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Old 06-25-2017, 12:23 PM   #1
OGOP
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Default UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Hey y'all.

My introduction thread is is titled "My situation with the LC" if you want to read it for some reference, but I'm going to quickly summarize it anyways.

So here's my story briefly.
-Born and raised into non-religious home
-Went off to college, fell head over heels in love with a girl who I, still do this day, intend to marry
-She has been born and raised in The Lords Recovery/LCM
-After a year of attending the "meetings" I come across this site, among other testimonies of the nature of the LCM.
-It finally "clicks" with me, that the things I was experiencing were not an isolated case, and are a result of the church itself, not just the brothers + sisters in my specific church. (arranged marriages, taking advantage of troubled people, full time training, etc.)
-I decide I want to find a denomination I feel comfortable to grow in Christ.

And so that is when I posted to the forum seeking advice.

Here's the update:

I ended up approaching her and telling her my feelings about the church. I tried to be as sensitive as possible about the subject. I censored my language very strongly to avoid hurting her.
This led to many nights of crying and fighting.
Eventually she came around and said she would agree to start splitting time between the local church and a church of my choosing.

The Saturday before the first Sunday it was my turn to take her to church, I don't know if she gets cold feet, too nervous, or if one of the brothers or sisters talked to her but she backs out and says she can't do it. That the local church is THE ONLY real church, the ONLY place she will feel comfortable, etc.

So that leads to more fighting and arguments between us, but in the end we would always make up.

This spring I actually managed to drastically reduce the number of meetings we went to, by planning things for us to do during the meeting times. Does that make me a bad person?

So here is where we stand now: She understands exactly where I stand in regards to my feelings on the church. She chalks it up as problems I have with Christ and because I am a relatively new Christian. She can't differentiate between a denomination I am criticizing and criticizing Christ. It's sad, but I do feel like I am slowly making progress in leaving the church WITH her.
She has agreed that she will follow me to a church I feel comfortable once we are married, ON THE CONDITION that I first have a meeting with a church elder and that I give these next few months my BEST TRY and full attention to be active and engaged in "the church life"

So here's my question for y'all:
1) What questions would you/should I ask the brother when I do have a meeting with him 1-on-1? So far I am planning to address my concerns regarding: Full time training, witness lee, living stream ministry scandals, controlling nature of the "elders"
If you have advice on how to word them that would be a huge help. For example I know the full time training gives me the cult vibe, but what should I question about it specifically. I can't just say 'whats sup with all the trainings, thats a softball question and I'm just going to get the same old talking points.
2) How can I get involved it the church life and make it seems genuine without falling into it. Not sure if I worded that correctly but essentially I am scared that if I get too involved that its going to be even harder to leave. Any advice on "faking it"in the LC lol? Im sure some of y'all have been here before.

God Bless
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Old 06-25-2017, 12:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Just be honest.

Tell the elder what you really think. Don't deceive with crafty words and tricks to keep her out of meetings.

If not, and you marry under false premises, then much unnecessary pain awaits her, you, and those around you.

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Old 06-25-2017, 01:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
Don't deceive with crafty words and tricks to keep her out of meetings
I wouldn't think of it like that. It's just that I think that leaving the church is in the best interest of our spiritual future and future relationship.
And to be honest, the Local church has a very controlling grip on ones social life. If attending less meetings helps her understand life does EXIST outside the church life, then I think thats something I want to show her
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Old 06-25-2017, 01:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
Tell the elder what you really think
Oh I plan to.

But I'm also turning to the forum for suggestions. Anything y'all wish you could've asked if you were in my position. The brother Im planning to speak with is very high up in the LC "ranks".
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Old 06-25-2017, 04:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OGOP View Post
So here's my question for y'all:
1) What questions would you/should I ask the brother when I do have a meeting with him 1-on-1? So far I am planning to address my concerns regarding: Full time training, witness lee, living stream ministry scandals, controlling nature of the "elders."

If you have advice on how to word them that would be a huge help. For example I know the full time training gives me the cult vibe, but what should I question about it specifically. I can't just say 'whats sup with all the trainings, thats a softball question and I'm just going to get the same old talking points.

2) How can I get involved it the church life and make it seems genuine without falling into it. Not sure if I worded that correctly but essentially I am scared that if I get too involved that its going to be even harder to leave. Any advice on "faking it"in the LC lol? Im sure some of y'all have been here before.

God Bless
OGOP
OGOP, you are in a difficult place since she obviously was hopeful that your future together would be in the context of the LC. Since she was raised there, all her friends and family are there, and LC'ers are not real good at making friends with outsiders. Does she plan to attend the full time training (FTT)? If so, that would be even a more serious concern, since she would have to "put an end to you."

You need to address what bothers you, and not what bothers others, if possible. You mentioned all the trainings. That's a real concern. Most local elders only carry out the plans of LSM, and have little liberty to do else. If the elders seem controlling to you, that's because they also are being controlled by others from LSM. Very little liberty of the Spirit exists there, though you may hear endless messages to the contrary. LSM is not the kind of ministry that the elders can pick and choose what meets the needs of their people. LSMers really feel that every LC member is their fruit, and belongs to them, with all their offerings.

