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Old 07-19-2008, 01:42 PM   #1
UntoHim
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Default History, Not Hagiography - "Great Leap Forward" "The God-Ordaned Way" TOMES

History, Not Hagiography-The Recovery's "Great Leap Forward"-"The God-Ordained Way"
Nigel Tomes

Hagiography OR History?Scripture documents the successes and failures of God’s servants. Both tragedies and triumphs are faithfully recorded. The failures of Abraham, David and Solomon appear in sacred writ. Peter’s denials and Paul’s regression to Judaic vows are not concealed. However Christian groups are often reluctant to critically assess their own history. Too frequently reverence for their “founding fathers” leads them to view their past through rose-colored glasses and to portray an idealized picture to others. Successes are highlighted, while mistakes and missteps are covered over. Instead of history, this produces hagiography,1 “sanitized accounts,” which reassure the faithful but offer few lessons for the future. The Bible shows this is not God’s way. Over a decade has passed since Bro. Witness Lee finished his course. Shortly after his passing some visiting Great Lakes brothers were given a guided tour of Brother Lee’s home on Ball Road, Anaheim, CA. They were led into his private bedroom where dresser drawers were opened to display Brother Lee’s orderliness. This produced a lasting impression. It caused some to ask—Is Brother Lee’s home being turned into a shrine? Has the veneration process begun? In some quarters it seems so. Some suggest God blessed Brother Lee’s every action. Others endeavor to portray Bro. Lee’s final repentance as an apology for the churches’ mistakes, not his own personal missteps.2 “Even when he’s wrong, he’s right”—some said. Among the grass-roots, Bro. W. Lee was said to possess the “Midas Touch;” isn’t that one reason LSM’s Recovery Version of the Bible was called the “gold bar”? It seems the Lord’s recovery is producing hagiography rather than history. Consequently important chapters in the recovery’s history have not been adequately addressed.
The “New Way, the God-Ordained Way” of the 1980s is an important chapter in the Recovery’s history. Measures introduced at that time still impact the local churches today. Angus Kinnear’s biography of Watchman Nee,3 Against the Tide, looks at the Recovery’s history in mainland China against the backdrop of Mao’s emerging communist movement. Parallels are drawn between the progress of Watchman Nee’s “Little Flock” and Mao’s communism. Here we take a leaf from Kinnear’s book. In order to place the issues in greater relief, we ask—Are there any parallels between Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and Bro. W. Lee’s “God-Ordained Way”? This should not be misconstrued; we are not analysing people and motives. We are comparing “programs,” actions and results.

Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”
In 1958 Chairman Mao Zédōng launched his most ambitious project to date—“The Great Leap Forward,”4 designed to jumpstart Communist China into the 20th century. Mao saw grain and steel production as the twin towers of China’s economic development. Agriculture was reformed by creating massive farm communes. Steel production could be doubled every year, Mao proclaimed, using surplus farm labor combined with backyard furnaces. Defying science and technology, Mao encouraged communes and urban neighborhoods to build primitive steel furnaces. 600,000 backyard plants were expected to yield 11 million tons of steel annually. Responding to Mao’s program, zealous peasants and workers made huge efforts to produce steel from scrap metal. The countryside was denuded of trees; wooden doors and furniture also provided fuel. Pots, pans and farm implements supplied the "scrap" for the furnaces to reach wildly optimistic production targets. In the first few years the reported steel output jumped dramatically. China would soon overtake the UK in steel, Mao proclaimed. Then the utopian dream turned into a nightmare. The program worked backwards; peasants melted down useful steel into useless pig iron. The metalfrom backyard furnaces was too weak and brittle to be useful. Machines made from the iron fell apart; thousands of unskilled workers were injured. The resources diverted from agriculture combined with bad weather to produce famine conditions. Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” proved to be a Giant Step Backwards. Quietly, without fanfare, it was abandoned. Chastened by his massive failure, Mao retreated into the background. Five years later he reemerged to launch the Cultural Revolution.

Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” was characterized by drastic measures promoted by a respected leader, unrealistic expectations, the adoption of unproven methods, the neglect of scientific knowledge and a sustained propaganda campaign. Despite obvious differences, we ask—are there any parallels between Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and the radical “change in the system,”5 when Bro. Witness Lee launched “The New Way, the God-ordained Way”?
Bro. Witness Lee’s “God-ordained Way”
By the mid-1980s Bro. Witness Lee had a checkered history of Christian service; he had accumulated impressive credentials. In mainland China, during World War 2, he was pivotal in a 100-day revival in Chefoo;6 immediately after the War he led the revival which restored Watchman Nee’s ministry;7 in the 1950s, under his leadership the local churches in Taiwan grew from 500 to 50,000 in the space of 6 years.8 Moreover, his early years in North America, coinciding with the “Jesus Movement,” saw a rapid rise in local church membership9 and the spread of the Local Church movement throughout North America and beyond. Yet by the mid-1980s the situation looked bleak. Membership in the flagship Taipei congregation had shrunk by half,10 the global growth rate was under 2%.11 In Orange County, CA, Bro. Lee’s home base, growth was stagnant.12 Nevertheless, based on his track record, local church members felt Brother Lee could lead the Recovery out of “the wilderness into the promised land” of fruitfulness and increase!

In October 1984, Bro. Witness Lee returned to Taiwan claiming the right and position to “change the system.”13 He appointed additional elders in Taipei, called for “full-timers,” and established the first Full-time Training (FTT). The (soon-to-be) “blended co-workers” traveled to Taiwan to assist him. By 1986 Bro. W. Lee had diagnosed the problem and developed a solution. Growth was virtually stalled. What is the cause? Witness Lee responded,14 “It must be that the practice of having big meetings in which one person speaks and everyone else listens is killing the organic function of the saints while at the same time it is killing the increase and spread of the churches.” The local churches conducted big gospel meetings; now, taking a leaf from the Mormons’ and Jehovah Witnesses’ playbook, we should go to peoples’ homes. In Sunday meetings, typically one man ministered God’s Word. This, said Bro. Lee, was the traditional way of degraded Christianity; it should be replaced with “prophesying” by many in mutuality. His “New Way, the God-ordained Way,” embodied these elements.

“The God-ordained Way,” consisted of four stages, summarized in the mnemonic: “BNPB—Begetting, Nourishing, Perfecting & Building.” More specifically it contained “four definite steps”: [1] Door-knocking: “going out door-knocking from house to house…leading people to believe and be baptized;” baptisms could be immediate, in the person’s bathtub; [2] Home Meetings: “feeding and taking care of [new believers] by setting up meetings in their homes;” [3] District Meetings of approx. 50 for “perfecting” believers by “teaching them the truth…and…ministering life to them;” and [4] The Prophesying Meeting, where all can prophesy to build up the Church.15 Detailed methods were worked out; materials were developed for each step, based on W. Lee’s own writings —“The Mystery of Human Life,” “Life Lessons,” “Truth Lessons,” and “Holy Word for Morning Revival (HWMR).” The “words of the ministry” were to be used, rather than ones own words.

Initial results from the Taiwan “New Way experiment” were promising,16 leading to optimistic projections. Now, if the churches accepted his leadership, Bro. W. Lee offered to lead them into the “promised land” of fruitfulness, increase and revival. For example, the Church in Taipei, he said, could grow exponentially from 4,000 to 64,000 in four years. “We should double our number every year…I would like to fellowship with you, a specific way for our practice,”17 W. Lee told the Taipei Church, “If you are willing to do things in this way, we will definitely be able to double our numbers in one year. Furthermore, it will be with remaining, reliable fruit. If this is the case, it will take only four years for four thousand to increase to sixty-four thousand.”17

The “New Math of the New Way”—Unrealistic Projections
In theory the “New Math of the New Way” works inexorably. If one third of the local church members would go out door-knocking regularly, assuming they could each baptize one new believer per month, twelve new Christians would be gained per year. Even if only 25% of these remained, the church’s number would still double annually. Moreover, if those gained adopted the same practice and got the same results, growth would be compounded year after year. Under this scenario, a mere 100 saints could grow to 100,000 in a decade; on this basis W. Lee guaranteed,18 a “church can be doubled yearly. A local church of one hundred saints could increase to one hundred thousand in ten years. This means that this church will increase one thousand times in ten years.” When offered this kind of plan for rapid growth which positive saint or elder would oppose?

Perhaps 100% yearly growth was too optimistic; nevertheless Bro. Lee assured his hearers that a church of 250 with a 33% growth rate could evangelize the whole world in less than 60 years. He proclaimed,19 “I expect and have the full assurance that within three years you will gain at least one. If everyone will gain one within three years, we will have a thirty-three percent increase each year. This may seem slow, but…if a church of two hundred fifty would increase by one-third each year, the entire population of the earth would be gained in less than sixty years.”

The Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses were cited to illustrate20 the plausibility of these projections. Mega-churches, like Saddleback and Willow Creek, served as case-studies. E.g. Bro. W. Lee declared,21 “twenty years ago in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a church was raised up with seventeen people. But now they have 10,000 members.In twenty years, they increased from seventeen to 10,000 members…they did this by door-knocking, by visiting people in their homes.”

The “New Math of the New Way” embodies the principles underlying pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing (MLM) systems. In theory it works fine on paper; the real world application, however, is another story.

