Roanoke Rapids, NC
Hank Hanegraff has also leaned towards [url=http://www.alwaysbeready.com/pages/preterism.htm]preterism[/url] in more recent times as well, hasn't he?
While I do think we should consider the suggestions of godly, discipled men and women, the ultimate test is whether or not Witness Nee proclaims the same Gospel that Jesus and His Apostles did. The Bible is the Word of God, and no matter how many people recommend something, I won't accept it unless it agrees with the Bible.
Respectfully in Christ,
| 2006/5/31 10:29||Profile|
| Re: recovery version study Bible|
This is what I found on Witness Lee. I am not to sure if this is too credible, but this might help.
Founded by Witness Lee (1905-1997), the Local Church is known to insiders as "The Lord's Recovery." It's churches are usually called by the name of their cities (e.g. the Church in Los Angeles).
Theologically, the Local Church is considered by most Christian apologists and countercult professionals to be a cult of Christianity. That is, in their opinion this movement's beliefs and practices seriously deviate from those of orthodox Christianity.
The Local Church, in turn, makes much of a stamp of approval it has received from J. Gordon Melton, a notorious cult apologist whose testimony in one of the movement's lawsuits is evaluated here.
The Local Church movement of Witness Lee, known by its adherents around the world as The Lord's Recovery, was imported from the Orient to America during the early sixties by Witness Lee (1905-1997), a former disciple and co-worker of the Chinese evangelist Watchman Nee (1903-1972). This movement claims to be the one true church, the sole expression of Christ, the sole move of God on earth, and the most orthodox of Christians. Witness Lee, until his death, had lead this movement of approximately 150,000 with unquestioned authority as the apostle of this age, God's deputy authority, and as the oracle of God. Witness Lee claimed to have been commissioned directly by the Lord and to have received revelations from the Lord, which formed the basis of the beliefs and practices of the Local Church movement. According to Witness Lee, Christianity is viewed as blind, fallen, poor, and degraded, and denominational groups are called harlot daughters of the Whore of Babylon (Rev. 17), the Roman Catholic Church.
From A Brief History of the Local Church Movement, formerly posted at the late Jim Moran's Light of Truth Ministries site
Witness Lee's writings teach modalism instead of trinitarianism, support pray-reading as spiritually superior to normal prayer, critize and castigate Christian churches which do not share his doctrinal views on "local ground", and teach that the Local Church movement is a necessary precondition for the return of Jesus Christ.
Source: Eric Pement, writing in alt.support.ex-cult [Message ID: firstname.lastname@example.org], Sep. 3, 1998
Controversial movement begun in China in the early 1920s by Ni To-sheng (Watchman Nee). Growth and controversy developed during the administration of their second leader, the late Witness Lee, who moved to America in 1962 founding Living Stream Ministry. Among issues drawing criticism from evangelical Christians is the Local Church's use of the term mingling to describe the relationship between God and believers (i.e., Christians become both divine and human like Jesus). Some evangelicals have also charged that the church compromises the Trinity doctrine by confusing the Persons of the Holy Spirit and the Son in a way similar to modalism. The organization's exclusivity has also comme under fire. According to Lee, each city can and should have only one church. Denominationalism is seen as of the Devil. According to critics, the effect is that Lee-led local churches, usually called by the name of their cities (e.g., the Church in Anaheim or the Church in Chicago), become the only true expressions of the Body of Christ. Thus, according to former members, all other churches or denominations are seen as being outside the will of God or not true churches at all. The Local Church has also gained a reputation for threatening legal action to prevent unfavorable public evaluation of its movement. Even Christian critics have been targeted, adding to the evidence that they do not consider believers outside their movement to be true or obedient Christians (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Source: Watchman Fellowship's 2001 Index of Cults and Religions
The Local Church includes a number of organizations that not always clearly reveal their connection to the movement. These organizations include Living Stream Ministry (publishing arm), Sword Distributing, The Lord's Recovery, Church of Recovery, Bibles for America, Bibles for New Zealand, Christian Websites, Amana Christian Bookstore, Emanna (devotions).