I do know some LC's that have a wholesome family environment and shepherding, but these churches have strong leaders who refuse to be LSMbots. They allow their young people to attend the FTT, but don't push it for everyone. Unfortunately, it's real difficult to discuss these topics with elders. They live a contradiction. They don't really practice what they believe, hence their answers may be acceptable to you in word, but not in reality.

For me personally after 30 years in the LC's, I was very bothered that all three of my elders were employees of headquarters, and they always placed the ministry work before the brothers and sisters in the LC. I spoke my heart's concerns for the church, and they demanded that I apologize to all the other deacons. Privately, they told me they have the "right" to fellowship with anyone they choose, to which I responded, "sure you do, but not if you are elders, since your primary responsibility is the care for the saints." They refused to yield, and I knew it was time to leave.
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Old 06-25-2017, 04:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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Originally Posted by OGOP View Post
Oh I plan to.

But I'm also turning to the forum for suggestions. Anything y'all wish you could've asked if you were in my position. The brother Im planning to speak with is very high up in the LC "ranks".
You said "How can I get involved it the church life and make it seems genuine without falling into it" and "Any advice on "faking it"in the LC lol? "

OGOP, members of this forum and I do not see eye to eye on many things. However, I believe your request of them is completely inappropriate and insulting. Where did you get the impression that they would be willing to collude with you in deception?

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Old 06-25-2017, 04:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

4 questions:

1. Why was the LC essentially formed by women (Margaret Barber, Ruth Lee, Peace Wang, Dora Yu, Mary McDonald [3 parts of man], Jessie Penn-Lewis [Spiritual Man]), but women can't give a Sunday morning message?

2. Why could Witness Lee criticise everyone else, including James, Peter, Martin Luther, but none criticise Lee? Can't you see how Chinese that is? It's human culture. It's not divine order.

3. How come David didn't turn the other cheek, but threw a rock at Goliath? Not very Christian! Or, Samuel killing Agag. Because in the Psalms footnotes you see Lee panning David for his violent and unchristian sentiments. Why the inconsistency?

4. How come your hymns say, "all self-effort is vain" while your HWMR outlines are full of "we must" and "we need to" and "we have to"? Which is it?
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Old 06-25-2017, 04:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
OGOP, members of this forum and I do not see eye to eye on many things. However, I believe your request of them is completely inappropriate and insulting. Where did you get the impression that they would be willing to collude with you in deception?
Perhaps I worded my question improperly.
I'm asking about peoples experiences of their time while still a member of the church, but their hearts weren't in it.
I have been completely open about my feelings on the church with her, its just she wants us to get more involved before we leave, so that she feels comfortable in my decision to leave.
And I'm worried if I do get more involved its only going to be harder for me, mentally, to leave
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Old 06-25-2017, 04:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
4 questions:

1. Why was the LC essentially formed by women (Margaret Barber, Ruth Lee, Peace Wang, Mary McDonald [3 parts of man], Jessie Penn-Lewis [Spiritual Man]), but women can't give a Sunday morning message?

2. Why could Witness Lee criticise everyone else, including James, Peter, Martin Luther, but none criticise Lee? Can't you see how Chinese that is? It's human culture.

3. How come David didn't turn the other cheek, but threw a rock at Goliath? Not very Christian! Or, Samuel killing Agag. Because in the Psalms footnotes you see Lee panning David for his violent and unchristian behavior. Why the inconsistency?
1. I did not know about women's role in the churches founding. Interesting. I will have to look more into that.
That is a good question though, I have always asked about women not being allowed to be front row, can't give morning message, etc. That is definitely something I will ask.
2. The Chinese culture as a whole is something I want to ask about.
3. Interesting.
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Old 06-25-2017, 04:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
Does she plan to attend the full time training (FTT)? If so, that would be even a more serious concern, since she would have to "put an end to you."
Thankfully she is not set on attending right out of college, and has only considered the married couples training once we are married. It is not something she is dead set on by any means though.

Quote:
They don't really practice what they believe, hence their answers may be acceptable to you in word, but not in reality.
That is a good point and something I am worried about. That they will answer my questions with the typical LC talking points, and it can all sound fine and make sense, but thats all they are- just words. And that they are able to hide the reality.
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Old 06-25-2017, 04:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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Originally Posted by OGOP View Post
That is a good point and something I am worried about. That they will answer my questions with the typical LC talking points, and it can all sound fine and make sense, but thats all they are- just words. And that they are able to hide the reality.
As one who long lived this same contradiction, I can assure you that they are not aware that their talking points are not real.
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Old 06-25-2017, 04:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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Originally Posted by OGOP View Post
1 The Chinese culture as a whole is something I want to ask about..
The whole 'exercise your spirit' thing is little more than thinly-veiled social control. Get someone to publicly lose face. Notice the juniors never tell the seniors, "Execise your spirit"! It's a totally one-way street. There is no mutuality whatever. It's oriental social engineering.
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Old 06-25-2017, 05:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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As one who long lived this same contradiction, I can assure you that they are not aware that their talking points are not real.
Witness Lee came to the USA and was immediately received by those who had read Watchman Nee's book The Normal Christian Church Life. Lee convinced us that the churchlife he taught us was 100% according to the New Testament and Nee's book.

In 2003 we carefully read thru this book again. I was shocked page by page. Nothing I read matched the practices of LSM under the Blended brothers. Obviously nobody takes time to check things out. We were taught to receive Lee's teachings without questioning, but that is contrary to scripture.

