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Old 08-05-2008, 09:45 AM   #1
UntoHim
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Default Against the Practice of Exclusivism

Against the Practice of Exclusivism

A Genuine Local Church Must Be Inclusive

The local churches’ stand has always been inclusive. Our bold declaration was,1 “We stand on the ground of the oneness of all believers…we recognize all the blood-redeemed and Spirit-regenerated believers in Christ as members of the one church in each city.” Brother Watchman Nee emphasized2 “the most important matter for the church in a locality is that she must be inclusive, not exclusive.” This requires more than merely declaring we receive all genuine believers at the Lord’s Table meeting. It has implications regarding the truths we teach. In Watchman Nee’s words, being inclusive means3 “Whatever is in the Bible, we must include; otherwise, we will separate and exclude some of God’s children.” Conversely,4 “whatever the Bible does not have, the church must by all means reject. Otherwise, all those who follow the Lord faithfully will leave when they see the church having what the Bible does not have.” Extra-biblical teachings disqualify a congregation’s claim to be a genuine local church. Here, as in all aspects of the Christian life, the Bible is the barometer for distinguishing between an inclusive local church and an exclusive sect.

The local churches’ position was inclusive during Brother Lee’s active ministry. During that era, Brother Ron Kangas (presently LSM’s “Senior editor”) wrote strongly refuting the charge of exclusivism. He said:5 “We believe that there are millions of genuinely saved ones outside the local churches. We believe that in all manner of Christian groups, in the various sects and denominations, there is a large number of genuine blood-washed, Spirit-regenerated believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. All these saved ones are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we would receive them as the Lord has received us.” On that occasion Brother Ron did not address the question whether any of the recovery’s teachings undermined their claims of inclusivity. That question is even more relevant today than it was then.

Since Witness Lee’s passing, the unrelenting 10-year trend in the Lord’s recovery has been towards exclusivity. A decade after Brother Lee’s departure, LSM’s “blended co-workers” still declare they receive all believers6. Yet their claim rings hollow when evaluated against their teachings and practices. To many the gradual departure from Watchman Nee and Witness Lee’s initial position has been imperceptible. Yet it is now evident that the “blended brothers’” teachings contain extra-biblical elements which alienate many genuine believers. In Watchman Nee’s words “those who follow the Lord faithfully will leave when they see the church having what the Bible does not have.” Extra-biblical elements and exclusivity characterize the “blended co-workers’” core teachings concerning the Body, the ministry, the work and companies of workers. Today these factors are so pervasive they negate LSM’s claims of being inclusive. It’s time to ask—Is the Lord’s recovery becoming the modern equivalent of the “Exclusive Brethren”? Here we document the exclusivism inherent in the “blended brothers’” teachings and point out their departure both from the Scriptures and from Watchman Nee and Witness Lee’s initial position.

Exclusive Teaching concerning Ministry—The Unique Minister of the Age

The term “Minister of the Age” did not enter the vocabulary of the Lord’s recovery until after Brother Lee’s departure in 1997. Since then it has been a prominent theme in the “blended co-workers’” teaching. Indeed it is the cornerstone of their theological system. They explain this unique minister’s role,7 “In every age there is a particular vision…released not through many persons but through one person who is the minister of that age.” Bob Danker elaborates concerning this “Minister” (or master builder). He says,8 “In every age God does not give His vision…to two men; He gives it to only one man. [That] man…is the wise master builder; he is the minister of the age. In God’s unique work of building… only the word of the master builder counts…God does not give other ministers their own light and revelation. All the ministers in a particular age must…speak only the contents of the unique vision…This is a strong principle that holds in every age, including today.”

