lee's works are built on sand. With no referencing or bibliography (other than the usual "shoulder-mounted canon" of Guyon, Luther etc) how are we to trust the work, or build on it, or discuss it, or research if further? Theology like this should never be taken on faith, and it is poor practice to ask readers to trust the author in this way - if for no other reason than it makes it impossible to check for mistakes or wrong thinking.

I feel it is entirely legitimate to call upon LSM to address this situation, and to at least provide a "bibliography" of the "thousands of books" Lee and Nee used. Because otherwise, how do we know which have been read; which have been read and discarded; which have been read and included? Is there any such bibliography in existence?

Furthermore, since Lee & Nee's passing away, many thousands more books have been written. Let's say we take Lee's writing about "looking forward not back" (see below) as "gospel", that we take it on faith he read all the important books and distilled them for us, that we accept we shouldn't look back at these old writings (I don't agree with this, just saying, even if we DO agree with Lee...): then what about all the new books coming out day by day? Is someone at LSM distilling those for us too? In the spirit of transparency and academic achievement, if this is the case, a list would be useful.

Consider this an "open letter" to LSM to begin referencing future works more rigourously; and to publish a bibliography of the "thousands" of books Nee & Lee read, with an indication of their use.


Quote:
Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery
Witness Lee
Chapter 1, section 2:

From Brother Nee through our sixty year history, we have gone through those books. I do not mean that starting from Brother Nee we have read through all the books. This is impossible. However, mainly through Brother Nee's work of looking through thousands of spiritual books and expositions, the Lord's recovery has gone through all those old writings. Brother Nee... was the top selector. Among the many books he looked into, he was able to make a quick selection of the books which were useful. This is why I say the Lord's recovery has gone through all those old writings as a collective unit. Although I did not study in a Bible institute or a theological school, I am able to give you an analysis of the so-called theology in today's Christianity. Many of these old writings are very good, but some of them are not good and are misleading, distracting, holding back, and some even destroy the faith.

...

The meeting hall in Anaheim was designed to have a big library downstairs. I intended to fill this library with all the classical books from the church fathers' writings down to the present time. I also intended to have three or more readers, who would read all these books on certain major subjects such as the Triune God. They would read these books, make notes on them, and if needed even xerox certain paragraphs from them. Then whenever we write something for publication, we would not need to spend much time going to the books themselves. All we would have to do would be to go to our notebook. This would save us a lot of time in our writing. Then the news went out that there was a kind of trend. The saints thought we were going back to the old doctrines and some even came to me and said, “This is good because this shows people that this is not only Witness Lee's writing, but all the writings of Christianity are here.” When I heard this, I immediately made a decision to stop what we had intended to do. I had even bought a set of writings in Latin on microfiche which was quite expensive, and we had built a table for reading this microfiche, but after I made this decision we returned it. The reason why I stopped what we had intended to do was because I saw the peril that this would bring the recovery back. We would not be going onward but going backward. Gradually, however, we collected the needed reference books, and whatever was needed we collected.
EDIT here's a funny local church style bibliography, I had attached a screenshot but it didn't come out right, you can see it here: http://www.callingonthelord.org/quotes/quotes.html#22

Last edited by james73; 07-15-2013 at 08:21 PM. Reason: attachment didn't come out as planned
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:32 PM   #2
james73
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

OK I asked LSM for a bibliography through "an-open-letter" website. My last comment there was never published even though I was pretty sure it didn't break the rules. I am trying a second time with the following comment: let's see if it gets published, and what the response will be!

Quote:
Thank-you for this rich resource. I have a question on the section "History", where the letter states: "Witness Lee left behind a remarkable breadth of written ministry. In total he published more than six hundred titles, many now available in more than fifty languages. His signature work, Life-study of the Bible, is an exhaustive expository commentary on the entire Bible with almost two thousand chapters and twenty-five thousand pages, all of which reveal and make practical the genuine experience of Christ as life and the proper Christian service for the building up of the Body of Christ."