The Local Church publishes the Recovery Version of the Bible.
Related web sites include, "Christian Websites," "Contending for the Faith," "Emanna"
The Recovery Version
Living Stream Ministry, the publishing arm of the Local Church, publishes the "Recovery Version" of the Bible:
The extensive footnotes written by Witness Lee and the Scripture text found in this edition are supportive of the beliefs and practices of the movement. Footnotes from the Book of Revelation state that denominational groups are spiritual fornicators for taking on names other than that of Christ (Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican, etc), that Christianity is degraded for taking on these denominational names, that denominational groups are the harlot daughters of the Whore of Babylon, and that Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, and Judaism have become an organization used by Satan as a tool to damage God's economy (a la Lee).
Source: China Vows to Prosecute Bible Detainee, news item formerly posted at the late Jim Moran's Light of Truth website, regarding The Shouters, China's version of The Local Church.
I pulled this off of www.apologeticsindex.com
| 2006/5/31 10:45||Profile|
"tacklebox," I agree. It's what the Bible says, not what man says that matters in the end.
Regarding the quotes by "boomatt," what you said may be the case at the beginning of what you wrote is so- that what you copied and pasted is not credible. The place where this-- "the mistakes and misrepresentations in the book are so frequent and so consistent that it strains credulity to suggest that (it) is merely the product of poor scholarship" -- happens the most is on the internet. It would take hours upon hours to show how thoroughly inaccurate and bordering on slanderous nearly every one of those statements are.
| 2006/5/31 10:59|
It seems that the commentary leans towards not separating the three into distinct persons but almost implies that when Jesus dies, He essentially became the Holy Spirit, at least that's what we thought it was suggesting.
This is a point of confusion with many.
What is taught is that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the Triune God. In Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily.
God is Triune, eternally existing as Father, Son, Holy Spirit, eternally distinct but not separate with no succession.
On the other hand, in incarnation, the Triune God entered into humanity and underwent a process. This process is taking on human nature, human living, crucifixion, and resurrection.
In resurrection, Christ's hamnity was glorified with the Divine Nature and in His resurrection was delcared to be the Son of God in His humanity according to the Spirit of Holiness.
In 1 cor 15:45 it says that in resurrection "The last Adam (Christ) became a life giving Spirit.
That is until Christ was crucified and resurrected, the holy Spirit always existed. But in resurrection Christ humanity was glorifed and now the Spirit includes His glorified humanity so that in resurrection Christ is able to impart Himself into man as the Life Giving Spirit.
This is why in the New Testament, the Spirit is refered to as the Holy Spirit, the life Giving Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and just plain "the Spirit.
The Spirit as He is revealed in the New Testament is not just the Eternal Divine Spirit of God but the Spirit of the resurrected God/Man. The Spirit of Jesus Christ.
John 7 says, "but this He spake of the Spirit who was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified.
God has always been Triune. And the Spirit of God has eternally existed and was the agent of Creation. But as the Spirit of Christ in resurrection, He was not till Christ was glorified.
IN this context it is said that in incarnation, "The Word became flesh" and in resurrection, "the last Adam became a Life Giving Spirit".
These are two becommings, not refering to God's eternal immutable nature which does not change, but in relationship to His incarnation. The process is in Christ's humanity, not in His eternal Divine nature.
In Christ the Eternal Triune God became flesh. And in Resurrection Christ became a Life Giving Spirit inclusive of All God is in His Divinity and in His humanity.
This is typified in the Old Testament by the Holy Anointing Oil in Dueteronomy which is a compound of Oil which always signifies the Divine Spirit of God and 4 spices which signifies Christ in His humanity, His death, resurrection, and the effectiveness of these.