The “blended co-workers” unequivocally declare that “in every age,” for the past 6,000 years, God gave His vision to only one man—the unique “Minister of the Age.” Their sweeping assertion denies the validity of any other minister’s “own light and revelation.” This exclusive view reduces Church history to a single thread of successive “Ministers of the Age, ” from Luther, through Madame Guyon, Count Zinzendorf, John N. Darby to W. Nee and W. Lee. Concerning the latter, Brother Ed Marks says,9 “In the twentieth century the minister of the age was Watchman Nee and then Witness Lee as the continuation of Watchman Nee. These brothers were ministers of the age. There is no doubt about this.” This single historical line of sequential ministers denies any significant role to Zwingli, Calvin, Wesley, Andrew Murray, A. B. Simpson, Jessie Penn-Lewis, T. Austin-Sparks, A. W. Tozer or Bakht Singh (to name just a few.) They are merely “local ministers,” relegated to insignificance. Significantly this linear view of successive ministers was not invented within the recovery. This teaching is associated with exclusivism. The exclusive “Taylor Brethren” espoused a similar view,10 tracing “God’s select vessel” from Darby through Raven to James Taylor Sr. and Jr. Despite the Taylor Brethren’s initial acceptance of Watchman Nee, they later excommunicated him and (of course) excluded him from their line of recognized oracles.

Ministerial Succession—Sequential Ministers of the Age? —What Does Scripture Say?

The “blended brothers” dogmatically assert this “strong principle…holds…today.” They allege that God has only one unique oracle on earth—the “Minister of the Age.” In their view, today “only the word of the master builder counts. ” Yet “what does the Scripture say?” (Gal. 4:30) It says that Christ is the Minister and Mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 8:2, 6.) Hence Jesus Christ is the unique “Minister of the Age,” the entire age of grace! Beyond this, no term similar to “Minister of the Age” appears in the New Testament. The New Testament contains no explicit teaching about “ministerial succession;” We see neither prescriptive teaching, nor descriptive examples of a sequence of “Ministers of the Age.” On the contrary, Scripture indicates the one New Testament ministry is carried by various ministers each having a portion of “this ministry” (Acts 1:17, 25.) The Apostle Paul says “We” (plural, the many ministers) have “this (singular, one New Testament) ministry” (2 Cor. 4:1.) Consistent with this Brother Lee clearly taught that this “unique ministry [is] common to all the apostles of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:1, note) The sole basis for the “blended co-workers’” teaching appears to be W. Lee’s sharing to a select group of Taiwan brothers in 1986. Significantly these messages were never published in English as long as Brother Lee lived. However, since his passing, the “blended co-workers” have emphasized and elaborated upon this theme making it the centerpiece of their ministry. In doing so they have extrapolated “beyond what has been written” in Scripture (1 Cor. 4:6) and given this extra-biblical teaching an unwarranted prominence.

Watchman Nee never used the term “Minister of the Age.” Rather he envisioned the “ministry of the age” as the common portion of many ministers. Hence he wrote,11 “When God chooses a man to be a minister, and his revelation reaches a certain height, he will become the ministry of the word in that age…In every age God chooses great vessels to meet His need…In a certain age God may choose five brothers to see what others in the same age have not seen.”] His phrase “God may choose five brothers” shows Brother Nee did not dogmatically assert that only one person is God’s oracle in an era. Yet, in their teaching, the blended brothers have chosen to override the Scriptures’ clear teaching of multiple ministers (and W. Nee’s word) with their extra-biblical teaching of one Minister of the Age. Thus Brother Ed Marks claims,12 “The ministry of the age subsumes and includes all the foregoing ministries. The whole New Testament ministry has been recovered…” LSM’s Benson Phillips goes further to claim Brother Lee’s ministry is13 “the New Testament ministry in all its fullness.” The “blended co-workers’” “minister of the age” teaching is being used to “trump” the Scriptural view (and Watchman Nee’s teaching) of multiple ministers sharing the New Testament ministry.

