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Old 07-15-2010, 08:47 PM   #1
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Default Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches TOMES

EXAMINING LSM’s ESCHATOLOGY—REVELATION’S 7 CHURCHES
A Case Study of LSM’s Prophetic-Historical Interpretation of John’s Apocalypse

Watchman Nee and Witness Lee were outstanding Bible expositors and Christian leaders in their own spheres. However, they added nothing to the field of biblical eschatology—the study of end time events. In prophetic matters, W. Nee and W. Lee merely adopted the dispensational theology developed by John N. Darby (1800-82) of the Plymouth Brethren plus a few other 19th century commentators.1 Hence, the Local Church, like the Brethren, espouses a literal millennial kingdom to be inaugurated by Christ’s return and the pre-millennial rapture of believers.2 They differ from Darby on secondary issues—e.g., their doctrine of multiple raptures3 (early overcoming minority and later majority-raptures) in contrast to Darby’s pre-tribulation rapture of all believers—a popular view portrayed in the Left Behind series.4

Almost two centuries have elapsed since the Brethren’s eschatological views were first proposed. Significant world events have transpired causing Bible scholars, including some dispensationalists, to re-evaluate their prophetic teachings.5 Within the Local Church, however, Brethren eschatology continues to be reiterated in rote fashion as it has been for decades.6 Indeed it now holds the unassailable position of Local Church orthodoxy, having been “canonized as the interpreted word” in LSM’s Recovery Version of the Bible.7 LSM’s prophetic teachings ought to be re-evaluated in the light of world events and recent biblical scholarship. That is a huge task; it encompasses Daniel’s prophecy of “70 weeks,” the four beasts, Babylon, the Antichrist etc. Ultimately only after-the-fact can such teachings as single- or multiple raptures be verified or denied. Therefore, instead of addressing the entire field of eschatology, we focus on a single aspect—LSM’s prophetic-historical interpretation of Revelation’s seven churches (Rev. 2-3).


ARE REVELATION’S SEVEN CHURCHES PROPHETIC?
All Bible expositors agree John’s seven brief epistles were addressed to seven churches existing in the late-1st century Roman province of Asia. In each epistle the Lord diagnoses the condition and offers His prescription. Hence scholars seek to understand their meaning at the time of writing. Moreover, expositors extend these lessons to the present era via “devotional” applications to individual believers and congregations.8 In addition some expositors argue that the seven epistles ought to be interpreted prophetically, portraying (at the time of writing) the future course of the Church throughout the Age of Grace. From the vantage of later centuries this leads to a historicist interpretation, matching past Church history with Scripture.9 Others reject this prophetic-historical interpretation of Revelation 2 and 3, including some Bible teachers who accept the remainder of John’s Apocalypse as prophecy.10

W. Nee and W. Lee adopted the Brethren’s prophetic interpretation11 of Revelation’s seven churches. These churches are viewed not only as 1st century local churches, but also as foreshadowing the future course of Church history. This prophetic-historical view was embodied in Andrew Miller’s Church History, (1873)12 and popularized via Scofield’s Reference Bible (1909, 1917).13 Watchman Nee used this prophetic scheme in his Orthodoxy of the Church (1945).14 W. Lee’s Life-study of Revelation replicates it; the first page states, “The seven epistles to the seven churches…are prophecies regarding the church on earth until the Lord’s coming back.”15 He elaborates,16 “the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 match the stages of church history. The history of the church from the first century to the present is clearly divided into seven stages: the initial stage, the suffering stage, the worldly stage, the apostate stage, the stage of Reformation, the stage of the recovered church, and the stage of the degradation of the recovered church.” Note that this interpretation concerns the outward appearance of the Church, including the “apostate Church,” not merely the invisible “true Church,” composed only of genuine believers.17

These stages are then identified in history. LSM’s Recovery Version Bible summarizes the results, saying
“The seven churches also are signs, signifying prophetically the progress of the church in seven stages…Ephesus, provides a picture of the end of the initial church…during the latter part of the first century… Smyrna prefigures the suffering church under the persecution of the Roman Empire, from the latter part of the first century to the early part of the fourth century, when Constantine… Caesar of the Roman Empire, brought the church into imperial favor…Pergamos pre-symbolizes the worldly church…from the day Constantine accepted Christianity to the time the papal system was established …Thyatira depicts prophetically the apostate church…the papal system in the latter part of the sixth century to the end of this age… Sardis prefigures the Protestant Church from the Reformation in the early part of the sixteenth century to Christ's coming back.…Philadelphia predicts the church of brotherly love, the recovery of the proper church life, from the early part of the nineteenth century, when the brothers were raised up in England to practice the church outside all denominational …systems, to the second appearing of the Lord. Laodicea foreshadows the degraded church life of the brothers…from the latter part of the nineteenth century until the Lord's return.”18

In this paradigm, John’s Apocalypse predicts “the progress of the church in seven stages”—churches matching those in Revelation 2 and 3 appear successively (in the sequence described) over the course of the Age of Grace, until the Lord’s return. Yet, although “seven stages of the church” are identified, only four types of church are predicted to persist until the Lord’s return. Hence Witness Lee says,
“The seven churches…symbolize the seven kinds of churches in church history…The initial church had its continuation in the suffering church; the suffering church became the worldly church; and the worldly church became the apostate church. Hence, the first four churches issued eventually in one kind of church…the Roman Catholic Church. Then the reformed church…came into existence as another kind of church, a church not fully recovered. Hence, after this, the recovered church was raised up as a full recovery of the proper church life. This…[is] the third kind of church. Through the degradation of the recovered church, the degraded recovered church came into being. This can be counted as the fourth kind of church. These four kinds of churches will all remain until the Lord comes back. Undoubtedly, only the recovered church can fulfill God's eternal purpose…” [W. Lee, Rev. 3:22, RcV., note 1, emphasis added]

These are dogmatic assertions. LSM’s interpretation is not merely that the Church will pass through seven successive stages, beginning with Ephesus (the loss of the first love) and ending with lukewarm Laodicea. Their paradigm is much more specific. The first three kinds of churches (Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamum) are past—“these three are of one group…they have all passed away”19—they were fulfilled in previous eras of Church history. According to this view, since the Roman Catholic Church first developed, no church on earth has matched the initial church, suffering church or worldly church portrayed in Revelation 2. These three have come and gone. These assertions ought to be checked against history—e.g., did the “suffering church” really cease after A.D. 300? According to this doctrine, only the last four (Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia & Laodicea) exist on earth today, and they will continue to the end of the age—“the last four continue their days on the earth together…they end at the same time.”20 Hence W. Nee states,21 “In this age God shows us four different churches…There are the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant churches, the brothers who love one another and the Brethren Assemblies. The fourth one, the Brethren Assemblies, has fallen into the position of Laodicea.” Therefore, he asserts, “There are four different kinds of churches from which we may choose.”22 Beyond these four, no further manifestations of the church are predicted. Apart from the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant- Reformed churches, the recovered church and the degraded recovered [Brethren] church, this view contemplates no fifth or sixth kind of church. This last point is far from innocuous—it is these four and no more! These are unequivocal statements which can be tested against twenty centuries of recorded Christian history. We note that LSM’s interpretations are very specific. Sardis does not represent denominations generally, but those mainline Protestant denominations—e.g., Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, and Baptist—which emerged from the sixteenth century Reformation.23 Laodicea portrays, not the church under a general malaise, but degraded Philadelphia. “Only failing Philadelphia can become Laodicea…Only that which has tasted the goodness of Philadelphia and is now fallen is Laodicea.”24 Hence the latter is specifically identified as the degraded Plymouth Brethren.

NO MORE STAGES, NO NEW DEVELOPMENTS, NO FURTHER PROGRESS
As a prophecy of the church’s progress in the 20th and 21st centuries LSM’s interpretation of Revelation’s seven churches predicts no change—no more stages, no new developments, no further progress—only a perpetuation of the status quo. In fact, as of 150 years ago, this prophetic-historical approach had already exhausted its predictive content in terms of new manifestations of the church. Once the last kind of church appeared this view predicts no further progress for the church. According to LSM’s exposition, by the 1830s and 1840s, each of the final four manifestations of the church—represented by Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea—were already present on the earth. The Roman Catholic had existed for centuries. The mainline Protestant churches emerged from the 16th century Reformation. Then “in 1825, Philadelphia appeared and the [Plymouth] brothers rose up…Then after 1840, Laodicea appeared. [So] today [W. Nee said in 1945] there are four different kinds of churches…four ways from which we can choose.”25 In fact, a century earlier—by 1850—all four kinds of church already existed. Everything signified “prophetically [concerning] the progress of the church in seven stages”26 had already been fulfilled at that time. No further, “eighth stage of the church” is contemplated in this paradigm; no new expressions of the church are feasible. Every church in the 20th and 21st centuries, no matter how innovative it appears, falls into one of these four categories. There is no possibility of a fifth- or sixth kind appearing, nor is the reappearance of the first three kinds—Ephesus, Smyrna & Pergamum—possible. Evidently, since 1850 churches have either cycled through these options or remained firmly in one type.

Bible scholars note that among the seven churches only two (Smyrna & Philadelphia) escape the Lord’s rebuke; only the latter is positively commended. Hence Philadelphia is the best. In the historical-prophetic view, this implies the church’s expression reached its apex among the early Brethren, during the era of John N. Darby, George Muller, Anthony Norris Groves etc., in the period 1825-40. Hence, W. Lee declares,27 “In the late 1820s the brothers were raised up in England as the fulfillment of the church in Philadelphia.” He also states,28 “Approximately 150 years ago the recovered church began in England …it was wonderful. It was a real recovery of the church life.” Since the Brethren already attained the peak, the highest attainment any church can achieve afterwards is to regain Philadelphia’s status, to recover the early Brethren’s Philadelphian condition. Ironically, this means “the present Recovery” is not the “original recovery” (that status belongs to the Brethren); rather it is a “re-recovery,” a substitute Philadelphia, replacing the Brethren after their fall into Laodicea. Viewed through this prism the “Lord’s recovery” did not produce a new kind of church, nor is it a new stage. It is merely a replacement.29

ONLY FOUR KINDS OF CHURCH?
LSM’s paradigm predicts only four kinds of Church—“there are four different kinds of churches.” All Christians around the globe belong to one of these four. The possibilities are identified— “there are the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant churches, the brothers who love one another and the Brethren Assemblies,” W. Nee declared. The third possibility, Philadelphia, “the brothers who love one another,” is not explicitly identified. Yet, doubtless, LSM-adherents view themselves as “the recovered church.”30 The table below31 gives global membership statistics according to LSM’s paradigm circa. 2005.
Type in Rev. Church Mega-bloc Members Percent
Thyatira Roman Catholic 1,119M 50.1%
Sardis Protestant & Anglican 456M 20.4%
Philadelphia LSM’s Local Church 1.15M 0.05%
Laodicea Plymouth Brethren 3.57M 0.16%
TOTAL Rows 1-4 above 1,580M 70.7%
Independents 427M 19.1%
Eastern Orthodox 220M 9.8%

There were 2.2 billion global Christians in 2005. One-half are Roman Catholic (“Thyatira”); another 20% were Protestant (“Sardis”). These two categories account for 70% of global Christians. The next two rows—LSM’s Local Church (“Philadelphia”) and the Brethren (“Laodicea”)—are a tiny fractions of global Christians. LSM’s Local Church constitute one-two thousandth; combined they represent only one-five hundredth of global believers. Taken together LSM’s four categories account for only 70% of Christians. Strikingly, almost 30% of global Christians (about 650M people) don’t fit within LSM’s interpretive scheme. Two major group omissions are the Eastern Orthodox and “Independents.” The first omission reflects the LSM-scheme’s focus on Western Europe; the Eastern Church is ignored. The second reflects the rising number of post-denominational churches which reject historic organized Christianity. Many of these “independent churches” are charismatic and/or indigenous churches in the Third world.

The most serious problem for LSM’s prophetic-historical view is its prediction of no further progress, merely a perpetuation of the status quo represented by four kinds of church. The 20th and 21st centuries have seen a significant progression in the global Christian Church. These developments don’t match the “holding pattern” predicted by LSM’s prophetic paradigm. The on-going transformation of the global Church caused one scholar to declare32Consider the following examples of progression. “we are at a moment as epochal as the Reformation itself—a Reformation moment…for the entire Christian world.”


THE RISE OF THE PENTECOSTAL-CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT
Regardless of whether its origins are traced back to Azusa Street (1906) or earlier, the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement has become a significant force in the Christian faith. Observers refer to three successive waves—the Pentecostal, Charismatic and Neo-charismatic waves. Together they are the most significant 20th century development among Christians. Professor Johnson says,33 “The [Charismatic] renewal…experienced a meteoric rise in the twentieth century. Renewalists grew at five and a half times the rate of growth of global Christianity as a whole.” The combined number of Pentecostal-Charismatic believers grew from 1 million in 1906 to 600 million in 2006. As a percentage of global Christians they grew from a mere 0.2% to 27.6%. Moreover, by 2025 Charismatic believers are projected to reach 800 million, or 30% of Christians world-wide.34 Professor Anderson asserts they have precipitated35 “a twentieth-century reformation of Christianity.” “By the end of the 20th century, Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity…had expanded into almost every country on earth. It had become an extremely significant movement within global Christianity…It is probably the fastest expanding religious movement in the world ever, certainly the fastest within Christianity.” Such developments cannot be ignored. LSM’s dismissive retort—“we don’t care about numbers”—is undercut by W. Lee’s recorded challenge to a Pentecostal leader, based on relative numbers—Do you have the power or do I have the power?”36

Yet, despite its obvious importance, there is no place for the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement within LSM’s prophetic framework. There is no room for a “fifth kind of church” at the close of the Age of Grace. The Pentecostal-Charismatic churches are not Sardis—that represents the Protestant churches which issued from the 16th century Reformation. One solution to this dilemma is proposed by the “Midnight Cry,” published by “a brother in Kansas City.” This tract identifies both the Plymouth Brethren and Watchman Nee’s “Little Flock” as the fulfillment of Philadelphia. The prophecy of Laodicea is then (allegedly) fulfilled by37 “The Deception of the Charismatic Renewal (AD 1900-Tribulation)”! Few Christians would endorse this extreme position. Nevertheless the author recognizes the failure of this prophetic scheme to account for the 20th century Pentecostal-Charismatic movement. In their own search for a prophetic identity, Pentecostals found their own identity, not in Revelation 2-3, but in the promised “latter rain” in Joel 2:23 and 28.38 Regardless of our attitude to that claim, the fact remains that the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, despite its manifest importance in 20th century Christianity, finds no place in LSM’s interpretation of John’s Apocalypse chapters 2 and 3. This is a serious omission.


INCREASING IMPORTANCE OF INDEPENDENT CHURCHES
The 20th century saw dramatic growth in the number of believers meeting as independent churches, diverse gatherings “completely independent of historic organized Christianity,” composed of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican or Protestant denominations. Barrett calls such independent churches a “huge new Christian mega-bloc” and “a vast movement, contemporary post-denominationalism [he says] is a movement sweeping throughout the churches worldwide,”39 consisting of “423M Independents in 222 countries [who] have no interest in and no use for historic denominationalist Christianity.”40

Typical of this category are 68 million believers meeting as house churches in mainland China (2005) of which 10 million claim affiliation with Watchman Nee.41 Most Chinese Christians gather apart from historic organized Christianity. Given China’s history, this is discontinuity is hardly surprising; 60 years ago foreign missionaries were expelled, churches closed and Christian leaders (e.g., W. Nee) imprisoned. The Church in China passed through a “dark night.” What emerged was independent of historic organized Christianity; it was initiated by the Spirit through Chinese believers. They are “Chinese-initiated Churches.” Today a majority of the 100 million believers in China gather apart from the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Brethren churches and also apart from the government-sponsored “Three-self Church.”42 Again they don’t fit within LSM’s prophetic paradigm based on historical western Christianity.

Also illustrative of this genre is the "African Independent Church," [AIC] defined as "a church which has been founded in Africa, by Africans, and primarily for Africans." They are a form of43 “indigenized Christianity that has consciously rejected Western ecclesiastical models and forms of being Christian;” they view themselves as “a reformation of over-Europeanized Christianity." Prof. Anderson describes the AICs as44 “an indigenous reformation and transformation of Christianity unprecedented in the history of the worldwide church.” These African churches view themselves as the fulfillment, not of Revelation 2-3, but of Psalm 68:31, “Cush will stretch out her hands to God.” Similar “independent post-denominational churches” have proliferated globally. They include the Indigenous Churches of India, assemblies45 raised up by Watchman Nee’s contemporary, Bakht Singh in India. The Local Churches declare that46 “We stand outside of and apart from historical, organized, institutionalized Christianity.” If we take this declaration seriously, we cannot simply dismiss in cavalier fashion the independent churches’ declaration that they also are “completely independent of historic organized Christianity.” They deserve to be treated as such.

In 1900 there were 8 million believers within “independent churches” worldwide (1.7% of all church members). By 2010 this number had risen to 420 million (20% of global Christians).47 This means that one-in-five Christians meet as independent churches, unaffiliated with Roman Catholic, Orthodox or mainline Protestant denominations. Moreover, adherents reject the claim they are merely transplanted versions of western Pentecostalism.48 They include members of indigenous churches of Africa, Asia and Latin America, like China’s “house churches.”49 Such churches disavow historical descent from the various forms of organized Christianity which arose in Europe since the Middle Ages. Hence, they belong to neither Thyatira, nor Sardis; nor are they affiliated to the Plymouth Brethren, nor “the Recovery.” They don’t fit within the four groups defined by LSM’s prophetic interpretation of Revelation 2 and 3.

On occasion LSM-publications acknowledge the existence of both “Pentecostal churches and independent groups” as distinct from Catholics, Protestants and the Brethren. For example in their critique of Christianity, LSM alleges that50 “the Catholic Church, the Protestant denominations, the Brethren Assemblies, the Pentecostal churches and the various independent groups have been held back by their imperfect and unscriptural theology….” These five categories of Christianity are directly contrasted with “the Lord’s recovery.”51 But notice that, within LSM’s prophetic paradigm, “the Catholic Church, the Protestant denominations, the Brethren Assemblies” are identified with Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea (respectively). The question arises—with what are “the Pentecostal churches and the various independent groups” identified? They don’t fit within LSM’s prophetic scheme of four kinds of churches.

SHIFT TOWARDS THE GLOBAL SOUTH
The twentieth century saw a52 “remarkable…demographic shift in the global Christian community,” away from Europe and North America and towards the global South. “In 1910 over 80% of all Christians lived in Europe and Northern America. By 2010 this has fallen to less than 40%, with the majority of Christians located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.”53 This is reflected in “a decisive southern shift…in the statistical center of global Christianity” from SW. Europe to sub-Sahara Africa. Compared to previous centuries, “this 100-year shift is the most dramatic in all of Christian history,”54 says scholar Todd Johnson. Professor Andrew F. Walls observes that55 “The twentieth [century] has been the most remarkable for the transformation of Christianity…producing the radical shift in the cultural and demographic composition of the Christian church.” Europe, which was for centuries the heartland of Christianity, is rapidly entering the “post-Christian era.” Meanwhile the Christian faith is growing rapidly elsewhere. Christianity is no longer a “white man’s religion”—the percentage of global Christians who are ‘white’ has declined steadily from over 80% in 1900; it is projected to reach 30% by 2025.56 Prof. Walls declares that57 “The most striking feature of Christianity at the end of the second millennium is that it is predominantly a non-Western religion…the representative Christianity of the 21st century will be that of Africa, Asia, Latin and Caribbean America, and the Pacific.” Professor Robert concurs, saying58 “The transformation of world Christianity since the Second World War—[has seen] a massive cultural and geographic shift away from Europeans and their descendants toward peoples of the Southern Hemisphere.” Prof. Jenkins argues a distinct expression of the church—a “Third Church in the Third World”—is emerging in southern continents. He writes59 “In the global South (the…Third World) huge and growing Christian populations…now make up what…has [been] called the Third Church, a form of Christianity as distinct as Protestantism or Orthodoxy, and one that is likely to become dominant in the faith.”Given these seismic shifts, it is difficult to accept LSM’s thesis that nothing significant has happened to the global church during the last century! Hasn’t the global Church entered another stage?

LSM’s PROPHETIC-HISTORICAL VIEW IS EURO-CENTRIC
Evaluated from a 21st century perspective, LSM’s prophetic-historical interpretation of the seven churches is distinctly euro-centric. It finds the prophetic fulfillment of Revelation’s seven churches within the context of Christianity as it unfolded in the history of Europe, specifically Western Europe. LSM’s exposition never mentions Christianity’s early growth outside the Roman Empire—in Persia, Syria and Ethiopia for example. There is also no recognition of the Eastern Orthodox branch of Christianity60 No reference is made to the rise of Islam and its decimation of Christian churches.61 Isn’t this also Smyrna?

LSM’s prophetic doctrine of Church history fails to recognize the spread of the Christian faith beyond Europe and North America during the past two centuries. LSM’s narrative runs from Constantine (Caesar of the Roman Empire), through the rise of the Roman Catholic papal system, on via the Protestant Reformation to the growth and degradation of the British Brethren. Every key historical event marking a new stage in the church’s progress occurred in Europe. By 1850 the entire prophecy had been fulfilled, all within the context of European Christian history. Thereafter, according to LSM’s interpretation, Church history has been in a “holding pattern” consisting of four kinds of church, all of which originated in Europe. LSM’s paradigm views post-1850 developments of the Christian faith in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania as insignificant extensions, expendable appendages of European Christianity.