Witness Lee’s “Great Leap Forward”—A Reality Check
The New Way sounded convincing in theory. Due to the widespread “trumpeting” of the New Way, many local-church saints “bought into the program.” However, implementation in the real world was something else. I went to Taipei, Taiwan, for 40 days in 1987 to be trained in the New Way. Many others also went; some for long periods. Several Toronto families migrated there, at the cost of considerable personal sacrifice. Here in Toronto, Canada, the New Way fared better than most places in North America. Launched in the cold winter months of 1986-7, prudence suggested we begin door-knocking in high-rise apartments offering relief from sub-zero temperatures. These happened to be inhabited by recent immigrants to Canada who proved receptive to teams of Canadian visitors. Going by the book, multiple baptisms frequently occurred as 60-90 saints (out of 200 church-members) implemented the New Way, going door-to-door. That year 600 people were baptized in their bathtubs. However, the extent of their understanding varied widely. No doubt some were genuinely regenerated. Yet others, hindered by language and influenced by their cultural background, seemed to touch very little. Some thought they were merely adding another deity—Jesus—to their personal pantheon of gods. The saints struggled faithfully to establish and sustain home meetings, until fatigue and discouragement took their toll. All told perhaps six, out of the 600—a mere one-percent—were added to the Church in Toronto. All those added are precious in God’s eyes. Yet it should be noted that even these six were not initiators who could gain others; mostly they were “high maintenance” cases. The Church did not double that year. Neither did any other local church in N. America composed of “typical North Americans.” The isolated cases of significant growth were churches targeting recent immigrants; even here double-digit growth was not sustained. Among “typical North Americans” the “New Way” failed abysmally.

In 1986, when launching the New Way, Bro. Lee promised the Church in Taipei,22 “If you are willing to do things in this way, we will definitely be able to double our numbers in one year…it will take only four years for four thousand to increase to sixty-four thousand.”Yet, 20 years later, in 2005, Benson Phillips reported23 that Taipei “has 20,000 saints, On the Lord’s day there are about 9,000 who gather together.” 20,000 is sizeable; yet it falls far short of the 64,000 target which should have been attained by 1990, fifteen years earlier. By doubling every year since 1986, the Taipei Church should have numbered 2.1 Billion by 2005more than the population of mainland China! Measured against its own benchmarks for Church growth, the Recovery’s “Great Leap Forward” was an abject failure. Looking back over 20 years, should we be surprised?

In retrospect, barring miracles, the “God-ordained Way” was doomed to fail from the start. Its wildly optimistic projections ignored the realities of Christian history. Professor Rodney Stark of Baylor University studied the growth of early Christianity during the “golden era” between Pentecost (A.D. 30) and Constantine’s edict of toleration (A.D. 313).24 He concluded that, on average during those three centuries, numerically the Christians grew by 40% per decade, doubling every 20 years. Yet this implies a modest yearly growth rate of only 3.5%.25 (Such is the power of compounding over long periods.) Professor Stark concludes that, after the early chapters of Acts, Christianity become the prevailing faith in the Roman Empire, not by mass conversions, nor by double-digit growth, but by slow and steady incremental growth. This suggests that over the long-haul, in the matter of Church growth, “slow and steady wins the race,” the tortoise beats the hare. Yet the “New Way” was in the principle of the hare!

The New Way’s high-growth plan is a “double or bust” strategy. In order to double in a year, a church of 100 members must baptize 400 per year (assuming 25% “remaining fruit”). If one-quarter of church-members practice the “New Way,” each must care for 16 newly baptized. A three-member team must care for 48. Obviously that’s “spreading resources very thin,” while expecting big results—12 “remaining fruit.” It risks achieving nothing. A modest growth plan for 10% growth requires a three-member team to care for 5 new people. This goal, though less spectacular, may be achievable. It doubles the Church every seven years, a significant result.

Frequent reference was made to Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses’ successes using door-knocking. However, research by Professor Stark and others shows26 the growth rate of both groups in North America is a mere 5% per year. When these groups use door-knocking, it fails to produce the 100% growth rates projected by the “New Way.” Among Mormons, their “missionaries” (i.e. full-timers) baptize on average 6 new members each. In contrast, the Recovery’s “New Way” target for “full-timers” is 50 baptisms per year. Some might argue that these two heretical groups don’t have the Spirit, so the Recovery should be able to better their results. Yet, Prof. Stark’s research on early Christianity suggests otherwise. Here, we propose, there’s a parallel with Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.” Science and technology implied that Mao’s ambitious plan to produce steel in backyard blast furnaces was doomed to fail. Similarly available statistics on the door-knocking experts--Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses--show it’s impossible to double annually relying on this method. Nevertheless unrealistic projections were made based on the “New Math of the New Way.” Occasionally W. Lee himself conceded that his goals were unprecedented in Christian history.27

Cases of mega-church growth are irrelevant reference points given schizophrenic attitude of the Recovery towards them. On one hand mega-churches, like Saddleback, CA, were held up as patterns. On the other hand, the leader of Saddleback, Rick Warren was denounced as28 “an ingenious church-growth pastor,” whose teaching is “merely methodology and philosophy...not what we need.” Benson Phillips is adamant,29 “We should not bring anything of Christianity into the Lord’s recovery…we accept nothing of Christianity.” With this attitude, how can the Recovery expect to replicate mega-church growth? How can they learn anything from mega-churches or any other Christian group?

Adequate research by the Recovery’s leadership would have predicted the “New Way’s” failure, barring a miracle. Of course, in the spiritual realm, miracles are possible. God-initiated revivals do produce quantum leaps in numbers. The Welsh revival (1904-5) is a case in point. However revivals cannot be engineered on demand by Christian workers. Moreover, Bro. W. Lee repeatedly insisted that the “New Way’s” results didn’t rely upon a revival. On the contrary, he claimed, the success of “the God-ordained Way” would produce revival. W. Lee predicted within 3-5 years it would30 “produce a completely new generation…[and] bring in a genuine great revival.”

“The God-Ordained Way”—What Are the Long-term Effects?
Twenty years have elapsed since Bro. W. Lee initiated his “New Way, the God-ordained Way.” No doubt many people were genuinely saved and brought into the church-life; some church-members were revived and restored through “the New Way.” We thank God for all these. However, “one swallow does not make a summer” (Aristotle); a few cases do not demonstrate the overall effect. We ask—what were the overall long-term consequences? There were saints who “bought into the program” and diligently applied it. When the promised results failed to materialize, they experienced burn-out, discouragement and disappointment. After all, less than double-digit growth was considered failure. W. Lee himself said,31 If we cannot gain a thirty percent increase in a year, we should consider that as a failure.” The sense of failure was exacerbated by the lack of warning. During the New Way’s promotion, anyone questioning its viability was charged with “being negative” or “blowing a cold wind.” As with Mao’s Great Leap Forward, criticism was stifled until the failure was catastrophic. After the New Way’s breakdown it became difficult to mobilize the saints for gospel preaching. The Recovery’s leadership never acknowledged responsibility for the New Way’s failure to match its targets. It was simply “swept under the rug;” door-knocking and instant bathtub baptisms were quietly abandoned; the Recovery’s agenda moved on to other things. Consequently churches and saints were left with a sense of personal failure; they had failed to “bear abundant fruit” (John 15.) Even today some have not recovered from the aftermath.

The Trumpet’s Tune Changes
In the 1980s the Recovery’s “one trumpet” promoted the New Way, emphasizing numbers and rapid growth. However, as the Recovery entered the 1990s, Bro. W. Lee’s tune changed dramatically. He now emphasized the Recovery was a “narrow way” which couldn’t expect rapid increase! In 1992, only 6 years after launching the “New Way,” he declared,32 “We have to realize that the way we take in following the Lord cannot have a high rate of increase. The way we are taking is really a narrow way.” God’s economy, Bro. Lee now affirmed,33 “is on another planet. Because of this we cannot expect to have too high a rate in our increase.” Perhaps it’s not surprising that saints were confused and frustrated after being “jerked around by this on-again, off-again attitude” regarding growth and increase! Some decided it was time to “get off this roller-coaster.” Seemingly as changeable as the weather, the Recovery’s leading shifted away from increase and numbers, towards home- and small-group meetings and the truth. The former is reflected in publications on “Small Groups” and “Vital Groups,” the latter in the “High Peak of the Divine Revelation.”

Probably the greatest impact of “the God-ordained Way” however was its dogmatic teaching regarding believers’ practices. It was not merely “a scriptural way;” A package of practices was defined as “the God-ordained Way, theScriptural Way.” Other practices were denounced as “old, traditional, fleshly and natural.” Surely the “New Way,” after 20 years, is no longer new; the possibility exists for a “new, new way.” In contrast, “theGod-ordained Way” represents a set of ironclad practices, sacrosanct and immutable, bequeathed to us. While Bro. W. Lee was alive, he could revise his own teaching, “changing the system.” After his departure, who has that position? This raises the specter that the Lord’s recovery has “painted itself into a corner.” In retrospect we question the basic concept of “theGod-ordained Way,” as a unique divinely-approved package of methods. The New Testament is neither dogmatic nor detailed about practices. Rather it seems deliberately vague, giving general hints here and there. This provides scope for future generations of believers, in diverse circumstances, with the Spirit’s leading, to formulate “a scriptural way,” custom-designed to fulfill God’s purpose in their time and place. We conclude that the doctrine of a unique divinely-sanctioned way imposes a straight-jacket upon believers beyond Scripture. Watchman Nee stated emphatically,34 “God has arrangements, but God did not record all these arrangements in the Bible.” He observed,35 in the Bible we see that God does not tell us the methods for doing things; rather, He left the methods for doing things to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” According to Bro. Nee, the search for a definitive “God-ordained Way” is misplaced.

“Prophesying”—From One-Man Speaking to the Speaking of One Man
The New Way’s other enduring legacy is the practice of “prophesying.” Bro. W. Lee offered a sweeping condemnation of Christianity’s “traditional way” of worship. He asserted it accommodates “the dead man’s taste. It is a way of mixture, mixing the fleshly with the spiritual and the heavenly with the earthly. It binds and annuls…chokes and kills the members of Christ, leaving no possibility of building up the Body of Christ.”36 This, he asserted, was the obstacle to the churches’ increase. He declared,37 “Today there is a big mountain standing before us. This is the worship service established by Satan in…degraded Christianity. This has become a great hindrance to us in the Lord’s recovery.” Observing zero net increase in Taiwan, Bro Lee asked,38 “What is the reason for this? It must be that the practice of having big meetings in which one person speaks and everyone else listens is killing the organic function of the saints…[and] the increase and spread of the churches.” The solution, W. Lee declared, lay in overthrowing “one man speaking” and practicing “prophesying” as taught in 1 Corinthians 14. Much emphasis was placed upon 14:26 “Whenever you come together, each one has…” He also appealed to 1 Corinthians 14:31 “For you can all prophesy one by one…” In line with this, the RcV. footnote now reads,39 “God desires that each of the believers prophesy…”. However, on this point, there has been a significant change in W. Lee’s teaching. His earlier Life-study and the original RcV. footnotes indicate, that 1 Cor. 14 “vv. 29-32 speak about the prophets only not all the members of the church.”40 Moreover, concerning the key phrase, “you can all prophesy…” W. Lee originally stated emphatically,41 “According to the context of v. 29-32, ‘you’ and ‘all’ refer to all the prophets, not all the members of the church.” Later, under the New Way, he said exactly the opposite and the RcV. footnotes were revised accordingly. We leave the discerning reader to decide whether this reversal was “further light” or bending the Bible’s meaning. Concerning the latter tendency, Watchman Nee warned,42 “We cannot force God’s truth to go our way just because we want to go that way.”