This teaching is far from innocuous. The practical implications of this exclusive view are obvious from recent developments among the local churches. If the unique “Minister of the Age” is the sole possessor of the up-to-date vision and ministry, only his word counts, only his messages should be published, read and recited. Other messages and publications are (at best) distractions. Based upon this ideology, LSM’s “One Publication” policy is fully justified; other publications should be terminated. Moreover, other ministers, perceived to be speaking differently, ought to be silenced. Hence, according to this view, quarantine is a valid means of eliminating other voices!

Exclusive Teaching concerning Ministers

Based upon their “Minister of the Age” teaching, LSM’s “blended brothers” have overly exalted Witness Lee’s ministry. They do not hesitate to go beyond what Witness Lee said. Brother Ron Kangas proclaimed,14 “Brother Lee could not say it then, but we can say it today; He was the wise master builder; he was the (emphasis original) minister of the age, he had the design, and he could oversee the work.” Similarly, LSM president, Benson Phillips is on record saying,15 “we declare strongly that his [Bro. Lee’s] ministry could never be over because his ministry is the New Testament ministry” He also refers to Witness Lee’s ministry as16 “this glorious ministry, which is the New Testament ministry in all its fullness.” Thus (according to Benson Phillips) the New Testament ministry, once jointly possessed by various apostles, has become the exclusive possession of Brother Witness Lee. In making these exaggerated claims aren’t the “blended co-workers” going “beyond what has been written” in Scripture (1 Cor. 4:6)? Aren’t they being “puffed up on behalf of one” of the Lord’s servants against others (1 Cor. 4:6)?

The “blended co-workers’” overstated claims on behalf of Brother Lee are contradicted by his own words. He said,17 “We do not mean that [the New Testament ministry] is the ministry of only one person…It is slanderous to accuse me of saying that the unique ministry today is the ministry of Witness Lee. We do not say this, and we do not mean this…I have been asked…’Do you mean that your ministry is this unique ministry?’…I have always answered this question by saying, ‘No, I definitely do not mean that my ministry is the unique [New Testament] ministry’.” Rather Brother Lee claimed to have only a portion of that ministry. He said,18 “When we say ‘the ministry,’ we are referring to the New Testament ministry, not just my ministry. If my ministry is a part of that ministry, thank God for this.” Yet Witness Lee’s own balanced word has been overridden by the “blended co-workers” in their haste to exalt Brother Lee.

Exclusive Teaching concerning Leadership—Brother Nee, Brother Lee and “Brother We”

Given the exalted position the “blended co-workers” attribute to the “Minister of the Age,” the question arises—Who is today’s “Minister of the Age”? Brother Lee passed away ten years ago, and yet the “blended Brothers” categorically assert “his ministry could never be over.” In contrast to their axiom that God only speaks through one man, they now claim today’s “Minister of the Age” is “Brother ‘We’.” Thus Brother Ed Marks has said,19 “Brother Nee and Brother Lee have gone to be with the Lord, therefore today in the Lord’s recovery it is now the time of ‘Brother We’.” He elaborates further saying,20 “After Brother Lee went to be with the Lord, a brother came to our co-workers’ meeting, looked around and asked, ‘Who is in charge?’ When Brother Lee was here, we all looked to Brother Lee. Now that Brother Lee was gone, this brother was wondering who the leader was. The leader is Brother ‘We,’ the blended co-workers.” Here then is an unambiguous assertion regarding leadership that, following Brother Lee’s passing “the leader is Brother ‘We,’ the blended co-workers.” An obvious deduction would be that today’s “minister of the Age” is the “blended co-workers.”