Recent trends call for a revised view of global Church history. Professor Mark Noll says, “The time has come for a new history of Christianity.” The problem with older histories is that62 “they locate the center of Christian history in the West—Europe and North America—with the global majority [of Christians] relegated to the periphery. But the field has changed; world Christianity has taken on a new shape.” Another scholar says “We must move beyond…the assumption that what happened in the course of Western Christendom is universally normative for Christian history.”63 Another emphasizes the pitfalls of disregarding the non-Western world. Prof. Dana Robert says,64 “Since the Reformation we have become used to the assumption that Christianity exists in three more or less permanent modes: Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox. These categories, however, reflect events in Western history; in the West they have a significance that they cannot have in the non-Western world.” He rejects this parochial view, asserting65 “There is no way in which African and Asian church history can be…treated as appendages to Western church history.” Given the large (and growing) importance of the Church in these areas,66 “the days are gone when the history of Christianity could be taught as the development of Western doctrine and institutions. [We are] in the middle of a large-scale transformation in the nature of Christianity,” Robert declares. A euro-centric focus may have been appropriate at the time of the Reformation, around the year 1500, when, “Europe…was essentially Christian and Christianity was essentially European.”67 However, 500-years later, Europe’s role in global Christianity is rapidly declining. Phillip Jenkins observes that68 “European levels of church attendance fall far short of American, and the situation is deteriorating fast.” With Europe rapidly becoming a “post-Christian society” and African, Asian and Latin American expressions of the Christian faith growing rapidly, a euro-centric interpretation of Christian history, such as LSM’s, becomes increasingly irrelevant to the present profile of the global Christian Church. In 1850 it appeared that Church history—essentially European Christian history—matched the prophetic profile in Revelation 2 and 3. 150-years later that view appears distinctly parochial and euro-centric. We ought to ask—was that correspondence merely a passing coincidence?

CONCLUSION
For centuries Bible students have researched current events for signs of the times matching Daniel’s 70 weeks and 1260 days, plus John’s apocalyptic agenda. Protestant reformers were sure the Pope was the Beast (Antichrist) and the Catholic Church was Babylon. In 1701 Robert Fleming, Jr. (c. 1660-1716)69 predicted the French Monarchy’s overthrow “at least before 1794” and, soon after, Revelation’s “5th bowl” would be poured on the seat of the Beast (Rome). The French Revolution occurred “on schedule.” Soon after, Napoleon expelled the Pope from Rome. Strikingly, this latter event occurred in 1798, precisely 1260 years after Rome and the Pope were liberated from the barbarians (A.D 538). The number 1260 was deemed highly significant.70 Contemporaries felt Bible prophecies are being fulfilled before their eyes! The end was near! Subsequent events showed the correspondence was coincidental, a fleeting mirage.

When Andrew Miller penned his Church History (circa. 1873) it appeared Christian history concurred with Revelation’s seven churches. Events among the Plymouth Brethren provided the final puzzle pieces —Philadelphia and Laodicea had been fulfilled prophetically. History matched prophecy. This became the authoritative Brethren teaching concerning the historical course of the Church. Along with many other interpretations (e.g., OT types) it was adopted by the Local Church. This prophetic doctrine has remained unchanged for 150 years. But time has not stood still; major developments in the world and the Christian Church have left this doctrine stranded by the ebbing tide of events. 65-years ago, when W. Nee wrote, it wasn’t clear; today it is—this interpretation doesn’t fit the data. Close examination raises more questions. For example, LSM’s prophetic interpretation maintains that Smyrna typifies the “suffering church” under the Roman Empire’s persecution until A.D. 300. But is the suffering church restricted to that one era? In fact the twentieth century has seen the greatest number of Christian martyrs. One researcher says,71 “We estimate that over the entire history of Christianity, 70M Christians have been killed for their faith. Over half of these were in the twentieth century alone.” 60% of all martyrdoms occurred since 1900. More than 40M Christians died for their faith in the 20th century—20 M. in the USSR 1920-80 alone, including 1 million Pentecostals.72 The “Soviet Empire” killed far more believers than the Roman Empire.73 Consider also the many martyrs in China (1900, 1950-70), Africa (e.g., Kenya 1950s, Uganda 1970s, Sudan) and the on-going persecution of believers in North Korea and Islamic countries.74 Surely believers in these countries also experienced “Smyrna--the suffering church” during those periods! This logic suggests we abandon LSM’s prophetic-historical interpretation75 and adopt the more eclectic view that characteristics from each of Revelation’s seven churches may be replicated among believers around the globe in any era.

Scripture contains prophecies concerning the nations (e.g., Daniel) and the Jews (e.g., Matt. 24);76 where is its prophecy concerning the church? If Revelation 2-3 is not a prophecy concerning the course of the church during the Age of Grace, where is the Bible’s prophecy concerning the church?77 The difficulty with this question is that it assumes the church must have a prophecy, just like the nations and Israel. Yet, the church’s nature is heavenly, while the nations and Israel are earthly. Doesn’t Scriptures’ greatest prophecy—“I will build My church…” (Matt. 16:18)—apply to the church? Isn’t that prophecy sufficient?

Nigel Tomes,
Toronto, Canada,
July, 2010.

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NOTES
Thanks are extended to those who commented on earlier drafts of this piece. As usual the author alone is responsible for the contents of this piece. The views expressed here are solely the author’s and should not be attributed to any believers, elders, co-workers or churches with whom/which he is associated. I apologize for inflicting 70+ footnotes upon the reader. However, I have been charged (with reference to previous papers) with taking quotes out of context. The notes & references allow the objective reader to evaluate for him/herself.

1. Witness Lee’s biography of Watchman Nee indicates the importance of John Nelson Darby’s writings in the development of W. Nee’s views of Scripture--“He also collected the writings of the Brethren teachers, such as John Nelson Darby, William Kelly, and C. H. Mackintosh.” [W. Lee, “W. Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation,” p. 25] “Light concerning the church was received from the writings of John Nelson Darby and other Brethren teachers.” [W. Lee, “W. Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation,” p. 27] and “Watchman Nee especially received help in expounding the Bible and on many other truths, in general, from the writings of Darby and the Brethren.” [W. Lee, “W. Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation,” p. 27] Witness Lee, himself testified, “I was led to attend the Brethren Assembly (the Benjamin Newton branch) in [his home town]…From the year I was saved, I continuously attended their meetings for seven years.” [W. Lee, “W. Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation,” p. 284] W. Lee, “Ten Lines in the Bible,” chapter 8, “The Line of Dispensations” presents the standard Plymouth Brethren interpretation on dispensations as historical eras of God’s dealing with mankind. See W. Lee’s “The Prophecy of the Four 'Sevens' in the Bible,” (1990) for his exposition of the “last days”—according to the last 7 years of Daniel’s 70 weeks, & the 7 seals, 7 trumpets & 7 bowls of John’s Apocalypse--which closely follows standard Plymouth Brethren expositions. In 1985 W. Lee said, “Today there are at least 4 different theologies—secular theology, reformed theology, fundamental theology and Brethren theology. Among these, the Brethren theology is the best.” He mentions 6 “good points” about Brethren theology, including “thirdly, they opened up the prophecies.” [W. Lee, Fellowship concerning the Lord’s up-to-date Move, Elders’ training Book 5, pp. 104-5] W. Lee also said, “We honor and regard Brethren theology as the top theology...our teaching is based upon and constituted with the Brethren theology.” [W. Lee, Fellowship concerning the Lord’s up-to-date Move, Elders’ Training Book 5, p. 106]
2. These views contrast with those who teach there will be no literal millennial kingdom on earth (the amillennial view) and those who teach that Christ’s return occurs after the millennial kingdom (post-millennial view). The Brethren espoused a pre-millennial view—that Christ would return prior to the millennium. Darby taught the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church; Benjamin W. Newton taught the post-tribulation rapture.
3. Among the early Brethren a variety of views were held concerning pre- and post-tribulation rapture, plus partial rapture. Robert C. Chapman held that there would be multiple raptures, consistent with the partial rapture of the church. His coworker, Hake held a different view. Roy Coad says concerning George Muller, “We know from an explicit statement of his own in 1879 that Müller did not adopt the Secret Rapture viewpoint.” [F. Roy Coad, “Prophetic Developments with particular reference to the early Brethren Movement.” C.B.R.F. Occasional Paper Number 2(Pinner, Middlesex, 1966) p. 22.]Multiple raptures—an overcoming minority (“firstfruits”) & majority (“harvest”)—were taught by D. M. Panton; this writer appears to be a major influence on W. Nee and W. Lee.
4. “Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days” was a best-selling novel by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins that starts the Left Behind series. This book and others in the series give narrative form to a specific eschatological reading of Revelation. It embodies J. N. Darby’s view on believers’ rapture, dispensationalism and pre-millennialism. Tim LaHaye agrees with the prophetic-historical view that the 7 churches portray 7 periods of church history. He says, In my commentary on the Book of Revelation, I pointed out that the seven churches of Asia were selected out of the hundreds of young churches at that time because they were types of the seven church ages that would exist from the first century to the present. (No Fear of the Storm, p. 41)
5. The early 1990s saw the development of a revised form of dispensational theology called “progressive dispensationalism.” Scholars-- Craig A. Blaising, Darrell L. Bock, and Robert L. Saucy—are considered the primary spokespersons for progressive dispensationalism. In his book, Darby, Dualism, and the Decline of Dispensationalism, Ronald Henzel says, “Some of the very academic institutions founded to promote Dispensationalism have moved away from unqualified allegiance to that hermeneutical and eschatological system. Over the objections of traditional Dispensationalists, many scholars have embraced a new variety known as Progressive Dispensationalism, while others have defected to Covenant Theology.” [Ronald M. Henzel, “Darby, Dualism, and the Decline of Dispensationalism”(2003)]
6. An example of the continued teaching of Brethren eschatology within LSM’s Local Churches would be the message of LSM’s Senior Editor, Ed Marks, one of the “blended coworkers” on “The Church in Pergamos Prefiguring the Church that entered into a Marriage Union with the World…” in LSM’s The Ministry magazine, Vol. 8, No. 6 (June 2004) pp. 35-36.
7. We refer to the saying circulated within ‘LSM circles’ to the effect that “God’s written Word was canonized in AD 397 [at the Council of Carthage], the ‘interpreted word’ was canonized in 1997.” To “canonize” means “to consider or treat as sacrosanct or holy, to sanction or approve authoritatively.” [Dictionary.com] In this context, the “interpreted word” refers to W. Lee’s exposition embodied in the Recovery Version footnotes. The fact that W. Lee passed away in 1997 makes that year significant within ‘LSM circles.’ W. Lee identified LSM’s Recovery Version of the Bible as “Watchman Nee’s interpretation.” He states, “Watchman Nee spent much time to study and collect all the proper, major interpretations of the Bible…I was laboring closely with him for 18 years, he told me what he had collected. Thus, today our interpretation of the Bible is according to the proper interpretations throughout the past 19 centuries…The Recovery Version actually is not my version because my understanding of the Bible depends absolutely on Watchman Nee’s interpretation. Furthermore, Brother Nee’s interpretation depended upon the proper interpretations of all the saints in the past 19 centuries.” [W. Lee, The Ten Critical ‘Ones’ for the Building Up of the Body of Christ Chap. 1] This interpretation is embodied in the Recovery Version’s extensive footnotes. LSM’s “senior editor” contends that these footnotes are “all-inclusive.” Ron Kangas is on record saying, “The footnotes in the Recovery Version of the Holy Bible are all-inclusive. The truth, the life, the light, the revelation, and the vision in these notes are inherited…Every positive element of vision in the Scriptures is included…” [RK, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 17] LSM’s “blended brothers” declare, “We need to come back to God by coming back to His written Word and His interpreted word.” [EM, The Ministry, Vol.9, No. 1 (Jan. 2005) p. 259] In this context, God’s “written Word” means the text of Scripture; God’s “interpreted word” means the exposition contained in LSM’s Recovery Version footnotes.
8. For example the call for overcomers in each of the seven churches is surely a principle relevant in every era of the Church. Hence W. Nee writes, “Although the Lord desires that the entire Church would obey, He fully realizes that only certain individuals will overcome and will obey. There is no such thing as the whole group turning and repenting. For this reason He promises great rewards to those overcoming individuals.” [W. Nee, “Meditations on Revelation,” The Christian (2), Collected Works of W. Nee, vol. 4, p. 275] W. Nee draws the lesson that “There is no such thing as the whole group turning and repenting;” there is no such thing as an “overcoming church,” only overcoming individual believers. Contrast this with the call of LSM President, Benson Phillips for overcoming churches; he said, “All the churches in the Lord’s recovery must become overcoming churches today. We must overcome individually, but we also must overcome as the church.” [BP., The Ministry magazine, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 70],
9. Thus W. Nee writes, “When we read the seven epistles, we also must regard them as prophecy. However, when we read them today, they have already become history.” [W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 14] Later he says, “Only Revelation 2 and 3…show us the prophecy of the church…and the fulfillment given by history. We thank God that the prophecies have already been fulfilled.” [W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 91]
10. Notice that the Outline of Revelation in LSM’s Recovery Version appears to suggest that the prophetic section starts with chapter 4. Based upon Rev. 1:19 the Recovery Version divides the Apocalypse into five major sections: [1.] Introduction 1:1-8; [2] “The things which you have seen” 1:9-20; [3] “The things which are” 2:1-3:22; [4] “The things which are about to take place [after these things]” 4:1-22:5; [5] Conclusion 22:6-21. So, the epistles to the seven churches are in the section entitled: “The things which are [existing]” and not the prophetic section, “The things which are about to take place [after these things]” 4:1-22:5. Nevertheless the Recovery Version notes indicate that the 7 epistles will be interpreted prophetically. An early example of expositors rejecting the prophetic interpretation of Rev. 2 & 3 is Archbishop Trench of Dublin (1864-1884) rejected the prophetic-historical interpretation of Revelation’s seven epistles. He discounted it, saying, “The whole thing was a subjective fancy of men’s minds, not an objective truth of God’s Word” (Trench, Epistles to the Seven Churches, p. 301) “The multitude of…books, which have been written, and still are being written, in support of this scheme of interpretation, must remain a singular monument of wasted ingenuity and misapplied toil; of the disappointment which must result from a futile looking into Scripture for that which is not to be found there… ” (p. 312).
11. This statement does not slight either W. Nee or W. Nee; it is merely recognizes the source of this teaching. The present author was born & raised among the “Open Plymouth Brethren.” He heard this teaching concerning the 7 churches typifying the course of Church history 50 years ago while among the Brethren.
12. Andrew Miller’s Church History, (1873, pp 4-6) Pickering & Inglis (1963, one-volume edition). “The Brethren Writers’ Hall of Fame” tells us that Andrew Miller (1810-1883)was the “author of ‘Miller's Church History.’ A businessman, he was converted to the plain ways of the [Exclusive] Brethren while a voluntary pastor, and took his church with him! [He] Supported and financed [publication of] the ‘Notes’ of C. H. McIntosh on the Pentateuch.”
13. Cyrus I. Scofield (1843-1921), Scofield’s Reference Bible (1909, 1917). “The Brethren Writers’ Hall of Fame” tells us “C. I. Scofield (1843 - 1921) [was] not of the Brethren, but his Reference Bible gave a new popularity to the Dispensational teaching [of Darby].” Scofield “believed the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation were symbolic of seven periods of the Church Age. He said the messages to the churches had a fourfold purpose. The fourth purpose is “prophetic, as disclosing seven phases of the spiritual history of the church from, say, A.D. 96 to the end.” (The First Scofield Study Bible, p. 1331). He explained what each church represented. Watchman Nee helped translate Scofield’s Bible Correspondence Course into Chinese. [W. Lee, “W. Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation,” p. 201]
14. W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, The Collected Works of W. Nee, Vol. 47. The editor’s preface indicates “The Orthodoxy of the Church is based on a Bible study conducted by W. Nee during the period between 1942 and 1948. W. Lee’s “Preface to the English Edition” designates these chapters as “messages given and published in 1945.” W. Nee takes the epistles to the 7 churches as prophetic. He states, “Revelation…is a book of prophecy…even the seven epistles are prophetic.” A little later he says, “These seven churches are representative of all other churches…the history of the seven churches constitutes the complete history of the church.” [W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 10]
15. W. Lee, Life-study of Revelation, Message One, p. 1
16. W. Lee, Life-study of Revelation, Message 14, p. 169
17. So W. Nee says “the outward appearance of the church is extremely confusing. The church in her appearance has many manifestations in history…” [W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 93] A little later he says, “the confusion on earth does not affect the spiritual reality. God’s spiritual reality still remains. But the church in her outward appearance, at least, is confused. The Roman Catholic Church claims that it is the Body of Christ.” [W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 94] LSM’s interpretation deals with the outward appearance, e.g. The Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant denominations etc.
18. W. Lee, Rev. 2:1, RcV., note 1
19. W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 93
20. W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 94. The quote in context reads: —“the last four continue their days on the earth together. They did not begin at the same time, but they end at the same time.”
21. W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 95. Only the third church, Philadelphia—“the brothers who love one another”—is left unidentified by W. Nee. Later he adds, “whether or not we are Philadelphia remains a question…Whoever claims to be Philadelphia no longer appears as Philadelphia.” [W. Nee, Orthodoxy, p. 96.]
22. W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 94. A little later, he adds, “Today [1945] there are four different kinds of churches. In all four there are people who are saved—some are better and some are worse. God has put us in a time where there are four ways from which we can choose.” [W. Nee, Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 94, emphasis added.]
23. Notice that in the context of W. Nee & W. Lee’s discussion, “Protestant” does not mean “non-Catholic.” It refers more narrowly to the Protestant-Reformed churches which emerged from the 16th century Reformation. W. Lee illustrates this understanding when he says: “The reformed church…has denied the Lord’s name by denominating herself with many other names, such as Lutheran, Wesleyan, Anglican, Presbyterian, and Baptist…to denominate the church…is spiritual fornication.” [W. Lee, Life-study of Revelation, message, 15, p. 187] Strictly speaking this definition of “Protestant” does not include the classical Pentecostal churches (e.g. “Assemblies of God”) which began in the late 1800s & early 1900s. Obviously “Protestant” does not include the Eastern Orthodox churches (e.g. Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox) which slit from the western Roman Catholic Church around 1000 AD.
24. W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 82.
25. W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 94.
26. W. Lee, Rev. 2:1, RcV., note 1
27. W. Lee, Life-study of Revelation, message 15, p. 191
28. W. Lee, Life-study of Revelation, message 16, p. 197
29. Note that the “substitution” of the “Lord’s present recovery” for the Brethren is nowhere predicted by the Church-historical prophecy of Revelation 2 & 3. It seems to be a contrived method of “reading oneself into Bible prophecy.”
30. LSM-adherents feel that they are fulfilling W. Lee’s exhortation: “Satan's chaos, which has resulted in three accumulations, which are three ‘isms’: Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism….We have to be the overcomers who conquer everything of Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. In the eyes of the Lord, these three ‘isms’ are more evil than sin, than the world, and than our self. Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism should be the first category of things that you and I have to conquer. …The Lord charges us in these epistles to conquer, to overcome, Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism.” [W. Lee, The Satanic Chaos in the Old Creation and the Divine Economy for the New Creation, chp. 4 (Messages given by W. Lee in Irving, Texas, May 23-25, 1992), emphasis added] Along the same lines, W. Lee said, “Surely we should not remain in anything of Judaism, Catholicism, or Protestantism. If we are going to be overcoming believers, we have to overcome, to conquer, these three kinds of ‘isms’.” [W. Lee, The Satanic Chaos in the Old Creation and the Divine Economy for the New Creation, chp. 4]
31. Notes on the Table:
· Aggregate data from Todd M. Johnson, Peter F. Crossing & Bobby Jangsun Ryu, Looking Forward: An Overview of World Evangelism, 2005-2025 (2004) p. 8. Total 2,233M is for “Affiliated Christians;” (2005) “Doubly affiliated” are counted twice.
· Figures for LSM’s Local Churches; In Nov. 2003 LSM’s President Benson Phillips declared, that there were, “300,000 saints in over 3,000 churches outside mainland China…Inside mainland China there are conservatively, 850,000 saints in the Lord’s recovery and multitudes of churches.” [Benson Phillips, The Ministry magazine, Vol. 8, No 3, (March 2004) p. 91]
· Figures for “Plymouth Brethren” is “Christian Brethren” from World Christian Database (2005) includes both “Open Brethren” & “Exclusive (Closed) Brethren.” Largest concentrations (2005): India: 500,000; Angola: 400,000; Chad: 350,000. Figures for UK: “Christian Brethren (Open)”: 122,000; “Christian Brethren (Exclusive, Closed)” 48,900.
32. Phillip Jenkins, The Next Christianity, The Atlantic Monthly, Oct., 2002
33. Todd M. Johnson,“3 Waves of Christian Renewal: A 100-Year Snapshot,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research, [IBMR] Vol. 31, No. 2, April 2006
34. Todd M. Johnson,“Three Waves of Christian Renewal: A 100-Year Snapshot,” IBMR, Vol. 31, No. 2, April 2006. The authors’ 2025 projection of 800M: “Status of Global Mission” IBMR, vol. 34, No. 1 (Jan, 2010) p. 36
35. Allan Anderson, The Globalization of Pentecostalism in the Twentieth Century, IBMR, vol. 31, No. 1, Jan. 2007
36. On more than one occasion W. Lee recounted the following incident “In my home town of Chefoo, [China] not too far from our hall was another hall where a group of Pentecostals met. Once their leader came to me trying to convince me to take up the Pentecostal way. I said to him. ‘Brother, I surely know what your intention is in coming here. Since you have been in your way for years, how many do you have meeting with you?’ When he told me that they were under one hundred, I replied, ‘I am not in your way, but among us are close to one thousand. Do you have the power or do I have the power?’” [W. Lee, Fellowship Concerning the Lord's Up-to-Date Move, Elders' Training, Book 5, chapter 1, p. 19, emphasis added] W. Lee also appealed to numbers as vindication of his work. For example, he is on record saying, “Since I left mainland China in 1949, about three hundred eighty churches have been raised up on five continents through this ministry…What the Lord has done since 1949 is a strong evidence that what God needs on earth today is the practical expression of the mystical Body of Christ.” [W. Lee, Life-study of 1 Cor., pp. 525-6] More to the point is the fact that LSM’s historical-prophetic interpretation purports to describe the future course of the Christian Church as it is manifested upon earth until the end of the church age. That prophetic description should include features like the numerical rise of Pentecostalism & Independent churches.
37. “Seven Letters to Seven Churches” in “The Midnight Cry” (2002, 2004) p. 33. The document itself is anonymous; the pdf “document properties” indicate the author is “Ted Edelinski.” The author acknowledges “The basic premise is certainly not original. The historical approach to interpreting the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 can be found in the notes on those chapters in the Scofield Reference Bible. The same approach is taken in Watchman Nee’s The Orthodoxy of the Church (Living Stream Ministry, publisher), although Brother Nee lived in a time when the final church period was a little more difficult to anticipate than it is today.” This writer does not agree with this designation. Our point is that at least the “Midnight Cry” recognizes the omission of the 20th century Pentecostal/Charismatic movement within the Brethren’s usual prophetic scheme.
38. W. Nee had a positive assessment of Azusa St. and the “latter rain.” He said, “At the same time that this [Welsh] revival was going on, another new work began in Los Angeles in the United States. From 1908 to 1909, a number of black believers on Azusa Street experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues… These individuals saw that the prophecy of Joel 2 was only partially fulfilled at the time of the apostles and that the day of the latter rain must come before the complete fulfillment occurs. Spiritually speaking, ‘the day of the latter rain’ refers to today.” [W. Nee, “What Are We?,” Collected Works of W. Nee, vol. 11, p. 855, emphasis added]
39. “A Vast Movement: Contemporary post-denominationalism is a movement sweeping throughout the churches worldwide. It is a vast, scattered movement of many distinct and separate…independencies, reformations, and renewals. Today it includes over 20,000 movements, networks, or new denominations with 394 million church members.” [David B. Barrett et al, Annual Statistical Table…: 2001, IBMR, vol. 25, No. 1, Jan., 2001]
40. David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing Missiometrics 2008: Reality Checks… Table B. 2008:50 new facts and figures about…global Christianity, IBMR, Vol. 32, No. 1, Jan, 2008
41. The World Christian Database [WCD] includes the “Assembly Hall churches” (“Little Flock” churches of W. Nee) among the “House Church” movement. The table below presents WCD’s estimates of congregations and membership for China’s major “house church networks” in 2005. Some are identified by location (province or city), others by emphasis (e.g. “Born Again Movement.”) The “Little Flock” local churches associated with W. Nee are designated as “Assembly Hall Churches.”
CHINA’S HOUSE CHURCH NETWORKS estimates for 2005
Name No. Congregations No. Members
Born Again Movement 275,000 24.5 Millions
Anhui 120,000 12.0 M.
Fangcheng 120,000 12.0 M.
Assembly Hall Churches 120,000 10.0 M.
Nanyang 65,000 6.0 M.
Tanghe 85,000 4.5 M.
Wenzhou 23,000 2.3 M.
TOTAL All Networks 843,000 68.3 M.
42. According to the World Christian [Religions] Database [WCD] in 2005 there were 100.6M Christians in mainland China. Of these, 13.7 M were Catholic and 22 M. Protestant. The government-approved “Three-self Patriotic Movement” Church claimed a membership of 21 M. Together these constitute about 50M. [This eliminates double-counting—there is a government-approved “patriotic” branch of the Catholic Church in China, plus some Christians meet with both government-approved and unofficial “house churches.”] The WCD gives the number 73M for “Independents.” Deducting the official “Three-self Patriotic Movement” Church” figure of 21M yields 52M.
43. A. H. Anderson, Types & Butterflies: African Initiated Churches & European Typologies ” IMRB, 25:3, July 2001
44. Allan H. Anderson, Types and Butterflies: African Initiated Churches…” IMRB, 25:3, July 2001
45. Bakht Singh (1902–2000) established local assemblies in India, Pakistan & elsewhere on the principle of “one church, one city.” They are collectively known as the “Indigenous Churches of India.” [Roger E. Hedlund, Indian Expressions of Indigenous Christianity, Studies in World Christianity, vol. 10, No. 2 (October, 2004) p. 192]. The WCD reports that in 2005 these “Indigenous Churches of India” had 260,000 members in India, 23,000 in Pakistan, 10,000 in Nepal, plus additional members in Bhutan, Bahrain & Kuwait.
46. Coworkers in the Lord’s recovery, “Beliefs & Practices of the local churches” (1976)
47. These figures are from David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing, Christian World Communions: Five Overviews of Global Christianity, AD 1800–2025, IBMR, Vol. 33, No. 1, January 2009. The Percentages given are “Independents” (line 32) as % of “Church members”(line 25) For unspecified reasons the 2010 up-date the last figure—420M--has been revised downwards to 370M. [David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, et. al., “Status of Global Mission, 2010…” IBMR, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Jan. 2010), p. 36] Nevertheless the central point remains unaffected—the “independent” category is large and constitutes the fastest growing “mega-block” at 2.42% p.a. vs. 1.35 for Christians of all kinds. [IBMR, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Jan. 2010), p. 36]
48. Professor Robert says, “Non-Western historians are cautioning against blanket use of the word ‘Pentecostal’ to describe indigenous Christianity.” Concerning African Initiated Churches, African Christian scholars argue “vigorously against the label of Pentecostalism being plastered onto indigenous churches. Not only have these churches been founded by African prophets, but they have recruited their members largely from the traditional population, not from so-called mission churches. Although they emphasize the Holy Spirit, the AICs deal with issues arising from African culture, not from Western Pentecostalism.” [Dana Robert, Shifting Southward: Global Christianity since 1945, IBMR, April 2000]
49. See the figures quoted in note 41 above.
50. The quote is from “DL” (Dan Leslie?), The Ministry magazine, Vol. 8, No. 2 (February, 2004) pp. 153-4, Note however, that since this is an outline point and section heading in LSM’s The Ministry magazine, according to LSM protocol, it is a direct quotation from Witness Lee’s own published message.
51. In this context LSM’s “blended brother” asserts that “In the Lord’s recovery we see and experience that we are joined to the Lord in our spirit.” [“DL,” The Ministry magazine, Vol. 8, No. 2 (February, 2004) p. 153]
52. IBMR Editor, Global Christianity 2000: Expansion, Shift, and Conundrum, IBMR, Vol. 24, No 2, April 2000
53. Todd M. Johnson, David B. Barrett, and Peter F. Crossing Christianity 2010: A View from the New Atlas of Global Christianity, IBMR Vol. 34, No. 1, Jan. 2010
54. Todd Johnson, World Christian Trends, Update 2007, August 2007
55. A. F. Walls, Eusebius Tries Again, IBMR, Vol. 24, No. 3, July 2000
56. Todd M. Johnson, Peter F. Crossing & Bobby Jangsun Ryu, “Looking Forward: An Overview of World Evangelism, 2005-2025” (2004) p. 8
57. A. F. Walls, Eusebius Tries Again, IBMR, Vol. 24, No. 3, July 2000
58. Dana Robert, Shifting Southward: Global Christianity since 1945, IBMR, April 2000
59. Phillip Jenkins, The Next Christianity, The Atlantic Monthly, Oct., 2002
60. Thomas D. Ross points out that the “seven stages of the Church’s progress” does not fit the history of the Eastern Church. He says, “Eastern Orthodox [Church] has even less to do with the prophetic theory; the events that are said to be represented generally happened in the West and had little effect on its sphere of dominance. No claim for representation of important turns of events in Eastern Catholicism, such as suppression under Communism and modern resurgence in post-cold war Russia, appears.” [Thomas D. Ross, The Historical Ages Interpretation of the Churches of Revelation Two and Three, p. 6]
61. One would expect a prophetic scheme presenting “the history of the church from the first century to the present” to predict the rise and expansion of Islam, beginning from the 7th century. As of 2010 the Muslim faith has 1,544M adherents globally (22.4% of the world’s population). In terms of world religions, it is second only to the Christian faith, with 2,292M adherents (33.2% of world pop.). Moreover Islam is growing at a faster rate than Christianity (1.82% versus 1.35%). By 2025 Islam is predicted to reach 24.5% of global population. However, nowhere in the Plymouth Brethren’s or LSM’s historical-prophetic interpretation is the rise of Islam identified. This omission again highlights the focus on Christianity’s history in Western Europe.
62. Mark A. Noll, The New Shape of World Christianity (2009). The quote is from inside the dust-cover. Prof. Noll’s in the book’s opening sentence says, “The new world situation…demands a new history of Christianity.” (p. 9) He continues by saying the older histories of Christianity “presume a core Christian narrative dominated by events, personalities…in Europe and North America—and then surrounded by a fringe…scattered throughout the globe.” [Mark A. Noll, The New Shape of World Christianity p. 9, emphasis added] The point is that the changing shape of the global Christian faith means that European historical events and people that were considered the core of the Christian narrative, become less crucial (and “peripheral” non-western events & people become more crucial) in the light of more recent trends and developments. However, a God-inspired prophecy would foretell the events according to their actual importance; it would not need revision (or a revised interpretation) in the light of subsequent developments!
63. Wilbert R. Shenk,Toward a Global Church History” IBMR, Vol. 50, No. 2, April 1996. The quote in context reads: ”We must move beyond the conventional framework, which is governed by the assumption that what happened in the course of Western Christendom is universally normative for Christian history.”
64. Dana Robert, Shifting Southward: Global Christianity since 1945, IBMR, April 2000
65. Dana Robert, Shifting Southward: Global Christianity since 1945, IBMR, April 2000
66. Philip Jenkins, Godless Europe? IBMR, Vol. 31, No. 3, July, 2007
67. Philip Jenkins, Godless Europe? IBMR, Vol. 31, No. 3, July, 2007
68. Philip Jenkins, Godless Europe? IBMR, Vol. 31, No. 3, July, 2007. The extended quote reads: “European levels of church attendance fall far short of American, and the situation is deteriorating fast. Around 40 percent of Americans report visiting a place of worship weekly, compared with less than 20 percent in most of Europe. According to some estimates, the British attendance figure is 15 percent, with 12 percent in Germany, and Scandinavia below 5 percent.”
69. For details on this case of “prophetic fulfillment” and others, see F. Roy Coad, “Prophetic Developments with particular reference to the early Brethren Movement.” C.B.R.F. Occasional Paper Number 2 (Pinner, Middlesex, 1966) p. 13. Coad describes the response this “prophetic fulfillment.”Historicism had in fact reached its zenith. Its remarkable interpretations appeared at last to be coming true. For centuries men had wrestled with those obscure prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation: and now at last they were being fulfilled before their eyes. Interpretation gave way to a flood of excited speculation. If these dates had proved correct, so would others… The end days were upon them and in a few decades the culmination of all things would be seen.”[F. Roy Coad, “Prophetic Developments...” C.B.R.F. Occasional Paper Number 2(Pinner, Middlesex, 1966) pp. 13-14.]
70. The number 1260 days equals 42X30 i.e. 42 months or 3.5 years the duration of the great tribulation, according to some expositors. For example, W. Lee says, “1260 days after Antichrist sets up his image, Christ will come to earth. Thus, His open coming can be calculated.” [W. Lee, Life-study of Matthew, message 62, p. 728] Also he says, “When Antichrist sets up his image, we may begin to count 1260 days until Christ descends publicly to the earth.” [W. Lee, Life-study of Matthew, message 62, p. 729]. The figure of 1260 years took on special significance by association.
71. Figures from David B. Barrett & Todd M. Johnson, “Martyrs” Lists 1-6 from “Global Top Ten Lists…” in World Christian Trends, 2001” The 1900s rank #1 in “Centuries with most martyrs” at 41M. The 200s rank as #10 with 400,000 martyrs (the 100s had less). The authors estimate there have been approx. 70M martyrs over the past 20-centuries. 60% of all Christian martyrdoms occurred since 1900, beginning with China’s “Boxer rebellion” in 1900.
72. Todd Johnson, World Christian Trends, Update 2007, August 2007, www.lausanneworldpulse.com
73. Professor Rodney Stark concludes that “The total number of Christians martyred by the Romans probably was fewer than a thousand. But their steadfastness greatly strengthened the faith of other Christians and impressed many pagans.” [Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity, p. 164, emphasis added.] Stark also states that “usually only bishops and other prominent figures were singled out. Thus for rank-and-file Christians the threat of persecution was so slight….”[Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity, p. 180.]
74. David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, et. al. World Christian Trends, 2001, p. 32 These authors estimate that 9M Christians have perished at the hands of Islam since it began in the 7th century (long after the end of Smyrna, the “suffering church,” in LSM’s paradigm).
75. The proposal is that we abandon LSM’s historical-prophetic interpretation of the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. This does not mean we abandon the prophetic interpretation of Rev. chapters 4-22. This proposal is consistent with W, Lee’s Outline of Revelation which classifies chapters 2 & 3 as: “The things which are [existing at the time of writing] (Rev. 2:1-3:22) and chapters 4-22 as: “The things which are about to take place [after these things]” (Rev. 4:1-22:5).
76. W. Lee adopts the position of the Brethren’s dispensational theology—that the prophecies in Matt. 24 apply to the Jews and not to the church. He says, “Matthew 24:4-31 is a sketch of 20 centuries of Jewish history.” [W. Lee, Life-study of Matthew, message 62, p. 722, emphasis added] Also he says, “We need to remember that [Matt] 24:1-14 speaks of the things between Christ’s ascension and the end of the age. All these verses must be applied to the Jews during this period of time.” [W. Lee, Life-study of Matthew, message 62, p. 722, emphasis added]
77. W. Nee says, “In the Old Testament there are very clear prophecies concerning Judah….Well-known prophecies such as those in Daniel…are very detailed concerning the Gentiles….Where is the prophecy concerning the church? …[in] Paul there are no prophecies [of this type]….Matt 13…is not sufficiently clear…Therefore, we may say that only Revelation 2 and 3…show us the prophecy of the church.” [W. Nee, The Orthodoxy of the Church, p. 91, emphasis added] Again this statement assumes that the church requires specific prophecy on par with Scriptures’ prophecies concerning the Jews (Israel) and the nations.