My question is, what is the Life-study built upon? As a work of theology it is impressive, yet there are hardly any references of [sic-- should be or] bibliographies in these books. Many of the ideas are building on others, yet they are not credited in the works - would you be able to publish a bibliography of works used by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee in writing these books?

Thanks
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

Quote:
Originally Posted by james73 View Post
Walter Wink... points out pros and cons of other points of view, treating even his own ideas objectively and sometimes even defeating his own arguments! This is true confidence and scholarship at work.

By contrast, Lee's works are built on sand. With no referencing or bibliography (other than the usual "shoulder-mounted canon" of Guyon, Luther etc) how are we to trust the work, or build on it, or discuss it, or research if further? Theology like this should never be taken on faith, and it is poor practice to ask readers to trust the author in this way - if for no other reason than it makes it impossible to check for mistakes or wrong thinking.
I agree with the above. In addition, if the saints today claim to be following closely in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, should they not consider the writings that came between the apostles and the present?

Instead, we get this vague, "Oh yeah, WN read all that".

Huh?

As james73 says, if you have confidence in what you are doing you treat alternatives with respect and attempt to give all possible interpretations & ideas equal attention.

I know it takes work to pay attention and sift through all those voices. It takes work to temporarily hold conflicting ideas in your head until you sort them out. As WL once said, it is like a 'jigsaw puzzle' that you are putting together.

But to work through all the primary, secondary material is arguably better than to say, "Oh, WN did all the hard work. And WL did the hard work to bring us WN's essential teachings. We just need to read the ministry."
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

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Originally Posted by OBW View Post
We are wired to find patterns. Our brains fill in visual and auditory cues and clues constantly. And our minds love to find a pattern. It helped us stay alive when we lived out in tents and noticing wild animals hiding in the bushes was important. Our needs have diminished. But the fill-ins continue. That is why five eye-witnesses to a crime cannot describe [exactly] the same scene. There are similarities (probably the real facts) mixed with what the brain added to complete the picture.
I find the 4 gospels so helpful, because they each fill in parts missing from the others, and the 3 others expose which parts each has "filled in", and perhaps why. (Of course I am generalizing here)

And this is also why "many counselors" from history are so helpful. John Chrystosom, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus; I could name 20 or 30. Do I know them? No; but I know they exist, and I don't presume to have the last word until these "brothers" are counseled, both in primary and in secondary literature.

None of them has the "last word", but they all help fill in the gaps and holes and fuzzy bits. All witnesses are useful, if only to find out what parts we don't agree with.

WL in Elder's Training book 4:

Then the news went out that there was a kind of trend. The saints thought we were going back to the old doctrines and some even came to me and said, “This is good because this shows people that this is not only Witness Lee's writing, but all the writings of Christianity are here.” When I heard this, I immediately made a decision to stop what we had intended to do.

It seems that WL was trying to have it both ways: he wanted to do a thorough grounding in the teachings of the past, but then he decided his readers were not stable so he put and end to it. WL wanted to put in footnotes, but he just couldn't trust the saints.

I guess.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

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Originally Posted by aron View Post
WL in Elder's Training book 4:

Then the news went out that there was a kind of trend. The saints thought we were going back to the old doctrines and some even came to me and said, “This is good because this shows people that this is not only Witness Lee's writing, but all the writings of Christianity are here.” When I heard this, I immediately made a decision to stop what we had intended to do.

It seems that WL was trying to have it both ways: he wanted to do a thorough grounding in the teachings of the past, but then he decided his readers were not stable so he put and end to it. WL wanted to put in footnotes, but he just couldn't trust the saints.

I guess.
One thing that burned me up in W. Lee's later days was the continued suggestion that the saints might misinterpret the Bible if they read it without the assistance of The Ministry (which of course was his books.)

That's the same nonsense I grew up with in the Catholic Church. I heard it all the time, and initially was the same incentive for keeping the Mass in Latin. In other words, you people are not smart enough to read God's word on your own. You might misunderstand what it says, so here is the "interpreted version" for your reading pleasure.