But who exactly are the “blended co-workers”? Who is this “Brother We”? A cute response to these questions (thought to have originated in Taiwan) is—“Brother ABCDE – Brothers Andrew Yu, Benson Phillips, Chen (Minoru), Dick Taylor & Dan Towle, Ed Marks and (don’t forget) Ron Kangas.” According to this cute retort, “Brother We” equals the core “blended co-workers”—“Brother ABCDE.” They are today’s “Minister of the Age”! While conceding that other brothers may have a portion in the New Testament ministry, the specific group of “blended co-workers” claim the entire New Testament ministry as their possession by virtue of being Brother Lee’s unique continuation.21 Yet does Scripture support such claims? The New Testament ministry was not the unique possession of the Apostle Paul, nor Peter or John. Rather each had a portion. How then can the “blended co-workers” claim that Brother Lee had the entire “New Testament ministry in all its fullness”? Moreover what is the scriptural basis for the “blended brothers” claim that they are the unique “continuation” of Brother Lee’s Ministry of the Age? Isn’t this claim virtually equivalent to asserting apostolic succession? Yet, as Watchman Nee says,22 “Apostleship is not hereditary.”

Exclusive Teaching concerning God’s One Work

The “blended brothers” exclusivity extends to God’s work. LSM president, Benson Phillips rejects the notion that Christians outside the Lord’s recovery have any part in God’s authentic work. He says,23 “Anyone can work. There are Christians working throughout this whole earth. I would like to say boldly that they are not working the work of God because they are not laboring in the same stream that we are laboring in….We recognize that other Christians are working, but they are not working the work of God.” With one sweeping statement the labor of millions of believers is summarily dismissed as not being God’s legitimate work! What is the basis for this drastic conclusion? Brother Benson’s basis is Witness Lee’s forfeiting his work in Northern China to join with Watchman Nee because the Lord showed him there is only one divine stream. Benson Phillips extrapolates from W. Lee’s personal leading to every Christian worker worldwide. Yet we ask—On what basis can the Lord’s personal leading of Witness Lee become the standard for all God’s servants? Moreover, it seems Brother Benson demands uniformity in the Lord’s work beyond that required by the Lord, who said, regarding service, “He who is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40.) Benson’s exclusive attitude contrasts with the Lord’s inclusive stance expounded by Brother Lee.24

Exclusive Teaching concerning Worker Companies—One Global Company of Workers

Watchman Nee taught clearly that while the church is local the work is regional.25 Acts shows the Apostle Peter and his co-workers laboring among the Jews with Jerusalem as their center. A second company of workers, led by the Apostle Paul, worked in the Gentile lands with Antioch as their center. Thus we see multiple co-worker companies with different centers laboring in various regions. Recently however this Scriptural paradigm has been challenged by the “blended brothers.” According to their Minister of the Age paradigm, the situation described in Acts was “not satisfactory.” Bob Danker alleges,26 “The situation in the first century was not satisfactory according to God’s way in His economy… God’s way is to have all His people serving Him under… the supervision of one master builder”—Paul. Hence, Bob Danker claims “Peter and James should have joined themselves to Paul’s company and worked together with Paul under the vision the Lord had given him… All the workers… should have served together with Paul in God’s move at that time.”

Extrapolating this principle to the present, Bob Danker asserts, “We must serve in one company, even in one Body, under the proper leadership in the Lord’s move”—i.e. the leadership of the “blended co-workers,” today’s guardians of the “Ministry of the Age.” Thus LSM’s “blended co-workers” reject the New Testament pattern and W. Nee’s view, replacing it with their preferred paradigm which calls for one global company of co-workers under their direction. This view is more than merely an alternative viewpoint; it has drastic implications for the Lord’s work within the recovery. Based upon this view, the “blended co-workers” called on Brother Titus Chu (in the Great Lakes area) and Brother Yu-Lan Dong (in S. America) to subjugate their work under the “blended co-workers’” leadership. Failure to comply with these demands led to Titus Chu’s “quarantine.” Moreover it provides a basis for the “blended co-workers” to deny, discredit and damage any work in the recovery that isn’t under their direct oversight. Essentially according to this view the “blended co-workers” become “global elders”27 overseeing one worldwide work of recovery.