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Old 07-16-2010, 07:01 AM   #2
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And the internet is changing how christians interact. The internet makes possible another revolution in the BofC. Denominational boundaries become arbitrary. The potential for building up one another is overwhelming. In a sense it gets us out of the comfort zone of conformity of monopolistic ministries.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:32 AM   #3
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This is the first time I have seen anyone take on the “7 churches as prophecy of the progression of the church” idea besides to dismiss it. I found a few things in the article interesting.

First was the identification of the “recovery” as having occurred in the early to mid 1800s, resulting in Philadelphia, followed by the decline of the exclusives into Laodicea. This puts the Local Churches into the interesting position of being something other than the original “recovery” since they do not simply restore the original Brethren teachings and practices, but seek to “recover” even more.

The second was that by believing that there were the 7 churches, therefore nothing remains to recover, they believed a teaching that spoke against the Local Churches since that would mean that the Brethren already brought in “recovery,” and once they had prophetically been followed by the Exclusive Brethren to be Laodicea and complete the 7, there was no position for Nee and Lee to come along and do more recovering. This means that as they believe the prophecy of the 7 churches, once all are fulfilled, there is nothing more. And they incorrectly applied that belief at a point in time that is inconsistent with that belief. If the Brethren were the “recovery,” then once some of them fell to Laodicea, it was over. This happened before the birth of Nee or Lee, therefore no place in prophecy for the Local Churches.

But when Nigel begins to speak of the fact that there are more than 7 “churches” or types of church, there is a rising force within Christianity that was not considered. And the reason is that it is a pervasive collection of practices, attitudes, teachings, etc., that have infiltrated almost all aspects of Christianity. Some would argue that the rise in home groups is related. But not necessarily. I am speaking of the slow transformation of portions of Christianity that is captured within the vague term “emerging.” The thing about the Emerging Church is that there is not a single “way” or set of doctrines. But within it is found a morphing together of new and old. Of postmodern culture and ancient liturgy and ritual. Of holding more loosely to the tenets that differentiate and more strongly to those that bind. Of believing “I am right” but that you may not be wrong. Of being both missional and social; high tech and ancient; exuberantly worshipping and silently contemplating. It tends less to demark salvation as a point-in-time statement of belief in a proposition, but knows that belief is required and following is the proof. There is no “one size fits all” definition. It includes assemblies that are part of well-established denominations from Pentecostal to Baptist to Lutheran. It includes RCC and Eastern Orthodox. It includes home groups and mega-churches.

This is a facet of the progression of Christianity that “7 churches in Revelation as prophecy” does not seem to take into account. In this arena, while the distinctions in groups may not disappear, the walls are. Rather than shouting at each other that “we are right and you are wrong” the ability to have real discussion returns. It is no longer about who is in and who is out, but finding the ways to live — to obey — so that the knowing of the truth that sets us free can happen.

Do I think my assembly is part of this? Maybe a little. But I see the changes and rather than fleeing in terror, I am encouraged.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:58 AM   #4
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This is the first time I have seen anyone take on the “7 churches as prophecy of the progression of the church” idea besides to dismiss it. I found a few things in the article interesting.
One problem I had was using Philadelphia to describe the Plymouth Brethren. Besides R.C.Chapman, "the Apostle of Love," and those with him, little else could be used to equate the two peoples.

Now I'm no church history scholar, but WL's simplistic synopsis on church history, which we all could repeat in our sleep, was more about building his own legacy than anything else -- try to convince a LC old timer of that! But ... read church history yourself ... and see if you arrive at the conclusion of "the minister of the age" nonsense.

If anything, Zinzendorf's Hernhut had far more similarities to Philadelphia than anything I have seen since in the so-called "recovery." When I look back at the Darby Brethren and the WL Blendren, I see gifted men fighting for prominence and position, rather than "simple brothers," all the while convincing us peons that there was no hierarchy.

Hey Brother UNTOHIM, can you please post a printable PDF so I can read this article.
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:43 PM   #5
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EXAMINING LSM’s ESCHATOLOGY—REVELATION’S 7 CHURCHES
A Case Study of LSM’s Prophetic-Historical Interpretation of John’s Apocalypse

Watchman Nee and Witness Lee were outstanding Bible expositors and Christian leaders in their own spheres. However, they added nothing to the field of biblical eschatology—
Interesting piece by Nigel. Of course seen thru his LSM vector history.

Nigel reveals something I've been saying ever since my Hal Lindsey days, or after I realized how hopeless prophecy is as a bases of Christian life.

Basically, in a nutshell : if the "experts" in eschatology can't get it right, then how do just the ordinary faithful have a prayer of getting it?

Nigel, in this evaluation Lee/LC's eschatology, also reveals details of the delusion in the LC, which at bottom had its whole bases in eschatology. The Recovery, of course, was the final preparation of the bride for the return of Christ. So in essence the LC had its bases eschatology.

So is there any wonder that the LC turned out to be as wrong as the Millerites in the middle of the 19th century?

Here's the concern : If the LC got its eschatology wrong, and it did, then it's whole bases is wrong. Its foundation is wrong. Its bases is wrong. That makes the LC a delusion. And it goes without saying that delusions are bad fer ya.

And I gotta say something about the Lee/LC interpretation of the seven churches in Asia. The premise that the seven churches were meant to explain how the future church would develop historically always struck me as contrived. And as overlaying 20-20 hindsight upon the verses, but in the end more like 20-200 hindsight. Lee and others have proven that hindsight is not always 20-20. And the concern is that anyone that buys into this premise is buying into falsehood. And since there are many that has not only bought into this premise, but have based their whole life on it, the concern is that many of our brothers and sisters are giving their whole life to a delusion.

I could go on and on about this. The LC delusion is many layered, and complex. It requires a body of witnesses to detail it all.

But a remark about one more thing Nigel's article reveals : That this notion of a "sense that Jesus will return any day" can't be trusted. That many thru out history has had it to no avail whatsoever, and therefore it can't be trusted.

But I'm with Nigel : When it comes to prophecies, "I will build my church" is enough for me. That and the ever present presence of God is enough. That's the only reliable bases for the Christian life. And that sense can be trusted.

1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:57 PM   #6
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Hey Brother UNTOHIM, can you please post a printable PDF so I can read this article.
Ask and ye shall receive

Just so you know, you can also go to "Thread Tools" - The first choice there on the pull-down box is "Show Printable Version". This will maybe give you a more manageable format. The next thing, if you want to read it online, is to hold down "Control" key on your keyboard, then while holding down the Control key hit the "+" key, and this will increase the font size of the characters - you can hit the + key as many times as you want to keep increasing the font size
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Old 07-16-2010, 03:36 PM   #7
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Ask and ye shall receive

Just so you know, you can also go to "Thread Tools" - The first choice there on the pull-down box is "Show Printable Version". This will maybe give you a more manageable format. The next thing, if you want to read it online, is to hold down "Control" key on your keyboard, then while holding down the Control key hit the "+" key, and this will increase the font size of the characters - you can hit the + key as many times as you want to keep increasing the font size
Thanks, Nigel sent one to me. Apparently you are first on his list.

The "Printable Version" does not handle all MS features such as superscript.

I do use ctl+ all the time, but I'm still old-fashioned, (emphasizing "old," and not "fashioned.") I like to read with pen and highlighter, that way I don't fall asleep.
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:56 PM   #8
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Interesting piece by Nigel. Of course seen thru his LSM vector history.

Nigel reveals something I've been saying ever since my Hal Lindsey days, or after I realized how hopeless prophecy is as a bases of Christian life.
Now someone will come along and say that I am "removing from the prophecy" but I have always felt that living your life based on the reading of a "tack-on" prophecy about the future rather than the pages and pages of substantial instruction on living now is more like sticking your head in the sand than ignoring it would be. Everyone has their take on the letters to the churches, the horses, the bowl, the trumpets, etc. But what does any of it have to do with living today?