For 20 years the practice of prophesying has been systematically taught, even to the point of micro-managing. For example LSM President, Benson Phillips directs:43 Each church in principle is the same. Someone gives a short introductory word, and then the others stand up to prophesy for no more than three minutes…Perhaps the first one who speaks would speak five or seven minutes….and then all the rest speak for three minutes or less.” The result was proclaimed a success. Benson Phillips declared,44 “Brother Nee tried twice to bring all the saints into prophesying, but he was unable….However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Brother Lee succeeded in bringing the recovery into this practice.” Of the “New Way’s” four steps only prophesying was proclaimed “a success.” But is it really a success? LSM’s “blended brothers’” have shifted the emphasis from God’s Word to “the ministry.” In many churches “pray-reading” has been replaced with “PSRP,” denoting “Pray-reading, Studying, Reciting and Prophesying.” Significantly, the object of PSRP is not the Bible it is “the ministry,” Bro. Lee’s writings in HWMR. More often than Scripture, his words are memorized and recited in the “prophesying meeting.” The saints are encouraged to be “tape recorders,”45 so “prophesying” often amounts to reciting the “high peak truths” from Bro. Lee’s writings. The net result is that “one man speaking” has been replaced by the “speaking of one man”—Witness Lee! Yes, there are many speakers, yet they are all reciting Witness Lee’s words. Hence, it is, in fact, “the speaking of one man”—W. Lee via many surrogates. Moreover, under “the Old Way,” the “one man’s speaking” differed from locality to locality according to the ministering brother. Now, in LSM-local churches, the “speaking of one man” is virtually uniform around the globe.46 We question whether the Apostle Paul would recognize this as the prophesying he described in 1 Corinthians.

In launching the New Way, Bro. Lee repeatedly denounced one man speaking and called for all to prophesy. Yet the New Testament pattern also provides for gifted members within the local church. Acts 13:1 says, “Now there were in Antioch, in the local church prophets and teachers…” It names five men, including Barnabas and Saul. Watchman Nee points out47 “These five had the gifts of prophesy and teaching…From that company of five, two were sent by the Spirit to other parts, and three were left in Antioch…The three who remained in Antioch were still prophets and teachers” According to the biblical pattern, in a local church, there are especially gifted ministers of the Word--prophets and teachers. Yes, the Bible says when the whole church comes together “each one has” (1 Cor. 14:26). But this doesn’t reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator of “3 minutes each.” The Bible also says the typical local church has prophets and teachers (Acts 13:1). A gifted minister’s function may necessitate “one man speaking.” The Bible does not prohibit this. The New Way’s one-sided emphasis on everyone prophesying has eliminated the opportunity for prophets and teachers, local ministers of the Word. Now local church members only receive substantial ministry at LSM’s “seven annual feasts.” Ministry has been concentrated at the center. Ministering by prophets and teachers was eliminated from the local churches; it has been monopolized by LSM’s podium. Is this really the “God-ordained, scriptural way”?

Conclusion
Twenty years have elapsed since Bro. W. Lee unveiled, “the God-ordained Way,” designed to bring sustained increase. His “New Way” was guaranteed to double church membership yearly. He promised a48 “church can be doubled yearly. A local church of 100 saints could increase to 100,000 in ten years. This means that this church will increase 1,000 times in ten years.” Yet, despite the saints’ and churches’ best efforts, these expectations were not realized. Why? The “New Way’s” failure has not been adequately addressed. Some components (e.g. door-knocking, instant bathtub baptisms) were simply discarded, “swept under the rug.” The Recovery’s leadership has not assumed responsibility. Consequently churches and saints who “bought into the program,” with its promised results, experienced a profound sense of personal defeat; they had failed to produce abundant lasting fruit. Even today churches and saints are impacted. Only an adequate evaluation will bring a sense of closure, allowing them to move forward.

We suggest that, like Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” the “God-ordained Way” was doomed from the start. The projections of the “New Math of the New Way” also underlie pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing (MLM) systems. Just as their projections fail in the real world, so the New Way’s unrealistic targets proved unattainable. Even in the “golden age” of early Christianity, growth was a modest 3.5%. Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses only achieve a 5% growth rate in North America. Hence, barring revival, the projected 100% annual growth is outside the realm of possibility. If the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, expert door-knockers, only achieve single digit growth, how could the local churches expect triple-digit growth? Yes “with God all things are possible.” Yet, Bro. Lee specifically stated that success did not depend upon revival. Rather, he prophesied a great revival would result from the sustained application of the New Way.

The long-term impact of the New Way was not sustained high growth rates. If anything growth was reduced due to burn-out and discouragement. Subsequently it became more difficult to “rally saints to the cause,” whether gospel preaching or other endeavors. The New Way’s major impact was establishing the “prophesying meeting.” Yet this has merely replaced “one man speaking” with the speaking of one man—Witness Lee. It has displaced the prophets and teachers from the local church, leaving LSM’s “blended brothers” with a monopoly on ministry at the “Seven annual feasts.” There were other side-effects. The New Way was the first time “the work” and “the ministry” sought to lead the local churches on a global scale. It initiated the ascendancy of “the ministry” above the churches. The (soon-to-be) “blended co-workers” played a major role in the first full-time training (FTT) established in Taiwan. The FTT has since been franchised around the globe. Crops of “full-timers” were produced; henceforth “recognized full-timers” are products of the FTT. These are steps on the road towards institutionalization. Concerning this Watchman Nee said,49 “The schools of the prophets seldom produced prophets—all the great prophets were chosen by God from the wilderness. The Spirit of God descends upon whomsoever He will.”

Our evaluation of “the God-ordained Way” has been forthright, but fair. Some may see this as an attack on Bro. Witness Lee; they are mistaken. It is not. Brother Lee has a long history as a servant of the Lord with numerous accomplishments. The 100-day revival in Chefoo, China; the 1947-8 revival which restored Watchman Nee’s ministry; the spectacular 1950s growth in Taiwan and the rapid increase during the “Jesus Movement” in North America are a few of his notable achievements in Christian work. Moreover, Bro. W. Lee’s 1991 decision to spread the Recovery to Russia and Eastern Europe after the USSR’s fall was clearly vindicated by the Lord. However, it’s time to admit that his “New Way,” launched in the 1980s, was not one of his greatest triumphs. Even the Apostle Paul failed when he regressed to Judaic vows (Acts 21). Evidently no servant of the Lord has an entirely unblemished record of service. Brother W. Lee is not an exception. That standard of perfection was only attained by One—our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nigel Tomes,