The “blended co-workers’” insistence on one global company of workers practically eliminates various regions, consolidating them into one worldwide field. Yet Witness Lee warned against this saying28 “If we organize these regions into one unit, it will lead to hierarchy with an official leadership. This would insult Christ’s headship.” It seems the “blended co-workers” have turned a deaf ear to this warning by Brother Lee. Moreover, Brother Nee cautioned against having a human directorate overseeing God’s work. He told the “Exclusive Brethren,”29 “Some…are tempted to attain the position of director over all of God’s servants….We would say, however, that regardless of how man seeks after God’s will, the Holy Spirit is always the unique Executor. He never needs man to be His manager…We must allow the Holy Spirit to exercise His lordship in everything. No matter how we have sought after His mind, we are never His assistants.” Watchman Nee viewed the creation of one worldwide work overseen by a global eldership as usurping the Holy Spirit’s role and returning to Rome.

Exclusive Teaching Concerning the Body—“the Body Equals the Recovery”

The Body of Christ has been a central focus of the “blended brothers’” ministry. Yet what exactly do they mean by “the Body”? Do they mean the universal Church including millions of believers in every place throughout the age of grace? Or do they mean only those believers meeting practically as local churches in the Lord’s recovery? Unfortunately it seems the latter, exclusive definition, underlies much of the “blended co-workers’” teaching. Hence Brother Minoru Chen is on record saying,30 “I would say that practically speaking, for us the Body today is just the Lord’s recovery.… In Brother Lee’s understanding, the Body equals the recovery. We know that the mystical Body of Christ includes all the believers, all of the redeemed ones in time and in space, but practically for us today, the recovery is the Body.”

This statement, equating the Body with the recovery, is not an isolated example. Consider, as a further example, Brother Benson Phillips’ assertion:31 “Surely we have seen that when a brother leaves the church life his situation tends to worsen. This occurs because he has become an individual again. He is no longer a part of the Body.” This speaking equates leaving the practical church-life with no longer being part of the Body. “When a brother leaves the church life,” according to Brother Benson, “he is no longer a part of the Body.” An obvious deduction is that (for Brother Benson) the local churches are the Body. This narrow definition of Christ’s Body also underlies other statements like,32 “The Body should be first. All the other local churches which comprise the Body of Christ should be number one and your local church should be second.” Again, for Brother Benson, “All the... local churches… comprise the Body of Christ.” No recognition is given that millions of believers not currently meeting in the local churches, are also members of Christ’s one Body. This narrow definition of the Body leads to non-biblical claims that a select group of brothers exercise propriety rights over the “fellowship of the Body” or possess (in some special sense) the “feeling of the Body.”

Pervasive Exclusivism—Today’s Lord’s Recovery, Tomorrow’s “Exclusive Brethren”?

The exclusivity inherent in the “blended brothers’” current teachings is not exhausted by the examples given above. For example, Brother Benson Phillip admonishes church-members to remain within the Lord’s recovery saying,33 “In any case, do not leave the Lord’s recovery. I can assure you that if you go away from the Lord’s recovery, you will have no way for the process of sanctification to go forward within you. Instead, you will just enter into a bankrupt situation… The sanctification process is carried out in the Lord’s recovery.” Here is an assertion that the process of sanctification occurs exclusively within the realm of the Lord’s recovery. Leaving the Lord’s recovery (according to Brother Benson) causes sanctification to cease.