The Bereans examined Paul's ministry against scripture. (Acts 17.11)

The Thessalonians were instructed to test all things, and only to hold on to the good. (I Thess 5.21)

The Romans were taught to prove by testing what the will of God is. (Romans 12.2)

John admonished the believers not to believe everything they were taught, but to test the spirits whether they are of God. (I John 4.1)
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Old 06-25-2017, 05:16 PM   #14
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
The whole 'exercise your spirit' thing is little more than thinly-veiled social control. Get someone to publicly lose face. Notice the juniors never tell the seniors, "Execise your spirit"! It's a totally one-way street. There is no mutuality whatever. It's oriental social engineering.
Well on that topic- I've never fully understood when I get told my LC members + my gf that I need to stop asking questions and just listen to my spirit. I know what my spirit is and what they're trying to say by it. But I mean, God gave us all a brain and He intended for us to use it.
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Old 06-25-2017, 06:10 PM   #15
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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OGOP, members of this forum and I do not see eye to eye on many things. However, I believe your request of them is completely inappropriate and insulting. Where did you get the impression that they would be willing to collude with you in deception?

Drake
I agree with Drake, but probably would have worded it differently.

I think the most important thing to focus on right now is your relationship with your Creator made possible through the blood of Jesus.

I appreciate that you were honest with your girlfriend to the point where she knows "exactly where you stand". But it sounds like you're looking to attempt to deceive her by saying that you hope to "make it seems genuine without falling into it". I know you qualified that statement in a later post, but this mentality is not fair to anyone. It sounds like you've experienced everything you need to understand the reality of the LSM.
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Old 06-25-2017, 06:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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Originally Posted by OGOP View Post
Well on that topic- I've never fully understood when I get told my LC members + my gf that I need to stop asking questions and just listen to my spirit. I know what my spirit is and what they're trying to say by it. But I mean, God gave us all a brain and He intended for us to use it.
One of my first experiences with the LSM denom was "fellowship" with a Full time brother who was "teaching me" the concept of "getting into my spirit". He said "O Lord Jesus" a bunch of times while driving and then felt like he was flying. I later relayed this story to another Full time brother (who is higher up on the pecking order) and he laughed and said he hadn't heard of that one before, kind of mocking his statement.

I've heard similar stories from Mormon friends.
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Old 06-25-2017, 06:33 PM   #17
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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Well on that topic- I've never fully understood when I get told my LC members + my gf that I need to stop asking questions and just listen to my spirit. I know what my spirit is and what they're trying to say by it. But I mean, God gave us all a brain and He intended for us to use it.
There are thousands more verses which speak of believing with our heart and knowing with our mind, than the nonexistent verse which says "exercise your spirit."
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OGOP View Post
...
So here's my question for y'all:
1) What questions would you/should I ask the brother when I do have a meeting with him 1-on-1? So far I am planning to address my concerns regarding: Full time training, witness lee, living stream ministry scandals, controlling nature of the "elders"
If you have advice on how to word them that would be a huge help. For example I know the full time training gives me the cult vibe, but what should I question about it specifically. I can't just say 'whats sup with all the trainings, thats a softball question and I'm just going to get the same old talking points.
2) How can I get involved it the church life and make it seems genuine without falling into it. Not sure if I worded that correctly but essentially I am scared that if I get too involved that its going to be even harder to leave. Any advice on "faking it"in the LC lol? Im sure some of y'all have been here before.

God Bless
OGOP
OGOP,

Having worked as a paralegal and watched "Law and Order" on TV a lot :-) , one rule of thumb is: don't ask a question you don't already know the answer to. That is, do your homework. Pray that the Lord will clarify in your own mind your objective in talking to one of the elders. Write down your questions and pray over them. Make sure you can quote the scriptural argument. Narrow them down to the ones you can prosecute with Scripture. Consider questions with one-word answers.

My questions for you:

1. What specifically bothers you about FTT, and what scripture makes it a problem? What specific "cult vibe" bothers you? You might get shot down on this one. a) we can have a Bible school, that's not wrong; 2) we don't force anyone to go. Students attend of their own free will; 3) If you do sign up for FTT, you agree to the teachings we provide and the rules set forth. So this one is sticky.

2. What bothers you about Witness Lee? What scripture/s support the bothering? What specific teachings? e.g., "Poor degraded Christianity"? Well brother, we're just telling the truth. (Scripture: Judge not that you be not judged...). "Poor and degraded" is a subjective criticism. The issue isn't actually if Christianity is poor and degraded, but we are all brothers in Christ, who are you to pass judgment? Paul criticized the Jews, but not the Christian believers, even in their worst sinful condition. Paul even gave a brother in the church over to the devil for the salvation of his soul, but he never called him names. Paul's purpose was to preserve the purity of the church and rescue the sinning brother. What did Witness Lee gain by criticizing his brothers and thereby teaching his followers to do so?

3. What LSM scandals? If you haven't done so, read "The Fermentation of the Present Rebellion" by Lee then the response "Speaking the Truth in Love" by John Ingalls.