There is no suggestion of modalism in this and no suggestion of any change in the Godhead, or in God's eternal Triune being, But rather in regard to his economical process in time of becomeing flesh and glorification in His humanity.
Andrew Murray in "The Spirit of Jesus Christ' says this:
"But now, Blessed be God ! Jesus has been glorified ; there is now the Spirit of the glorified Jesus; the promise can now be fulfilled: He that believeth on me, out of him shall flow rivers of living waters. The great transaction which took place when Jesus was glorified is now an eternal reality. When Christ had entered with our human nature, in our flesh, into the Holiest of all, there took place that of which Peter speaks, 'Being by the right hand of God exalted, He received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost.'In our place, and on our behalf, as man and the Head of man, He was admitted into the full glory of the Divine, and His human nature constituted the receptacle and the dispenser of the Divine Spirit. And the Holy Spirit could come down as the Spirit of the God-man --most really the Spirit of God, and yet as truly the spirit of man.He could come down as the Spirit of the glorified Jesus to be in each one who believes in Jesus, the Spirit of His personal life and His personal presence, and at the same time the spirit of the personal life of the believer. Just as in Jesus the perfect union of God and man had been effected and finally completed when He sat down upon the throne, and He so entered on a new, stage of existence, a glory hitherto unknown, so too, now, a new era has commenced in the life and the work of the Spirit.He can now come down to witness of the perfect union of the Divine and the human, and in becoming our life, to make us partakers of it. There is now the Spirit of the glorified Jesus: He hath poured Him forth; we have received Him to stream into us, to stream through us, and to stream forth from us in rivers of blessing.
The glorifying of Jesus and the streaming forth of His Spirit are intimately connected; in vital organic union the two are inseparably linked.. If we would have, not only the Spirit of God, but this Spirit of Christ, which 'was not yet,'but now is, the Spirit of the glorified Jesus, it is specially with the glorified Jesus we must believingly deal. We must not simply rest content with the faith that trusts in the cross and its pardon; we must seek to know the New Life, the Life of Glory and Power Divine in human nature, of which the Spirit of the glorified Jesus is meant to be the Witness and the Bearer. This is the mystery which was hid from ages and generations, but is now made known by the Holy Spirit, Christ in us; how He really can live His Divine life in us who are in the flesh. We have the most intense personal interest in knowing and understanding what it means that Jesus is glorified, that human nature shares the life and glory of God, that the Spirit was not yet, as long as Jesus was not glorified. And that not only because we are one day to see Him in His glory, and to be with Him in it. No, but even now, day by day, we are to live in it. The Holy Spirit is able to be to us just as much as we are willing to have of Him, and of the life of the glorified Lord.
'This spake Jesus of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet; because Jesus was not yet glorified.' God be praised! Jesus has been glorified: there is now the Spirit of the glorified Jesus; we have received Him. In the Old Testament only the unity of God was revealed; when the Spirit was mentioned, it was always as His Spirit, the power by which God was working: in the New was not known on earth as a Person. In the New Testament the Trinity is revealed; with Pentecost - the Holy Spirit descended as a Person to dwell in us. This is the fruit of Jesus' work, that we now have the Personal Presence of the Holy Spirit on earth. Just as in Christ Jesus, the second Person, the Son, came to reveal the Father, and the Father dwelt and spoke in Him, even so the Spirit, the third Person, comes to reveal the Son, and in Him the Son dwells and works in us. This is the glory wherewith the Father glorified the Son of man, because the Son had glorified Him, that in His Name and through Him, the Holy Spirit descends as a Person to dwell in believers, and to make the glorified Jesus a Present Reality within them. This is it of which Jesus says, that whoso believeth in Him shall never thirst, but shall have rivers of waters flowing out of him. This alone it is that satisfies the soul's thirst, and makes it a fountain to quicken others; the Personal Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, revealing the Presence of the glorified Jesus."
