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Graftedbranc
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Joined: 2005/11/8
Posts: 619


 Re:

1 Corinthians 1:2 "To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints, which all those who call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, who is theirs and ours."

I will add one comment conserning the ground of the church.

What is alleged by many is that the 'ground of the church' is exclusive and that those in the local churches believe that they are the only true believers.

This on the one hand is false and no where to be found in any book, teaching or practice of the local churches.

But the reality is, as Watchman Nee saw, is that the ground of the church is in fact the oneness of all believers in Christ and that all believers are included in the body of Christ and it is for this reason that the gound of the church is the oneness of all believers.

It is on this basis that the recovery condemns denominationalism as divisive separating believers on the basis of this or that practice or particualar view of this or that doctrine.

The ground of the church is the oneness of all believers and the local churches meet simply as "the church in" a location.

This is the view of the apostles and the new testament. "The church in" is the only expression found in the New Testament and no one can deny this (1 Cor. 1:2).

The local churches take no other name other than that of the Lord Jesus Christ. And meet simply as the church.

And they recognise that all believers in any given city are members of Christ and therefore members of the church in their city. Whether they choose to meet with us or not, they are members, not by joining the "recovery" or joining a local church, but by believeing into the Lord Jesus Christ. this makes them members of His body and members of the church in their locality.

There is no membership in the local church. There is a membership only in Christ and those who are Christ's are already members of the church in their locality. If i move to another city, I meet with the church in that city. I don't transfer my membership or a "certificate of baptism". No, I just meet with the saints there.

And the local churches are made up of those who see this reality in the Bible, choose to come out of their denominational distinctions and meet simply as the church.

I have been meeting with the local church in my city for 4 years and never joined anything, never signed anything, never agreed to anything. But when the body of Christ sees you are a beleiver, they call you brother and you have the right hand of fellowship. And whatever you do, whatever you participate in, whatever service you render, is purely by the Lord's leading and not by any compulsion or coersion. The Lord's table is open to anyone and no one comes to your door to require anything of you.

If you draw a circle which is the body of Christ and call it the universal church, and within that circle draw many little circles which represent all the different denominations and divisions among believers. The local churches are merely those who have steped out of the little circles to claim only the one circle which is all inclusive of all believers. They stand only in the big cirle and deny the validity of all the little circles which deny the oneness of the body of Christ.

We say, there are no little circles in Christ. Only the one body of Christ and we meet on this ground. In our city there is only believers in Christ and therefore all believers should just meet as the church in their city. This is the ground of the church.

We do not deny the validity of the believers in those little circles, only the circles they are in. It is the circles which are unbiblical and contrary to Christ, not the beleivers who are in them.

Whatever your view of "prayreading the scriptures" is, I believe if you prayread 1 Corinthians 1:2 it's revelation will break forth and it's content and intent will become clear to any who have eyes to see.

And if you go on to Pauls own development of this verse in chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians, it is very clear. For when someone says "I am of Paul, and another, I of Appolos, are you not men of flesh?"

We consider this one item of the Lord's recovery. The recovery of the ground of the church. And it is significant in the Lord's purpose to build up His church on the proper ground. That is the oneness of all believers. It is necessary for the Lord to obtain His purpose "that they may be perfected into one... that the world might know that Thou hast sent Me" John 17.

Ephesians 4:3-6, 13 "Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace; One Body and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father who is over all and through all and in all... Until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowlege of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"

This diligence implies vigilance in rejecting any and everything which mitigates against the one Body of Christ and the one testimony of Christ. And one must admit, that denominationaliam is flat contrary to the reality of this oneness.


Graftedbranch


 2006/6/1 7:54Profile
Graftedbranc
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Joined: 2005/11/8
Posts: 619


 Re: Regarding the Recovery Version and it's footnotes

These views are expressed in the footnotes of the recovery Verson Bible. And the reason they are expressed is that that are the biblical exposition of the Scriptures themeselves. And they are the aggregate of the 80 year ministries of both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee and the product of a 20 year book by book exposition of the scriptures from genesis to revealtion. They reflect the views of the recovery which it is believed to be the most accurate, modern, and up to date exposition of the scriptures.