Whatever questions you ask should be specific and you should press until you get a specific answer. For example, what is Lee's scriptural basis for the statement "Don't say anything negative." What if the truth is "negative". What is the scriptural basis for this practice? We are taught not to lie. We have to tell the truth, even if it may appear to be "negative." Thou shalt not bear false witness. (What about the brother in Corinth who was sleeping with his father's wife? Paul certainly didn't mince words dealing with sin in the camp.)

Lee teaches "don't ask questions". Why? The Bible teaches us the opposite. Ohio has given you the verses The Bereans examined Paul's ministry against scripture. (Acts 17.11)

The Thessalonians were instructed to test all things, and only to hold on to the good. (I Thess 5.21)

The Romans were taught to prove by testing what the will of God is. (Romans 12.2)

John admonished the believers not to believe everything they were taught, but to test the spirits whether they are of God. (I John 4.1)

I hope this helps. You control the meeting. You are the one asking the questions. If you don't get a specific answer or one that makes sense to you, consider it "non-responsive" and go to the next question.

Nell
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Old 06-25-2017, 08:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OGOP View Post
1) What questions would you/should I ask the brother when I do have a meeting with him 1-on-1?
2) How can I get involved it the church life and make it seems genuine without falling into it.
I would suggest not to try to spend too much time on the "faults" you see in the LC. Because you won't get any real conclusion and it will waste your precious fellowship time listening to standard answers you may already know.

Instead, think deeply what is your real belief on what the church should be like and how you would live a life that is pleasing to God. Simply share your view to the brother. He doesn't have to agree with you, and neither do you have to be convinced by him otherwise.

The second question is simpler. Don't fake it. Practice what you genuinely believe and let others know about it. You don't have to call on the name of the Lord n times like others if you don't think it is the correct way. You don't have to say Amen if you don't agree. And speak what your truly received from the Lord even if it may be different from the ministry message yet remain respectful to the others.

Most important of all, don't let anything you don't agree with the LC affect your own personal relationship with God. Don't stop praising God because you don't want to praise Him the LC way. Don't stop studying God's words because you don't agree with the ministry messages. Instead, praise Him and seek Him even more earnestly.

View all these as a test on the truthfulness of your relationship with God, and also your relationship with your girl friend. It would be difficult but with faith would not be beyond what you are able. And be humble all the time to seek guidance from our dear Lord.

2 Cor 12:9 And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ might tabernacle over me.

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She has agreed that she will follow me to a church I feel comfortable once we are married, ON THE CONDITION that I first have a meeting with a church elder and that I give these next few months my BEST TRY and full attention to be active and engaged in "the church life"
You may also need to set her expectation right. The final result might not be what she wants. And I don't think you need to change her to follow you either. As long as the mutual respect can be maintained, it seems fine for you and her to attend different churches. Just avoid the mentality of I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong-concerning-Christ.
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:33 AM   #20
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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The whole 'exercise your spirit' thing is little more than thinly-veiled social control. Get someone to publicly lose face. Notice the juniors never tell the seniors, "Execise your spirit"! It's a totally one-way street. There is no mutuality whatever. It's oriental social engineering.
Kowtow: Act in an excessively subservient manner. ‘she didn't have to kowtow to a boss’ Early 19th century: from Chinese kētu, from kē ‘knock’ + tu ‘head’. (Oxford dictionary)

There's a reason that the LC has gone from 20% Chinese to 50% Chinese in the last 20 years. The strict hierarchical control is aligned with that cultural mentality and expectation. Frankly, they are comfortable with it, while many Occidentals are not. I don't know what it's like in other areas, but in my old LC 'locality' a shadow church has emerged. They call it the "Chinese-speaking meeting". Twenty years ago nothing like this existed. And their behavior among one another is very different. Absolute submission is expected, and shown.

In 2007, Dong Yu Lan in Brasil and Titus Chu in Ohio refused to kowtow to Minoru Chen and Benson Philips. So they left and took their followers with them. So much for the vaunted oneness. Kultur uber alles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acts 15
After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

“‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’—things known from long ago.

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
Where do you see such mutuality in the LC? Where's the "much discussion" of Acts 15:7? Nowhere is where. It doesn't fit Chinese culture - that's not how they get things done. In the LC they have a Deputy God and that's that.
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:53 AM   #21
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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I didn't know about women's role in the churches founding. Interesting. I will have to look more into that. .
Watchman Nee authored only one book: "Spiritual Man"; the rest of his works are copies of message notes. And much of Spiritual Man was a plagiarized version of Jessie Penn-Lewis' "Soul and Spirit". If you read later editions of the Nee book, the publisher's preface acknowledges this. But why did he copy a woman's teaching? Either the LC was illegitimate at its founding, being largely based on women's teaching and leadership, or it's illegitimate now, denying women's teaching and leadership. How can they have it both ways?

Here's another LC "Founding Mother": Mary McDonough. See link below.

http://www.tripartiteman.org/historical/mcdonough.html
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:42 AM   #22
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. . . a shadow church has emerged. They call it the "Chinese-speaking meeting". . .
Another question: when the LC has multiple gatherings, or assemblies, they call them 'meetings'; but when they want one governance, under their aegis naturally, they call it 'the church', and condemn all else as sectarian. But why, in both OT Septuagint (e.g., Psa 22:22) and NT (e.g., Acts 19:41), the same Greek word is used for 'meeting'? Yep, our old freind the 'ekklesia'. Turns out Watchman Nee didn't know much Greek, but that didn't stop him - as long as his followers were equally ignorant, he did alright.
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Old 06-26-2017, 03:14 AM   #23
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

Another question: why did Witness Lee publicly claim the affiliation of 15 to 20 million 'shouters', but 10 years later LSM spokesman Chris Wilde said there's no connection whatever?