| 2006/5/31 13:32||Profile|
I would add that Hank HAnagraph of the Christian research Institute upon study of the doctrine of the recovery and local churches and the teaching of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee, And through meeting with the leading brothers over several months, retracted all negative references to them from his web site, Admitted he had misunderstood and misjudged its doctrine and teaching and declared that he wished all Christians had such a clear understanding of the gospel.
| 2006/5/31 13:41||Profile|
In "The Crucial Points of the Major Items of the Lord's Recovery Today" Witness Lee states the Following:
The Eternal Existance of the Divine Trinity:
We must be clear that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit coexist simultaneously from eternity to eternity. Undoubtedly, the Father is God (1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:17), the Son is God (Heb. 1:8; John 1:1; Rom. 9:5), and the Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). They are not three Gods, but one. The Scriptures tell us clearly and definitely that God is only one (1 Cor. 8:4; Isa. 45:5; Psa. 86:10), yet He is also threethe Father, the Son, and the Spirit. He is the Triune God.
The Father is eternal (Isa. 9:6), the Son is eternal (Heb. 1:12; 7:3), the Spirit is eternal (Heb. 9:14), and They coexist simultaneously. John 14:16-17 says, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, even the Spirit of reality." In these two verses the Son says that He will pray to the Father that the Father may send the Spirit. Hence, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit exist together at the same time. In Ephesians 3:14-17 Paul prays that the Father would grant us to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into our inner man, that Christ may make His home in our hearts. In this passage we have the Father, the Spirit, and Christ the Son, showing again that all three exist together at the same time. We have already mentioned 2 Corinthians 13:14, which speaks of the grace of Christ the Son, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, showing the coexistence of the three of the Divine Trinity.
D. The Eternal Coinherence of the Divine Trinity
The relationship among the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is not only that They simultaneously coexist but also that They mutually indwell one another. The Father exists in the Son and the Spirit; the Son exists in the Father and the Spirit; and the Spirit exists in the Father and the Son. This mutual indwelling among the three of the Godhead is called coinherence. In John 14:10-11 the Lord Jesus said, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak from Myself, but the Father who abides in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; but if not, believe because of the works themselves." Here we have not only the coexistence of the Father and the Son but also Their coinherence. The three of the Godheadthe Father, the Son, and the Spiritare both coexistent and coinherent.
E. The Essential Trinity
The essential Trinity refers to the essence of the Triune God for His existence. In His essence, God is one, the one unique God (Isa. 45:18b; 1 Cor. 8:6a). In the essential Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit coexist and coinhere at the same time and in the same way with no succession. There is no first, second, or third."
I would add that it is through this coinherence of the Three of the Divine Trinity that we say that Christ is the embodiment of the Triune God. The Father was in the Son and the Spirit was in the Son. Jesus said, "The Father who is in me, He does the Works. So that the Father sent the Son but the Father also was in the Son and the Son lived by the life of the Father.
| 2006/5/31 13:48||Profile|
The difficulty today is the many have a very superficial understanding of the Trinity. Although the doctrin of the recovery is completely orthodox and witnessed to by the great theologins including Calvin, Berkoff, Strong, etc. Today it is most common to underscore the divine distinctions in the Godhead and disregard the singalness of the Divine Essense and the co-inherence (or mutual indwelling) of the Three of the Divine Trinity.
What is most common is a trithiestic view with is superficial seeing three God's, not one God.
Most Christians see the FAther, the Son and the Spirit as three sparate Persons sitting side by side just agreeing together on their plans and actions. This is Tritheism.
But the Lord Jesus said, "In that day, (when the Spirit comes) you shall know that I am in My Father and you are in Me and I am in you".
The Lord Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in the Son and the Father and the Son are in the Spirit. And today the Spirit is within us bringing the Triune God into us and making us one spirit with the Triune God.
The Father is the Fountian, the Son is the Spring, and the Spirit is the river of the Water of Life.
The Son is the expression of the Father and the Spirit is the application of the Father and the Son.