Toronto, Canada
April, 2008

Notes:
1.“Hagiography” is defined as a biography that idealizes the person (especially a person who is a saint). From the Greek hágios: holy, sacred. 2.In his final public conference in early 1997, Bro. W. Lee said (according to the published message): “Because of our negligence in this matter in the past, we have offended the Body of Christ and many brothers and sisters in the Lord. For this reason, I had a deep repentance before the Lord. Brothers and sisters, I hope that we can see our past mistakes…” (W. Lee, The Experience of God’s Organic Salvation Equaling Reigning in Christ's Life,Chp. 6) According to a transcript of the spoken message (translated from Chinese) he said:“Concerning the matter of receiving people according to God,…we co-workers in every place all need to learn, the responsible ones in every place all need to learn, the brothers and sisters in every place all need to learn…. too many things cause us to learn. We all made mistakes in this matter in the past, I myself included; I confess that, I had, for this matter and before the Lord, a very painful repentance. I am really sorry. I am really sorry toward the Body of Christ, also really sorry, not only toward the brothers and sisters among us, but even to those in the denominations, also really sorry toward them.” The phrase “we co-workers in every place” includes Bro. Lee himself. Moreover, Bro. Lee said specifically,“We all made mistakes in this matter in the past, I myself included. Clearly Bro. Lee did not exclude himself; he was not merely repenting on behalf of some third party. Nevertheless, despite Bro. Lee’s own words, it seems some brothers are reluctant to admit Bro. Lee ever made a mistake. This falls under the description of hagiography.The LSM-DCP brothers say regarding Bro. Lee’s final repentance: “What Brother Lee said in the Chinese-speaking conference was his observation and realization before the Lord that the churches receiving his ministry had at times failedin the past to live up to that standard. Brother Lee “shared with the saints his grieving that the churches under his ministry had caused offence through coming short in our practice of these truths.” [www.afaithfulword.org/articles/Offending.html] We note that they shift the object of repentance from Bro. Lee himself to “the churches receiving/under his ministry.” We label this “hagiography.” 3.Angus Kinnear, “Against The Tide: The Story of Watchman Nee” Christian Literature Crusade, 1973. 4.Many history books document Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.” See also, Dali Yang, Calamity and Reform in China: State, Rural Society and Institutional Change Since the Great Leap Famine, published by Stanford University Press. Our brief discussion focuses exclusively on the industrial aspect of Mao’s program, not the agricultural side. 5.For W. Lee’s use of the phrase, “change the system, see for example: “I am only concerned about one thing—changing the system. We absolutely must change the system.” W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery (spoken winter 1986, pub. 2001) p. 12 6. W. Lee reported, “In 1943 there was a great revival in the Church in Chefoo, my hometown in China. Over the course of a 100-day period, everyone donated nearly everything he owned…. Nearly all the possessions of the approximately 800 saints in the Church in Chefoo were offered to the Church.” W. Lee, The Way to Practice the Lord’s Present Move (1986) p. 70 7. For a brief description of this 1947-8 revival see for example W. Lee, “The Reason for this Book” in The Resumption of W. Nee’s Ministry, vol. 1, pp. 9-10. Sisters Pearl Wang and Rachel Lee were also involved. 8. W. Lee said, “When we came to Taiwan from mainland China, within less than 6 years we had a hundredfold increase. We began the Lord’s recovery in Taiwan in 1949. By 1955 we went from less than 500 on the whole island to about 50,000.” W. Lee, The New Way to Carry Out the Increase and Spread of the Church, (1986) p. 8. LSM’s biographical sketch gives different figures: “From a mere 350 believers newly fled from the mainland, the churches in Taiwan grew to 20,000 in five years.” LSM, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery “About the Author” (inside back cover) 9. W. Lee stated, “Among the churches in the United States, for example, from 1962 to 1977 the yearly rate of increase was close to thirty percent, which is probably something very rare in church history.” [W. Lee, The Up-to-date Presentation of the God-Ordained Way…, p. 17] He also reported that “I started working in the United States in 1962. After thirteen years, the number had increased from one or two hundred to over ten thousand. Although the increase cannot be considered rapid, it was still somewhat comforting.” [W. Lee, Words of Training for the New Way, vol. 2, p. 32] 10.W. Lee said, “When I left Taipei in 1961, the number of saints there was over 20,000. When I came back 23-years later, there were less than 11,000 saints.” [W. Lee, The God-Ordained Way to Practice the NT Economy, p. 145] 11.W. Lee said, “…the ten years from 1974 to 1984…our average worldwide rate of increase was less than two percent.” [W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery (spoken Winter 1986, pub. 2001) p. 10] The quote above, in context, reads: “In the last sixty years, the truth in the Lord’s recovery has not been lacking, and even though our life has not been quite so rich, it is still adequate. There is only one matter which has really become a problem—the matter of increase and spread. According to the truth which the Lord has shown us and according to the life which He has given to us, our increase and spread are too poor. This is especially true of the ten years from 1974 to 1984 when our average worldwide rate of increase was less than two percent. It is for this reason that I have been pressed and burdened to the extent that I can no longer bear it.” [W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way…, p. 10] 12.W. Lee said, “The situation that bothered me the most was that of the United States. From 1962 to 1984, twenty-two years altogether, I was there carrying out the work personally…There are altogether about one hundred churches; the number is not too small. However, regarding the increase in number, we have nothing to boast about. In the first ten years, there was still a twenty to thirty percent increase rate, but in the last ten years, the average increase rate was only three percent. One of the areas that burdened me most heavily was Orange County, California, where I live. From the time we moved there in 1974 until 1984, ten years altogether, the number has not increased.[W. Lee, Words of Training for the New Way, vol. 2, p. 28] 13. For example W. Lee said, “I was the one who designed and taught our previous way of practice, including the interview for baptism and the procedure for baptism, so I am the one best qualified to overthrow it, and I should overthrow it.” [W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 52] 14.W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 93 15.W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 26 16.For example in the winter of 1986, Bro. Lee reported to the Church in Taipei: “In this term of training we have baptized 4,800 people. Of these, 2,600 are reliable, and we have established 1,000 home meetings.” [W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 18] This report implies that a majority (54%) of those baptized were considered “reliable.” The initial results in North America also initially appeared promising. W. Lee reported: “Several churches comprising about 1,000 saints have been in Orange Co. CA for 13 years, yet the total annual rate of increase has been only about 2 to 3%...However, in a little over a week’s time in the 1987 summer training, more than 3,700 were baptized in the Orange Co. through the saints going out to knock on doors…Even if only one fourth of these remain, there would be close to 900 believers who could form 10 new churches in 10 new localities.” [W. Lee, The God-Ordained Way to Practice the NT Economy, p. 133 17.W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 17. The 64,000 figure represents people added to the Church. This was expected to be a minority (perhaps 25%) of those saved and baptized through the door-to-door gospel. The scale of baptisms predicted is indicated in the following quote: “…if we take four thousand as the basic number for Taipei and practice according to what we have fellowshipped, then in four years we should be able to gain 2.7 million people. Then Taipei would really be evangelized. I do know that among those whom we gain, probably only a small number will be reliable and stable. Nevertheless, even those unreliable Christians who do not come to meetings are beneficial to us.” [W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), pp. 36-7] A 100% growth rate, doubling every year was the “bench mark” repeatedly called for. Take for example, “Suppose each one of us will get one yearly. Surely the church will be doubled within one year.” [W. Lee, The Exercise & Practice of the God-Ordained Way, p. 4] 18. W. Lee, The Present Advance of the Lord’s Recovery, p. 38 19. W. Lee, The Exercise & Practice of the God-Ordained Way, pp. 81-2. The quote in its context reads: “I do not expect that you will gain one person every year, but I expect and have the full assurance that within three years you will gain at least one. If everyone will gain one within three years, we will have a thirty-three percent increase each year. This means that if we have ninety meeting together, after one year they will increase to one hundred twenty. Then after another year, this one hundred twenty will increase to one hundred sixty. According to Christian history, there has never been a church that has had a thirty-three percent increase every year. This may seem slow, but for each of us to gain one person every three years is really quite fast. If we do this for ten years, we will have the highest rate of increase in all of Christian history. If a church of two hundred fifty would increase by one-third each year, the entire population of the earth would be gained in less than sixty years.” [W. Lee, The Exercise & Practice of the God-Ordained Way, pp. 81-2] W. Lee presented different scenarios at various times. All however, bore the common characteristic of implying a high growth rate. For example: “We should not expect that everyone in the church will do this gospel work, but we do expect that at least one-third would do it. If the elders manage the church well, I believe that sixty percent of the saints may be involved. If thirty-five out of one hundred go out, and they each have two remaining fruit, the church will have a seventy percent increase. I believe, however, that if the church is under the proper leading and the saints are faithful to the Lord’s recovery, the church will double in one year.” [W. Lee, The Present Advance of the Lord’s Recovery, p. 37] 20. For example, W. Lee said, “Today the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses go out door-knocking, and even some in Christianity who love the Lord also go out door-knocking with gospel tracts. Our door-knocking, however, is different from theirs because we learn from the Lord.” [W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 31]He also said, “I recently studied some statistics. In the past one hundred fifty years, two heretical groups have been the most successful in increasing their numbers. They did this by the way of door-knocking. One group is the Mormons, and the other is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I studied statistics put out by the Jehovah’s Witnesses for the twelve nations in which their work was the most prevailing last year. In Japan, they figured out that they need to spend more than six thousand hours to get one person. This means that even if they work ten hours a day for two years they may get only one.” [W. Lee, The Exercise & Practice of the God-Ordained Way, p. 4] An additional example is “The Jehovah’s Witnesses put out some statistics for the twelve countries in which they gained the most people in 1987 and 1988. In Japan, they spent more than six thousand hours to get one person. If they worked ten hours a day for one year, that would only be three thousand six hundred fifty hours. They spent over two years, working daily for hours, to gain one person. Their persistence has produced results.” [W. Lee, The Exercise & Practice of the God-Ordained Way, p. 23] 21.The Mega-Church W. Lee cited was Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, led by Dr. James Kennedy, W. Lee, The Exercise & Practice of the God-Ordained Way, p. 20 22.W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 17 23. BP, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 74 24.The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History by Rodney Stark, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996. Note that Professor Stark is not analysing the effects of Constantine’s Edict of Toleration. His end point is prior to that event which established Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire. Hence he is analysing the “golden age” for church growth, including the era of the apostles, Peter, Paul and John, the age when the seven-fold Spirit was “newly intensified.” We note, in passing, that Professor Stark also happens to be an expert who testified on behalf of Witness Lee and LSM in the God-Men case. Clearly he is not adversarial in relation to Witness Lee, LSM and the local churches. 25. Professor Stark works backwards from an estimate of 5-7.5 million Christians in the fourth century (i.e. 300 AD) to a starting number of 120 (derived from Acts 1:14-15). This estimated growth rate of 40% per decade equals 3.5% p.a. compounded continuously. 26.In “1928, [there were] more than 40,000 [Jehovah] Witnesses, Professors Stark and Lawrence Iannaccone write: “Although they weren’t yet using that name. The Witnesses grew slowly during the first half of the Depression, having more than 56,000 members by 1935. Growth speeded up during the latter half of the Depression and by 1940 there were nearly 100,000 Witnesses. In the aftermath of World War II, the Witnesses experienced explosive growth, interrupted only briefly in the middle 1970s by a failed prophecy concerning the Second Coming...By 1995, there were 4,950,344 ‘publishers’ world-wide and this number has been growing by more than 5% per year.” [RODNEY STARK & LAURENCE R. IANNACCONE “Why the Jehovah’s Witnesses Grow so Rapidly: A Theoretical Application” in Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1997, p. 133] Concerning Mormons (The Church of the Latter-day Saints LDS) it is reported that “According to [Mormon] LDS-published statistics, the annual number of LDS converts declined from a high of 321,385 in 1996 to 241,239 in 2004. In the 1990s, the church's growth rate went from 5 percent a year to 3 percent.” [Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake City Tribune/ July 26, 2005] Research by Roger Loomis on “Mormon Church GrowthPresented at The Association for the Sociology of Religion August 15-17, 2002 Chicago, IL also indicates that Mormon growth rates declined for 5.5% in 1980 to 3.5% in 2001. The LDS Patriot, a Mormon publication, states “It is commonly purported among LDS [Mormons] that ‘the growth in the LDS Church is phenomenal…that it is the fastest growing Church… or…according to reports by 2080 membership will be 265 million!…’ All these common sentiments just are not true…The reality, however, is that [Mormon] Church growth has significantly slowed from 5% to 3%.” [LDS Patriot, Feb. 13, 2006] Notice the single-digit Mormon growth rate found in each of these studies. 27. For example, W. Lee stated, An increase at the rate of doubling the number every year is something without precedent in the history of Christianity.” [W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 17] 28. MC., The Ministry, vol. 8, no. 7, July/Aug. 2004, p. 92 29. BP, The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 3, March. 2005, p. 121 30. The quote, in context, reads, “If our concept is completely changed, if, according to the principle we set forth, we produce a full-timer for every twenty saints and a weekly door-knocker for every four saints, and if all the saints continue to support and give their all to preach the gospel house to house, then I believe that within three to five years we can produce a completely new generation. This could comprise more than ten thousand households and sixty or seventy thousand new ones who meet regularly and who go everywhere preaching the gospel and teaching the truth. This will bring in a genuine great revival.” [W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 72] 31.W. Lee, The God-Ordained way & the Eldership, p. 16 32.W. Lee, The Christian Life (1992) p. 57 Quoted in The Ministry, Vol. 8, No. 2 (February 2004) p. 141 33.W. Lee, The Christian Life (1992) p. 58 Quoted in The Ministry, Vol. 8, No. 2 (February 2004) p. 142 34.Watchman Nee, Church Affairs, p. 108. The quote in context reads: “God has arrangements, but God did not record all these arrangements in the Bible. The fact that there are arrangements is spoken of in the Bible, but the method of arrangements is not recorded. God does not recognize that the method of the arrangements is important enough to need to be recorded in the Bible.” 35.Watchman Nee, Church Affairs, p. 110. The quote in context reads: “in the Bible we see that God does not tell us the methods for doing things; rather, He left the methods for doing things to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to the filling of the Holy Spirit, and to the Holy Spirit Himself giving wisdom. This was to avoid a day when the shell would be present, the methods would be present, the procedures would be present, but the blessing would be gone, the living water would be gone, and the spiritual power would be gone. This is a fundamental problem. In church history a method comes out when a group of people are raised up. Yet only the method remains by the time of the second, third, and fourth generation.” 36.W. Lee, The Scriptural Way to Meet and to Serve for the Building Up of the Body of Christ, (1987) p. 71 37. W. Lee, Words of Training for the New Way, vol. 2, pp. 18-9. The quote in context reads: “Today there is a big mountain standing before us. This is the worship service established by Satan in the past two thousand years through degraded Christianity. This has become a great hindrance to us in the Lord’s recovery…First Corinthians 14:26 says, ‘Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.’ The phrase “each one has” nullifies the matter of attending the worship services of Christianity.”[W. Lee, Words of Training for the New Way, vol. 2, pp. 18-9] 38. W. Lee, The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord’s Recovery, (spoken 1986), p. 93 39. 1 Corinthians 14:31, footnote 1. W. Lee argued that “church meetings, regardless of whether they are small group meetings or large gatherings, are not one-sided, with one person speaking and the rest listening, but mutual, with each one exhorting the others….regardless of whether it is a home meeting, a small group meeting, or a large meeting, it is absolutely not a one-sided speaking, but speaking in mutuality and with one another.” [W. Lee, Words of Training for the New Way, vol. 1, p. 60] 40. W. Lee, Life-study of 1 Corinthians p. 569. This quote also appeared originally as a RcV. footnote 41. W. Lee, Life-study of 1 Cor. p. 569, emphasis added. This quote was also originally a RcV. footnote 42. The quote in context reads: “We cannot force God’s truth to go our way just because we want to go that way. Man is too bold; he always forces God’s truth to follow him.” (W. Nee, The Character of the Lord’s Worker, CWWN, vol. 52, p. 154) 43. BP., The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 74 44. BP., The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 73 45. Minoru Chen says, “Towards the end of his life, Brother Lee said that he hoped we would all become ‘tape recorders” of what he spoke….To be a good “recorder,” we need to truly enter into what he spoke. We need to be a tape recorder.” [Minoru Chen, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3, March 2005, p. 40] In contrast Watchman Nee said, “We should realize that the ministry of the word means that God has entrusted His word to man. This is not a replay from a tape recorder.” [W. Nee, Collected Works, vol. 53, p. 41] Also “…God is not after a machine that can preach.” [W. Nee, Collected Works, vol. 53, p. 49] 46. Take for example Andrew Yu’s testimony: He reported, “A short time ago a few of us visited some of the churches and were very happy to see them all going on in oneness in the apostles’ teaching and practicing the apostles’ fellowship.” (p. 54). At the end of the message, he returned to this point, saying, “recently when we were visiting the churches, we were so impressed that all the churches are now in the Crystallization-study of 1 Corinthians. When we walked into one meeting hall, we saw a banner of the training. When we walked into another hall, we also saw the banner of the training. When we visited another church, a Chinese-speaking brother recited the banner to us in English.” (p. 73) [AY., The Ministry, vol. 7, no. 6, Aug. 2003, p. 54, 73.] 47. W. Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life, p. 11, emphasis original. 48. W. Lee, The Present Advance of the Lord’s Recovery, p. 38 49. Watchman Nee,Collected Works of Watchman Nee,Vol. 47, p. 57
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:32 PM   #2
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Thank you, dear Admin, for posting the full text of this article by dear brother Nigel. Apparently, the references to Mao made this "too hot" for concernedbrothers.com. I am very glad to see that we now have access to this very important document right here on this forum.