Similarly some of the saints were dissuaded from reading Christian biographies, supposedly because only THIS ministry was free from all mixtures and leavens. In actuality, the saints might discover that Lee was not as spiritual as other men of God.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

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...some of the saints were dissuaded from reading Christian biographies, supposedly because only THIS ministry was free from all mixtures and leavens. In actuality, the saints might discover that Lee was not as spiritual as other men of God.
And they might begin to think independently, and that would never do! God forbid anyone should begin to use their brain.

About 8 years after leaving the LCs, I was reading a book one day and heard this terrible cracking noise. At first I was frightened, then I realized it was just my brain beginning to function. Before that, every time I had read a book I would think, "Yeah, but WL says..."
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

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Originally Posted by aron View Post
And they might begin to think independently, and that would never do! God forbid anyone should begin to use their brain.

About 8 years after leaving the LCs, I was reading a book one day and heard this terrible cracking noise. At first I was frightened, then I realized it was just my brain beginning to function. Before that, every time I had read a book I would think, "Yeah, but WL says..."
That reminds me...
When I returned to the Lord full throttle 10-12 yrs ago, I would check Lee's footnotes in the NT RcV I had if I was reading an author's commentary on a particular topic or if I was contemplating a scripture I did not understand...and I had been out of the LC since 1979!!!

In my defense...or not.. I wandered in the wilderness for over 20 yrs, w/o attending a church service. I confess I was a closeted, secret defender of the LC ministry. Forcing myself to make the Christian circuit with all its twists and turns, up and downs, was the perfect prescription the Great Physician gave me to strip away the "old (LC) wine skin" and be filled with newness of Life.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

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supposedly... only THIS ministry was free from all mixtures and leavens. In actuality, the saints might discover that Lee was not as spiritual as other men of God.
Two questions come to mind. WN supposedly read all the "classics" of christianity, and vetted them for us. So all we simple folk have to do is just read "the ministry". Because it has "all the riches" of christianity, and brother WN removed all the wrong parts which might lead us simple folk astray, we who lack discretion to discern the leaven therein.

This begs a question, for me: how did WN have the capacity to see leaven elsewhere, and not have any himself? What preserved his ministry from the errors that crept in to all others?

The only thing I can think of is from reading WN's biography by WL. I think it said that WN used the various authors to "check" each other. In other words, he'd use Author A and Author B to find parts in Author C which were not so good, and likewise would use Authors N, F, and Q to check Authors A and B. So all the sources, each of which were somewhat lacking, balanced each other out.

Okay. So that brings up question #2: shouldn't we all be doing that? Shouldn't we all be relying on as many witnesses as possible? Did WN have a special gift of sorting the wheat from the chaff, of discerning the spirits, that everyone else lacked? How did WN get himself a "no chaff" ministry when nobody else did or has?

I know I'm focusing on WN here, but that's because WL's credentials were largely based on being WN's closest co-worker. And WN of course being the guy with the unleavened ministry.
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

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Two questions come to mind. WN supposedly read all the "classics" of christianity, and vetted them for us. So all we simple folk have to do is just read "the ministry". Because it has "all the riches" of christianity, and brother WN removed all the wrong parts which might lead us simple folk astray, we who lack discretion to discern the leaven therein.
Equally amazing to me was Nee's take on J. N. Darby and the Plymouth Brethren. In his book Orthodoxy of the Church, Nee elevated them to the glorious stage of Philadelphia. Then, of course, having met at length with James Taylor Sr., rightful heir of the exclusive Darby lineage of "oracles," Nee decided that their entire movement was now deserving of those Laodicean curses.