The ETernal Word is God declared and revealed, and the Spirit is the flowing out of the Godhead.
The three exists distinctly and eternally but not separately. They are never separate, but each mutually indwells the other and share one unique Divine Essense.
| 2006/5/31 14:03||Profile|
| Re: The Heresy of Modalism|
Regardng the heresy of Modalism, Witness Lee goes on in "The Crucial points of the Major Items of the Lord's Recovery today":
"Martin Luther warned us not to approach the matter of the Divine Trinity by our natural reasoning. He said that those who approach this matter with confidence in their own mental power are "the teachers of God, not His pupils." No human being can explain the Divine Trinity adequately. We should simply accept and say Amen to whatever is recorded in the pure Word of God. We can only present the divine facts from the New Testament concerning this great truth so that we may be impressed that the Triune God is dispensing Himself into our being. Instead of exercising our mentality too much to try to figure out the Triune God, we should exercise our spirit to experience and enjoy the marvelous dispensing of the Triune God as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit within us.
NoteWhat is the heresy of modalism?
Modalism in the second and third centuries passed through several changes and then reached its clearest expression with Sabellius. Modalism teaches that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are not all eternal and do not all exist at the same time, but are merely three temporary manifestations of the one God. Modalism claims that the Father ended with the Son's coming and that the Son ceased with the Spirit's coming. The modalists say that the three of the Godhead exist respectively in three consecutive stages. They do not believe in the coexistence and coinherence of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. This, of course, is a great heresy.
Unlike the modalists, we believe in the eternal coexistence and coinherence of the three of the Godhead; that is, we believe that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit all exist essentially at the same time and under the same conditions. However, in the divine economy, the three work and are manifested respectively in three consecutive stages. Yet even in Their economical works and manifestations, the three still remain essentially in Their coexistence and coinherence.
NoteWhat is the heresy of tritheism?
Modalism stresses the side of God being one to a heretical extreme by denying the coexistence and coinherence of the three of the Godhead. Tritheism, on the other hand, stresses the side of God being three to a heretical extreme by teaching that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three Gods. The Bible is not at either of these extremes; it stands in the center, testifying of the twofoldness of the truth of the Divine Trinity. Regarding the truth of the Triune God, we also should be balanced and avoid the heretical extremes of both modalism and tritheism.
It is a great heresy to say that there are three Gods. The Scriptures clearly, definitely, and repeatedly say that there is only one God (1 Cor. 8:4; Isa. 44:6, 8; 45:5-6, 21-22; 46:9; Psa. 86:10). The tritheists say, "If the Father, Son, and Spirit are not three Gods, then how can They be three persons?" Griffith Thomas in his book The Principles of Theology said concerning the Divine Trinity: "The term Person is also sometimes objected to. Like all human language, it is liable to be accused of inadequacy and even positive error. It certainly must not be pressed too far, or it will lead to Tritheism." Because the tritheists hold the side of the three and neglect the side of the one, they have no balance or safeguard.
Both modalism and tritheism go to an extreme, but we are in the middle and are balanced. When we say that the Son is the Father (Isa. 9:6) and the Lord is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17), we are simply quoting the Bible. Those who deny this fact fall into the danger of being tritheistic. But as we have pointed out, we believe all the verses in the Bible which reveal the eternal coexistence and coinherence of the three of the Godhead. We condemn both modalism and tritheism as heresies. We believe that God is uniquely one for eternity, yet He is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Some may ask, "How can the Father, the Son, and the Spirit be three and at the same time still be one?" My answer is, "I do not know. I cannot tell you. If you try to understand this, you will be, in Martin Luther's terms, 'the teacher of God.'" The Divine Trinity is a mystery which far transcends our mental apprehension."
| 2006/5/31 14:26||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Search Witness Lee|
There has been a great deal of past discussion about this and in all fairness and if one is so inclinded, a search through the site will also bring forth some very troubling aspects as well.
| 2006/5/31 15:34||Profile|
| Re: Search Witness Lee|
There has been a great deal of past discussion about this and in all fairness and if one is so inclinded, a search through the site will also bring forth some very troubling aspects as well.