It saddens me deeply that the failures of "The New Way" were never adequately addressed or repented of by the LC leadership. It is a real shame that so many dear ones became burnt out and discouraged and that there has never been adequate repentance by those who vigorously promoted "The New Way".

It is also very sad, but very interesting, to observe that while some of the practices of "The New Way" were largely abandoned long ago (door-knocking, instant baptisms, etc.), some of the other baggage that was introduced during "The New Way" is very much part and parcel of the LC to this very day. Brother Nigel gives some examples of "New Way" baggage that was retained:

1) The setting up of "prophesying meetings" pushed out the system of "one man speaking", but ironically replaced it with "the speaking of one man - Witness Lee".
2) The setting up of "prophecying meetings" pushed out of the local assemblies the speaking of local gifted ones - the local prophets and teachers. The ministry to the brothers and sisters in the LC became monopolized by WL and the BB's at the seven official yearly "feasts".
3) The New Way was the first time “the work” and “the ministry” sought to lead the local churches on a global scale. It initiated the ascendancy of “the ministry” above the churches.
4) The New Way brought in the establishment of the FTT's, with the resultant idea that the only "full-timers" that are officially-recognized as "full-timers" are products of the FTTs.

As dear brother Nigel says so well, "These are steps on the road towards institutionalization."
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:44 PM   #3
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"Our evaluation of “the God-ordained Way” has been forthright, but fair."
Amen, dear brother Nigel.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: History, Not Hagiography-The Recovery's "Great Leap Forward"-"The God-O

After reading Nigel's "HISTORY, NOT HAGIOGRAPHY," I've concluded the Lee's brain got off the chain. During those days, at least to me, he appeared to become a mixture of Glenn Turner's "Dare to be Great," and David Koresh.

And all those, the little saints, that stayed during the "New Way/God's Ordained Way" are bona fide nut cases ; they've slipped a few gears ; are more than a half a bubble off level ; and ain't right in the head.

Lord have mercy on them ; they're not even in reality, and know not what they do....

They've become so systematized that the Spirit has no room in their meetings. They've completely quenched the Spirit. They may as well say the Holy Spirit is in the middle of the meeting, and have everyone go up and beat the pulp out of it.
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:48 PM   #5
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Arrow "The Great Burden of the flesh/saints."

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The Trumpet’s Tune Changes
In the 1980s the Recovery’s “one trumpet” promoted the New Way, emphasizing numbers and rapid growth. However, as the Recovery entered the 1990s, Bro. W. Lee’s tune changed dramatically. He now emphasized the Recovery was a “narrow way” which couldn’t expect rapid increase! In 1992, only 6 years after launching the “New Way,” he declared,32 “We have to realize that the way we take in following the Lord cannot have a high rate of increase. The way we are taking is really a narrow way.” God’s economy, Bro. Lee now affirmed,33 “is on another planet. Because of this we cannot expect to have too high a rate in our increase.”

Hindsight is 20/20 for sure.

Lee's burden became our burden. The saints bought into it so easily because we all knew it was scriptural to share the gospel. Who could say no to door knocking? Not to mention we wanted to be one with our brothers. Any true believer would have to agree with it simply because Jesus commissioned us to.
Now having hindsight 20/20 vision we can see clearly we were being manipulated by the clergy in the flesh. If this move was indeed by the Spirit it would have seceded.

Which brings me to the question, why didn't any leading ones sense the pseudo flow of the fresh new flesh/move? The answer can only be that they weren't following their spirits. They were so caught up in this fresh/flesh move. That they turned right just as they were told to do in the knocking on the doors training!

And the saints followed the lesser Shepherds in the name of oneness and personally knowing that they were being obedient to the Lord by doing His will on the earth. Little did they know that flesh not the Spirit was behind this.

And now the saints have been through the great burden of the flesh.

Have they learned anything? Time will tell.

Just considering the LC past, if you were not clear it became crystal clear how serious the responsibilities are to be an elder.

May the Lord grant peace and encouragement strength and HIS Leading to the former leaders of the Local Churches and the saints,

Don Jr.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:02 PM   #6
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May the Lord grant peace and encouragement strength and HIS Leading to the former leaders of the Local Churches and the saints,

Don Jr.
Amen bro Manna-man. And my they learn they that are not, and should never be, leaders ever again. If they've learned their lessons, then they will fully realize that the most they can ever hope to be is a pointer : at the real leader, Christ.
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: History, Not Hagiography-The Recovery's "Great Leap Forward"-"The God-O

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Amen bro Manna-man. And my they learn they that are not, and should never be, leaders ever again. If they've learned their lessons, then they will fully realize that the most they can ever hope to be is a pointer : at the real leader, Christ.
This takes us back to John 14:6: JESUS is the Way, the TRUTH and the LIFE and no person can get to the Father but through HIM.
and 1 Timothy 2:5 also reminds us there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; The LC leaders, elders, co-workers all forgot this.