The LSM elder will deny the first claim because they didn't print it, but I was there & heard Lee. See recent remarks in the 'publication' thread, on what they call the polishing. What's said & known versus what's printed & formally acknowledged.

And while we're on the subject of affiliation, why did all the 1997 LC 'locality' websites state, "lovers of Jesus affiliated with the ministries of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee"? What is the difference between "affiliated with" as used there, and the "I am of Apollos" or Peter or Paul that was categorically condemned in the NT epistle? What's the difference between "affiliated with" and "of"?
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Old 06-26-2017, 07:13 AM   #24
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The second question is simpler. Don't fake it. Practice what you genuinely believe and let others know about it. You don't have to call on the name of the Lord n times like others if you don't think it is the correct way. You don't have to say Amen if you don't agree. And speak what your truly received from the Lord even if it may be different from the ministry message yet remain respectful to the others.

Most important of all, don't let anything you don't agree with the LC affect your own personal relationship with God. Don't stop praising God because you don't want to praise Him the LC way. Don't stop studying God's words because you don't agree with the ministry messages. Instead, praise Him and seek Him even more earnestly.

View all these as a test on the truthfulness of your relationship with God, and also your relationship with your girl friend. It would be difficult but with faith would not be beyond what you are able. And be humble all the time to seek guidance from our dear Lord.
This is sound advise. If you "fake" your interest in the LC it will turn out bad for all concerned. Just as love conquers all, so too truth conquers all. In my experience, love MUST come with truth, and truth MUST come with love. If you love this girl then you will certainly want to see her walk in the truth. Therefore you must first walk in the truth. Sounds like you already got her following you in love, now she needs to follow you in truth. Yet just as love cannot be forced on someone, neither can truth be forced on someone.

My dear young brother, I am speaking to you from personal experience. I've been around the block a few times more than you. I have been in a situation similar to yours, and I have the scars to prove it. I would suggest finding a solid Christian fellowship in your area, find some older brothers for prayer, support, fellowship and advise. Maybe attend the Lord's Table meeting once a month at the Local Church. Maybe your girlfriend can come to some kind of function at your church once a month as well. Let the Holy Spirit do the convincing and convicting...He's pretty good at that stuff, ya know.

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Old 06-26-2017, 07:28 AM   #25
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OGOP,

Sorry for posting so much. . . those were some questions that I haven't seen answered by the LSM LC. Most times, they don't even try to answer. One poster here, ZNP, recently asked a "leading one" about an expulsion/quarantine that appeared politically-motivated; the man put his hands over his ears and said, "I'm a monkey". (During the Philip Lee Rebellion, one brother said, "I'm proud to be an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand." What is it about the LC that turns humans into marginally-functional animals?)

But you may come up with an entirely different set of questions. Just be honest and open. Like the others have said here, seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added unto you. Make God's will for you the chief focus of your inquiry and the details will all come forth, "pressed down, shaken together, running over".

On my question of David being violent toward Goliath (and others), and Samuel towards Agag, and the Israelites in general, many NT expositors besides Lee stumbled over this. The answer seems simple: "We fight not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, powers, authorities in the air. . . " But we do fight. Just not against humans, but rather spiritual forces. But if you read the RecV footnotes in the Psalms, Lee missed that. And he missed the True Warrior King, who caused demons to cry out in fear. "Ah! Jesus! Nazarene! You're the Holy One of God! Have you come to destroy us so soon?" &c. .

Anyway, those were just thoughts from someone along the way. Find your own voice and you'll do fine. Peace.
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:59 PM   #26
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For me, the main hypocrisy of the Local Church is its slide from the early 1960s "standing for the church in the city" to today operating as the religion of Witness Lee and Witness Lee's books. LC members today stand for "the ministry" (Witness Lee); they study "the ministry," promote "the ministry," distribute "the ministry," repeat "the ministry," "get constituted with" "the ministry," etc., etc. All of the organizations within what they call "the work" exist to promote Witness Lee (LSM, FTTA, BFA, Rhema, MSW, LME, etc., etc.)

In the end, you need to be genuine and sincere with the brother who talks with you. But if you are looking to raise a legitimate concern, I feel this one is the most important.
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Old 06-27-2017, 02:47 AM   #27
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. . the main hypocrisy of the Local Church is its slide from the early 1960s "standing for the church in the city" to today operating as the religion of Witness Lee and Witness Lee's books. . .
The local churches were genuinely local for 6 or 8 years. Then Watchman Nee discovered the centralizing Jerusalem Principle. Witness Lee knew all this, of course, but he still sold us the "genuine local churches" motif, knowing full well it was a ruse, an engine to separate us from our fellows.