A further example is the concept that we, in the recovery, are the “One New Man,” with the New Man’s culture and language. Yet, in the New Testament, doesn’t the “one new man” (Eph. 2:15; 4:24; Col. 3:10) like “the Body,” include all believers? It is not the exclusive property of the “Lord’s recovery.” Yet the “blended co-workers” admonish,34 “We must learn the new language…in the new culture, the God-man culture of the new man…Today we are learning a new, divine, mystical vocabulary”—the theological terminology of “high peak truths.” Unconsciously doesn’t the emphasis on speaking this “new language” create a barrier inhibiting uninitiated believers from entering the church-life, further contributing to exclusivity? Moreover, this kind of teaching justifies the view that (as one brother wrote me) “Since things of the old creation have no place in the one New Man we receive all genuine believers in Christ, but we reject anything they bring to the church…” The implicit assumption is that only “our culture,” the “culture of the New Man,” is acceptable. Their culture, since it is viewed as belonging to the “Old Man,” is rejected. Hence, one brother writes, “We receive all whom the Lord received, but not their music which the Lord has not received.” Yet what is the justification for assuming that “our Hymnal” is the “New Man Hymnal,” meaning, it contains only the lyrics and music of the “New Man” and contains nothing of the “Old Man”? Yet, this superior attitude has been expressed among us. A similar sentiment seems implicit in Brother Benson Phillips’ proclamation,35 “We should not bring anything of Christianity into the Lord’s recovery. We only take the faith. If some in Christianity are in the faith, then we accept them, but we accept nothing of Christianity.” While proclaiming inclusivity, the superior attitude inherent in these words reflects an underlying exclusivity which many of our fellow believers find repulsive.

It is almost 30 years since the local churches boldly declared “We stand on the ground of the oneness of all believers…we recognize all the blood-redeemed and Spirit-regenerated believers in Christ as members of the one church in each city.” Today the position taken by LSM’s “blended co-workers” is far removed from that stand. The departure has been gradual, imperceptible to many saints. Nevertheless it should be clear to discerning saints that behind the facade of inclusivity, the “blended brothers’” teachings are pervaded with extra-biblical elements and exclusivism.

LSM’s “blended brothers” have extrapolated Brother Lee’s ministry, producing a system of extra-biblical teachings like, “One minister of the Age,” “One Publication,” “One global group of co-workers.” Despite continued claims of inclusiveness, these teachings render us “exclusive” because (in W. Nee’s words36) “Whatever is in the Bible, we must include; otherwise, we will separate and exclude some of God’s children.” Moreover,37 “whatever the Bible does not have, the church must by all means reject. Otherwise, all those who follow the Lord faithfully will leave when they see the church having what the Bible does not have.” The “blended brothers’” extra-biblical teachings undermine their claims of inclusivity and risk producing an exclusive global sect.

The book of Acts records the first phase of Church history. Within 30 years of Pentecost, Judaic exclusivism pervaded the Church in Jerusalem, threatening the believers’ liberty in Christ. According to Brother Witness Lee,38 “The flow of the Lord’s move went from Jerusalem to Antioch, and turned from Antioch to the Gentile world. However, the source…of this flow in Jerusalem had been ‘poisoned.’ Since the source was poisoned, the poison would be carried by the flow where ever it went.” Paul’s final visit to Judea was motivated (in W. Lee’s view) by Paul’s concern that39 “the poison from the source at Jerusalem was flowing out towards Asia, Europe and even Rome,” the field of his labor. Southern California was the base of Brother Witness Lee’s labor in North America and beyond. It is now the base for LSM’s “blended co-workers’” global operations. We fear that history is repeating itself with the “poison” of narrowness and exclusivism inherent in the “blended brothers’” teachings spreading from that source to the local churches worldwide, producing the modern equivalent of the “Exclusive Brethren.”

