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Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

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Old 02-28-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
ToGodAlone
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Default How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

This was a question that I've wondered over the past few months. From the way some of you post, it seems as though you have a disdain for both the LRC and "mainstream" Christianity as well. I'm not saying that "regular" churches are not without flaws or anything like that, but from what I've read, it just seems as though a few of you have retained the LRC dislike of non LRC churches.

That being said, I was wondering how has being in the LRC affected your views of denominational (and non-denominational) churches? If I recall correctly, some people had an issue with the pastoral system or the elder system or something like that, but maybe I am confusing that with another place.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

Interesting question. And I have opined on it a couple of times in different ways. I frame the question as two questions:
  1. Is Lee’s use of “Babylon” valid?
  2. Are there problems with Christianity in general?
I disagree with Lee’s view of Babylon. First, he has treated it as something that is chosen by pathetic Jews. He has ignored the biblical record that all of the Jews were sent there due to general sins, most prominently of idolatry. The nation as a whole was only free of idols for a few limited periods of time. So they were exiled to Babylon. After that time, idolatry is not seen among the people again.

But most interesting is that when the 70 years had ended and the Persian rulers decreed that they could return, only some did. And nowhere near all of the leaders. Several years later, Nehemiah returned for a purpose with a promise to return to Babylon and resume his service to the king. There is nothing indicating that there was a spiritual failure for doing this.

And for a race of people who are supposed to bless all of the people of the earth, staying cooped up in that little strip of land at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea is not very effective. But after the exile, those that did not go back began to spread out across the empire. That is how there were synagogues or other Jewish gatherings all over the Roman empire for Paul to start off in when he did his ministry. Rather than some horrible problem, Babylon was the proverbial sower of the people of God.

As for the problem with Christianity in general, it’s just not there. They don’t do a lot of things in the LRC way. So if you think that is the end-all of Christian worship and living, then they are deficient. But I don’t see it that way. While I attend a rather normal “Bible church,” I have come to appreciate a broad spectrum of other worship styles. There is something positive about any of them. There are advantages to larger churches and to smaller churches. Certain denominations are good at digging through the scripture. Others have that for those who want it, but are more focused in their worship. There is value in the old hymns and in the new choruses. All of that is “style” and none of it is prescribed in scripture. More current ways speak to those of the current culture better than ways that seem archaic and odd.

And yet the liturgy of the Lutherans, Episcopals, Orthodox, and even RCC is not without meaning. I realize that last one will raise eyebrows. Surely there is something amiss with the RCC, at least in terms of prayer to Saints and to Mary. But if we accept the warnings to Thyatira as being to the RCC it is still a church. The open reviling of it somehow fails the 1 Corinthians 13 test (IMHO).

Babylon was a tool of God in the history of Israel. And it figuratively plays into some of the prophecies of Revelation. Outside of that, I don’t see it in the church (or the Church).

As for pastors, elders, etc., it takes something like rejecting portions of the New Testament as being the Word of God to reject them the way some have. Very much like Lee rejecting the epistle of James and relegating it to the status of warning sign for what not to do. I accept James over Lee any day of the week on any subject.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Originally Posted by OBW View Post
As for the problem with Christianity in general, it’s just not there. They don’t do a lot of things in the LRC way. So if you think that is the end-all of Christian worship and living, then they are deficient. But I don’t see it that way. While I attend a rather normal “Bible church,” I have come to appreciate a broad spectrum of other worship styles. There is something positive about any of them. There are advantages to larger churches and to smaller churches. Certain denominations are good at digging through the scripture. Others have that for those who want it, but are more focused in their worship. There is value in the old hymns and in the new choruses.