Witness Lee was surely not without controversy. And many are troubled by many things in his ministry.
But the bottom line in all things is whether or not they are born up by the Scriptures.
Some things I have observed are:
Those who are troubled by Witness Lee's ministery in general are also troubled by Watchman Nee's ministry wich is the base of Lee's ministry.
MOst of those who oppose the teachings in the "recovery" oppose the inner life all together. They oppose such things as "pray reading" the bible, Calling on the Lord, and the emphasis on the indwelling Spirit as our Life.
Most grab hold of a few statements taken out of context and run with it trying to fasten some heresy upon him.
What has brought the ministry into the most controversy, or rather, the reason for most of the controversy is the emphasis upon the Church and the Ground of the church.
What I have observed in all cases is that those who are opposing don't understand at all. In other words their accusations are superficial and don't reflect at all the teaching or the ministry of Lee, Nee, or the local churches.
They build up a straw man and then attack it.
But on the other hand, there is some validity to the fact that this ministry does differ from the traditional Christian view of the gospel and from what is most commonly held among Christians. And for this reason it is understandable why many are troubled by it.
IT does not differ in essential matters of doctrine conserning Christ, His Person and Work, His diety, His atoning death, Salvation by faith apart from works, the Trinity, regeneration, the bible as the Word of God, and such essential matters. IN these things there is nothing unorthodox at all and the ministry is one with all believers in this.
But if one were to sum up the major differences between the Lord's recovery and traditional Christianity, it would be conserning God's economy or Eternal Purpose.
IN the recovery, the goal of the gospel is different from traditional Christianiy. Traditional Christianity sees the goal of the gospel to save fallen sinners from hell to go to heaven to be with Christ and live in a heavenly mansion.
This is on over simplification but it sums things up quite accuratley.
Traditional theologies begin with the fall of man and end with redemption with the outcome, heaven.
The theology of the recovery begins with man's creation and God's purpose for man, and ends with the consumation and fullfilment of this purpose.
God's eternal purpose for man in creation was for God to be man's life and content represented by the Tree of Life. This is God's economy. To dispense Himself into man as life and in man to have HIs expression on the earth.
IN the fall man became instead an independant self sufficent being (as God, knowing good and evil), separated from the life of God and under condemnation.
IN redemption Christ dealt with sin and reconciled man to God and in resurrection imparts His Life into man making him a child of God with His Life and His Nature to be His expression and to fullfill His eternal Purpose.
And the theology in the recovery recognises from scripture that the end of this is not man in heaven, but the New Jerusalem, in the New Earth under the new heavens as the consumation of this purpose. That is, the New Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb, the tabernacle of God, the City of God, the expression of God having the glory of God and is God's dwelling place. The scriptures end not with man in heaven but with God dwelling in man upon the earth.
The theology of the recovery sees God's eternal purpose accomplished in Christ and consumated in the New Jerusalem. And that all the work of Christ in redemption and in regeneration, sanctification, renewal, transformation, conformation, and transfiguration to be the fullfilment of this purpose.
And it sees that today, God's work is to regenerate fallen man through the application by the Spirit of christ's redeemeing work, to produce the body of Christ, expressed in local churches, to be His testimony, His expression, on the earth, being built up, to be His perfected corporate Bride.
IT sees God's goal is to bring many sons to Glory having His Life and Nature through and in Christ, built up together, as His one body, as His one testimony to be His expression.
And in so doing God is constituting his redeemed with Himself as Life, and through the flow of the Divine Life recieved in regeneration, to constitute his believers with His Divine Nature making them the same as He is in Life and nature to be His many sons.
This of course has brought the reocvery into much controversy as this is not the view of most Christians.
| 2006/6/1 7:32||Profile|