That modern Christianity and religion finds them troublesome can either be because they are not biblical, or because they are and cast a light on the situtation among those in religion.

But in any event, the answer is not to take a superficial view but to seek the Lord and examine the scriptures to see if these things be so. IN this way we follow the noble Bereans.

I believe that the Spirit bears witness to the things there and in my 30 years as a believer, I have found no greater help in gaining a comprehensive view of the Divine Revealtion than in this version with it's footnotes and in the fellowship of the saints in the local churches.

I would add that I believe the Light and vision in the recovery is comprehensive of all that has gone before. The light of the reformation, and subsequent generations has not been negated nor set aside, but built upon. And it stands on the shoulders of all the great saints and their contribution to the building up of the body of Christ who have preceeded.

One might ask, "how are you different?' are you not "of Witness Lee" or "of Watchman Nee?" Are you not following a man?

But the answer is no, not at all. These men folowed what they saw as the vision in the bible. And only if we also see this same vision in the Bible do we follow the Lord in it. Either this ministry is of God or it is not. Either it is the Scriptures which bear it up, or it is not. If one embraces the things of the Lord's recovery because they are convinced by someone or because they follow this or that person, then it is a wrong basis.

But if one sees these things in the bible by the Spirit's Light, and chooses to go this way then it is wholly by the Lord's leading. And it is only as the Spirit enlightens us that we embrace anything.

Either this is the New Testament ministry of Christ or it is not. Either the scriptures support it, or they don't. Either the local churches are on the proper ground, or they are not.

If they are not then don't go this way. By all means go another way. If the theology is bad, reject it. If the practices are cultic, walk far away. And if you can find support for the divisions and denominations in the bible, then stay in them.

But by all means be open to the Lord and hold the scritpures to be the only and final authority. And call on the Lord to remove any veils of tradition or preconcieved concepts. Don't follow a man, follow the clear vision of the Bible. And act according to the Spirit's leading.

Graftedbranch

 2006/6/1 11:24Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

Another point of view

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=9074&forum=31&post_id=&refresh=Go]T.Austin-Sparks (TAS) and Witness Lee (WL) - a short story - by Herald Hsu, student of Watchman Nee[/url]


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Mike Balog

 2006/6/1 16:08Profile
Graftedbranc
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Joined: 2005/11/8
Posts: 619


 Re: T. Austin Sparks and Herald Hsu.

In fairness, I think it would be good to hear Witness Lee's own testimony consering this event spoken of by Harald Hsu and the controversy with T. Austin Sparks:

"One evening we had another fellowship with Brother Sparks. The atmousphere was a little tense, and no one knew what to say. We thought perhaps we would fellowship a little about something related to spiritual principles. Suddenly a brother asked, "Brother Sparks, suppose here in Taipei there are five assemblies that meet in the Lord's name, Please tell us which one is right and which one is wrong, or are they all right?" As soon as I heard this, something jumped up in alarm within me. I knew that this would lead to trouble. Yet I had to translate what he said.

Brother Sparks was well prepared for such a question. He said, "None is right and none is wrong; everything is relative." Another brother was quite stirred up, and he and the first brother together asked, "Relative to what?" Brother Sparkes immediately answered, "Relative to the measure of Christ. Those who have a greater measure of Christ are more right; those who do not have any measure of christ are not right." All the brothers became very agitated. I was the translator, but I had to somewhat calm them down.

The third time we gathered together with Brother Sparks, we are still on this subject. In the previous two meetings, I remained quite neutral and served only as the translator. This time I felt that I could not be nuetral anymore. No one was speaking then, and I opened my mouth. I said, "For the last few times we were together we have been talking about the matter of the church and the church ground. Brother Sparks has told us that none is absolutely right, and none is absolutely wrong; how much one is right depends of the measure of Christ he has." I did not appear to be stirred up, but I turned to a brother from Denmark and said to him in a calm voice, "Brother, let me ask you a question. God ordained that the children of Isreal would be taken captive in Babylon for seventy years, after which they would return to their homeland and would rebuild the temple upon its original foundation. Suppose a very influential prophet would rise up at that time and tell the people that it did not matter whether or not one returned to Jerusalem. Suppose he would say, "See? Daniel is such a spiritual person, but he did not return to Jerusalem. Therefore, it does not matter whether or not one returns, as long as he is spiritual.' I would ask all of you here if this is right or wrong." Brother Sparks was an intelligent man. He knew that I was reacting to his word about the spiritual measure