My conclusion is "not a thing." I don't dispute the inclusion of it as scripture, or a meaningful. But I wonder if its meaning was for a "today" that is past, or if there is a way to read it that is meaningful for today and not just for tomorrow.

Until that happens, I am content to understand that it is a picture painted with words that should not be a concern to someone who is obeying. Even if any so-called rapture is at the end of the tribulation, it does not change today's life.

And I don't really care whether there will or won't be real streets of gold or we will be able to travel about like on Star Trek or something like that. Again, it is irrelevant to my life today.
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:45 PM   #9
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Now someone will come along and say that I am "removing from the prophecy" ...
Like Jesus said, the future is in God's hands...and take no thought for tomorrow.
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:32 AM   #10
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Like Jesus said, the future is in God's hands...and take no thought for tomorrow.
By take no thought I think you mean anxious thought ...

------

I really appreciate the article by Nigel. The teaching by Lee on Revelation was all I had ever heard. I bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Some time after leaving the LC, I decided to take this simple position on the interpretation of the details of Revelation: I don't know. I don't know what it all means. Nigel's article is a further confirmation for me of another thing I also decided, which is that Lee didn't know either. He just led us to believe he did. It's a sad state of affairs in the LC today because Lee's teaching combined with the belief in his infallibility, leaves people under a deception that all is well for them if they are in the LC. Sad, because the opposite is the more likely truth.

Overall, as I am reading Revelation I hear the Spirit telling me that there will be a very good end to things when they are done, and that on the way, there will be some very rough times. I also hear that I should take my walk with God seriously because one day I will stand before Him and be judged. I should also take seriously my responsibility to pray for others, because they will do likewise.

My position might seem to have left me fairly uninterested in the book of Revelation, but it hasn't really because of one verse I noted, which I have decided to take literally:

Blessed is he who reads and and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Rev. 1:3)

I like being blessed, so I decided I would just read Revelation for that reason and not try to interpret it. (I don't mind hearing others interpretations, but I just kind of file them away under the "something I heard once" category.) By simply reading the words of the prophecy, I keep them in mind and I am blessed. God can do with them what He likes. The day may come when they come alive for me in some kind of present application and God may give me some understanding, but for now, I simply don't know.

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Old 07-17-2010, 05:13 AM   #11
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By take no thought I think you mean anxious thought ...
Great post and thoughts TJ. It's those that claim to know with certainty that scare me the most. They can't help by doing so to think they are God, or know as much as Him anyway. Little humans thinking they can know what God knows do so to impress men and elevate themselves above others. And lie to do it.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:05 AM   #12
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By take no thought I think you mean anxious thought ...
In our home meeting here we had a family which stopped meeting with us because I wouldn't share on end-time prophesy. I refuse to do it. I went through all that. Even sat down and mapped out the whole book of Revelations on Corel Draw - as if there aren't enough dragons and flying horses diagrams.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that people with the entire alphabet behind their names can't come to an agreement. What can I add? Perhaps just another dogmatic point of view, being used as an excuse for division.

I haven't read Nigel's article yet, but plan to do so today. But what is refreshing to me is the idea that a former LSM zealot is willing to challenge what "Brother Nee said," or what "Brother Lee said." I can remember just resting in whatever Lee said, and feeling confident that it could never be called into question. It feels so good to be free to do critical thinking, and actually follow what the Lord is leading from within.

Since leaving LSM as my only resource, I have had so many "ah ha" moments while reading others' writings that exposed the error of Lee and Nee. You just sort of sit back in your chair and go, "Man, where was my head? Why couldn't I see that before?" The word "veil" comes to mind.

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Old 07-17-2010, 07:20 AM   #13
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Since leaving LSM as my only resource, I have had so many "ah ha" moments while reading others' writings that exposed the error of Lee and Nee. You just sort of sit back in your chair and go, "Man, where was my head? Why couldn't I see that before?" The word "veil" comes to mind.

Roger
I have one more bone to pick with Lee, and the Protestants. This notion that the RCC is the whore of Babylon is a bunch of bunkum. How convenient to objectify the whore as the RCC.

If you ask me the whore of Babylon is the collective flesh nature ; the flesh, the fleshly mind, and the fleshly self.

But we don't want to admit that about ourselves. We'd rather objectify it upon the RCC, to point away from ourselves and our fleshly nature.

So Lee could distract us from himself as our need for a fleshly leader, or a leader in the flesh, by pointing us to the bogyman the RCC.

Lifting Lee up as we did was nothing short of "the need for a fleshly king," like the Jews in the OT. We needed something in the flesh to look up to. So, in the end, Lee was the whore of Babylon. Can you blame him, given his need for his own megalomania, for objectifying the whore as the RCC? It suited his own needs ; the needs of the flesh, and our needs too, for the need to have a fleshly representative of God.

And that's the whore of Babylon...that need for a fleshly leader.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:57 AM   #14
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A thought has crossed my mind from time to time. Why is she called "Mystery" Babylon? What's the mystery? Maybe the mystery is that the Church is both the virgin and the great Whore. The natural part, as you say, is Babylon. The pure part is the Virgin. And who is to judge? Only the Lord. In that case, every church has an element of Babylon, including the Local Church, which takes pride in calling itself Philadelphia.

There really isn't a whole lot of mystery in the teachings of Witness Lee. He liked to say, simply this, and simply that. And, at the end of the day his teachings were just that - simple. Not so high, and not much of a peak.

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Old 07-17-2010, 07:58 AM   #15
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I have one more bone to pick with Lee, and the Protestants. This notion that the RCC is the whore of Babylon is a bunch of bunkum. How convenient to objectify the whore as the RCC...
Greetings Brother Awareness,

Another way of putting it:

Institutions become the whore for they take on a life of their own. Our hearts can become whorified too when they shift their focus from our Lord to idols such as men run institutions. The flesh is hard to shake off considering that we are wrapped in it.

The leading of The Spirit is where we lose it. If we are not lead by The Spirit in everything we do, we are being led by our flesh.

Lee may have been a distraction just as anything can be. But we as individuals bear the responsibility not to be distracted.

We as individuals can only be distractions and should always understand and never forget it. C.S. Lewis drove that point home and this is the main front of the battle we are fighting.

Grace to all men!

Don
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Old 07-17-2010, 09:41 AM   #16
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That's right Manna-man, the whore of Babylon is man's institutions. All of them, the RCC and The Recovery institution too, and all the others. Ain't it nifty that one institution calls another one the whore? Pot meet kettle.

Little wonder that Lee's system took the shape of the RCC, with Lee as Pope. I have to ask : Who's the whore now?
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:32 AM   #17
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That's right Manna-man, the whore of Babylon is man's institutions. All of them, the RCC and The Recovery institution too, and all the others. Ain't it nifty that one institution calls another one the whore? Pot meet kettle.

Little wonder that Lee's system took the shape of the RCC, with Lee as Pope. I have to ask : Who's the whore now?


Yep, being distracted is understandable. In these earthen vessels.

We all have whored when we put something before Him.

But marching on in distraction thinking The Lord is covering your distraction/sin is spiritual Russian Roulette! Guilt and Shame don't help either.

Turn, Turn My Wondering Heart! Lord! I confess my heart is untrue!

Confessing leads to blessing.

Cover-up leads to shame....

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THE USE AND AUTHORITY OF REASON IS LIKE
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:07 AM   #18
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In our home meeting here we had a family which stopped meeting with us because I wouldn't share on end-time prophesy....
Hi Roger !

Long time no 'see'. I have been 'here', 'there' and 'everywhere'. As you and most people who 'know' me here on the forum, KNOW I love studying the end times I truly believe we are living in. If the nation of Israel had not been restored, and technology not where it is today, then perhaps I would not be intensely studying the end times. BUT, my study time is not consumed with the book of Daniel and Revelation nor solely on the end times. I may study it intensely but there are a whole range of topics I study intensely as well. I love ALL of the WORD of GOD. The Word of GOD is LIVING. It is Powerful. It is ACTIVE and it (He) is operating in my being. I pray without ceasing pray first by constantly Praising, Worshipping and Thanking Jesus, our Precious LORD day and night, night and day. I next pray for the church/the saints for if we are not strong in the power of HIS MIGHT, how in the world are we going to reach the unbelievers and those who have been burned by religion ? Which brings me to the 3rd prayer of intercession and that is praying for unbelievers constantly to be set free from the powers of darkness and to be drawn to the Kingdom of LIGHT and LOVE.

With that, I can tell you it was GOD HIMSELF Who gave me a burning desire to study the book of Revelation and Daniel and yet I am coming to understand the entire Bible is about the First and Second Coming Christ and how to prepare our lives for His Glorious Return by living unto Christ through His Holy Spirit in us.

IMHO, MUCH of Lee's teachings on the Lord's return is nothing but convuleted garbage. It took me a long time to figure it out because one of the problems most former LCrs face after leaving is discerning what is of GOD and what is of Lee. Lee did a number on us in confusing us thus damaging us because he didn't teach us to STUDY the Word of God for ourselves under the inspiration of God the HOly Spirit Who is the REVEALER of the WORD of GOD. We did not need to for he 'studied' it or so we thought and thus we didn't think, study and pray for the Lord to give US Revelation of the Word. Also...not everything Lee taught was wrong because he did teach from the bible and sometimes what he taught was anointed by God and sometimes he made things up along the way yet referring to the Bible.

This is why most of us struggle with that spirit of confusion when we read / study / pray the Word. Sometimes what we read that 'clicks' is something Lee taught or we, in our SELVES try to figure out what it means. Other times, as we read and study, the Holy Spirit will REVEAL the true meaning of what we are reading and suddenly realize Lee was WRONG in his personal interpretation. That's why his footnotes in the RcV are soo dangerous because much of it is his OWN interpretation.

* The 24 elders are the redeemed church, and is evidenced by the Song they were singing in Revelation 5:9-10. Lee says they are angels but angels are not redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. Jesus did not die on the cross, shed His Precious Blood for angels. Nope...He shed His Precious Blood for us, the REDEEMED who are to be CROWNED kings and priests unto the Most High God.

* The man-child is not imho, the 'overcomers' that Lee says they are. For the church by this time is already in the heavenlies.

Roger you wrote something extremely, extremely important and profound:
Quote:
I can remember just resting in whatever Lee said, and feeling confident that it could never be called into question.
Furthermore, Lee could and never admitted he was wrong on anything and the 'fruit of his womb' are the same way. They can never admit they are/were wrong. But what about US ? Can we admit we are wrong at times on certain views as we grow in Christ and are enlightened and given understanding to the Word of God ? I have had many 'OH !! "I SEE ! I GET it now" moments. And sometimes I've had to say I'm wrong. You're right. (that is GOD is Right.)

It's too bad the family stopped meeting with you !! I'm sorry I couldn't keep up with the fellowship with you regarding the end times. I wish I would have been there because I would have been all over the place on the end times without date setting (although I do believe we are very, very close to the return of our LORD JESUS CHRIST ! WOW !! To witness the dead in Christ rise first and then we who are alive to be caught with them in the air to meet the Lord in the Clouds of Glory !! (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) I can hardly WAIT.

And I'll tell you this much ! You better believe the entire world is going to shake when Jesus returns in the Air and the dead in Christ RESURRECT in their GLORIOUS BODIES and WE who are alive are changed in the twinkling of an eye ! You don't think we are going to shake the power of darkness, the prince of this world, the principalities and the powers of the air ?? You don't think there is going to be a massive LIGHTning storm across the globe ? Don't you think that when the dead in Christ rise from the graves or the ocean floor, the earth and the sea is not going to 'tremble' as in earthquakes galore and Tsunamis ? This is the GLORY, the POWER of ALMIGHTY GOD being manifested through US !!! Halleluiah to the LAMB of GOD !!
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:16 AM   #19
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A thought has crossed my mind from time to time. Why is she called "Mystery" Babylon? What's the mystery? Maybe the mystery is that the Church is both the virgin and the great Whore. The natural part, as you say, is Babylon. The pure part is the Virgin. And who is to judge? Only the Lord. In that case, every church has an element of Babylon, including the Local Church, which takes pride in calling itself Philadelphia.

There really isn't a whole lot of mystery in the teachings of Witness Lee. He liked to say, simply this, and simply that. And, at the end of the day his teachings were just that - simple. Not so high, and not much of a peak.

Roger
Roger, Hi again brother !
Great Question !

As the Church, the Bride of Christ is composed of regenerated followers of Christ, so 'Mystery, Babylon the Great" is the bride of Antichrist and is composed of the followers of ALL FALSE Religions.

Satan is a counterfeit. Just as CHRIST is the MESSIAH, the SAVIOUR so is Antichrist the FALSE messiah and savior of this world (so it seems.) It is only fitting that if Christ is to have a bride, then the Antichrist will also have a bride "Mystery, Babylon the Great", not a city like the Holy City New Jerusalem but a SYSTEM, a religious and apostate system composed of all false religions.
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:35 AM   #20
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It is only fitting that if Christ is to have a bride, then the Antichrist will also have a bride "Mystery, Babylon the Great"
Prophetess CMW, on what do you base this presumption on?
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:38 AM   #21
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My position might seem to have left me fairly uninterested in the book of Revelation, but it hasn't really because of one verse I noted, which I have decided to take literally:

Blessed is he who reads and and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Rev. 1:3)

I like being blessed, so I decided I would just read Revelation for that reason and not try to interpret it. (I don't mind hearing others interpretations, but I just kind of file them away under the "something I heard once" category.) By simply reading the words of the prophecy, I keep them in mind and I am blessed. God can do with them what He likes. The day may come when they come alive for me in some kind of present application and God may give me some understanding, but for now, I simply don't know.

TJ
TJ, what an EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT response ! I loved every bit of it. It was not until last year, I realized there was a BLESSING given to those who read Revelation ! Like you, I like being BLESSED ! I tell everybody to read Revelation because there is a BLESSING promised to us in Revelation 1:3 Here's how it is recorded in the Amplified version:
Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies] the word of this prophecy; and blessed (happy, to be envied) are those who hear [it read] and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near. I also want them CROWNS: The Crown of Righteousness, the Crown of Glory, the Incorruptible Crown, the Crown of Rejoicing and the Crown of Life ! But I want all my brothers & sisters in Christ to also be blessed and be counted worthy of the crowns.

Now we ARE going to get the crowns because CROWNS are worn by KINGS and WE are kings and priests unto the Most High God. We are ROYALTY. A Royal PRIESTHOOD. Jesus is the KING of kings. All Glory, Praise and HONOR with Blessings and Thanksgiving belong to HIM.

Scripture references:
1 Peter 2:9
Revelation 1:6
Revelation 5:10

1 Timothy 4:8- Crown of Righteousness
1 Peter 5:4 -Crown of Glory
1 Corinthians 9:25-Incorruptible Crown
1 Thessalonians 2:19- Crown of Rejoicing
James 1:2-Crown of Life
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:24 PM   #22
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Prophetess CMW, on what do you base this presumption on?
Sir Awareness. Glad you asked !
Revelation 18 talks about the 'City', a literal city, called Babylon the Great. In chapter 19, the kings of the earth bewail and lament the destruction of the city, which is destroyed by a mighty earthquake and fire.

When the Angel showed John the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, in Revelation 21:9-10, He did not show John a Woman. Instead He showed John the Great City -Holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God. The Holy City Jerusalem is called a bride because the inhabitants are the BRIDE, not the 'city'.

The Bride of Christ is without spot or wrinkle or blemish. She is pure and Holy, Sanctified by the Blood of the Lamb.

The bride of the Antichrist is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.


Christ vs Antichrist
Bride of Christ vs Bride of Antichrist

Did this help some ? Or is it as clear as mud?
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:37 PM   #23
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Got it.....I'll play it safe and stay away from brides.
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:38 PM   #24
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Got it.....I'll play it safe and stay away from brides.
ok...so long as you don't stay away from Jesus, the WORD of God! ...or me.
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Old 07-17-2010, 05:10 PM   #25
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[/COLOR]Yep, being distracted is understandable. In these earthen vessels.

We all have whored when we put something before Him.

But marching on in distraction thinking The Lord is covering your distraction/sin is spiritual Russian Roulette! Guilt and Shame don't help either.

Turn, Turn My Wondering Heart! Lord! I confess my heart is untrue!

Confessing leads to blessing.

Cover-up leads to shame....

Greetings saints.



It's easy to get caught up in opinionating about such things.

In all of this there is good news! "The Gospel Of Jesus Christ!"

In Colossians we learn:

6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spiritsa of the world, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authoritiesb and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.c


So we need to be on guard against unecessary cynical attitudes, for we know and trust and hope in our faith. Lets not hold to as verse 8 says: "phylosophy and empty deceit!"

But rather our Shepherd Jesus who goes before us day and night.

I want to be abounding in a thankful attitude! For behold! I'm Alive!!!

One more thing, the so called institutions can be a good thing if The Lord is behind the scenes doing what He does. Take Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale for example. Great things are being done! The gospel is being preached!



Grace to all men!

Don
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Old 07-17-2010, 05:42 PM   #26
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Roger, Hi again brother !
Great Question !

As the Church, the Bride of Christ is composed of regenerated followers of Christ, so 'Mystery, Babylon the Great" is the bride of Antichrist and is composed of the followers of ALL FALSE Religions.

Satan is a counterfeit. Just as CHRIST is the MESSIAH, the SAVIOUR so is Antichrist the FALSE messiah and savior of this world (so it seems.) It is only fitting that if Christ is to have a bride, then the Antichrist will also have a bride "Mystery, Babylon the Great", not a city like the Holy City New Jerusalem but a SYSTEM, a religious and apostate system composed of all false religions.
So, within a denomination like the Roman Catholics, for example, there are true believers who follow Christ, and within the same group there are those who follow Anti-Christ. So you are saying that some within the same group will be part of the bride, and some within the same group will be Babylon?

Or, are you espousing the view that Lee had which defines groups by their general belief and expression - or at least their own view of their expression?

Roger
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:20 PM   #27
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So, within a denomination like the Roman Catholics, for example, there are true believers who follow Christ, and within the same group there are those who follow Anti-Christ. So you are saying that some within the same group will be part of the bride, and some within the same group will be Babylon?
If you read the scriptures carefully, yes I believe that's what it says. There are Catholics who will be part of the Bride and some who are will be following the Antichrist because they are not really saved. They are tares. They look like the real thing..the real enchilada..the real believers. Btw, I believe the False Prophet is going to come out of the RCC... or maybe the LSM ?
Consider Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


In whose name are devils and demons cast out? Why do you suppose God will say "Depart from me you that work Iniquity. I never knew you." ?

There will be people from Lee's ministry, from the RCC, from the Word of Faith, from the Baptists, Pentecostals, and all kinds of so called Christian groups who are workers of iniquity but I don't know who they are nor do I go around wondering who is a wheat and who is a tare. Only God knows.

Quote:
Or, are you espousing the view that Lee had which defines groups by their general belief and expression - or at least their own view of their expression?
Roger,
I'm not sure I quite understand the question but I don't espouse Lee's views, that is the way he explained the scriptures and I certainly do not agree with some of his teachings. But he did teach us some things that will be forever in my DNA.
For example, it was under Lee's ministry I /we learned to call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus. It is scriptural. And IN HIS NAME IS the Fullness of GOD.

So when I prayerfully consider Colossians 2:6Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (vs9) For in Him all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form and ( 2 Corinthians 5:19).
For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
saying the Name of Jesus with a pure heart means soooo much more than the repetitious jargon of my days in the LC. When I hear the LSMrs call on the Name of Jesus, I CRINGE because it has become vain repetition. Yet it was in the LC I learned to call on the Precious, Beloved, Awesome Name of JESUS. So be it. I learned to pray in vain mind you, the 'Our Father' in the RCC. So what? It is scriptural. However, when I do pray the 'Our Father', I pray it with a true Heart in Full assurance of Faith, not in a vain, religious way.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:26 PM   #28
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ok...so long as you don't stay away from Jesus, the WORD of God! ...or me.
C, I love you to death......
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:50 PM   #29
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C, I love you to death......
To DEATH ??? Try loving me to LIFE ! I'm not ready to go to the grave yet!
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:56 PM   #30
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To DEATH ??? Try loving me to LIFE ! I'm not ready to go to the grave yet!
Joh 12:24 Truly, truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces a lot of grain.
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:15 AM   #31
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Joh 12:24 Truly, truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces a lot of grain.
I see, I die and then I resurrect ! Got it !........silly man.
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Old 07-18-2010, 05:44 PM   #32
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Thank you Nigel!
Yet another interpretation of the Word from Lee hits the dust...How many more do we have lurking in our subconscious? Dig them out Lord and replace them with your pure uninterpreted Word!

'Be Diligent to present yourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth'.[2 Tim 2:15]
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:11 AM   #33
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches

It's funny how dogma withers in the light of plain facts.

Like many of Lee's assertions, his eschatology is dependent on accepting his premises and ignoring troublesome facts that get in the way of wholesale acceptance.

It's pretty clear that the 7 churches represent stages of imperfection, but whether they represent prophecy is speculative, especially in the light of the fact that the last 100+ years don't fit into the pattern, as Tomes has pointed out so well. From this article they seem to be simply major patterns that churches or movement can fall into.

One thing is clear from Tomes articles. He is a scholar, and Lee wasn't. Thank God someone has had the courage to answer Lee's errors in a scholarly way.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:55 AM   #34
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One thing is clear from Tomes articles. He is a scholar, and Lee wasn't. Thank God someone has had the courage to answer Lee's errors in a scholarly way.
As one who spent decades serving in the LC's, it's more than obvious that we took many of WL's teachings, not because of their inherent value, but because we were instructed to. In my case, it was TC, the GLA workers, and the LC elders, etc. At times we were even instructed not to research his teachings, but to accept them as the word of God.