Quote:
Which brings me to the question, why didn't any leading ones sense the pseudo flow of the fresh new flesh/move? The answer can only be that they weren't following their spirits. They were so caught up in this fresh/flesh move.
Yep. The Nicolateon system, the Jezebel controlling spirit will do that to a person or group of people everytime.

May the WORD of GOD -JESUS, who is living and operating IN us and the BLOOD of the LAMB with the Holy Spirit guiding us in ALL TRUTH deliver us all from the stronghold of the spirit of manipulation.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: History, Not Hagiography-The Recovery's "Great Leap Forward"-"The God-O

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Amen bro Manna-man. And my they learn they that are not, and should never be, leaders ever again. If they've learned their lessons, then they will fully realize that the most they can ever hope to be is a pointer : at the real leader, Christ.
Harold,

Isn't that what we are anyway, pointers?

Well, That's up to the Lord Jesus. If they are led by the Spirit who are we to suggest that they will never lead?

On the other hand could they be considered false prophets and if that is the case we should flee from them?

I believe they were very gifted brothers however they obviously didn't have the vision or the maturity to lead. Otherwise this shouldn't have happened.

We have a saying here at this household, "SLOW OBEDIENCE IS NO OBEDIENCE." So if your not listening you are in disobedience.

Grace to all the saints inside and out of the Local Churches,

Don Jr
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:48 PM   #9
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Harold,

Isn't that what we are anyway, pointers?

Well, That's up to the Lord Jesus. If they are led by the Spirit who are we to suggest that they will never lead?

On the other hand could they be considered false prophets and if that is the case we should flee from them?

I believe they were very gifted brothers however they obviously didn't have the vision or the maturity to lead. Otherwise this shouldn't have happened.

We have a saying here at this household, "SLOW OBEDIENCE IS NO OBEDIENCE." So if your not listening you are in disobedience.


Grace to all the saints inside and out of the Local Churches,

Don Jr
Imagine,

Manna-man having the vision and maturity to make such remarks. I cringe having to say such things!



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Old 08-24-2009, 06:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: "The Great Burden of the flesh/saints."

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Hindsight is 20/20 for sure.

Lee's burden became our burden.
I think this is one underlying reason I left. His 'burden' was not MY burden! It was LEE'S. It became a noose around our neck.
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The saints bought into it so easily because we all knew it was scriptural to share the gospel.
It is scriptural perhaps but it's only going to be effectual and anointed if we have a very intimate relationship with the LORD Himself...not with a 'ministry'. Most saints want to be obedient, especially if they're zealous for the LORD, HIS Word and the church.

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Who could say no to door knocking?......
Brother Lee and the leading brothers. Did Witness Lee ever go out door knocking? How 'bout his co-workers or elders?

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And now the saints have been through the great burden of the flesh.
Have they learned anything? Time will tell.
The only way any of us LEARN anything is if we crucify the flesh. How do we do this? The WORD of GOD has to be our reality. We must enter into HIS PRESENCE daily. We enter into His Presence with Thanksgiving, and Praise and Worshipping our GOD, the LORD JESUS CHRIST. It is there, we experience the Peace of God which surpasses all human understanding. It is in HIS Presence, we willingly surrender OUR WILL to Him. Each of us need to experience the POWER of Repentance and the POWER of the BLOOD of JESUS and the POWER of the WORD of GOD living and operating in our very being. Everything else will crumble.

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Just considering the LC past, if you were not clear it became crystal clear how serious the responsibilities are to be an elder.
I believe becoming an 'elder' is simply a matter of walking and maturing and growing up in Christ Jesus. A person does not become an 'elder' because he/she has been ordained, or has been a faithful tither, attending all the church meetings/services or being a 'yes' person to the leader/pastor for umpteen years...


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Old 05-13-2015, 12:11 PM   #11
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However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Brother Lee succeeded in bringing the recovery into this practice.” Of the “New Way’s” four steps only prophesying was proclaimed “a success.” But is it really a success? LSM’s
“blended brothers’” have shifted the emphasis from God’s Word to “the ministry.” In many churches “pray-reading” has been replaced with “PSRP,” denoting “Pray-reading, Studying, Reciting and Prophesying.” Significantly, the object of PSRP is not the Bible it is “the ministry,” Bro. Lee’s writings in HWMR. More often than Scripture, his words are memorized and recited in the “prophesying meeting.” The saints are encouraged to be “tape recorders,”45 so “prophesying” often amounts to reciting the “high peak truths” from Bro. Lee’s writings. The net result is that one man speaking” has been replaced by the “speaking of one man”—Witness Lee! Yes, there are many speakers, yet they are all reciting Witness Lee’s words. Hence, it is, in fact, “the speaking of one man”—W. Lee via many surrogates. Moreover, under “the Old Way,” the “one man’s speaking” differed from locality to locality according to the ministering brother. Now, in LSM-local churches, the “speaking of one man” is virtually uniform around the globe.46 We question whether the Apostle Paul would recognize this as the prophesying he described in 1 Corinthians.
Clergy Laity describes this portion Nigel wrote about. Sure there may be different ones speaking, but it's still the speaking of one person. It has the same effect as a 7th grader being asked to memorize and recite Jabberwocky.

Being Witness Lee "tape recorders", what it does is suppress the spiritual gifts of each individual member for the purpose of exalting a minister and his ministry. The goal is to make everyone the same as in uniformity.
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Old 05-13-2015, 12:28 PM   #12
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Conclusion
Twenty years have elapsed since Bro. W. Lee unveiled, “the God-ordained Way,” designed to bring sustained increase. His “New Way” was guaranteed to double church membership yearly. He promised a48 “church can be doubled yearly. A local church of 100 saints could increase to 100,000 in ten years. This means that this church will increase 1,000 times in ten years.” Yet, despite the saints’ and churches’ best efforts, these expectations were not realized. Why? The “New Way’s” failure has not been adequately addressed. Some components (e.g. door-knocking, instant bathtub baptisms) were simply discarded, “swept under the rug.” The Recovery’s leadership has not assumed responsibility. Consequently churches and saints who “bought into the program,” with its promised results, experienced a profound sense of personal defeat; they had failed to produce abundant lasting fruit. Even today churches and saints are impacted. Only an adequate evaluation will bring a sense of closure, allowing them to move forward.

Our evaluation of “the God-ordained Way” has been forthright, but fair. Some may see this as an attack on Bro. Witness Lee; they are mistaken. It is not. Brother Lee has a long history as a servant of the Lord with numerous accomplishments. The 100-day revival in Chefoo, China; the 1947-8 revival which restored Watchman Nee’s ministry; the spectacular 1950s growth in Taiwan and the rapid increase during the “Jesus Movement” in North America are a few of his notable achievements in Christian work. Moreover, Bro. W. Lee’s 1991 decision to spread the Recovery to Russia and Eastern Europe after the USSR’s fall was clearly vindicated by the Lord. However, it’s time to admit that his “New Way,” launched in the 1980s, was not one of his greatest triumphs. Even the Apostle Paul failed when he regressed to Judaic vows (Acts 21). Evidently no servant of the Lord has an entirely unblemished record of service. Brother W. Lee is not an exception. That standard of perfection was only attained by One—our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since Nigel wrote this article, it's been more like 25 years since the New Way. Even if localities try to revert back to the practice of door knocking, what is the motive?
Is it to add to the local churches or is it bring people to the Lord? It's relatively easier to bring people to the Lord, but to the local churches there have been Northwest elders that have said:
  • If you're not here for brother Lee and his ministry, then you might as well not be here.
  • The recovery is not for everybody
  • It takes a special calling to be in the recovery
Point being if brothers own up to the fact the local churches are narrow, it is being imaginative to think local churches could grow at the same rate as bringing people to salvation.

I have heard the criticism of Billy Graham over the years. Why is he such a successful evangelist for generations? On one hand you can say he's not going beyond his measure. On the other hand he's not telling people where he thinks their home church should be.
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Old 05-13-2015, 05:56 PM   #13
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Since Nigel wrote this article, it's been more like 25 years since the New Way. Even if localities try to revert back to the practice of door knocking, what is the motive?
Is it to add to the local churches or is it bring people to the Lord? It's relatively easier to bring people to the Lord, but to the local churches there have been Northwest elders that have said:
  • If you're not here for brother Lee and his ministry, then you might as well not be here.
  • The recovery is not for everybody
  • It takes a special calling to be in the recovery
Point being if brothers own up to the fact the local churches are narrow, it is being imaginative to think local churches could grow at the same rate as bringing people to salvation.

I have heard the criticism of Billy Graham over the years. Why is he such a successful evangelist for generations? On one hand you can say he's not going beyond his measure. On the other hand he's not telling people where he thinks their home church should be.
A big problem in the LC is that they are still trying to practice the new way. Whenever the issue of the increase comes up or they try to address things like a lack of shepherding, guess what the brothers do? They go back to Lee's ministry on the new way and see what he says regarding how to do those things. Obviously the failures happen time and time again.

What really gets me is given all the failures, it is still promoted as they only way. WL's projections and statistics still seem to get everyone excited and hyped up. It's like no one can stop for a minute and realize that the new way didn't and doesn't work like it's supposed to.
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Old 05-13-2015, 06:28 PM   #14
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Whenever the issue of the increase comes up or they try to address things like a lack of shepherding, guess what the brothers do? They go back to Lee's ministry on the new way and see what he says regarding how to do those things.
Have the brothers ever considered the lack of increase is due to a spiritual condition of not taking care of sinfulness. Corporately there is much to confess and repent for.
No new flow or new cart is going to be a resolution.
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:45 PM   #15
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A big problem in the LC is that they are still trying to practice the new way. Whenever the issue of the increase comes up or they try to address things like a lack of shepherding, guess what the brothers do? They go back to Lee's ministry on the new way and see what he says regarding how to do those things.
As I quote Nigel in this article, In the 1980s the Recovery’s “one trumpet” promoted the New Way, emphasizing numbers and rapid growth. However, as the Recovery entered the 1990s, Bro. W. Lee’s tune changed dramatically. He now emphasized the Recovery was a “narrow way” which couldn’t expect rapid increase! In 1992, only 6 years after launching the “New Way,” he declared,32 “We have to realize that the way we take in following the Lord cannot have a high rate of increase. The way we are taking is really a narrow way.”