I explained further: "Daniel had the greatest spiritual measure of his time; in today's terms, we would say that his measure of Christ was the highest. The reason why he did not return was that the time had not come for him to go. Around the time the Israelites were returning, he died. He could not go while he was living, yet his heart was toward Jerusalem. He knelt down three times a day and prayed with an open window toward Jerusalem. During his time with us here, at least a few times our Brother Sparks has highly recommended Dr. F. B. Meyer. I have read Dr. Meyer's books and have recieve some help from him. But all of us know that Brother Meyer is still in the denominations, that is, in the so-called organized Christianity, the very organization which Brother Sparks condemns, can we say that he is right in the matter of the church just because his spiritual stature is high?"

I continued, "For over three hundred years, all those who have sought after the inner life have recieved help from Madame Guyon. She should be regarded as a person with a great measure of Christ. As far as the spiritual stature of Christ is concerned, probably none among us can match hers. But Madame Guyon, a person with such a spiritual stature of Christ, still remained in Catholicism. Today any Christian who is enlightened at all would condemn Catholicism, yet Madame Guyon whom we respect so much never left the Catholic Church. We cannot say that just because her spiritual stature was high that she was right in the matter of the church".

Finally I said: "These examples prove to us that it is one thing to be spiritual and it is another thing to have the proper ground of the church. Spirituality has to do with our personal condition. The ground of the church, on the other hand, is a corporate ground; it is the corporate standing that we take. Not everyone who left Babylon to return to Jerusalem was a spiritual person. Neither was everyone who remained in Babylon necessarily unspiritual. In fact, among those who returned, we find many who were not that spiritual, because some had married Gentile wives. However, as far as their ground was concerned, they were approved by God. With such a ground they could build the temple. No matter how poor their situation was, their ground was still the right ground. When the temple was built, God's glory filled the house".

I then made the following conclusion: "Today in pursuing the Lord, we have to take care of both aspects. Spirituality has to do with our condition, while the ground has to do with our stand. A man cannot be right only in his condition; he must also be right in his stand and position. Whether or not a person has a justifiable position is based not so much on his condition as on the ground he takes. No matter how spiritual a person was, if he rmained in Babylon and stood on the ground of captivity, he was wrong. On the other hand, no matter how poor and confused the returned captives were, they stood on the proper ground which God had ordained for them and which their forfathers had left to them. Their approval was based on their ground and not on their personal condition. Of course their confused situation did not please the Lord. This is why God raised up Ezra to teach them the law to enlighted and rebuke them; as a result, they wept, repented, and confessed their sins. At any rate, we cannot despise the returned captives' ground just because their spiritual condition was poor, Not can we justify the ground of those remaining in Babylon just because they were spiritual.

Witness Lee - The Vision of the Age - PP 72-73

Grafted Branch

 2006/6/1 18:43Profile









 Re:

I read Herald Hsu's testimony for the first time on this website- it was also the first time I had ever heard of him. Although he may have one side of the story, I'm not sure which side that is, because it represents neither Sparks' nor Lee's. For example, to look at one minor point, I have no idea who has referred to the ground of the church as "the locality law" besides Hsu himself. Lee did not, nor did Sparks, as far as I have seen. Sparks even taught on the ground of the church at one point- and used the term "the local church," speaking of it as "the practical expression of the church"- which one could find in the first edition of [i]The Stewardship of the Mystery[/i] (the first edition, though, is hard to find for the time being), spoken in 1938, incidentally, during the same time when Watchman Nee was visiting with him.