In this article by Nigel, he is not only re-examining the teachings of the Blendeds or those of WL, but ... he is addressing those of WN himself. Imagine how this will incite the fury of all LSM zealots? Besides the ground of oneness doctrine, equating the Recovery with the church in Philadelphia is sacrosanct. Wait till BP, DT and RK talk about Nigel at the next ITERO.

WN's Orthodoxy of the Church is still a great book, but let's not doubt for a minute that it elevated the Recovery above the status of the early, apostolic church. They may be Ephesus, which was pretty good, but WE were Philadelphia. They had lost their first love, but the Lord had nothing but praise for us. We had "subsumed" every positive characteristic of God's economy throughout all of church history. We had reached the pinnacle. We were the bride of Christ. We would bring the Lord back. He had waited for 2,000 years and now He finally had us!

Perhaps it was this continual diet of interpretive hyperbole which facilitated our rapid demise. We were the best. We had ditched those 'degraded" denominations. Now we just need some "solid" scriptural teachings to "prove it." How about "one church, one city?" How about being "recovered" as "god-men" by the one and only one "minister of the age," who is now our "Oracle," the current "acting God?" How about all church history proving that we were prophesied by Philadelphia. John "saw us" from the isle of Patmos. There we were -- a golden, shining lampstand.

Some of these teachings were "somewhat" in the Bible weren't they? After hearing them repeatedly, and teaching them to others, we all got convinced that the whole message was in the scripture. Were we not built on the solid Rock? Didn't every point of WL pass thru the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? That's what I was told, and I believed it all. I liked being special to God, and if there's only a few thousand of us around, that makes me all the more special. Right?

Beware of the leaven of the LSM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:43 PM   #35
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[QUOTE=Ohio;8028]

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WN's Orthodoxy of the Church is still a great book, but let's not doubt for a minute that it elevated the Recovery above the status of the early, apostolic church.
The reason many of us thought (& I agree that it is) a great book, is because few church teachers/preachers examine the 7 lampstands/churches in Revelation.

However, if you google the 7 churches of Revelation, there is a LOT of info on them that did not come from Nee & Lee. Clarence Larkin also examins the churches in great detail exposing the Roman church but not in the same 'light' that Lee did.

As you pointed out Ohio, Lee, imho, ( more than Nee ) elevated the Recovery. THAT IN PART, is causing the LC to come crashing down like Humpty Dumpty who sat on the wall. He had a great fall and all the kings soldiers and all the kings men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again. There are other factors that is bringing down the LC.

Quote:
They may be Ephesus, which was pretty good, but WE were Philadelphia. They had lost their first love, but the Lord had nothing but praise for us. We had "subsumed" every positive characteristic of God's economy throughout all of church history. We had reached the pinnacle. We were the bride of Christ. We would bring the Lord back. He had waited for 2,000 years and now He finally had us!
Yes. We fell for it hook, line and sinker. But you know what's even sadder to me ? Lee's teaching has caused many of the former LCrs to just accept the notion 'someday' Christ will return. Se la Vi. While I was HOOKED with HOPE in CHRIST, He was/is Returning, I don't think I ever saw it as He was coming for the 'Lord's Recovery' alone. If that had been the case, I would have stayed in the LC much, much longer than merely 4-5 yrs. But I saw the LC crumbling with Lee at the helm. Had it been Christ at the Helm with HIS Holy Spirit enlightening us every step of the way, things may have been different. Nevertheless, needless to say, I still BELIEVE more than ever that the soon return of Jesus Christ as KING of kings and LORD of lords is imminent. And while I look with great anticipation for His return, I am also living very practically as if it could be years from now.

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Perhaps it was this continual diet of interpretive hyperbole which facilitated our rapid demise. We were the best. We had ditched those 'degraded" denominations. Now we just need some "solid" scriptural teachings to "prove it." How about "one church, one city?" How about being "recovered" as "god-men" by the one and only one "minister of the age," who is now our "Oracle," the current "acting God?" How about all church history proving that we were prophesied by Philadelphia. John "saw us" from the isle of Patmos. There we were -- a golden, shining lampstand.
Again, the focus became US 'the Lord's Recovery' INSTEAD of the entire church. Imagine what a difference we could have made if all we did was reach out to our brethren with love and the Anointing of Christ in us..the HOPE of Glory...without strings attached..and without the spirit of 'PRIDE' thaat we were the 'best'...without the adulation of Lee and his life studies and the RcV. And imagine ALL that we could have learned from our brothers & sisters outside the LC who God was/is using mightily too.
Aww..Utiopia right ? YES I KNOW...I'm quite the idealistic, eternal optimistic person. So stone me.

I recently heard someone outside the LC, who has never been in it say something like this: 'most of the church are like TV sets receiving the signal from the Television Stations. Few are Television Stations.' I thought of us because we WERE like TV stations for we had soo much of the Word of God in us. We spoke the Word to one another and we didn't go through any specialized training to bring people to Jesus. (At least that was my experience in the mid 70s). We are the type of people God could use mightily to teach others the Word of God, to encourage them in Christ...without strings attached. Please don't misunderstand or think I am 'elevating' US whatsoever. I'm not but I know by reading the posts, we are not lightweights. It doesn't mean we are heavyweights either. It doesn't mean we don't learn from our brothers & sisters outside the Recovery parameter.

I've made my rounds among the various churches: Baptists, Lutherns, Pentecostals, Charasmetics, Word of Faith, home groups and of course the RCC. I've talked to Mormons and JWs...and plenty of non believers. I've learned alot from them...but mainly learned to tune in to God the Holy Spirit, the Voice of God THROUGH the WORD of GOD living and operating in me as I mediate and pray it.

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Some of these teachings were "somewhat" in the Bible weren't they? After hearing them repeatedly, and teaching them to others, we all got convinced that the whole message was in the scripture. Were we not built on the solid Rock? Didn't every point of WL pass thru the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? That's what I was told, and I believed it all. I liked being special to God, and if there's only a few thousand of us around, that makes me all the more special. Right?
We all hear you loud and clear Ohio. For me, this is why I don't throw away the Word of God I received in my short tenure. You too were and are still very special to your Creator ! You are blessed to be a king and priest unto the most High God says Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 5:10. You were chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy, pleasing to Him without blame in love Ephesians 1:4. You were and are blessed with all blessings in spiritual places too. But you know what we were not taught by Lee to my knowledge ? What Jesus Himself gave us the power to do?
the authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Are we not disciples as the original 12 were?

Much of the charasmatic, Word of Faith people are into signs & wonders & healings. While we did 'bind and loose' in the prayer meetings, we never studied Matthew 10:1 and scriptures like it. We didn't have the true balance of the Word of God. Perhaps no 'church' does but we can pray that we DO ALL to the GLORY of GOD: cast out demons, heal the sick, evangelize, teach the Word of God, build up the body of Christ, pray without ceasing pray. Laugh, Sing, make Melody in our hearts, fill the earth with the Glory of God through our Love for Him & He for us, with our praises and Joy of the Lord in the midst of our trials, tribulations and tests.


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Beware of the leaven of the LSM.
"Amen".
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:00 PM   #36
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Unto (or anyone else with access to hard-copy LSM books):

Would it be possible to provide chapter and section references for each of the page references that Nigel gives for books in the LSM online library? Without hard-copy, it is virtually impossible to find the quotes mentioned to see the broader context. I've gone cross-eyed looking for the reference in endnote #3. Probably will have the same problem for many others.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:34 PM   #37
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Unto (or anyone else with access to hard-copy LSM books):

Would it be possible to provide chapter and section references for each of the page references that Nigel gives for books in the LSM online library? Without hard-copy, it is virtually impossible to find the quotes mentioned to see the broader context. I've gone cross-eyed looking for the reference in endnote #3. Probably will have the same problem for many others.

You mean this note:
Quote:
3. Among the early Brethren a variety of views were held concerning pre- and post-tribulation rapture, plus partial rapture. Robert C. Chapman held that there would be multiple raptures, consistent with the partial rapture of the church. His coworker, Hake held a different view. Roy Coad says concerning George Muller, “We know from an explicit statement of his own in 1879 that Müller did not adopt the Secret Rapture viewpoint.” [F. Roy Coad, “Prophetic Developments with particular reference to the early Brethren Movement.” C.B.R.F. Occasional Paper Number 2(Pinner, Middlesex, 1966) p. 22.]Multiple raptures—an overcoming minority (“firstfruits”) & majority (“harvest”)—were taught by D. M. Panton; this writer appears to be a major influence on W. Nee and W. Lee.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:18 AM   #38
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You mean this note:
Sorry. I was looking back and forth between three different essays by Nigel and posted from the wrong one. The one that comment was about has not even been posted here. My bad.
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:44 PM   #39
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Typology of the Spirit
Anyone had a try at cracking this nut? Is the concept of the compound Spirit as the reality of the anointing oil still valid?

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Old 07-23-2010, 03:34 PM   #40
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Typology of the Spirit
Anyone had a try at cracking this nut? Is the concept of the compound Spirit as the reality of the anointing oil still valid?
0.10891 (couldn't resist the mathematical equivalency),

That would be an interesting study. Where is it claimed to come from and based on what? Did Lee quote a verse and simply say "this means that the Spirit is the reality of the anointing oil" or is there something more substantial than that? If he did little more than make a statement like that, then the question would not be "is it still valid?" but "was it ever valid?"

One of the things that it took me a while to realize is that what Lee says is not so unless it is fairly clear on its face that it is so. But Lee said a lot of things that do not flow from the underlying scripture. The problem is that the remaining LC faithful try to say that Lee has proved it so we have to disprove it, when in reality, Lee never proved anything. That leaves them with nothing to defend. But they will not face that fact. They will not try to fill in the gaps that Lee left with something that will make Lee's statements so. They simply take his word as if God's word.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:00 AM   #41
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Typology of the Spirit
Anyone had a try at cracking this nut? Is the concept of the compound Spirit as the reality of the anointing oil still valid?

11of101
I have a complete understanding and experience of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. I am absolutely certain each and ever true believer has experienced the Anointing at the very least ONCE in their Christian walk. Most likely it's been numerous times, only most true believers do not understand the power of the Anointing and when it falls upon them or when they are simply walking in it.

Lee to my knowledge never explained it.

Oh..but he went on & on about the 'compound' Spirit which I had forgotten all about until you mentioned it, 11of101. Lee loved making up themes: the Organic Crystalization of the Compound Spirit of the Godman in the body of the Lord's Recovery under the administration of the Oracle, that is the apostle of this age...meaning LEE. Did I leave anything else out ?
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:26 PM   #42
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Typology of the Spirit
Anyone had a try at cracking this nut? Is the concept of the compound Spirit as the reality of the anointing oil still valid?

11of101
The teaching is a beautiful picture of God in the type of the anointing oil. I'm not sure who first taught it, but it is a shame for LSM to teach and reteach these wonderful teachings, yet have little reality of the actual anointing of the Spirit.
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:57 AM   #43
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As for me, the most prudent way to take 7 churches in Revelation is to take all the warnings to all the seven churches as relevant to us today. After all, these seven epistles were written to the churches that existed at apostle John's time. Therefore, I take all seven epistles as written to all the churches throughout the church history. No need to divide them into periods.

The same I think is applicable to the rest of the book of Revelation. Even though there will be a final consummation of all the things mentioned in Revelation, all those things have been relevant throughout the church history, even though maybe in different degrees. Otherwise, it is easy to dismiss the content of this book as something that has already happened (preterist or historicist approach) or something that will happen some time in the future and to the Jews only (dispensational approach).

The Word of God despite the historical framing it was written in contains eternal principles as it was inspired by the eternal Spirit.
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Old 08-09-2010, 05:39 PM   #44
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As for me, the most prudent way to take 7 churches in Revelation is to take all the warnings to all the seven churches as relevant to us today. After all, these seven epistles were written to the churches that existed at apostle John's time. Therefore, I take all seven epistles as written to all the churches throughout the church history. No need to divide them into periods. .
Well, John did write about the "things which are to come", and the Jewish literature had a great tradition of looking ahead. Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel; these brothers had a great gift, greatly appreciated by all, of pointing out the direction things were headed. John entered into this "prophetic" ministry here.

But they were simultaneously applicable to the actual recipients. Jesus' letters to the angels of the assemblies in Asia were quite pointed. This seems to be overlooked in the LCs. But if we could see the situation on the ground more clearly, and what John [Jesus] was concerned about, we would more clearly see the portents of history looming.

Can you imagine a couple of brothers in Thyatira, discussing John's hard words. One reassures the other, "Don't worry, Theophilus; that's a prediction of the degradation coming a dozen centuries hence. Nothing to do with us."

"Oh...whew. I thought John's letter was directed towards us. I was worried."

"Nah. We're fine. It's the coming Catholic church that's gonna be in trouble."

Of course I am being facetious, but that is what you end up with unless you learn to look beyond the historical focus of these Brethren acolytes. You end up with something that is far removed from the reality on the ground.

Not once do I remember anyone asking, "What was this supposed to mean to the recipients? What was John's 'take home message' to the saints?" Instead it was, "What does this mean to us, today?" Which, with Lee, seemed to be whatever he needed it to mean at that training, to keep the saints toeing the line.

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The same I think is applicable to the rest of the book of Revelation. Even though there will be a final consummation of all the things mentioned in Revelation, all those things have been relevant throughout the church history, even though maybe in different degrees. Otherwise, it is easy to dismiss the content of this book as something that has already happened (preterist or historicist approach) or something that will happen some time in the future and to the Jews only (dispensational approach).

The Word of God despite the historical framing it was written in contains eternal principles as it was inspired by the eternal Spirit.
Yes indeed. As sister Thankful noted, John gives a rather universal preamble in chapter 1, to the readers: "whoever reads these words and keeps them will be blessed." This book does indeed address history, but it supersedes history as well. I would argue that those in the assemblies in Asia, and elsewhere, who "had an ear to hear what the Spirit was speaking" to them, were quite aware of this fact. The LSM version probably paid lip service to this, I don't remember, but subsequently went way overboard on the historical aspect. Then "we" conveniently got to be Philadelphia. "They" had to repent.

As Nigel points out, you had to do some creative cut-and-pasting to make history "fit" the neat interpretation laid before the saints. Not to mention, you basically have to ignore the obvious question of what John wanted the saints in Asia to get from the letters, and the subsequent chapters. "He who has an ear to hear", indeed.
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Old 08-10-2010, 03:10 PM   #45
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As Nigel points out, you had to do some creative cut-and-pasting to make history "fit" the neat interpretation laid before the saints. Not to mention, you basically have to ignore the obvious question of what John wanted the saints in Asia to get from the letters, and the subsequent chapters. "He who has an ear to hear", indeed.
I grew up with Biblical literalism. I know it close up and personal, and have looked into its dark recesses, and witnessed its fruit.

Lee was a literalist on steroids ; industrial strength. He was a master of cutting scripture up into puzzle pieces and rearranging them to say what he thought they should say.

He was also very sold on himself, and his megalomania stuck out like a sore thumb. So he was sure to put himself at the top of his picture puzzle.

Such literalism does not produce the fruits of the Spirit, listed in Galatians.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:12 AM   #46
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Dr Tomes> LSM’s prophetic teachings ought to be re-evaluated in the light of world events and recent biblical scholarship. That is a huge task; it encompasses Daniel’s prophecy of “70 weeks,” the four beasts, Babylon, the Antichrist etc

Several years ago when this was first published, what Dr. Tomes meant by "recent biblical scholarship" may not have been understood. A more recent article (about Etymological Errors) , also posted here in this forum, reveals Dr. Tomes departure from respected and credible scholars and his embracing of scholars who question the inerrancy of the Bible. In revisiting this article it is evident that it is very much like the more recent one in that is packaged as an attack on the Witness Lee, Watchman Nee, and LSM... but in reality this article is a dismissal of established and respected biblical interpretation of Rev 2 and 3 in favor of..... ????....well, frankly, it is not clear what Dr. Tomes' interpretation is of Rev 2 and Rev 3.....he never makes that clear nor makes a case for it.

Here are a few issues of credibility with this article:

1) Dr. Tomes is infatuated with this notion that modern scholars are more credible than older scholars (those before the middle of the last century). That whole premise is anti-biblical as the Scriptures clearly state that in the last days apostasy would prevail... using the same "time" logic as Tomes one could make the case that the apostates are the more progressive and modern scholars that he now embraces.

2) Dr. Tomes never offers an interpretation of the prophecy in Rev 2 and 3. In spite of the fact that the bible clearly intimates the prophetic nature of this book. Rev 1:3 and 22:7. He offers no alternative views and relies on the persuasion of his argument that if Witness Lee embraced it then it must wrong... if LSM publishes it then he will find fault.

3) Other christian groups are named (Pentecostal, Independent) and suggests that they would not fit into the four categories of churches that remain at the Lord's return. On the contrary, those easily fit those into the category of Protestant churches. Besides, Rev 2 and 3 do not have 8 and 9 categories of churches.... there are 7.

4) Dr. Tomes deploys irrelevant facts to shore up his argument. For instance, he mentions white man's religion, and European worldviews, and African churches... yet , none of that is relevant to a biblical interpretation of Rev 2 and 3.

5) Tomes appears to mock the watchfulness of believers in past times and cites an example of where people thought the end was near but now in hindsight we know that the end was not near. Yet, he seems oblivious to the arrangement that the Lord Himself conveyed to His church... Watch and pray because the day and the hour are not known. Shouldn't every believer have the aspiration that the Lord will return at any moment? Surely, the Lord's return is imminent and believers throughout the century have been preserved from evil things and the world by holding the view of is imminent return.

6) Dr. Tomes is disingenuous when he argues the case that the suffering church of Smyrna is not the only body of believers that have suffered and therefore Smyrna must not represent a stage in church history only. This is a fallacy of argument because neither Lee or Nee ever said that believers would not suffer persecution except in Smyrna..... and in fact, they explicitly stated that believers in the tribulation would suffer.

Tomes makes other unsubstantiated statements but these few counterpoints are sufficient to show Tomes is engaging in dismissing one teaching in favor of modern ones without doing the due diligence to make a compelling case of his own to support an alternative view of prophetic nature of Rev 2 and 3.

The readers of this and other Tomes articles should understand where he is coming from and not just embrace his articles because he is anti-LSM. Dr. Tomes has departed from orthodox views in favor of modern ones and does not offer an alternative interpretation but rather is merely content to dismiss someone else's. Whether he does this with malice of forethought or this is just sloppy scholarship is up to the reader to decide.
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Old 01-24-2015, 04:53 PM   #47
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The readers of this and other Tomes articles should understand where he is coming from and not just embrace his articles because he is anti-LSM. Dr. Tomes has departed from orthodox views in favor of modern ones and does not offer an alternative interpretation but rather is merely content to dismiss someone else's. Whether he does this with malice of forethought or this is just sloppy scholarship is up to the reader to decide.
Actually, Cassidy, this reader has always wondered why exactly you post as you do. Tomes' articles are anything but sloppy scholarship. His research has always provided thorough study of the topic at hand. You may not like his topics, but they are definitely well-documented and well-prepared, contrary to some of the slop coming out of your favorite publisher. In the past, you have often portrayed your own biases towards "the professor" and his being "Dr." Tomes.

Your other proposed conclusion is worse. You ascribe "malice of forethought" to Tomes for critiquing Lee's commentary on Revelation chapters 2-3. I find it hard to believe that you could even think of supporting a publisher with such "malice of forethought" on every page of Affirmation & Critique, not to mention some of Lee's other seamy works like Fermentation.

Could you please rethink your position on "Examining LSM's Eschatology ..." and re-address some specifics that we can discuss, with specific references to Tomes' paper?
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:01 PM   #48
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Ohio> Could you please rethink your position on "Examining LSM's Eschatology ..." and re-address some specifics that we can discuss, with specific references to Tomes' paper?

Ohio,

I would have been delighted to address the specifics of Tomes' alternative interpretation of Rev 2 & 3.... except he did not provide one. He said what he was against... but not what he was for. That is not scholarship, that is an Op Ed.

Many writers have already made a compelling case for the prophetic interpretation of Rev 2 and 3. I believe they rightly divided the word on those chapters. Tome's points about white man's religion, European-view, pentecostal history, Africa, China, etc. are part of a non sequitur fallacy. An interesting history lesson... and that is all.

If you wish to present specifics of his interpretation of Rev 2 & 3 I will be glad to discuss it with you. That would be refreshing. Or if you wish to discuss the specifics of my objections to Tomes' presentation and arguments that would be fine too. That is why I posted them. However, if you, like Tomes, are only interested in dismissing the prophetic interpretation held by many credible biblical scholars without providing an alternative interpretation then there is nothing to rethink.

Thanks


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Old 01-24-2015, 06:40 PM   #49
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When Mr Tomes claims to be the "minister of the age," the "wise master builder," or the "one man" that God has on earth for his generation...or, when thousands of people start believing that he is any of these things...then, it would probably be fair to expect Tomes to present a cohesive theology of his own.

Fortunately, this does not seem to apply to Tomes. Unfortunately, it very much does apply to Witness Lee.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:07 PM   #50
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Ohio> Could you please rethink your position on "Examining LSM's Eschatology ..." and re-address some specifics that we can discuss, with specific references to Tomes' paper?

Ohio,

I would have been delighted to address the specifics of Tomes' alternative interpretation of Rev 2 & 3.... except he did not provide one. He said what he was against... but not what he was for. That is not scholarship, that is an Op Ed.

Many writers have already made a compelling case for the prophetic interpretation of Rev 2 and 3. I believe they rightly divided the word on those chapters. Tome's points about white man's religion, European-view, pentecostal history, Africa, China, etc. are part of a non sequitur fallacy. An interesting history lesson... and that is all.