Freedom, maybe the brothers missed when Witness Lee changed his tune regarding the new way and the emphasis on numbers and rapid growth?
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Old 05-14-2015, 03:21 AM   #16
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As I quote Nigel in this article, In the 1980s the Recovery’s “one trumpet” promoted the New Way, emphasizing numbers and rapid growth. However, as the Recovery entered the 1990s, Bro. W. Lee’s tune changed dramatically. He now emphasized the Recovery was a “narrow way” which couldn’t expect rapid increase! In 1992, only 6 years after launching the “New Way,” he declared,32 “We have to realize that the way we take in following the Lord cannot have a high rate of increase. The way we are taking is really a narrow way.”

Freedom, maybe the brothers missed when Witness Lee changed his tune regarding the new way and the emphasis on numbers and rapid growth?
This is so true. I went to the FTTT during the peak of the "New Way," and the blended trainer minions had a huge chart on display, constantly calling it's figures "Brother Lee's." It showed dramatic projections of growth world wide until the year 2000 when the whole earth would be saved. None of us dared to question the statistics, or that would have been "blowing cold winds" on the Lord's move.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:05 AM   #17
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As I quote Nigel in this article, In the 1980s the Recovery’s “one trumpet” promoted the New Way, emphasizing numbers and rapid growth. However, as the Recovery entered the 1990s, Bro. W. Lee’s tune changed dramatically. He now emphasized the Recovery was a “narrow way” which couldn’t expect rapid increase! In 1992, only 6 years after launching the “New Way,” he declared,32 “We have to realize that the way we take in following the Lord cannot have a high rate of increase. The way we are taking is really a narrow way.”

Freedom, maybe the brothers missed when Witness Lee changed his tune regarding the new way and the emphasis on numbers and rapid growth?
This is where a big contradiction in the LC lies. Ironically, WL was correct when he said that they can't expect a big increase. He was also correct in saying that the way they are taking is narrow (exclusive). Obvious, from a leadership standpoint, increase is necessary for survival of any group. Any time a group doesn't have increase, it should be of concern. When Lee talked about not being able to expect a big increase, I take that to be his excuse for the failure of the "great leap forward".

Before the new way started, I think Lee was correct in identifying that there wasn't a good increase. His problem is that he didn't take into consideration the real reasons the LC was lacking in increase. Thus the new way was something developed in the absence of reason and meaningful feedback. The result was something that might have sounded good on paper, but didn't work as promised.

I think the reason brothers still try to implement the new way is because they realize the increase is lacking. So they go read things that Lee said and get all excited about his projections. The reason they never see past Lee's projections is because the failures are blamed on LC members rather than flaws in Lee's teachings. Multiple times I have heard the old "if everyone brings one person to the Lord within the next year, the church will double in a year". It sounds reasonable, but in actuality it is simply not feasible. Even Christian groups with the best rates of increase don't double every year.

I used to think that people were just waiting to be introduced to the LC, that it would be exactly what they needed. This is indeed the view that LC leaders push, that we have exactly what everyone else needs. Imagine how surprised I was when I first read the words of Sherman Robertson to Steve Isitt: "Not everyone belongs in the Lord's Recovery." That is a completely different view of what "the Recovery" really is. On the one hand you have LC leaders who talk about "conquering the whole earth", and on the other hand, you have those who talk about the LC being "narrow" and not for everyone. Well, you can't have it both ways. That's what it really comes down to. If the LC is really something for everyone, then there shouldn't be any exclusivity or sectarian attitudes. Those attitudes just prove there will never be any significant increase within the LC.
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:43 AM   #18
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I used to think that people were just waiting to be introduced to the LC, that it would be exactly what they needed. This is indeed the view that LC leaders push, that we have exactly what everyone else needs. Imagine how surprised I was when I first read the words of Sherman Robertson to Steve Isitt: "Not everyone belongs in the Lord's Recovery." That is a completely different view of what "the Recovery" really is. On the one hand you have LC leaders who talk about "conquering the whole earth", and on the other hand, you have those who talk about the LC being "narrow" and not for everyone. Well, you can't have it both ways. That's what it really comes down to. If the LC is really something for everyone, then there shouldn't be any exclusivity or sectarian attitudes. Those attitudes just prove there will never be any significant increase within the LC.
On the mark. If the local churches are for everyone, there shouldn't be any exclusive or sectarian attitudes.
From what I've seen and in my experience it's community churches that are for everyone.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:13 PM   #19
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On the mark. If the local churches are for everyone, there shouldn't be any exclusive or sectarian attitudes.
From what I've seen and in my experience it's community churches that are for everyone.
At various points in time, significant pressure was placed upon me to bring "new ones" to meetings. I even remember a meeting where a brother seemed to imply that if we didn't have "new ones" to bring to home meetings that we might as well not go to home meetings. It was actually not long after that I decided I might as well not attend the home meetings. That kind of attitude was of great frustration to me.

It wasn't that I didn't want to invite people to meetings. The issue was that no matter how hard I tried, however hard we all tried, efforts at gaining people were futile. The LC that I'm from has put a lot of effort into trying to implement things like what WL said about shepherding, "vital groups", etc. It would seem that if we were doing everything that Lee said, then we could get the expected results. Not so.

I eventually got to the point where I realized the "new way" or "God ordained way" was a bunch of baloney. I accepted that it wasn't going to work. At the same time, I didn't intend to create any issue out of it, I would just go along with what they wanted. That was all fine until I noticed that leaders (both local and the BB's) liked to put blame on the saints for failure to get an increase and failure to implement things. I felt it wasn't fair and it was an attempt to ignore the larger problem at hand.

When I consider that there is also this attitude of "the recovery" not being for everyone or it being "narrow", it leads me to the conclusion that LC leadership is particularly dishonest. On the one hand, they still have these grandiose ideas that are put forth about an increase, on the other hand, they know every well that it's not going to happen.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:01 PM   #20
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I even remember a meeting where a brother seemed to imply that if we didn't have "new ones" to bring to home meetings that we might as well not go to home meetings.
The LC that I'm from has put a lot of effort into trying to implement things like what WL said about shepherding, "vital groups", etc. It would seem that if we were doing everything that Lee said, then we could get the expected results. Not so.
In the locality I last met with, I had just the opposite experience of being discouraged from inviting "new ones". The home meeting was considered at max capacity.
On the LC burden of shepherding, you need to focus on shepherding the ones already present. If the current members aren't being shepherded, the LC is at risk losing them to another fellowship as what happened with my family.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:26 PM   #21
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In the locality I last met with, I had just the opposite experience of being discouraged from inviting "new ones". The home meeting was considered at max capacity.
On the LC burden of shepherding, you need to focus on shepherding the ones already present. If the current members aren't being shepherded, the LC is at risk losing them to another fellowship as what happened with my family.
I've seen a lot of the attitude of wanting everyone to go after "new ones" without caring a single bit about shepherding current members. The result? People leave, they slip through the cracks. I've seen it happen a number of times. They might gain a few new ones here and there, but when you consider all those they lose, it amounts to about zero net increase.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:01 PM   #22
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I've seen a lot of the attitude of wanting everyone to go after "new ones" without caring a single bit about shepherding current members. The result? People leave, they slip through the cracks. I've seen it happen a number of times. They might gain a few new ones here and there, but when you consider all those they lose, it amounts to about zero net increase.
And that's being generous. From the times I've met as a member and visitor from 1993 on, I've noticed a generation gap. Currently one might find a local church with members 65+ years and older, those that are 18-40, but pressed to find those 41-64. Just an observation.
While the attention and care might be on the college work, there's the young families, families with teenagers, and single brothers and sisters no longer college age, and these ones if not cared for properly will find a church that counts them essential members of the Body.
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Old 05-15-2015, 04:43 AM   #23
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I've seen a lot of the attitude of wanting everyone to go after "new ones" without caring a single bit about shepherding current members. The result? People leave, they slip through the cracks. I've seen it happen a number of times. They might gain a few new ones here and there, but when you consider all those they lose, it amounts to about zero net increase.
I recall a variant view on this when BP gave a series of messages in Irving concerning the army and the citizens. It sounded as if the everyone would be accepted and cared for with equal care. But the truth was that after those message were over, it was only those doing the "front line" work who were worthy of anything. The rest of us just hung on by our own strength. Reminds me now of the opening scenes in "The Man in the Iron Mask" where all the food was sent to the front lines of a war no one wanted and only food that had already spoiled was provided to the people of Paris.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:36 AM   #24
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I recall a variant view on this when BP gave a series of messages in Irving concerning the army and the citizens. It sounded as if the everyone would be accepted and cared for with equal care. But the truth was that after those message were over, it was only those doing the "front line" work who were worthy of anything. The rest of us just hung on by our own strength. Reminds me now of the opening scenes in "The Man in the Iron Mask" where all the food was sent to the front lines of a war no one wanted and only food that had already spoiled was provided to the people of Paris.
In general, it seems like they really only care about those who are on the "front lines". The very people who are struggling or are in need of shepherding are usually blamed for their problems. I've heard things said that the reason people are unhappy in the LC is because they don't have any "new ones" or they are not shepherding someone. It's essentially blaming the victim.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:59 AM   #25
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I recall a variant view on this when BP gave a series of messages in Irving concerning the army and the citizens. It sounded as if the everyone would be accepted and cared for with equal care. But the truth was that after those message were over, it was only those doing the "front line" work who were worthy of anything.
Steve Isitt wrote in his The Church of Gideon and his 300 Men