Once he'd built his ideational pen, and lured us in, he turned up the heat, bit by bit; like frogs in a pot, we could jump out anytime but we sat there, stupefied, as our local churches became ministry stations.
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Old 06-27-2017, 02:59 AM   #28
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Here's another LC "Founding Mother": Mary McDonough.
You can look them all up. Peace Wang. Ruth Lee. Dora Yu. All of these and more are revered as pillars of the recovery movement. Yet none of them would last a week in the current regime. Doesn't anyone think that is strange?
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:07 AM   #29
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The local churches were genuinely local for 6 or 8 years. Then Watchman Nee discovered the centralizing Jerusalem Principle. Witness Lee knew all this, of course, but he still sold us the "genuine local churches" motif, knowing full well it was a ruse, an engine to separate us from our fellows.

Once he'd built his ideational pen, and lured us in, he turned up the heat, bit by bit; like frogs in a pot, we could jump out anytime but we sat there, stupefied, as our local churches became ministry stations.
For years we heard that the LC's are not "for" the ministry, but the ministry is "for" the LC's. That was a "factoid," something repeated often enough hoping to make it true.

But look at the facts folks. The LC's only exist to keep LSM going and growing. They rob churches of their people and their resources. LSM keeps growing while the LC's keep shrinking.
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:11 AM   #30
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You can look them all up. Peace Wang. Ruth Lee. Dora Yu. All of these and more are revered as pillars of the recovery movement. Yet none of them would last a week in the current regime. Doesn't anyone think that is strange?
Ron Kangas sent them all to clean the bathrooms and cook dinner for the brothers. He said he had no use for "spiritual" sisters.
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:10 PM   #31
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You need to address what bothers you, and not what bothers others, if possible. You mentioned all the trainings. That's a real concern. Most local elders only carry out the plans of LSM, and have little liberty to do else. If the elders seem controlling to you, that's because they also are being controlled by others from LSM. Very little liberty of the Spirit exists there, though you may hear endless messages to the contrary. LSM is not the kind of ministry that the elders can pick and choose what meets the needs of their people. LSMers really feel that every LC member is their fruit, and belongs to them, with all their offerings.
True. I have had my runaround with a local elder. What concerns you may have merit and you may have supporting points. When the rubber meets the road even if the elder recognizes your points, is only recourse is to "respect the feeling of the body' (fellowship of the coworkers bears more weight than what his human spirit or his conscience does). LSM is the basis of fellowship.
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:15 PM   #32
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I'm asking about peoples experiences of their time while still a member of the church, but their hearts weren't in it.
I've said many times publicly and privately no one can last years in the local churches if they didn't have some positive experiences.
My time in the local churches as an adult, I was for the locality I met with but when it came to trainings, conferences, etc I could care less. You see there was so much more profit in praying for one another than there was taking turning reading a sentence or two from ministry publications. Simply no comparison.
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:35 PM   #33
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This is sound advise. If you "fake" your interest in the LC it will turn out bad for all concerned. Just as love conquers all, so too truth conquers all. In my experience, love MUST come with truth, and truth MUST come with love. If you love this girl then you will certainly want to see her walk in the truth. Therefore you must first walk in the truth. Sounds like you already got her following you in love, now she needs to follow you in truth. Yet just as love cannot be forced on someone, neither can truth be forced on someone.
Drake, A little brother, and UntoHim are each giving the same message. Don't fake interest and don't pretend to go along. It's not going to end well should you get married. It goes both ways.
Is exclusive fellowship iwith the local churches conditional for the relationship to flourish? It should be communicated.
Is the elder's opinion the overriding factor for the relationship to continue? It should be communicated.
Sometimes love isn't enough. You need friendship, trust, and communication. Of course all of it is based on your fellowship in the Lord.
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:57 PM   #34
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Kowtow: Act in an excessively subservient manner. she didn't have to kowtow to a boss Early 19th century: from Chinese kētu, from kē knock + tu head. (Oxford dictionary)

There's a reason that the LC has gone from 20% Chinese to 50% Chinese in the last 20 years. The strict hierarchical control is aligned with that cultural mentality and expectation. Frankly, they are comfortable with it, while many Occidentals are not. I don't know what it's like in other areas, but in my old LC 'locality' a shadow church has emerged. They call it the "Chinese-speaking meeting". Twenty years ago nothing like this existed. And their behavior among one another is very different. Absolute submission is expected, and shown.

In 2007, Dong Yu Lan in Brasil and Titus Chu in Ohio refused to kowtow to Minoru Chen and Benson Philips. So they left and took their followers with them. So much for the vaunted oneness. Kultur uber alles.

Where do you see such mutuality in the LC? Where's the "much discussion" of Acts 15:7? Nowhere is where. It doesn't fit Chinese culture - that's not how they get things done. In the LC they have a Deputy God and that's that.
I think many on the forum that were meeting in the local churches during the 70's and 80's whether as adults or as children can say there was a greater number of Caucasian saints then than there is now. Part of it can be attributed to a refusal to kowtow which in the local churches are referred to as turmoils.
I identify with two localities I was raised in Southern California. One of which I visit every several years, the demographics have changed.
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Old 07-01-2017, 05:34 PM   #35
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Another question: why was it good that Watchman Nee read some 3,000 Christian books by various authors, but, today we're restricted to one publication? What Special Sauce was he imbibing, that he maintained clarity while we'd all fall into confusion? Or was he really that smart, & we not so? As one wag put it, in the LC, "Kingdom" means "Me king - you dumb". And Nee was king - sorry, "Seer of the divine revelation in the present age."
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:49 PM   #36
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When OGOP meets with this Elder, it is not so much for an honest discussion, but an attempt to convince this young man that the church is right. Collecting ideas of what to say to the Elder is not going to be of any real help. He is fully convinced in his own mind I can tell, and the Elder and probably this young lady are both convinced in theirs.