If you wish to present specifics of his interpretation of Rev 2 & 3 I will be glad to discuss it with you. That would be refreshing. Or if you wish to discuss the specifics of my objections to Tomes' presentation and arguments that would be fine too. That is why I posted them. However, if you, like Tomes, are only interested in dismissing the prophetic interpretation held by many credible biblical scholars without providing an alternative interpretation then there is nothing to rethink.

Thanks
Like I said, Tomes is well within his rights to only discuss Lee's flawed teachings in his papers. If you disagree with this, then please be fair and post a few comments about LSM's A&C.

I just took a class on Revelations at a local Bible school. The dean taught the course, and he did not interpret the 7 churches prophetically as Nee/Lee have done. I can't speak for the whole of the body of Christ, but I think most Christians read these 7 letters just as they read the other epistles of the New Testament, e.g. they would not dismiss the letters to Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos claiming that these churches no longer exist in our times, as both Nee and Lee have done.

I have read extensively of Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, and never would I consider that they were the fulfillment of the Philadelphian prophetic letter. On the contrary, the mean-spirited accusations and narrow-minded judgments of the exclusives are anything but brotherly love. It was these same exclusives who attempted to convince us that they were the modern day Philadelphia. A little self-serving wouldn't you say?
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:07 PM   #51
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Ray, this much bigger than Witness Lee.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:16 PM   #52
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Ray, this much bigger than Witness Lee.
When it comes to matters regarding the teachings, practices and history of The Local Church, NOTHING is bigger than Witness Lee.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:19 PM   #53
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Ohio> e.g. they would not dismiss the letters to Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos claiming that these churches no longer exist in our times, as both Nee and Lee have done.

Okay, let's discuss.

First Ohio, you do recognize that the prophetic interpretation did not originate with Witness Lee? This was studied and explained well before Witness Lee and Watchman Nee adopted it also.

And it does not really matter that most Christians read these letters just as they read the other epistles of the New Testament.. that is probably true. In fact, the book of Revelation defines its special prophetic character in Rev 1:3 and 22:17. On what basis do you, your bible class teacher, most Christians, or Nigel Tomes have the grounds to ignore that? That it does not fit anyone's preconceived notions is completely irrelevant.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:32 PM   #54
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Ohio> Could you please rethink your position on "Examining LSM's Eschatology ..." and re-address some specifics that we can discuss, with specific references to Tomes' paper?

Ohio,

I would have been delighted to address the specifics of Tomes' alternative interpretation of Rev 2 & 3.... except he did not provide one. He said what he was against... but not what he was for. That is not scholarship, that is an Op Ed.

Many writers have already made a compelling case for the prophetic interpretation of Rev 2 and 3. I believe they rightly divided the word on those chapters. Tome's points about white man's religion, European-view, pentecostal history, Africa, China, etc. are part of a non sequitur fallacy. An interesting history lesson... and that is all.

If you wish to present specifics of his interpretation of Rev 2 & 3 I will be glad to discuss it with you. That would be refreshing. Or if you wish to discuss the specifics of my objections to Tomes' presentation and arguments that would be fine too. That is why I posted them. However, if you, like Tomes, are only interested in dismissing the prophetic interpretation held by many credible biblical scholars without providing an alternative interpretation then there is nothing to rethink.

Thanks


Wait. Hold on. You are saying that if I don't provide an alternate interpretation of something then I cannot conclude that someone else's interpretation is problematic? And if I do that then it's not scholarship but Op-Ed? Really? Based upon what exactly do you make such broad declarations?

So if you declare, for example, that pulsar stars are composed of millions of glowing silver kittens, and I say I don't buy it, then that's just an Op-Ed until I come up with an alternative? Sorry. I don't have to have an alternative explanation of something to see the problems in someone else's explanation.

Tomes wasn't pointing out that Rev 2 & 3 could not be prophetic at all. He was pointing out the problems with Lee's specific prophetic interpretation of it. One would think that you could appreciate those problems, specifically with the progressive historical narrative nature of the interpretation. Rev 2 & 3 can be considered prophetic without having to apply each church to a specific historical slice of Christianity. But Lee did it because he wanted to place his group at the top of the totem pole. Otherwise he would have had no reason to interpret it that way. And Tomes has shown that as time has moved on, that interpretation holds a lot less water.

Regardless, anyone who interprets Revelation prophecy to cast his little camp as the church in Philadelphia while casting the rest of Christianity as the other flawed churches is being transparently self-serving. Good grief, I can see you falling for it when you were 25. But still? Really? You still think God's going to reward you for being faithful to Witness Lee? You really did drink the Kool-Aid, didn't you?

"Bigger than Witness Lee?" Not by much. Not really. It's pretty much always just been about him.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:35 PM   #55
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Ohio> e.g. they would not dismiss the letters to Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos claiming that these churches no longer exist in our times, as both Nee and Lee have done.

Okay, let's discuss.

First Ohio, you do recognize that the prophetic interpretation did not originate with Witness Lee? This was studied and explained well before Witness Lee and Watchman Nee adopted it also.

And it does not really matter that most Christians read these letters just as they read the other epistles of the New Testament.. that is probably true. In fact, the book of Revelation defines its special prophetic character in Rev 1:3 and 22:17. On what basis do you, your bible class teacher, most Christians, or Nigel Tomes have the grounds to ignore that? That it does not fit anyone's preconceived notions is completely irrelevant.
Nee and Lee stole much of their teaching from the Brethren. This is common knowledge.

Regarding v1.3 "the words of the prophecy," you also need to read v1.19 "write therefore the things you have seen and the things which are ..." The 7 letters in chapters 2-3 are in this second category, "the things which are," which in no way mandates Lee's supposed historical prophecy to these letters.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:01 PM   #56
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Nee and Lee stole much of their teaching from the Brethren. This is common knowledge.

Regarding v1.3 "the words of the prophecy," you also need to read v1.19 "write therefore the things you have seen and the things which are ..." The 7 letters in chapters 2-3 are in this second category, "the things which are," which in no way mandates Lee's supposed historical prophecy to these letters.
Ohio,

Let me make sure I understand your belief about this. You believe that the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 have no prophetic significance and that the content of those letters is only referencing actual situations in those seven churches... nothing more.

Is that correct? If not, please clarify.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:14 PM   #57
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A more recent article (about Etymological Errors) , also posted here in this forum, reveals Dr. Tomes departure from respected and credible scholars and his embracing of scholars who question the inerrancy of the Bible.
Respected and credible scholars? What on God's green earth would that have anything to do with Witness Lee and the Local Church? Lee had zero regard for ANY contemporary scholar, no matter how respected or credible. And this is the crux of this and so many of the professor's polemic writings. You see, when one considers himself the ONLY PERSON SPEAKING AS GOD'S ONE ORACLE ON EARTH, then you cannot afford to give any respect or credibility to any other living Bible teacher because...well then your whole house of cards will come tumbling down and you might just lose that exalted status of The One Minister with the One Ministry for The Age.

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In revisiting this article it is evident that it is very much like the more recent one in that is packaged as an attack on the Witness Lee, Watchman Nee, and LSM... but in reality this article is a dismissal of established and respected biblical interpretation of Rev 2 and 3 in favor of..... ????....well, frankly, it is not clear what Dr. Tomes' interpretation is of Rev 2 and Rev 3.....he never makes that clear nor makes a case for it.
Oh he makes his case, and he makes it big time...but, like Ohio said, you just don't like the case he makes so you start changing the subject and propping up one straw man after another. No biggie, if you didn't do this I would wonder if it was really you, and be concerned that maybe somebody stole your forum Id!

"established and respected biblical interpretation of Rev 2 and 3"? Right, established back at least 150 years ago - and this is another main cog of Tome's polemic - Lee and his followers are as frozen in time. They cannot seem to bring themselves to recognize that the great and glorious God of heaven and earth might just be moving in, among and through anybody else who is outside or apart from their infinitesimally limited theological or historical understanding or perspective. Just another one of the numerous reasons why the Local Church of Witness Lee is growing in insignificance as each day passes.


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Here are a few issues of credibility with this article:

1) Dr. Tomes is infatuated with this notion that modern scholars are more credible than older scholars (those before the middle of the last century). That whole premise is anti-biblical as the Scriptures clearly state that in the last days apostasy would prevail... using the same "time" logic as Tomes one could make the case that the apostates are the more progressive and modern scholars that he now embraces.
I don't see where he says they are more credible, only that there are other points of view to be considered, especially in light of recent history. Surely you aren't implying that all (most?) modern scholars are "progressive"? Why don't you save us all a lot of time and energy and actually give us an actual quote from one of these "progressive and modern scholars" that you disagree with. You jump up and down and claim that Tomes is only telling us what he is against....you seem to be doing exactly what you claim Nigel is doing...you are only telling us what you are against in his writings (all the while totally misrepresenting what he says) but you never give us any substantial quotes/teachings from Witness Lee that would counteract Tome's polemic. Is it because you are not as familiar with Nee/Lee as you present yourself to be, or is it that you realize that you are firing blanks?

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2) Dr. Tomes never offers an interpretation of the prophecy in Rev 2 and 3. In spite of the fact that the bible clearly intimates the prophetic nature of this book. Rev 1:3 and 22:7. He offers no alternative views and relies on the persuasion of his argument that if Witness Lee embraced it then it must wrong... if LSM publishes it then he will find fault.
Just addressed this above. Read it and weep.

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3) Other christian groups are named (Pentecostal, Independent) and suggests that they would not fit into the four categories of churches that remain at the Lord's return. On the contrary, those easily fit those into the category of Protestant churches. Besides, Rev 2 and 3 do not have 8 and 9 categories of churches.... there are 7.
You're right, Lee did fit them all in rather nicely with his "Christianity is Christess" declaration, now didn't he? One size daughter of the whore fits all!

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4) Dr. Tomes deploys irrelevant facts to shore up his argument. For instance, he mentions white man's religion, and European worldviews, and African churches... yet , none of that is relevant to a biblical interpretation of Rev 2 and 3.
Of course it's relevant....to those of us who have been living in the past 150 year or so. Get with it bro! God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. I hate to break the news to you my friend, but just because Nee, Lee, Darby and anybody else you might consider the one minister with the one ministry for the age is pushing up daisies, does not mean that God has gone out of the business of building his Church. Hang on to your hat son, you ain't seen nothin yet. We westerners are about to get past up big time. Be careful to whom you preach the glorious Gospel of the living God...they might just actually believe it and do something with it! You go African brothers, you go! You go South American brothers, you go! You go Chinese brothers, you go!

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5) Tomes appears to mock the watchfulness of believers in past times and cites an example of where people thought the end was near but now in hindsight we know that the end was not near. Yet, he seems oblivious to the arrangement that the Lord Himself conveyed to His church... Watch and pray because the day and the hour are not known. Shouldn't every believer have the aspiration that the Lord will return at any moment? Surely, the Lord's return is imminent and believers throughout the century have been preserved from evil things and the world by holding the view of is imminent return.
Nice. Not responsive to the article, but can't blame you for trying.

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6) Dr. Tomes is disingenuous when he argues the case that the suffering church of Smyrna is not the only body of believers that have suffered and therefore Smyrna must not represent a stage in church history only. This is a fallacy of argument because neither Lee or Nee ever said that believers would not suffer persecution except in Smyrna..... and in fact, they explicitly stated that believers in the tribulation would suffer.
Wow, ok. I'm not sure what you're missing, the forest or the trees. You seem to be blowing past both so fast that it's hard to tell what you're actually trying to address. Try again? (no, I take that back)
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:29 PM   #58
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Untohim> Why don't you save us all a lot of time and energy and actually give us an actual quote from one of these "progressive and modern scholars" that you disagree with.

Barr. Already posted.
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:05 AM   #59
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Ray, this much bigger than Witness Lee.
Perhaps. But, unless I'm mistaken, Mr Tomes' audience (no matter how small on Google's map) is those who are interested in, or whose lives have been touched by, the man named Witness Lee.
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Old 01-25-2015, 07:52 AM   #60
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Ohio,

Let me make sure I understand your belief about this. You believe that the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 have no prophetic significance and that the content of those letters is only referencing actual situations in those seven churches... nothing more.

Is that correct? If not, please clarify.
What are the detailed ramifications of having no prophetic significance? Neither have I said that "the content of those letters is only referencing actual situations ... nothing more."

What I disagree with is Nee's, and subsequently Lee's, interpretation of Revelation that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history, and focus only on 7 particular "denominations."

For example, a strong case can be made that LSM and the current LC's under their control have issues matching many of the seven churches, e.g. lost their first love, are married to the world, under the control of Jezebel, have a name that they are living but are dead.
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:30 AM   #61
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Ohio,

Let me make sure I understand your belief about this. You believe that the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 have no prophetic significance and that the content of those letters is only referencing actual situations in those seven churches... nothing more.

Is that correct? If not, please clarify.
The Historical Ages Interpretation of the Churches of Revelation 2 and 3 is not new to Nee and Lee. It's a view held by C. I. Scofield, G.H. Pember, Andrew Miller (Church History) to name just a few. It's actually a theory that goes back to the late 3rd c., with Victorinus, Bishop of Pettau, who died in A. D. 303.

Basically, it's a theory. A popular theory, maybe, but a theory nonetheless.

Let us not forget that the book of Revelation was not written to us. It was written to believers back in the 1st c. when it was published. They would have understood the symbolism in ways we can't ever get at. We weren't there.

So this historical approach to Rev. 2 & 3 is likely just an anachronistic contrivance, or Cargo Cult type reverse engineering, and shouldn't be considered authoritative.
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:42 PM   #62
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Lee's interpretation of Rev 2 & 3 is a form of remnant theology, i.e. there is a chosen few who are under a special blessing for being faithful to the correct doctrines, err, uh, I mean the correct vision. These chosen few are "Jerusalem" and everyone else is "Babylon." What's so funny about remnant theology is no one espouses it without claiming themselves to be part of the remnant. Like I said, it's a self-serving position.
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:41 AM   #63
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Ohio,

Let me make sure I understand your belief about this. You believe that the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 have no prophetic significance and that the content of those letters is only referencing actual situations in those seven churches... nothing more.

Is that correct? If not, please clarify.
Revelation 2 & 3 can be prophetic without having to refer to specific slices of the Church over specific time frames. Each church could represent various conditions any church could fall into at any time in history. But they don't have to represent Lee's pattern of progression from inception to degradation to recovery culminating in (of course) the glorious movement he founded.

Jesus's parable of the sower is similar. He cited four types of soil: hard, rocky, thorny and good. The message is not that every person will fall into one of these specific conditions, but that any of them can occur in any person.

If Lee's historical progression theory is true then he must concede that the "recovered church" (Philadelphia) must by prophetic necessity degrade into the "lukewarm church" (Laodicea). However, he never conceded that. Which means that he fudged on the theory by believing his movement could avoid the prophecy of becoming Laodicea. In other words, to some extent he believed that the various states were only possibilities, not historical necessities.

Further, if the prophecy is historically progressive, then it is defeatist, because Laodicea is the last church. Where does the church go from the Laodicean state? Back to Philadelphia, then back to Laodicea, and back again? Apparently Lee believed this, because he seemed to believe that God would never give up on "the Recovery," that he would would stick with it no matter how off base it got because the prophecy doesn't allow for anything else.

But recent history has shown this to be false. The fact that God is moving powerfully in other arenas other than "the Recovery" should be a wake-up call to all LC believers there that the good version of the church can appear anywhere. It should tell them that either "the Recovery" was not really the "recovered church" or that Lee's self-serving version of the historically progressive interpretation of Rev 2 & 3 is flawed.

This is the point Tomes's article suggests, and it's hard to argue with.
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:08 AM   #64
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I really like KSA's comment that all the negative warnings are applicable to us today. I have never heard a sermon on "Blessed is he who reads this prophecy." That's too simple. I believe most on this forum have had the experience of just plain reading the Bible and realizing that you heard God speak. Nothing "spooky" nothing sensational. I did get one thing from WL and that was a lot of the Lord's speaking is "No", you are wrong. WL didn't preach too much on that thru the years and I never heard his admitting much "wrong." He was so meek, humble, perfect, especially if you only knew him from 50 feet away.

The first conference I went to was in Atlanta, Jan 1, 1973 and it was heavily spoken by John Ingals and I was bolled over. I had never heard the book of Rev spoken of like that. Wow! This must be the "truth." We are Philidelphia, we are it, look at us, come meet with us, we are the only ones speaking the truth. But after many years, I was wrong! So sad. But one little incouraging thing, I still occasionally get the speaking of the Lord from just reading the Bible without some guru telling me what it actually means.

This Revelation thing is almost like watching Disney phantasy and how I was taken in by WL. 1Cor 15:45 says the Last Adam became a life giving spirit and before that on the day His ressurrection Jesus told His disciples I am not a spirit. Did they contradict each other? I don't know and sorry to say I don't care. Both Paul and Lee are dead and yet the Bible stands. The word of God is living. I sort of like that.

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Old 01-26-2015, 12:55 PM   #65
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awareness> The Historical Ages Interpretation of the Churches of Revelation 2 and 3 is not new to Nee and Lee. It's a view held by C. I. Scofield, G.H. Pember, Andrew Miller (Church History) to name just a few.

That's right.

awareness> Let us not forget that the book of Revelation was not written to us. It was written to believers back in the 1st c. when it was published. They would have understood the symbolism in ways we can't ever get at. We weren't there.

I disagree with that awareness. Else you could argue that Paul's letters were only for those churches (Rome, Thessaloniki, Corinth, etc.) or persons (Timothy, Titus, Philemon) to whom they were addressed at the time.

Your view would also require the fulfillment of all the detailed prophecies in the book of Revelation were it meant to only apply to those churches.

I will agree with you though that there was an actual situation that the members in each of the seven local churches (and even non-believers living in those cities) would have recognized from the content of the letter addressed to them.
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:12 PM   #66
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Ohio> What I disagree with is Nee's, and subsequently Lee's, interpretation of Revelation that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history, and focus only on 7 particular "denominations."

Neither Nee nor Lee taught "that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history". They taught that there were also actual situations in those churches so that the content of the letters would have been understood by the members of those churches.... and they also taught that the names of the churches were meaningful.

Ohio>
....and focus only on 7 particular "denominations."

Neither do they do that..... there are only really four, the last four, that represent categories of churches.. .. they, nor I, do not consider Catholicism as a denomination for instance.
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:30 PM   #67
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Ohio> What I disagree with is Nee's, and subsequently Lee's, interpretation of Revelation that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history, and focus only on 7 particular "denominations."

Neither Nee nor Lee taught "that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history". They taught that there were also actual situations in those churches so that the content of the letters would have been understood by the members of those churches.... and they also taught that the names of the churches were meaningful.

Ohio>
....and focus only on 7 particular "denominations."

Neither do they do that..... there are only really four, the last four, that represent categories of churches.. .. they, nor I, do not consider Catholicism as a denomination for instance.
Both of these comments are pointless. All you are saying is that Ohio didn't say it exactly correctly. But nothing you say deflects his fundamental point, which you didn't address.
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:33 PM   #68
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Perhaps. But, unless I'm mistaken, Mr Tomes' audience (no matter how small on Google's map) is those who are interested in, or whose lives have been touched by, the man named Witness Lee.
I think that is a reasonable assumption to make...... still, that does not entitle him to a free pass.....
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:48 PM   #69
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Both of these comments are pointless. All you are saying is that Ohio didn't say it exactly correctly. But nothing you say deflects his fundamental point, which you didn't address.
There is no deflection...... at all.

Ohio clarified his point of view in the first sentence....that's fine and I now understand that he does not hold a strict literal view (like what awareness expressed) ... ... then I addressed what he said he disagreed with in the second sentence, correcting the misunderstanding about what Watchman Nee and Witness Lee taught on this topic, clarification was important if further discussion is to proceed with a common understanding...... and the third sentence was a view, opinion or an assertion that stands or falls on its on own merits. The reader can decide.
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:53 PM   #70
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awareness> The Historical Ages Interpretation of the Churches of Revelation 2 and 3 is not new to Nee and Lee. It's a view held by C. I. Scofield, G.H. Pember, Andrew Miller (Church History) to name just a few.
Cassidy ... Scofield, Pember, Miller, and Nee were all highly influenced by John Darby and his super-dispensationalism and exclusive remnant teachings, so you are hardly presenting a cross-section of Christian scholarship.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:10 PM   #71
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Ohio> What I disagree with is Nee's, and subsequently Lee's, interpretation of Revelation that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history, and focus only on 7 particular "denominations."

Neither Nee nor Lee taught "that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history". They taught that there were also actual situations in those churches so that the content of the letters would have been understood by the members of those churches.... and they also taught that the names of the churches were meaningful.

Ohio>
....and focus only on 7 particular "denominations."

Neither do they do that..... there are only really four, the last four, that represent categories of churches.. .. they, nor I, do not consider Catholicism as a denomination for instance.
Of course Roman Catholicism is a denomination. Of course the Recovery is a denomination.

Of course Nee and Lee "interpretation of Revelation that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history." In fact the dates have been assigned to each of these 7 distinct eras. Perhaps, Cassidy, you should go back and brush up on your LC church history. IIRC, here they are roughly...
  1. Ephesus -- Apostolic church -- 30-100 AD (Death of John)
  2. Smyrna -- Suffering church -- 100-325 AD (Constantine)
  3. Pergamos -- Worldly church -- 325-450 AD (Rise of Roman Pope)
  4. Thyatira -- Apostate church -- 450-1517AD
  5. Sardis -- Protestant Church -- 1517AD-> (95 Theses)
  6. Philadelphia -- Recovered Church -- 1825AD -> (Dublin Meeting)
  7. Laodicea -- Degraded Church -- 1849AD -> (Brethren Division)
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:14 PM   #72
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Cassidy ... Scofield, Pember, Miller, and Nee were all highly influenced by John Darby and his super-dispensationalism and exclusive remnant teachings, so you are hardly presenting a cross-section of Christian scholarship.
Ohio, I never asserted that I was "presenting a cross-section of Christian scholarship" because I am not convinced that a cross-section of Christian scholarship will reveal the truth of the scriptures. I think every teaching must be weighed carefully. My objections to Tomes' is his dogmatic dismissal of these bible teachers in favor of modern ones... he makes the argument as if modern means better informed and therefore more credible. I disagree with that.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:16 PM   #73
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There is no deflection...... at all.