The Party of Gideon
Third, by the way, I would say, we don’t like to form parties. Don’t say, “Brother Lee, I stand with you”. I don’t like to hear this. I don’t like anyone to stand with me. I don’t like to have a party. I have been in the Lord’s recovery over a half century. You all can testify in the Far East, in mainland China, in Taiwan, and in this country, I never liked to make anyone side with me to make a party. No, not at all. Right? Don’t make any party. Don’t think that we, the 400 or the 500, all got convinced and say, “Let us all stand together; we are the 300 of Gideon.” It may be okay to be the 300 of Gideon. But don’t form a party. The 300 with Gideon still loved the children of Israel. They still fought the battle for them. They never considered them as a separate party. That is a division. "

One could say to brother Steve, "you're using brother Lee's words to attack the ministry". The point has been made. Parties have been formed. It's a case of everyone's equal, but some are more equal than others. If you're 18-22 and in college, you'll be tended to. If you're in the full time training, you'll benefit from preferential treatment. If you're outside of the front line, expect to be ignored. That is however if you happen to win the lottery, it has been inferred those with significant wealth become elder/co-worker material even if their character doesn't measure up.
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:30 PM   #26
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Steve Isitt wrote in his The Church of Gideon and his 300 Men

The Party of Gideon
Third, by the way, I would say, we don’t like to form parties. Don’t say, “Brother Lee, I stand with you”. I don’t like to hear this. I don’t like anyone to stand with me. I don’t like to have a party. I have been in the Lord’s recovery over a half century. You all can testify in the Far East, in mainland China, in Taiwan, and in this country, I never liked to make anyone side with me to make a party. No, not at all. Right? Don’t make any party. Don’t think that we, the 400 or the 500, all got convinced and say, “Let us all stand together; we are the 300 of Gideon.” It may be okay to be the 300 of Gideon. But don’t form a party. The 300 with Gideon still loved the children of Israel. They still fought the battle for them. They never considered them as a separate party. That is a division. "

bThe point has been made. Parties have been formed. It's a case of everyone's equal, but some are more equal than others. If you're 18-22 and in college, you'll be tended to. If you're in the full time training, you'll benefit from preferential treatment. If you're outside of the front line, expect to be ignored. That is however if you happen to win the lottery, it has been inferred those with significant wealth become elder/co-worker material even if their character doesn't measure up.
Awareness also was accused of using Lee's own teaching to attack Lee.

Now who's fault is that? The teacher who speaks with "forked" tongue, or those members who happened to remember what Lee taught longer than just yesterday's message?

Who was the real Lee? On so many issues, we can go to Lee's writings and get seriously conflicting opinions. For example, Lee taught us repeatedly that we should never be "of man," yet with numerous other teachings and personal encouragement, Lee strongly promoted a following of blendeds who could only be classified as being "of Lee." As in Corinth, this simply created divisions. Apostle Paul warned us to only boast in Christ, yet today's Blindeds teach the saints to boast in Lee.
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:04 PM   #27
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Now who's fault is that? The teacher who speaks with "forked" tongue, or those members who happened to remember what Lee taught longer than just yesterday's message?

Who was the real Lee? On so many issues, we can go to Lee's writings and get seriously conflicting opinions. For example, Lee taught us repeatedly that we should never be "of man," yet with numerous other teachings and personal encouragement, Lee strongly promoted a following of blendeds who could only be classified as being "of Lee." As in Corinth, this simply created divisions. Apostle Paul warned us to only boast in Christ, yet today's Blindeds teach the saints to boast in Lee.
Do as I say and not as I do. Speak one thing, but practice another? Matthew 23 anyone?
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Old 05-30-2015, 12:57 PM   #28
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The “New Math of the New Way”—Unrealistic Projections
In theory the “New Math of the New Way” works inexorably. If one third of the local church members would go out door-knocking regularly, assuming they could each baptize one new believer per month, twelve new Christians would be gained per year. Even if only 25% of these remained, the church’s number would still double annually. Moreover, if those gained adopted the same practice and got the same results, growth would be compounded year after year. Under this scenario, a mere 100 saints could grow to 100,000 in a decade; on this basis W. Lee guaranteed,18 a “church can be doubled yearly. A local church of one hundred saints could increase to one hundred thousand in ten years. This means that this church will increase one thousand times in ten years.” When offered this kind of plan for rapid growth which positive saint or elder would oppose?

Perhaps 100% yearly growth was too optimistic; nevertheless Bro. Lee assured his hearers that a church of 250 with a 33% growth rate could evangelize the whole world in less than 60 years. He proclaimed,19 “I expect and have the full assurance that within three years you will gain at least one. If everyone will gain one within three years, we will have a thirty-three percent increase each year. This may seem slow, but…if a church of two hundred fifty would increase by one-third each year, the entire population of the earth would be gained in less than sixty years.”
Even if you estimate a conservative increase of 2%, is it still realistic?

Here's what John So had to say about Mathematics of the New Way:

"I wasn’t opposing or anything fermenting within me. I’m sorry to say, dear saints, I think there is a plot, a conspiracy, there, not on our part, but on somebody else’s part to bring the churches in Europe and myself under a certain leading—under the, sorry to say, the hidden function of the office. That I must confess I do not, I just cannot fully agree. But that doesn’t mean that if I don’t agree, I oppose. I went to Taipei. I went to Taipei. I joined the door knocking. Okay, I enjoyed it. You might not believe me, but I really enjoyed it. In fact, I fully submitted to the group. You can ask my group leaders, I baptized a few people, really. And I am quite fond of that whole group. But when I was there, listen, one major leading brother in Taipei every time he saw me, he told me that the statistics were manipulated. That’s the word I think he used. I said, “Are you sure brother?” He said, “Yes.” I said then, “Why then don’t you go and see Witness Lee? If it’s manipulated, you have to tell Witness Lee.” He told me, it’s very hard to see him. I tried several times, but I can’t get through. So that makes me a little concerned."
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Old 05-30-2015, 01:34 PM   #29
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Even if you estimate a conservative increase of 2%, is it still realistic?

Here's what John So had to say about Mathematics of the New Way:

"I wasn’t opposing or anything fermenting within me. I’m sorry to say, dear saints, I think there is a plot, a conspiracy, there, not on our part, but on somebody else’s part to bring the churches in Europe and myself under a certain leading—under the, sorry to say, the hidden function of the office. That I must confess I do not, I just cannot fully agree. But that doesn’t mean that if I don’t agree, I oppose. I went to Taipei. I went to Taipei. I joined the door knocking. Okay, I enjoyed it. You might not believe me, but I really enjoyed it. In fact, I fully submitted to the group. You can ask my group leaders, I baptized a few people, really. And I am quite fond of that whole group. But when I was there, listen, one major leading brother in Taipei every time he saw me, he told me that the statistics were manipulated. That’s the word I think he used. I said, “Are you sure brother?” He said, “Yes.” I said then, “Why then don’t you go and see Witness Lee? If it’s manipulated, you have to tell Witness Lee.” He told me, it’s very hard to see him. I tried several times, but I can’t get through. So that makes me a little concerned."
The impression given here by the unnamed brother is that Witness Lee himself was being manipulated. Titus Chu often told us stories implying the same thing about Lee.

I have come to the conclusion, with the benefit of history, that Lee was never taken advantage of by his underlings. Lee himself manipulated the statistics for his own gain.
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Old 05-30-2015, 01:47 PM   #30
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The impression given here by the unnamed brother is that Witness Lee himself was being manipulated. Titus Chu often told us stories implying the same thing about Lee.

I have come to the conclusion, with the benefit of history, that Lee was never taken advantage of by his underlings. Lee himself manipulated the statistics for his own gain.
Well, I do think there was the family aspect. If anyone had an influence on Lee, it was his two sons. I think in regards to the direction of his ministry, yes, he determined the direction of everything. I just wonder who Lee was most closely working with to develop the statistics and various other propaganda to promote the new way.
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Old 05-30-2015, 02:01 PM   #31
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Well, I do think there was the family aspect. If anyone had an influence on Lee, it was his two sons. I think in regards to the direction of his ministry, yes, he determined the direction of everything. I just wonder who Lee was most closely working with to develop the statistics and various other propaganda to promote the new way.
Andrew Yu perhaps.
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:54 PM   #32
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Andrew Yu perhaps.
Ah yes. From what I've noticed, among all the blinded brothers he is perhaps the most active in regards to the speaking about the Lee ordained way. He has done trainings on things like shepherding and vital groups. Somehow all the talk about shepherding always seems to end with some consideration of statistics or ridiculous projections.

I'm not sure if the BB's as a whole still believe in the principles of the new way. It seems that Lee moved on in his later years, however, the talk about the new way seems to always get pulled out of the attic when the brothers start getting concerned about the lack of increase or small numbers. I've seen in in the LC I'm from. In fact, there was a home meeting I was going to that got so small that I was one of the only ones who dependably came. Anyways, the point is that LC elders and leaders have yet to critically asses the real reasons for the lack of increase. They prefer instead to promote Lee's imagined utopian church life which never was and never will be.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:33 PM   #33
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Ah yes. From what I've noticed, among all the blinded brothers he is perhaps the most active in regards to the speaking about the Lee ordained way. He has done trainings on things like shepherding and vital groups. Somehow all the talk about shepherding always seems to end with some consideration of statistics or ridiculous projections.

I'm not sure if the BB's as a whole still believe in the principles of the new way. It seems that Lee moved on in his later years, however, the talk about the new way seems to always get pulled out of the attic when the brothers start getting concerned about the lack of increase or small numbers. I've seen in in the LC I'm from. In fact, there was a home meeting I was going to that got so small that I was one of the only ones who dependably came. Anyways, the point is that LC elders and leaders have yet to critically asses the real reasons for the lack of increase. They prefer instead to promote Lee's imagined utopian church life which never was and never will be.
Even if the projections are extremely conservative say 2%, for an assembly of 50 that's 1 person a year. Is that realistic? In any given assembly it's achievable growth. The local church culture that has shifted to being ministry churches, it's not viable for consistent growth. It would require someone who embraces the vision of the ministry.
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