Nigel Tomes
Toronto, Canada
April 2007

NOTES:
1. The Beliefs & Practices of the local churches, by “The Co-workers in the Lord’s Recovery,” 1978, p. 4
2. W. Nee, Further Talks on the Church Life, p. 56
3. W. Nee, Further Talks on the Church Life p. 58
4. W. Nee, Further Talks on the Church Life, p. 64
5. Ron Kangas The Truth Concerning Exclusivism posted on www.ContendingForThefaith.com
6. For example the “blended co-workers’” ‘One Publication’ edict concludes with the statement: “…one publication should not become the basis of our accepting or rejecting any persons in the communion of faith or in the fellowship of the churches; it should not be insisted on as an item of the faith. If any are not inclined to be restricted in one publication, these ones are still our brothers; they are still in the genuine local churches.” Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery, by “The blended co-workers in the Lord’s recovery” (June 30, 2005). We leave it to the reader to judge whether the “blended co-workers’” subsequent actions in quarantining Titus Chu, Frank Lin & Nigel Tomes are consistent with their declaration!
7. The Ministry, Vol. 7, No. 6, Aug. 2003, p. 34
8. Bob Danker, “On the Minister of the Age and the Wise Master Builder” In “Contributions” on the LSM-affiliated DCP web-site: AFaithfulWord.org
9. The Ministry, Vol. 9, no. 6, June 2005, p. 114
10. See for example, Searching For The True Church, by Roger Shuff, (Paternoster, 2005) p. 115
11. W. Nee, Collected Works, vol. 59, p 282
12. The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 2, Feb. 2005, p. 137
13. Letter to Great Lakes Brothers by Liu Suey and Benson Phillips, Aug. 10, 2006. On AFaithfulWord.org
14. The Ministry, Vol. 10, No. 1, (Jan./Feb. 2006) p. 150
15. The Ministry, Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 275, Jan. 2006
16. Letter to Great Lakes Brothers by Liu Suey and Benson Phillips, Aug. 10, 2006
17. W. Lee, Life-Study of 2 Corinthians, pp. 235-236
18. W. Lee, The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life, p. 16
19. The Ministry, Vol. 7, no. 6, August, 2003, pp. 14-15
20. The Ministry, Vol. 8, no. 6, p. 214
21. This line of reasoning appears in Brother Ron Kangas’ sharing on Jan 31 of this year in Manta, Ecuador (as reported by brother “DWV” on LastAdam.com): “Brother A in one country is in THIS ministry. We receive his part of THIS ministry. Brother B is in other country. We receive him as a brother and we receive his portion of THIS ministry. Suppose there are Brothers A, B, C, .... Z. All can say I have a part in THIS ministry. I told the saints in that church, we receive every portion of THIS ministry, including the ministry of Brother So-and-So. But you must be clear that all these brothers have a portion of THIS ministry. But they do NOT have the ministry of this age. YES they are ministers. Yes, they have part of THIS ministry. But their ministry is NOT the ministry of this age. The ministry of the age was given to Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. You say these brothers have passed away. Yes, but their ministry remains and we are still in the same ministry …He is speaking to us through the ministry of the age which was carried out through the minister of the age. THIS ministry. Many ministers. We all have a part. It is one thing to have a part. It is another thing to have the MINISTRY of the age. Let us be humble. I will take the lead. The Lord did not choose me to be the minister of the age or have the ministry of the age directly. But praise the Lord. He brought His minister to the United States and raised up a group of faithful brothers. This is the ministry of the age. My being is crying out to the Lord-crying out desperately for South America. Oh that all the Lord’s people would come into direct contact with the ministry of the age. It is this ministry that brought us the tree of life, taught us how to eat Jesus as the tree of life, and how to drink the Spirit . This ministry showed us how to live a crucified life, how to be in resurrection, how to be in Spirit, and how to practice the Body life. It showed us God’s economy, organic salvation, conformation, transformation, God’s building. Hallelujah! This is for you all. We are here to wash your feet, and shepherd your souls. We are just here to build up the Body of Christ. Hallelujah. THIS IS THE MINISTRY OF THE AGE.”
22. W. Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 62, p. 305
23. The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 2, Feb. 2005, p. 106
24. Concerning this Scripture W. Lee says “Both this person and the Lord’s disciples were casting out demons. However, that one did not follow the Lord in the same way the disciples did…Likewise, believers today may preach the gospel in a way that is different from our gospel preaching, but both they and we are still preaching the gospel…we need to be general in our attitude regarding it.” [W. Lee, Life-study of Mark, p. 262]
25. “While the churches are local, the work is regional. This, I feel, is very clear in the Scriptures… In other words, a church is in one locality, but the work is in many localities which are combined together to form a region. In the book of Acts, it can be clearly seen that the twelve apostles had a definite region for their work. Peter, John and their group worked in one region, while Paul, Silas, Timothy and Barnabas worked in another region.” (Watchman Nee, Further Talks on the Church Life, p.154)
26. Bob Danker, “On the Minister of the Age and the Wise Master Builder” In “Contributions” on the LSM-affiliated DCP web-site: AFaithfulWord.org
27. Significantly, the LSM-brothers say, “we are also cognizant of our responsibility to keep watch over the interest of God’s allotment to us (Acts 20:31; 1 Pet 5:2-3).” [“Why are we continuing the Present Litigation?” on ContendingForTheFaith.org] Note that the Scripture references refer to the responsibility of elders. It seems LSM’s “blended co-workers” view themselves in the role of “global elders” in relation to the Lord’s recovery and all the local churches.
28. Witness Lee, Life Messages, p.148
29. W. Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 425
30. The Ministry, Vol. 7, no. 6, Aug. 2003, p. 196
31. The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 3, March 2005, p. 130
32. The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 2, Feb 2005, p. 113
33. The Ministry, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2004, p. 189
34. The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 5, May, 2005, pp. 136-7
35. The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 3, March, 2005, p. 121
36. W. Nee, Further Talks on the Church Life p. 58
37. W. Nee, Further Talks on the Church Life, p. 64
38. W. Lee, Life-study of Acts, p.444
39. W. Lee, Life-study of Acts, p.456