Ohio clarified his point of view in the first sentence....that's fine and I now understand that he does not hold a strict literal view (like what awareness expressed) ... ... then I addressed what he said he disagreed with in the second sentence, correcting the misunderstanding about what Watchman Nee and Witness Lee taught on this topic, clarification was important if further discussion is to proceed with a common understanding...... and the third sentence was a view, opinion or an assertion that stands or falls on its on own merits. The reader can decide.
Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:20 PM   #74
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Ohio, I never asserted that I was "presenting a cross-section of Christian scholarship" because I am not convinced that a cross-section of Christian scholarship will reveal the truth of the scriptures.
Without saying it explicitly, you definitely said this implicitly.


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My objections to Tomes' is his dogmatic dismissal of these bible teachers in favor of modern ones... he makes the argument as if modern means better informed and therefore more credible. I disagree with that.
Dogmatic dismissal of Bible teachers? Only at LSM do they do that!
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:26 PM   #75
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Ohio> Of course Roman Catholicism is a denomination. Of course the Recovery is a denomination.

Not really. However, it is not pertinent to this particular conversation. What I think you mean by denominations are what I called categories and what others called epochs and time periods of the christian church, etc.

Ohio> Of course Nee and Lee "interpretation of Revelation that the 7 churches only portray 7 successive time periods in church history."

No, I was objecting to this expression "
the 7 churches only portray",.. that is, I do NOT believe that they only portray successive periods, they also portray actual situations in those churches when the letters were written, their names portray significance, that there were seven portrays significance.

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Old 01-26-2015, 02:29 PM   #76
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Ohio, I never asserted that I was "presenting a cross-section of Christian scholarship" because I am not convinced that a cross-section of Christian scholarship will reveal the truth of the scriptures. I think every teaching must be weighed carefully. My objections to Tomes' is his dogmatic dismissal of these bible teachers in favor of modern ones... he makes the argument as if modern means better informed and therefore more credible. I disagree with that.
Okay, but isn't the whole theory of "recovery" that we build on the shoulders of others? That being the case, shouldn't we usually give modern scholars the benefit of the doubt?

This points to another conflicted characteristic of Lee's remnant theology. In order to be the remnant, you must dismiss all contemporaries. To do that you are forced to embrace scholars of past generations, and therefore implicitly the theory that older is better. However, doing that contradicts the idea that the recovery is up-to-date. The only way to be up-to-date then is to only consider the contemporary theology produced by the remnant, which is presumptuous, narrow and likely self-serving--that is, prone to error.

In other words, the only reason to embrace the progressive recovery version of history is proclaim yourself the issue of the progression. Certainly all current scholars realize that we are beneficiaries of theological progress. But unlike Lee they don't feel the need to cast history as a process leading to them and them alone.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:31 PM   #77
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No, I was objecting to this expression "[/COLOR] the 7 churches only portray",.. that is, I do NOT believe that they only portray successive periods, they also portray actual situations in those churches when the letters were written, their names portray significance, that there were seven portrays significance.

They also can be seen as portraying actual conditions any church can experience in any age.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:36 PM   #78
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Without saying it explicitly, you definitely said this implicitly.


Dogmatic dismissal of Bible teachers? Only at LSM do they do that!
I do not know how it could be mistaken that I implicitly supported the notion of the merits a cross-section of christian scholars. I have gone out of my way to explicitly reject that whole concept... and if there is any doubt about it I'll say it again. I do not believe that a cross-section of Christian scholars will yield the truth in the Bible. Every teaching needs to be weighed against the scriptures.

And no, Tomes has dogmatically dismissed respected and credible bible teachers in favor of modern ones. He engages in that liberally.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:37 PM   #79
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They also can be seen as portraying actual conditions any church can experience in any age.
Yes, I agree with that.. and that is another reason why I disagree with awareness' view.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:38 PM   #80
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Without saying it explicitly, you definitely said this implicitly.


Dogmatic dismissal of Bible teachers? Only at LSM do they do that!
Well, to be fair, they do it in other obscure, nutty groups, too.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:40 PM   #81
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Yes, I agree with that.. and that is another reason why I disagree with awareness' view.
Yeah, I don't agree that we can't understand Revelation because it was written to early churches. I fancy that they had a tough time with it, too.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:42 PM   #82
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They also can be seen as portraying actual conditions any church can experience, in any age.
Not just whole churches collectively, but individuals at diverse stages of their Christian walk. In my case, I seemed to have arrived at all seven churches simultaneously while in the Recovery: losing my first love as I excessively "honored" LC ministers, suffering the abuse of these leaders, married to the world - the vainglory of "blended" life, under the control of a Jezebel spirit, having a name that I was living, yet still loving the brothers and holding His word, while watching the degradation surround me on all sides.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:45 PM   #83
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I do not know how it could be mistaken that I implicitly supported the notion of the merits a cross-section of christian scholars. I have gone out of my way to explicitly reject that whole concept... and if there is any doubt about it I'll say it again. I do not believe that a cross-section of Christian scholars will yield the truth in the Bible. Every teaching needs to be weighed against the scriptures.
Sounds like you have just begun to be willing to reject LSM's unscholarly and narrow views, and start to look at the scriptures more carefully.

Praise God, Cassidy!
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:56 PM   #84
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Igzy> Okay, but isn't the whole theory of "recovery" that we build on the shoulders of others? That being the case, shouldn't we usually give modern scholars the benefit of the doubt?

I think we should test all things including the teaching of modern scholars, and teachers, and their teachings should not be given the benefit of the doubt. I believe that God reveals his truths to his servants but I do not believe that every teaching from modern or aged scholar or teacher is according to God's revelation.

Igzy> This points to another conflicted characteristic of Lee's remnant theology.

I do not understand what you mean by "remnant theology". That refers to a particular type of theology. I have never heard Nee or Lee associate the churches with it. Surely, the bible shows there are remnants of his people that He uses separate from the larger body of God's people... but "remnant theology" is something different.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:58 PM   #85
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Tomes is saying that from Lee's place in time it might have seemed reasonable to interpret Rev 2 & 3 the way he did. But as time has moved on it doesn't make near as much sense. I agree.

To me it's similar to the error which Lee himself commented on, that in WWII people were saying that Hitler was the Anti-Christ and Mussolini was the false prophet. (Lee quipped that Mussolini could not be the false prophet because the false prophet looked like a lamb, and Mussolini looked like a frog. One of Lee's funnier lines.) That belief about Hitler and Mussolini probably seemed really reasonable in that day. But now we know it could not be true.

Interpreting history with ourselves at the center is always myopic.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:01 PM   #86
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I do not understand what you mean by "remnant theology". That refers to a particular type of theology. I have never heard Nee or Lee associate the churches with it. Surely, the bible shows there are remnants of his people that He uses separate from the larger body of God's people... but "remnant theology" is something different.
Remnant theology simply means you believe your little group is the chosen few above all other Christians on earth. Lee certainly believed this and his interpretation of Rev 2 & 3 was skewed to support it.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:04 PM   #87
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I think we should test all things including the teaching of modern scholars, and teachers, and their teachings should not be given the benefit of the doubt. I believe that God does reveal his truths to his servants but I do not believe that every teaching from modern or aged scholar or teacher is according to God's revelation.
Agreed!
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I do not understand what you mean by "remnant theology". That refers to a particular type of theology. I have never heard Nee or Lee associate the churches with it. Surely, the bible shows there are remnants of his people that He uses separate from the larger body of God's people... but "remnant theology" is something different.
"Remnant theology" is the basis for all of Darby's, Nee's, and Lee's teachings -- that the body of Christ has failed, and God wants to use a remnant to accomplish His Purpose. I have heard Lee refer to this thousands of times, in all kinds of diverse descriptors, including the "remnant." At the end of his ministry, Lee preferred the word "overcomers," but its all the same.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:18 PM   #88
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Sounds like you have just begun to be willing to reject LSM's unscholarly and narrow views, and start to look at the scriptures more carefully.

Praise God, Cassidy!
Well Ohio, I really like the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee and how they open up the revelation in the Bible and the cross-references they used... and connecting the dots between OT and NT... etc. I know of believer's not in the Lord's Recovery who use Witness Lee's and Watchman Nee's teaching in their Sunday School class for instance.

Having said that, these two servants are not scholars but they are clearly teachers... and very good ones... in my view. In regard to their teachings, in this case about Rev 2 and 3, I think they have laid out a compelling case for the prophetic nature of these churches.. and it did not originate with them but they had the gift to explain it. I do not expect anyone to accept that at face value.. rather, if it is of interest then they should spend a few hours diving into it.... and decide for themselves.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:23 PM   #89
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Remnant theology simply means you believe your little group is the chosen few above all other Christians on earth. Lee certainly believed this and his interpretation of Rev 2 & 3 was skewed to support it.
No, it means more than that now. Has to do with Israel and the Church..... Google it.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:32 PM   #90
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Ohio> "Remnant theology" is the basis for all of Darby's, Nee's, and Lee's teachings -- that the body of Christ has failed, and God wants to use a remnant to accomplish His Purpose. I have heard Lee refer to this thousands of times, in all kinds of diverse descriptors, including the "remnant." At the end of his ministry, Lee preferred the word "overcomers," but its all the same."

I think it means more than you are saying now. For arguments sake the term should not be used unless Nee or Lee used it to describe themselves. Now "a remnant" I get.... but "Remnant Theology" is a loaded term and I have never heard it used. If you have please provide a reference... I searched the online LSM publications data base and never found the term "Remnant Theology".
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:35 PM   #91
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No, it means more than that now. Has to do with Israel and the Church..... Google it.
You have your definition of "denomination" and I'll have mine of "remnant theology."

Regardless, please get the point. I don't disagree that only a subset of God's people are truly faithful. The problem with what I call "remnant theology" is that it institutionalizes the idea that its adherents are the remnant. It's part of the stated or at least assumed belief of the group that adheres to it that they are the remnant. Such a belief is dangerous.

There is nothing wrong with believing that only some will be faithful. Where the error comes in is when you start believing that your little group is the faithful and all or most others are not. That's what the LC believed and still believes. There is no way such a belief is healthy or helpful in any way, shape or form. It only leads to pride, suspicion, denial, rationalization, isolation, narrow-mindedness, aloofness, judgmentalism and a bunch of other deadly sins.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:45 PM   #92
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A healthy view of the remnant says, "Only some will be faithful, but I can't say for sure who they are."

An unhealthy view says, "Only some will be faithful, I know who they are, and most of them are meeting with us!"

Lee believed the 144,000 overcomers in Revelation would be almost entirely from the LC.

Isn't that at least beginning to look silly to you?
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Old 01-26-2015, 04:34 PM   #93
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Ohio> "Remnant theology" is the basis for all of Darby's, Nee's, and Lee's teachings -- that the body of Christ has failed, and God wants to use a remnant to accomplish His Purpose. I have heard Lee refer to this thousands of times, in all kinds of diverse descriptors, including the "remnant." At the end of his ministry, Lee preferred the word "overcomers," but its all the same."

I think it means more than you are saying now. For arguments sake the term should not be used unless Nee or Lee used it to describe themselves. Now "a remnant" I get.... but "Remnant Theology" is a loaded term and I have never heard it used. If you have please provide a reference... I searched the online LSM publications data base and never found the term "Remnant Theology".
Witness Lee claimed that he was not religious. He also claimed that Living Stream Ministry and the local churches are not a religion, and do not have a headquarters.

So of course he didn't use the term "remnant theology." He didn't want his teachings to be considered a "theology" in the first place.

I know full-timers who would deny they are "teachers." Yet week after week, in home meetings and campus Bible studies, they go out of their way to teach and make their perspective heard by all who will listen. Full-timers often make it their, well, full-time job to recruit students into their fold. But they would generally deny that they are "recruiting," "teaching," or trying to gain any kind of following.

Proof's in the pudding, I suppose.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:38 PM   #94
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Here's an example of the teaching, call it what you will:

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Our attitude is that we are open to all the saints. We do not consider that we only are the members of the Body of Christ. The most we consider is that we are members of the Body of Christ who have come back to the original, unique ground of oneness and who are standing here as God’s remnant.The difference between other Christians and us is that they still remain there in their captivity, while we have come back to the proper, unique ground of oneness. We are open to all the believers, but we would not take the place of captivity where they remain. We could not join them in that place because it is a place of captivity, full of divisions, organizations, and traditions.

(Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 11, Section 3)
Which simply goes to show that captivity is a relative thing.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:58 PM   #95
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In regard to their teachings, in this case about Rev 2 and 3, I think they have laid out a compelling case for the prophetic nature of these churches.. and it did not originate with them but they had the gift to explain it.
Stop and think for a minute bro Cassidy. I brought up the first notion of the historical progression of the 7 churches was coined by Victorinus back around circa 280A.D. Do you think his historical progression conception back then would resemble those holding to a historical progression today? Our progression today wouldn't have a clue how his historical development applied to the churches in his history of them. And in a hundred years anyone holding to a historical progression will be completely different than today.

So the historical progression conception is very subjective. That's why I say the theory shouldn't be taken as authoritative.

And yes, the book of Revelation was written to those back in the 1st c. How do you think they interpreted the book? It wouldn't be anything like we interpret it today. The whore, the beast, the heads, and all of the symbols in Rev. they would have applied to their day ... and would have been closer to what the book really meant than we could ever hope to be. And ... They would have considered that it meant what it says:

Rev_1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.
Rev_22:6 And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."
Rev_22:7 "And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Rev_22:12 "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.
Rev_22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."


And as far as Paul's letters, read them literally:

Rom 1:7 To all that be in Rome
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,
2Co 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth
Gal 1:2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia


So forth and so on ...
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:39 PM   #96
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Stop and think for a minute bro Cassidy. I brought up the first notion of the historical progression of the 7 churches was coined by Victorinus back around circa 280A.D. Do you think his historical progression conception back then would resemble those holding to a historical progression today? Our progression today wouldn't have a clue how his historical development applied to the churches in his history of them. And in a hundred years anyone holding to a historical progression will be completely different than today.

So the historical progression conception is very subjective. That's why I say the theory shouldn't be taken as authoritative.

And yes, the book of Revelation was written to those back in the 1st c. How do you think they interpreted the book? It wouldn't be anything like we interpret it today. The whore, the beast, the heads, and all of the symbols in Rev. they would have applied to their day ... and would have been closer to what the book really meant than we could ever hope to be. And ... They would have considered that it meant what it says:

Rev_1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.
Rev_22:6 And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."
Rev_22:7 "And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Rev_22:12 "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.
Rev_22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."


And as far as Paul's letters, read them literally:

Rom 1:7 To all that be in Rome
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,
2Co 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth
Gal 1:2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia


So forth and so on ...
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:18 AM   #97
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And in a hundred years anyone holding to a historical progression will be completely different than today.
This is true. What's funny about Lee's interpretation is that it ends with Laodicea being "Brethrenism," which just happened to be the immediate precursor to Lee's movement. What a coincidence!!

But now look. Decades have passed. The bloom has left "the Recovery" ("The bloom is gone and with the bloom go I"). Other movements are being raised up to carry the torch. God is moving on. So where does "the Recovery" fit in with the progression now? Does it just end with Brethrenism? Is "the Recovery" actually part of Laodicea? Is history along with the rest of us left with cooling our heels waiting for Lee's movement to transform into Philadelphia? How are they going to do that when they are obsessed with suing everyone?

Time eventually exposes everything, especially short-sighted predictions.
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:07 AM   #98
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Other movements are being raised up to carry the torch. God is moving on. So where does "the Recovery" fit in with the progression now? Does it just end with Brethrenism? Is "the Recovery" actually part of Laodicea? Is history along with the rest of us left with cooling our heels waiting for Lee's movement to transform into Philadelphia?
And asking the questions in this manner suggests that the progression is actually intended, but we just do not know where everything yet fits.

But if the progression is mostly fantasy created to support remnant theologies over the centuries, more recently those of Darby then of Nee and Lee, then what are these little epistles in an epistle really about?

Most likely they are exactly what they say they are about. The loss of focus and love. The tolerance for evil and heresy. The propensity to think you've figured it all out and sit back on your laurels. And so on.

There is another discussion going on elsewhere (lots of elsewheres, actually) about homosexuality and the church. This is a difficult discussion because there is a propensity to either abandon love and be hateful, or abandon truth and allow evil. Somehow these both speak to how we should approach this issue. These are people like any others that we are to love. Yet within the church there are things that we cannot allow. I am not suggesting a clear answer to the problem, just framing the question(s) in an way that shines at least two of these little epistles onto the discussion.

How do we respond? Without love (or only with so-called "tough love" that opens both barrels of our sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun), or without standards for open behavior within the church?

And when we look at the so-called Lord's recovery, it is clear that there are several aspects of various of these letters in play. They are determined that they (and only they) have the riches of the proper NT ministry. Yet they tolerated that evil man PL, even promoting him to be the one who "coordinated" all of the churches as they spread serious lies about those who stood firm to overcome the evil. Yes, there are some within that are standing fast in their first love, but does the group still hold to the first love, or has it been replaced?

Surely there are similar questions that can be asked of many other groups. I am not justifying anyone else by chastising the LRC. But neither will I sit silently concerning the LRC just because others are not pure and without fault.
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:49 AM   #99
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Surely there are similar questions that can be asked of many other groups. I am not justifying anyone else by chastising the LRC. But neither will I sit silently concerning the LRC just because others are not pure and without fault.
Once again we should focus on what the Bible plainly says, rather than on some possible secondary hidden meaning that we just can't pin down. Primarily the letters are warnings about pitfalls. Whether they refer to historical groups or periods is tricky guesswork. And which actual groups they may refer to is even trickier guesswork.

But, stepping back, what is the point or benefit of identifying whole swaths of Christian history and people with the seven churches in the first place? There doesn't seem to be any point to it at all, other than discrediting and marginalizing every group but one's own. Once you discredit Catholics and Protestants there's not much left. Only you are left standing. You and your tiny overcoming remnant, dancing on the grave of the rest of the Church.
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:16 AM   #100
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But, stepping back, what is the point or benefit of identifying whole swaths of Christian history and people with the seven churches in the first place? There doesn't seem to be any point to it at all, other than discrediting and marginalizing every group but one's own. Once you discredit Catholics and Protestants there's not much left. Only you are left standing.
Great points here. Are not these the same ingredients that compose the proud and arrogant Laodicea? And let's step back and look at what has happened to groups that are built upon this bad foundation of sinking sand. The exclusives should provide us with just the case study we need.

Cassidy, have you ever studied the exclusive Brethren?
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:15 PM   #101
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Well Ohio, I really like the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee and how they open up the revelation in the Bible and the cross-references they used... and connecting the dots between OT and NT... etc. I know of believer's not in the Lord's Recovery who use Witness Lee's and Watchman Nee's teaching in their Sunday School class for instance.

Having said that, these two servants are not scholars but they are clearly teachers... and very good ones... in my view. In regard to their teachings, in this case about Rev 2 and 3, I think they have laid out a compelling case for the prophetic nature of these churches.. and it did not originate with them but they had the gift to explain it. I do not expect anyone to accept that at face value.. rather, if it is of interest then they should spend a few hours diving into it.... and decide for themselves.
You know of the seven churches mentioned here in Rev only the first and last are mentioned in the Bible except here. I'm not at all suggesting they don't exist but might point to the ultra spiritual speaking of the book. I think Lee thought he figured it all out and that may be his top ignorance. Surely John wrote to people then or they would have never read it.

When I was a kid in Sunday School and we were causing trouble, the teacher said more than once, if Jesus were here you wouldn't act like this. And I have heard the same thing in my adult life. He one time said "I'll never leave you or forsake you" and "lo I am with you always even to the end of the age." Surely He's here and we mostly are unaware.

Early in my "church life experience" I sensed a people living in the Lord's presence today. That didn't last too long. The death came in slowly causing us to laugh and die at the same time.

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Old 01-27-2015, 03:51 PM   #102
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But, stepping back, what is the point or benefit of identifying whole swaths of Christian history and people with the seven churches in the first place? There doesn't seem to be any point to it at all, other than discrediting and marginalizing every group but one's own.
And there, in a nutshell, is the only reason to review history in that manner.

Besides, can you imagine the thinking over the centuries if Lee was right and everyone before him understood the apparent prophecies? Sometime in about 200AD they would begin to say "Wow! We're in the age of Smyrna!" then quite some generations later, someone would declare "Woe to us who now live in the age of Thyatira!"

It doesn't take a degree in theology to see the problems with that interpretation.
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:21 PM   #103
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Besides the trickiness of figuring out who the ostensibly symbolic seven churches refer to, I'm left wondering why would the prophecy end with the lukewarm church? It seems it would end with Philadelphia. Lee taught that Laodicea was the "degraded Philadelphia." But if the progression ends there, how does that work? Kind of a sad ending. Of course, Lee fudged and believed something came after the seventh church, namely his movement. Yippee! But, oops, when that also degraded, now what?

It's just like another of those disappointing predictions of Jesus's return. (Cue Bullwinkle saying, "Thith time for thure!"). You're left feeling "Darn! Fell for it again!"
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:17 PM   #104
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I think we should test all things including the teaching of modern scholars, and teachers, and their teachings should not be given the benefit of the doubt. I believe that God reveals his truths to his servants but I do not believe that every teaching from modern or aged scholar or teacher is according to God's revelation.
Nice sentiment, but what are we supposed to do with a closed system of teachings like those of the Local Church/Witness Lee? I'm sure you realize that Lee's followers are able to test all things...except those that emanate from Witness Lee. His teachings are to be taken and accepted wholesale without any question, much, much less "testing". Those who dare to tread on this hallowed ground find themselves labeled as "negative" (if they're lucky) but most likely "rebellious", "evil opposers"...and my favorite..."destroyers of the divine building".