Since Nee too was for the most part without "peer review," as leader of a new movement, did he not consider the same misfortunes that beset the Exclusive Brethren would befall them also, or did he think that all the talk of "virgin Chinese soil" would save them from fleshly dangers? Never did Nee actually point out the failures of Darby and the exclusives, hence Lee was free to repeat them, and that he did. Nee would only say that the Plymouth Brethren fell into an obsession for "objective doctrines," never providing the actual reasons why objectivity always seems to replace the anointing of the Spirit.

Ironically, Lee and his Blended company became obsessed with "objective doctrines of the experience of Christ." How else could one explain "let's all stand and call on the Lord 5x" while quarantining Titus Chu for allowing electric guitars and publishing his own books? Look, I'm obviously not the "brightest bulb on the tree," but even I could learn the real story of the Brethren split with just a little online reading. How much more should the "Seer of the Age" have been able to discover and teach these things?
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

Here is an extract from a N. Tomes article on WL appropriating material without attribution.

"W. Lee declared, 'In my speaking I have rarely referred you to some other writings. I did this purposely. Books such as Andrew Murray’s The Spirit of Christ, however, I did have and still have the peace to refer you to.' [W. Lee, “Concerning the use of Reference Books and other Writings” in Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 14] Generally only LSM publications were endorsed."

"The flagship NT Recovery Version reflects this reluctance. References to others are scarce. W. Lee refers to Andrew Murray’s book, “The Holy of Holies” in Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 132. Occasionally W. Lee referred to other writings—James McKendrick’s Seen and Heard, William Law’s Power of the Spirit, Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God, Darby’s Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, Mary McDonough’s God’s Plan of Redemption and Pember’s Earth’s Earliest Ages. Govett and Panton were also cited on occasion. The general impression, however, was that these authors’ insights have already been incorporated."


I think the intended effect of failing to cite others is to get the reader to look away from them, and focus solely on the author.

Being sloppy, vague, or absent citations may be okay in writing a personal communication, or even an internet forum post. But it is less so, by a considerable margin, if one is presenting a "professional" document. I remember when someone showed me a RcV NT, held up the pages to the light showing how thin they were, and showed me that it was printed by University Printers in Cambridge England. Clearly a high standard was being implied there.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: Which books are in the LSM bibliography?

If you are a new local church believer, or a 'newly quickened' Christian meeting there, and contemplating the Bible for effectively the first time, then the words of Scripture, along with the RcV footnotes, might get you started. That, along with the "HWMR" and the various training conferences will keep you busy for a while.

Eventually, though, you'll at least make nominal acquaintances with the approved list of Govett, Pember, Panton, Murray, Darby, et al. Then what? Spend the rest of your life feeding on what EM proudly and defiantly acknowledged as "leftovers"?
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:31 PM   #12
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Default The conversation continues

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Originally Posted by countmeworthy View Post
I wandered in the wilderness for over 20 yrs, w/o attending a church service. I confess I was a closeted, secret defender of the LC ministry.
Same here. I had not paid much attention to the late '80s storms because they happened to someone far away. I remember reading the "Fermentation of the Present Rebellion", and it talked about some guy in Germany that supposedly had ambition. Or something like that; I didn't care. John So - who was John So?

When I left I also had a "pickled brain". I couldn't read the Bible, or any Christian author, without the accompanying LC commentary running in my head. Even though I wasn't active in the LC ministry it was active in me.

Only lately, little by little, have I begun to hear the Shepherd's voice. It is there in the Word, of course. But it is also in the fellowship of the Word, which has been flowing unabated over the centuries: Polycarp, the Didache, Ignatius, Irenaeus of Lyons, the Shepherd of Hermas, Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Cyprian of Carthage, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and so forth.

What really interests me is that there were also Christians who came centuries after, and who continued along the lines of what these first ones were writing about! The conversation continued! And it has arguably continued unto this day.

Today, of course, I have heard of the Titus Chu and Dong Yu Lan quarantines. Today I know something of Daystar and Philip Lee. But my conversation with God is no longer dependent upon the speaking of the LC ministry. It turns out that the speaking, the ministry, and the body of Christ is much bigger than that. The conversation continues.
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