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Old 08-05-2008, 10:43 AM   #2
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Adman, what is the date of the article?
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Admin View Post
We fear that history is repeating itself with the “poison” of narrowness and exclusivism inherent in the “blended brothers’” teachings spreading from that source to the local churches worldwide, producing the modern equivalent of the “Exclusive Brethren.”
I think that's really pretty clear.

I haven't managed to get all the way through it yet (it's pretty dry) but A. J. Gardiner's 'The Recovery and Maintenance of the Truth' reads almost like a playbook for the last decade in the Local Church...
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:49 AM   #4
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Adman, what is the date of the article?
Posted on ConcernedBrothers.Com on April 24th, 2007
http://www.concernedbrothers.com/Exc...xclusivism.pdf

Also I noticed it was included in the church in Cleveland's "Fellowship Journal":
http://www.jesusloversincleveland.or...xclusivism.htm
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:00 PM   #5
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I think that's really pretty clear.

I haven't managed to get all the way through it yet (it's pretty dry) but A. J. Gardiner's 'The Recovery and Maintenance of the Truth' reads almost like a playbook for the last decade in the Local Church...
YP, you read that too! I came across that web article several years ago. At the time I was a little foggy about where we were headed. I was researching the Brethren at the time, and studying WN's TNCCL. Eventually I learned, "if you want to know where we are going, just find out where we have been." How true! After reading the disastrous history of our exclusive "grandparents," nothing in the past few years has surprised me.

Btw, if you are interested in a present day testimony of a TW exclusive brethren, the contemporary account, "The Fourth Generation" by Doctor Bud Morris is a great read. Interestingly, he was in Akron and Cleveland assemblies just before the LC's came to those towns. He relates in detail some of the heart-wrenching experiences he and his family endured as he himself became firstly a "concerned brother," then passed thru painful "quarantines," and thankfully survived the "dark tunnel" of departure into the glorious liberty of Christ.

He continues to expand his website: http://www.poetique.cc/issues.html
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:02 PM   #6
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I did enjoy this article on the concerned brothers web site. I had only just read in the Word a few days ago from Hebrews about this very thing. Hebrews calls Jesus the Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord erected and not man. [Heb 8:2]
When I read this, I thought- Wow! Jesus is the Minister of the Age. He ministers to His church, the true tabernacle. Then I read this article today.
Isn't it wonderful that the Lord can teach us all directly from His word?
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:44 PM   #7
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YP, you read that too! I came across that web article several years ago....
People around here need to stop giving me new things that I want to read!
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