As a bit of a side note, I might mention that Hsu does not hold Nee's views on too many matters either, the most obvious one being the very ground of the church, which brother Nee saw clearly in the Bible and spoke strongly on. Another such matter is that Hsu labeled himself a co-laborer with the "little flock," and speaks of the group of people he met with as "Watchman Nee's group," two concepts that Nee himself clearly did not hold to or appreciate, as one could find in the booklet "What are We," by Watchman Nee, as well as in other places.

I have the utmost respect for both brothers, Lee and Sparks, and I consider that each was a real profit to the other, as well as to the entire Body of Christ, and they certainly felt the same way about one another. After all, brother Sparks did invite brother Lee to Honor Oak to speak there in 1958, which is the very year after the incidents Hsu speaks of in Taiwan. So, the appreciation for one another did not stop after 1957. Preceeding 1957, I assume you all know that Sparks had expressed much reverence towards the fruit of brother Lee's labor. On brother Lee's side, besides the one occasion in the book [i]The Vision of the Age[/i], he spoke very fondly and appreciatively of Sparks publically after 1957. One such example is in 1984 when Lee was giving messages now published under the title [i]God's New Testament Economy[/i]. He expressed his great appreciation for Sparks' vision and understanding of the New Jerusalem, and essentially aknowledged that he was standing on Sparks' shoulders in that matter (and not to the exclusion of other matters). In addition to brothers Sparks and Lee holding a great appreciation for one another for years to come, I have personally met brothers who spent time with both Sparks and Lee on an individual basis- and spent time under both of their ministries- and they still appreciate them both tremendously today, and consider them to be very much in one spirit and in one flow regarding many matters, the one "glitch" being the ground of the church- though on other aspects of the church they are also very much one.

It is interesting, too, to note that Sparks himself told a co-worker of brother Lee's (I would rather not mention his name because he is alive today and I would need to ask permission first to do so, according to my feeling) in the 60's while Sparks and this co-worker were travelling together, "when I got on the plane to leave Taiwan in 1957, the flow left me and I never got it back." After brother Sparks' death, his wife told brother Lee that he said the same to her.

Anyway, this one point of disagreement on the ground of the church (and it does not seem to me that Hsu has actually grasped exactly where the two men saw things differently) has been blown way up and out of proportion. The fact that these two appreciated one another very much- before and after 1957- has been lost as a result. A consequence to that is people begin to think they have to cut off the ministry of one or the other brother. To miss either one of these brothers' ministries is to miss quite a portion of the riches of Christ.

I have to say, though, that I am a little (but not too) suprised that this discussion has wound up here, given that it started as a simple note letting everyone know they can get a footnoted and cross referenced recovery version for free (and again, this is the website: [url=www.biblesforamerica.com]www.biblesforamerica.com[/url]). But I am interested in this topic, so I suppose I don't mind that the discussion has changed. I would recommend again, though, the footnoted recovery version, because in the footnotes you will find a real portion of the riches of Christ! And it's a very good translation too.

 2006/6/1 23:16
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Recovery Bible

A couple of older threads in this regard.

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=8227&forum=40&post_id=&refresh=Go]Warning: The local church[/url]

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=8066&forum=36&post_id=&refresh=Go]"recovery version" of the bible[/url]


_________________
Mike Balog

 2006/6/1 23:33Profile









 Re:

The following are quotes from a statement made by Fuller Theological Seminary (which, I assume you all know is one of the top seminaries in the country) dated January 5, 2006 concerning the Living Stream Ministry, Witness Lee, and the local churches:

"It is the conclusion of Fuller Theological Seminary that the teachings and practices of the local churches and its members represent the genuine, historical, biblical Christian faith in every essential aspect."

"We have found a great disparity between the perceptions that have been generated in some circles concerning the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee and the actual teachings found in their writings. Particularly, the teachings of Witness Lee have been grossly misrepresented and therefore most frequently misunderstood in the general Chirstian community, especially among those who classify themselves as evangelicals... the actual teachings in question have significant biblical and historical creedence... they deserve the attention and consideration of the entire Body of Christ."

"We are easily and comfortably able to receive them as genuine believers and fellow memebers of the Body of Christ, and we unreservedly recommend that all Christian believers likewise extend to them the right hand of fellowship."