Having been around the church for many years, I would share that from my experience these combined marriages do not work out. By that I mean they do not work out for the best. I would be willing to bet a very large sum of money that no matter what she says prior to the marriage, she will desire to return once the marriage is completed. I will also share that it is my experience that very few successfully make the transfer into other denominations although there are some. It is always dangerous to go into a marriage with a desire to change something deep and essential about the other partner.

If this young man is bothered by the church now, it will only worsen as the years go by. More than likely he
will quit attending. And children need to be able to see their father attend church. This is very important --especially for young boys.

If I were this young man, I would let this relationship go. When we are in love, we think we can never love again. That is just not true. It is difficult in today's times to remain married and to start off with such baggage puts the marriage in peril from the very beginning.

One other thing I would like to mention is that if she does marry you, the Bible teaches that the man is to be the spiritual head of the house. This means that the woman should follow her husband into his church as long as this church recognizes the essentials of the faith and the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and our one and only means of salvation. Surely this young woman knows her Bible. And if she seems to have forgotten this I would point it out to her. Because that's what the Bible says. And if we are true followers of Christ, we do what the Bible says, right?

I feel very sorry for these young people who are going through these trying times. I have watched from a distance for many years. Most of these situations do not end well. And we need to remember that in the book of Hosea it says cursed is the man who leaves the wife of his youth. As you read farther down it clearly states that God desires that we remain married to our first spouse because this is more likely to bring forth godly children. We must think of our children.

I'm truly sorry for all involved and even more sorry that the things that I have seen indicate that this marriage would be off to a very rocky start and that this rocky start would create such difficulties in the marriage that I think that it might not be successful. May the Lord bless them as they consider these things together.
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Old 07-07-2017, 10:08 AM   #37
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So is there any update on what has happened?
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:11 AM   #38
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So is there any update on what has happened?
I am preparing my questions as of now. The talk with the elder should be happening sometime in the next 4-6 weeks. I'll for sure let y'all know what ends up happening from it.


Quote:
If I were this young man, I would let this relationship go. When we are in love, we think we can never love again. That is just not true. It is difficult in today's times to remain married and to start off with such baggage puts the marriage in peril from the very beginning.
I've gotten that advice on here before, and I still strongly disagree with it. When you love somebody you don't just walk away from that person because of something like this. My girlfriend was born into the church life, she doesn't know anything else. When we talk about Local Churches, Witness Lee I can tell she is very misguided. I don't want to just walk away from this I love her and care enough about her that I want to try to help her see the truth.



Thank you everybody else for the question suggestions!
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:58 PM   #39
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I am preparing my questions as of now. The talk with the elder should be happening sometime in the next 4-6 weeks. I'll for sure let y'all know what ends up happening from it.
I've gotten that advice on here before, and I still strongly disagree with it. When you love somebody you don't just walk away from that person because of something like this. My girlfriend was born into the church life, she doesn't know anything else. When we talk about Local Churches, Witness Lee I can tell she is very misguided. I don't want to just walk away from this I love her and care enough about her that I want to try to help her see the truth.
Thank you everybody else for the question suggestions!
OGOP,

Unreg in post 36 is providing you the best advice you will ever get anywhere from snybody. My sense in reading his/her post is that this the Lord's speaking for you. I believe this is more than a suggestion. Rather, it is His shepherding of you through this member of the Body. Take that post to the Lord in prayer.

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Old 07-07-2017, 04:27 PM   #40
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For OGOP...
We all understand that you love her. We all know what love feels like. But I guess I differ with you and some others on this site because I know for certain that the members of the local church are true Christians saved by grace who simply desire to practice the faith in a manner that pleases them. Now, if they have decided that this no longer pleases them and they want to leave that is one thing. But they should not be CONVINCED to leave. It would be one thing if this were a satanic cult or a group that did not Faithfully preach that Jesus Christ is Lord and our only means of salvation. But they do this! And they do it Faithfully! Do they admire Witness Lee too much in my opinion? Yes! Do they fail to use the Bible enough in their meetings according to my own personal opinion? Yes! But in all the years that I have been among them I have seen over and over again that they have been faithful in every way to lift up Christ as Lord and speak of his Redemption as available to all who call upon him. All of the other things that we may not personally enjoy are things that they DO enjoy. And every denomination has the right to Worship in the manner that they please and have their own peculiar systems as long as the vital elements of the faith are not distorted. And they are not distorted in the local church.

On your side, I say again that the Bible clearly teaches that the man is to be the spiritual leader of the home. If she chooses to marry you, she should agree to follow you into the church of your choice as long as it preaches Christ as Lord and Redeemer. In my opinion, it would also be perfectly okay if you as the spiritual leader gave her permission to continue attending her church. You could go on attending yours. This is not the best outcome at all. But it is an outcome that I have seen worked out. Maybe you both should consider that alternative. And stick to it if you both agree to it. It is not fair to change your mind later just because you decide you don't like it or she decides she doesn't like it. I have a personal acquaintance who is Jewish and his wife is a Methodist Christian. He attends his place of worship and she attends hers and the children take turns going to each one. Both children have turned out to be Christians but the household is at peace.