If you could be so kind, could you please tell us about a teaching from Witness Lee that you have found not to be "according to God's revelation"? You've already admitted that Lee was no scholar (so what the #%@* did he have any business being the one apostle and one theologian for an entire movement?), but let's give him the benefit of the doubt and call him a teacher - You say "I do not believe that every teaching from modern or aged scholar or teacher is according to God's revelation"...so surely out of all the thousands upon thousands of Lee's messages (and you seem to be quite the lay-scholar of his ministry) tell us about a teaching or two of Lee's that you have found not to be according to God's revelation.
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:52 AM   #105
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches

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... can you imagine the thinking over the centuries if Lee was right and everyone before him understood the apparent prophecies? Sometime in about 200AD they would begin to say "Wow! We're in the age of Smyrna!" then quite some generations later, someone would declare "Woe to us who now live in the age of Thyatira!"

It doesn't take a degree in theology to see the problems with that interpretation.
Not to mention the problems with theology of its reception with the actual recipients, and their contemporaries. I see a skit brewing:

(Scene: somewhere in Thyatira, circa 90 CE)

Bob: Well, hey there, Fred? Howzit going!!

Fred: Praise the Lord, brother Bob!!

B: Amen, amen. What's news?

F: Well, did you know, the aged apostle really took us to task, here? He said that all kinds of shenanigans were going on. Seemed pretty upset.

B: Oh you mean John? Not to worry. He was writing of a church age to come. We're cool.

F: Oh really? Well, that's good to know. I was worried there for a minute.

B: Yeah, but keep this between you & me, okay? Nobody's supposed to figure all this out until the apostle of the age, about 19 centuries hence. Until then it will all be shrouded in mystery.

F: Mystery, huh? Oh boy I like mysteries!! And we get to be in it! How cool is that?

B: No doubt, man.

F: Ok, see ya. Praise the Lord.

B. Amen, bro.
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:43 PM   #106
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches

Some brothers and I were fellowshipping about why the 7 epistles in Rev are "to the messenger" of each church rather than to the church itself, so I thought I'd share it here:

WN and WL interpreted "messenger" as the real leaders of the church. Those who can listen and bring the message to the church. The "messenger" is the overcomers.

If the above was the case, why not just write to the church itself?

I don't think Gk word aggelos conveys that meaning.

It usually means"angel", but "angel" doesn't seem to make sense here. Why would the Lord write to angels, and why would He hold the 7 angels in His right hand?

Aggelos is translated 7 times as "messenger" by KJV. The 7 uses are:
1. JB as forerunner to the Lord quoting Mal 3:1a (Mt 11:10; Lu 7:27; Mr 1:2)
2. Messengers sent by JB to the Lord while JB was in prison (Lu 7:24)
3. The Lord sent messengers before His face to make ready for Him (Lu 9:52)
4. a messenger of satan to buffet Paul (2Cor 12:7)
5. The spies sent beforehand by Joshua, whom Rahab received (Jas 2:25)

The NT use of the word is for a forerunner or a representative.

I think the reason the 7 epistles are to the messenger of the churches, as well as to the churches (Rev 1:11) is because the 7 churches in Asia are prophetic forerunners of churches to come. The church in Thyatira in Asia Minor is the prophetic forerunner of the Catholic church, etc.

I see no other reason to write in such a strange way "to the messenger of the church in ...".
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:33 PM   #107
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches

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The NT use of the word is for a forerunner or a representative.

I think the reason the 7 epistles are to the messenger of the churches, as well as to the churches (Rev 1:11) is because the 7 churches in Asia are prophetic forerunners of churches to come. The church in Thyatira in Asia Minor is the prophetic forerunner of the Catholic church, etc.

I see no other reason to write in such a strange way "to the messenger of the church in ...".
VIW, do you accept Nee's interpretations of the seven churches, or do you have some alternative?
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Old 03-30-2015, 08:11 PM   #108
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VIW, do you accept Nee's interpretations of the seven churches, or do you have some alternative?
Ohio,
I pretty much agree with Nee's interpretations. The 7 churches characterize future church ages. The characteristic of the last 4 ages continue through some denominations.

Ephesus - 2nd century after the apostles passed
Smyrna - under Roman persecution
Pergamos - under Constantine. It even mentions Balaam and Balak. Balaam was a servant of God seeking money and worldly position. Balak was a pagan king outside of God's people, symbolizing Constantine.
Thyatira - the apostate church of the dark ages continuing as the RC church and her daughters
Sardis - the reformation, continuing as mainline Protestant denominations
Philadelpha - the age of Darby, Mueller, Spurgeon, Hudson Taylor, Moody, Fanny Crosby, etc. continuing in some faithful Christian groups
Laodicea - 20th century+ Christians

Nigel's main argument, is that the above interpretation does not well account for the 20th and 21st centuries. Where are the Pentecostals? I am not very familiar with Pentecostals, but to me, today they mostly fit Laodicea, and some Philadelphia and some Thyatira with the false prophets.

If the prophecy fits well from 100 AD to 1900 AD, then I wouldn't throw it out because it doesn't seem to fit post 1900.

Nigel does have valid points.

I don't agree with Nee that Thyatira can only come out of Philadelphia. Pride can come without ever having actually been truly rich.
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:58 PM   #109
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..."In the epistle to the church in Ephesus we see the all-inclusive Christ as the One who holds the seven 'stars' in His right hand (Rev.2:1). The brothers who are taking the lead in the churches as the messengers (Gk. angels - Rev 1:20) are held in this One's hand. This One is the holder of all church leaders. However, some of the so-called church leaders may not be held by Him. He 'only holds those He recognizes'. To be held by Him, 'you must be recognized by Him' first. We must realize that the leading ones in the churches in the Lord's recovery are held in His hand.....This One who holds the leaders in His hand and who walks in the midst of the churches is the all-inclusive, excellent, marvellous, mysterious, and wonderful One.....When we come to the book of Revelation, however, we 'primarily' need to 'care' for [this wonderful One who is holding all] the 'church leaders' in His right hand and who is walking in the midst of all the churches. A number of times some of the saints came to me and told me that it seemed to them that I never became disappointed or discouraged. They wanted to know why this was the case. The reason for this is that by His mercy, I have seen this marvelous One and I have seen that I AM IN HIS HANDS. To see this strengthens me to the uttermost....This is why the opening word in Revelation 2 says, ' "These things says He who holds the SEVEN STARS IN HIS RIGHT HAND, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands" '..."

(The seven spirits (3), chp 22, pp238-240, God's New Testament Economy, 1986, Living Stream Ministry)..

...a quick observation: why not just say "hey, I'm a STAR!!!"...?.
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:53 AM   #110
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches TOMES

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..."In the epistle to the church in Ephesus we see the all-inclusive Christ as the One who holds the seven 'stars' in His right hand (Rev.2:1). The brothers who are taking the lead in the churches as the messengers (Gk. angels - Rev 1:20) are held in this One's hand. This One is the holder of all church leaders. However, some of the so-called church leaders may not be held by Him. He 'only holds those He recognizes'. To be held by Him, 'you must be recognized by Him' first. We must realize that the leading ones in the churches in the Lord's recovery are held in His hand.....This One who holds the leaders in His hand and who walks in the midst of the churches is the all-inclusive, excellent, marvellous, mysterious, and wonderful One.....When we come to the book of Revelation, however, we 'primarily' need to 'care' for [this wonderful One who is holding all] the 'church leaders' in His right hand and who is walking in the midst of all the churches. A number of times some of the saints came to me and told me that it seemed to them that I never became disappointed or discouraged. They wanted to know why this was the case. The reason for this is that by His mercy, I have seen this marvelous One and I have seen that I AM IN HIS HANDS. To see this strengthens me to the uttermost....This is why the opening word in Revelation 2 says, ' "These things says He who holds the SEVEN STARS IN HIS RIGHT HAND, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands" '..."

(The seven spirits (3), chp 22, pp238-240, God's New Testament Economy, 1986, Living Stream Ministry)..

...a quick observation: why not just say "hey, I'm a STAR!!!"...?.
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The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
God made his revelation known by sending His angel to his servant John, according to Revelation 1:1. Again and again in the Apocalypse the mediatory angel makes things known to John. This is well in line with angel-mediated presentations of late Antiquity like 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, both well known and attested to by authors of that early era.

But somehow in that historical, cultural, and texual milieu Witness Lee still manages to insinuate himself into the narrative as one of the 'aggelos' held in Jesus' right hand, delivering messages to the churches. Very impressive bit of maneuvering.

I contend that such subjective re-narrating of the text makes it difficult for any serious Bible student to treat Witness Lee as an authoritative teacher. Instead, reception can only occur within the typically hyped-up and self-absorbed 'sensual' or 'charismatic' atmosphere of the LC. Outside of his small circle of hyperventilating acolytes, I doubt Lee's message will travel very far in Christian circles.
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Old 11-03-2015, 01:25 PM   #111
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I did not take the time to read all of the above submissions, but I would like to just toss in a couple of thoughts from the teachings that I received during my youth at the Bible church.

First, we were taught that these were churches that occurred or "came up" during various times of church history and that they were sequential or chronological with the last four remaining until the coming of the Lord and existing at the same time. Would those who received this message in those times have been able to understand all that it meant? No. Many prophetic utterances are left to be interpreted as time rolls on and circumstances become clear. We note the following verses in the book of Daniel from chapter 12 in a conversation directed at the great prophet himself:

8 I heard, but I DID NOT UNDERSTAND. So I asked, "My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?"
9 He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the END."
13 "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."

So, then, what COULD they have received from these letters to the churches? Well, another teaching that I received and to this day believe is correct is that at any one time, ANY church could find itself in these descriptions to some degree and, after having done so, find the Lord's own prescription, so to speak, about how to cure/correct it. Finally, we were also taught that WITHIN each church there were different groups of believers fitting these church descriptions based on their spiritual condition. And is this not true today? I know that when I read them, I consider the sad state of my own spiritual life and how it compares to these churches and I am always sobered and even terrified to see myself in Sardis, Thyatira, or Laodicea.

The inescapable fact is, based on our life experiences (if we have lived very long) and Daniel 12, among other Bible references, is that NO ONE can be absolutely certain of every single thing and be "THE Prophet or Minister of the Age" because some things will only be revealed by time and events that occur solely during that time.

Regarding the Pentecostal movement not being mentioned or being described in a way so that we can definitely pinpoint them, we would have to also say that there is no real sign of the Baptists as a separate group--along with others. I find it hard to believe that the great majority of Pentecostals, Bible churches, or Baptist churches would be Sardis because they DO preach the gospel and the gospel is LIFE. They could easily be Philadelphia (at least some and at least in their beginnings) and some could now be numbered among the Laodiceans.

And regarding Laodicea: time after time when I read that portion that states that they are "rich and have need of nothing", I think of how the LC often speaks of having the ultimate truths and do not need ANYTHING from other Christians. I see the same lack of brotherly love (that Philadelphia DID have) as other churches, despite these "great truths". If you are not young, "blazing in prophetic utterance" or (yes!) "popular", you will find yourself very much alone during times of distress or sorrow.

This is why I am glad to hear what others who love the Lord believe and think, but I reserve judgment concerning who has the "absolute truth" until the end. We are certainly no better than Daniel. We must all "go our way" with less than perfect understanding due to this time factor--and it was meant to be that way.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:02 AM   #112
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I forgot to mention--as all of us here know, I am sure-- that each of these churches was real and existing at the time the Lord mentioned them. So, they certainly profited from receiving these epistles fro Christ Himself. What is so very interesting is that these are not directed at all to,oh say, the Church in Corinth, the Church in Rome, etc. Only two of the churches are mentioned in the Pauline writings, if my memory serves me correctly, and it seldom does these days! We all know also that if these churches were mentioned in ANY OTHER order at all, they would not be chronological and this is probably why Our Lord chose them and placed them in this order. So, these were REAL churches dealing with real issues with Our Lord walking among them all, as He is doing today. The fact that the more well-known churches are omitted and that this particular order was given using these lesser-known churches seems to seal the deal (it does for me) that these are church ages that would come to pass.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:25 AM   #113
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches TOMES

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..."In the epistle to the church in Ephesus we see the all-inclusive Christ as the One who holds the seven 'stars' in His right hand (Rev.2:1). The brothers who are taking the lead in the churches as the messengers (Gk. angels - Rev 1:20) are held in this One's hand. This One is the holder of all church leaders. However, some of the so-called church leaders may not be held by Him. He 'only holds those He recognizes'. To be held by Him, 'you must be recognized by Him' first. We must realize that the leading ones in the churches in the Lord's recovery are held in His hand...
Who must realize?

After 30 active years in the Recovery, I finally came to realize that the leaders in the Recovery were not held in His hand; rather they had become abusive, lawless, and self-serving hirelings. Then I realized that this was not an isolated problem, but a systemic problem, permeating the whole system.

I further realized that those precious brothers who really were in the Lord's hand were often beat up and cast out for being faithful to the Lord protecting His children, then to further their pain, their reputations were smeared to the remaining saints.

Dear Unregistered Guest Poster, reading thru the archives of this forum, you will find literally hundreds of actual stories supporting my statements.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:16 AM   #114
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I did not take the time to read all of the above submissions, but I would like to just toss in a couple of thoughts from the teachings that I received during my youth at the Bible church.

First, we were taught that these were churches that occurred or "came up" during various times of church history and that they were sequential or chronological with the last four remaining until the coming of the Lord and existing at the same time. Would those who received this message in those times have been able to understand all that it meant? No. Many prophetic utterances are left to be interpreted as time rolls on and circumstances become clear. We note the following verses in the book of Daniel from chapter 12 in a conversation directed at the great prophet himself:
Even though the aging Apostle John did write to 7 distinct churches which he was well familiar with, Nee's proposals that, "they were sequential or chronological with the last four remaining until the coming of the Lord and existing at the same time," is highly suspect and not a little self-serving to his cause.

Looking at the church in the Mooslim world, one would have to agree that Smyrna is very much alive. Looking at the divisive character of the exclusive Plymouth Brethren, it's hard to agree that they are the fulfillment of Philadelphia.

Church history tells us that Christians have been hearing the speaking of the Spirit in the book of Revelation for 2 millennia. The 7 letters were written to all God's children for all time, and thus the general admonition, "he who has an ear, let him hear." The following well confirms this fact.

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So, then, what COULD they have received from these letters to the churches? Well, another teaching that I received and to this day believe is correct is that at any one time, ANY church could find itself in these descriptions to some degree and, after having done so, find the Lord's own prescription, so to speak, about how to cure/correct it. Finally, we were also taught that WITHIN each church there were different groups of believers fitting these church descriptions based on their spiritual condition. And is this not true today? I know that when I read them, I consider the sad state of my own spiritual life and how it compares to these churches and I am always sobered and even terrified to see myself in Sardis, Thyatira, or Laodicea.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:58 AM   #115
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches TOMES

I'm willing to accept that the churches in Revelation show a certain progression of state. They may even be meant to show a historical pattern.

Yes, some churches lose their first love. Yes, that can lead to worldliness and worse. Yes, some churches suffer. Yes, churches become dead. Yes, God wants pure churches to be raised up. Yes, even a "pure" church can lapse into complacency and pride.

But it's gullible and naive to accept Witness Lee's self-serving mantra that all of history feeds into his "Recovery." The "Recovery" was a tiny blip. God is always looking to raise up pure churches full of brotherly love. That's nothing new, and it has happened again and again through history, and is happening now. But not in the LCM, ironically.

The LCM may have and probably was supposed to be Philadelphia. After all, we all are. But they blew it. They not only became Laodicea, they embraced and now even define Laodicea. The dictionary should have a picture of the LCM in the entry for Laodicea.

God is still looking for Philadelphia. He always is. There are many versions to be found right now. You can find it, too, if you stop thinking and teaching you have to remain in Laodicean failures like the LCM.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:00 PM   #116
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches TOMES

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We all know also that if these churches were mentioned in ANY OTHER order at all, they would not be chronological and this is probably why Our Lord chose them and placed them in this order.
Is that true because the premise of chronology is true, or that the overlay that presumes chronology looked for and found a way to define a chronology around them? There is nothing in the text that points to a chronology. Why would you expect one?

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The fact that the more well-known churches are omitted and that this particular order was given using these lesser-known churches seems to seal the deal (it does for me) that these are church ages that would come to pass.
Really? A fact that would have nothing to do with chronology is the reason that it must be a chronology?

This is where conspiracy theories start. The insistence that something must mean something else that there is no actual evidence in support. And even when there is evidence that it is incorrect, they claim that the evidence against it is proof of its truth.

So you believe that there has not been arrogance in knowledge and teaching prior to the onset of the Protestant movement and then the Brethren and others like them?

I find it interesting that virtually all references to Laodicea insist that it is the result of falling from Philadelphia. On what basis? Must those who claim to know everything and be spiritually rich have previously just been hanging on with a little strength? You don't think that the EO is at some level lukewarm because of its "high" position of being the "first church" or that each denomination is often similarly complacent because of their belief system. Maybe all those who simply hold to "once saved always saved" are just sliding by on their doctrine.

Besides, when you look at Thyatira, seems that the LCM could fit it well. They welcomed, even fought to retain a sexual predator as a high official in their group. So they not only fit Laodicea, but Thyatira.

That makes Thyatira last in terms of a chronological observation. A completely new group (since the early-mid 1900s) has fallen into the trap of allowing a form of Jezebel among them.

And oddly Smyrna was persecuted. And what does saying the persecution will last for 10 days mean? For a long time? For just a little while? How does this relate to the constant persecution of churches in parts of the world that continues to this day? It is clear that the persecution of the church in Asia and Europe was on and off for a long time — essentially until Constantine. So how does 10 days equal around 3 centuries? It doesn't fit with Daniel's 1 week = 7 years formula. Or the day is as a 1,000 years (unless we have a long way to go before the end times — like 8,000 more years).

The problem is that with the information provided in Rev 2 and 3, if you want to make it fit a pattern, you can probably find something to make it seem so. I therefore need more than the notions of a 19th or 20th century theologian to have dredged this out of a cauldron of ideas that does not have any more support than the claim that it is true.

It is a little like the idea that the events of this day mean the end is coming. Could be true. I intend to live as if it is. But I also note that every generation has had things to point to that seemed to fit the pattern. So maybe we are prone to see the end times in every pattern. Just like we still expect a sabre tooth tiger in every rustling of bushes. We like to find what we think we want to find.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:40 PM   #117
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches TOMES

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I forgot to mention--as all of us here know, I am sure-- that each of these churches was real and existing at the time the Lord mentioned them. So, they certainly profited from receiving these epistles fro Christ Himself. What is so very interesting is that these are not directed at all to,oh say, the Church in Corinth, the Church in Rome, etc. Only two of the churches are mentioned in the Pauline writings, if my memory serves me correctly, and it seldom does these days! We all know also that if these churches were mentioned in ANY OTHER order at all, they would not be chronological and this is probably why Our Lord chose them and placed them in this order. So, these were REAL churches dealing with real issues with Our Lord walking among them all, as He is doing today. The fact that the more well-known churches are omitted and that this particular order was given using these lesser-known churches seems to seal the deal (it does for me) that these are church ages that would come to pass.
Why chronological? The text itself gives us no indication.

Since LC chronology is so hung up on geography and locality, why don't we look into that. Did you ever look at a Biblical map of these 7 cities?

If one were to start at Ephesus and keep walking, following the roads along the shoreline and then thru the valleys, one would sequentially pass thru Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphis, Laodicea. Near Laodicea, if one kept going, one would also reach the cities of Hierapolis and Colosse. Then heading back to Ephesus, one might stop at Miletus on the shore. But, since Revelations is a book of "sevens," these last few church cities were left out. No doubt John the Apostle, having lived in Ephesus perhaps 20-30 years, would have made this journey often.

If one would "connect the dots" of these seven cities, one might see the curved shape of a rainbow, viewed at an oblique. Since a rainbow is twice mentioned in Revelations, I should think that geography played a bigger role than some predictive historical narrative, as we were often told, "consummating in the so-called Philadelphian Recovery."



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Old 11-04-2015, 12:54 PM   #118
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches TOMES

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This is where conspiracy theories start. The insistence that something must mean something else that there is no actual evidence in support.

The problem is that with the information provided in Rev 2 and 3, if you want to make it fit a pattern, you can probably find something to make it seem so.
Witness Lee definitely had this tendency. If he saw a pattern in the Bible then to him that meant it had meaning.

Ever looked at the clouds and seen patterns? You can see anything you want to. Witness Lee looked at the Bible like some people look at clouds. If he saw a pattern he wanted to see he was all over it.

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I therefore need more than the notions of a 19th or 20th century theologian to have dredged this out of a cauldron of ideas that does not have any more support than the claim that it is true.
Especially when his notion is so self-serving. "Oh, look! The book of Revelation prophesies the movement I'm leading!"

Or

"Let's see. I'll make my church the good church, Philadelphia. These other churches I don't like, they will be the bad churches. Yeah, that's it."

When you were little did you ever play with a kid who always had to be the good guy? He would always have to be the cowboy and would make you be the Indian? That was Witness Lee.
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:17 PM   #119
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Default Re: Examining LSM's Eschatology - Revelation's 7 Churches TOMES

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When you were little did you ever play with a kid who always had to be the good guy? He would always have to be the cowboy and would make you be the Indian? That was Witness Lee.
That must be a Texas thing -- Cowboys and Indians. Up here we played soldiers. They made me the Germans.
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