It is probably fair for you all to consider these quotes- and I would especially emphasize the second. I would also recommend that you consider the sources who are saying the negative things (especially as quoted in the discussions linked by crsschk)- and compare thier standing with that of Fuller Theological Seminary (by no means the only reputable source to express appreciation and support for the practices and teachings of the local churches, just the most recent.)


 2006/6/14 20:58
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

Quote:
It is probably fair for you all to consider these quotes- and I would especially emphasize the second. I would also recommend that you consider the sources who are saying the negative things (especially as quoted in the discussions linked by crsschk)- and compare thier standing with that of Fuller Theological Seminary (by no means the only reputable source to express appreciation and support for the practices and teachings of the local churches, just the most recent.)



That's wonderful, but it's still defending and a disregard for those who have had some pretty terrible experiences. Perhaps it's the followers ...


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Mike Balog

 2006/6/14 23:49Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
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 Re:

Quote:
Witness Lee - The Vision of the Age


Grafted Branch's fuller quotation of the Witness Lee position is helpful. It ought to make it clear to all that a central proposition of WItness Lee's foundation is an eschatology. He believes (and I presume many of his companions) that we are now in the time of 'Recovery'. Things which may have been permitted in previous 'times' are now no longer acceptable in this time of 'Recovery'.

This cuts off the current generation from all its forebears. What may have been permissible to them is now no longer so. Whenever I hear this kind of language I inevitably remember Job's sarcastic remark 'no doubt ye are the people, and wisdom will die with you'. I do not commend his sarcasm but I understand his position.

There is an old traditional English cartoon of a troop of Boy Scouts crossing a bridge. A proud mother is watching the procession and exclaims 'My William, is the only one in step'.

Witness Lee's position is an extreme form of dispensationalism.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2006/6/15 5:26Profile









 Re:

"A central proposition of Witness Lee's foundation is an eschatology"
"Witness Lee's position is an extreme form of dispensationalism."

I would never conclude such things based on one quote from one book, but maybe that's just me.

"Things which may have been permitted in previous 'times' are now no longer acceptable in this time of 'Recovery'."

That is not an accurate representation of what is said in that one book either. The concept of recovery is this: something has been damaged or lost and it needs to be recovered, and brought back to its original quality and purpose. In the New Testament age, God has been recovering Biblical truths and practices because they had been lost- nearly completely by the time of the dark ages. Through Luther, God recovered justification by faith. Through the brethren He recovered quite alot, including the unveiling of many truths, such as revelations regarding the sigificance of many Old Testament types. An emphasis on the subjective experience of Christ as life was recovered through inner life teachers such as Penn-Lewis and Sparks. This is just to name a few instances of recovery. The point is, these matters were clearly in the Bible, but were veiled, even to many believers, for centuries. The question then is, has everything been unveiled today? Have all the truths concerning, and experieces of Christ- and the church- been seen and known, or, recovered? Do you think so? I surely don't. I believe that the Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from His word, and there are vistas of the revelation and experience of God that have not been thoroughly entered into. The longing for recovery is based on the aknowledgement that there is yet more. Do you not believe that there is more? This is not to annul what has been seen. That would be silly! To say that what has already been recovered "is no longer acceptable" is to miss out on something of God in His Word. More than acceptable, such matters recovered in the past are appreciated to the uttermost, and also necessary. To "cut off the current generation from all it forebears" would be utterly foolish, and it is not what is Witness Lee meant at all, nor is it what he practiced.

The idea behind the term "the vision of the age" is tied in with God's recovering. The vision of the age is simply what is currently being recovered. Justification by faith is not the vision of the age today, because it has been recovered. It was once the vision of an age, but who would say it is the vision of the age today? It is not ignored, but it has already been clearly revealed, so it is not considered the vision of the age today. You have to ask yourself, is God not living, moving and active today? If He is, then He must be speaking and recovering, and whatever He is speaking and recovering is the vision of the age for today. If you are a seeking Christian, surely you have such a longing for what God is doing today, not merely what God has done 100, 200, 300, etc years ago. Did God die 300 years ago? If not, He is still moving today. Our God is a moving God! He is a recovering God!

 2006/6/15 20:43





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