And certainly invite her to come to your church. And do so without a spirit of showing her a supposedly more excellent way. It may be in your opinion a more excellent way, but she has to arrive at that conclusion alone and in sincerity. Pushing and controlling are never attractive or appropriate in any relationship. Neither one of you should require the other one to give up something that is very important to him or her... especially the ways that we feel connected to our God!

You feel that she is too controlled in her church. And you feel that the leadership is controlling her. In this kind of situation we must take care that we ourselves are not becoming just like the very ones that we condemn.

I wish you both the very best! This is the last time that i will address this. May the Lord bless you both richly.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:25 PM   #41
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For OGOP...But I guess I differ with you and some others on this site because I know for certain that the members of the local church are true Christians saved by grace...
It is this kind of cheap shot that makes some people wonder about how healthy it is for someone they love to remain in the Local Church of Witness Lee. Where has this brother ever indicated that this girl or anyone else in the Local Church is not a "true Christian saved by grace"? I believe he has stated quite the opposite. This is a red herring thrown out by many Local Churchers as an attempt to obfuscate, avoid and evade the real issues at hand. One of the main issues at hand is the question whether it is spiritually, psychologically (and in the case of sisters, physically) healthy and profitable to remain in a sect/movement/denomination such as the Local Church. This brother has huge concerns and reasons to believe that the Local Church is not a safe place for this young woman.

So far, nothing that has been posted by you or any other of the Local Church apologists around here has gone very far to ease his suspicions and fears. In fact, they have probably heightened his concerns and fears for her spiritual and psychological well-being.

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Old 07-08-2017, 04:35 AM   #42
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I am sorry if you found my comment about them being true Christians a cheap shot! I guess that I know so many of them that are happy, healthy, sane, and normal that I feel I can say that it is not unsafe to be a part of them. Do I see major flaws? Yes! But don't we find these in many major denominations now? In fact, some mainline denominations will even allow you to go straight to perdition by never presenting the gospel and one's need to cry out to the Lord in a personal way. My SO was in a mainline group and came to Christ "accidentally" (divine appointment) through exploring Good News for Modern Man. Those denominations are a far greater danger in my opinion although they look "normal".

Looking back at my comment I am sorry if it implied that somehow I was "above" others in attitude or knowledge. I was not meaning to be critical at all toward those who do not see the LC as I do in this small case. Believe me, I have been a very vocal critic of the adulation given Lee and the contradiction of saying "each man has" but only allowing "revelation" released by Lee to stand or be heard. And I do not like the LSM and it's heavy hand. I agree with many things you say on this site.

BUT-- if this young lady has been saved and enjoys the Lord, that is the most important thing that she can have in this life and if she enjoys her church, she has a right to that, as does he. I just think something is very unsettling here. Still, the greater truth remains that if she marries him, she is accepting his headship.
The Bible is clear about this.

UntoHim, and others, please forgive me if this appeared to be a cheap shot! It was only clumsiness of presentation of my thoughts that may have made it appear that way!
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:20 AM   #43
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UntoHim, and others, please forgive me if this appeared to be a cheap shot! It was only clumsiness of presentation of my thoughts that may have made it appear that way!
Unreg, as one well-practised in arts of clumsy presentation, I understand your attempts to communicate. Looking back, many of my posts probably appeared as thin and brittle and lacking charity as yours may have. But I'm often given a pass, being openly anti-LSM. May the Lord cover our shortcomings, if we inadvertently insult our readers. "Until we all arrive at the oneness"
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:31 AM   #44
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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I am sorry if you found my comment about them being true Christians a cheap shot! I guess that I know so many of them that are happy, healthy, sane, and normal that I feel I can say that it is not unsafe to be a part of them. Do I see major flaws? Yes! But don't we find these in many major denominations now? In fact, some mainline denominations will even allow you to go straight to perdition by never presenting the gospel and one's need to cry out to the Lord in a personal way. My SO was in a mainline group and came to Christ "accidentally" (divine appointment) through exploring Good News for Modern Man. Those denominations are a far greater danger in my opinion although they look "normal".
Unregistered, thanks for posting this.

I too have little good to say about LSM and many LC leaders, but much good to say about the many genuine Christians in the LC's. My Mom also read Good News for Modern Man as a Catholic and believed.

I do hope you will register and post more.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:47 AM   #45
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Default Re: UPDATE 6 months later. Meeting with an "elder"...

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Unregistered, thanks for posting this.
I too have little good to say about LSM and many LC leaders, but much good to say about the many genuine Christians in the LC's. My Mom also read Good News for Modern Man and believed.
I do hope you will register and post more.
Amen. There are many dear and sweet believers in the LCM. They have a lot to offer everyone.

Unregistered makes a good point that some groups "abuse" through their avoidance of the central gospel message: repent and believe.

However, when it comes to groups that try to put the "fear of God" into members for leaving the group, the LCM is near the top of the heap. The International Church of Christ (ICC) is another (they also have a one church per city doctrine). You can search the Internet for testimonies of their abuse as well. http://www.reveal.org/
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