As for pastors, elders, etc., it takes something like rejecting portions of the New Testament as being the Word of God to reject them the way some have. Very much like Lee rejecting the epistle of James and relegating it to the status of warning sign for what not to do. I accept James over Lee any day of the week on any subject.
If meeting in the LSM brand of local churches is not an option there is value in visiting other assemblies in your locality. Do not be so naive to think just because Witness Lee called Christianity "Christless", that it is. "Just taste and see" if assemblies in your locality are deficient, superficial, or shallow. I haven't had that experience, just different. Probably the number one item to adjust to is one man speaking. Personally I find more value listening to a brother speak according to the Bible than to speak according to a ministry. In a ministry you can cherry pick scripture that best supports your ministry. When a brother is giving a message week after week going through a book of the Bible, there is less chance of a cherry-picked message.
Another point some may make is any assembly you meet with outside a LSM assembly, lacks in the high peak teaching. Quite possible. However I'd rather meet with an assembly that's rich in love and lacking in high peak teaching compared to one that's rich in high peak teaching and lacking in love.

The number item I think many have issues adjusting to is singing. You have usage of electric instruments over a piano or accoustic guitar. Okay, there are other Christian sects such as the Exclusive Brethren who don't use any instruments when singing hymns. Then we have the hymns. So much criticism over contemporary hymns. Those who criticize the hymns, are you paying more attention to the music or to the lyrics? Whether traditional or contemporary, they were God inspired and written at some point.

OBW, I agree with you on the epistle of James.
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Babylon was a tool of God in the history of Israel. And it figuratively plays into some of the prophecies of Revelation. Outside of that, I don’t see it in the church (or the Church).
So what do you think the Lord means in Revelation when he says, "Come out of her [Babylon] my people, and do not partake of her sins"?

I'm not baiting, I'm just wondering how you interpret that. What are they in that they should come out of?
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

Babylon, the nation, was an enemy of Israel. While God used it as a tool of chastisement for the chosen people, that did not absolve it of its part in the calamity. And prior to the end of the 70 years, that did happen. By that time, Babylon was not its own nation. It was overtaken by the Persians who were the ones that allowed the return. So in that sense, Babylon is judged for its part in the ransacking of Jerusalem and Judea. The Babylon they returned from was not the same Babylon that took them captive.

And when looking back at the nation that reached out to captivate so much of the area — much more than just Jerusalem — that nation was corrupt and was punished. And if you want a metaphor concerning a system that takes over everything in its path and consumes it, Babylon is a good metaphor. They took the property of their conquests, killed many of the people, and enslaved much of the rest.

But is this reference to Babylon in Revelation being cast upon some aspect of the church? If so, the presumption generally is that it is on the RCC (at a minimum). But if that is true, then I would expect that something sounding like the charge against Babylon there in chapter 18 would be foreshadowed somehow in the 7 letters to churches. In that case, the nearest thing is the existence of a woman (Jezebel) within Thyatira that is ordered to be cast out. The woman is not the church. And the church is not referred to as committing adultery.

I think this is one of those cases of over-"simply"-fying words and phrases into a single thought. Like all references to leaven are bad. Surely the nation of Babylon was not a positive thing. And this "Babylon the Great" is not someone to bring home to Mama. But nothing in those statements casts the aspersion of "Babylon and her whore daughters" onto Christianity in general, or necessarily onto the RCC (said with reasonable trepidation).

Last, in one way of looking at the original captivity, they were already out of Babylon before they began to return. At that point, they were in Persia. No. They were still in the area known as Babylon, but Babylon was no longer an independent country. It was now ruled by Persia. So, in a sense, they came out of Persia to return to Jerusalem. And those that stayed did not stay in Babylon, but in Persia.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

In any case, the insistence that the declaration in Revelation 18 is about Christianity in general, or the RCC in particular, is, at best, speculative and weak. There needs to be more than a bunch of exclusivist preachers denigrating everyone but their kind out there saying it is true based on something more than the kind of nonsense that Lee spouted about it. I need to see scripture more directly aim this at the church rather than at the "world" and/or Satan.

Assuming that John was actually writing Revelation in about 95 AD, the best view of people being drunk on the blood of the saints was the execution of so many Christians by heathen rulers, especially in a way of exhibition, such as in the Coliseum.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Originally Posted by OBW View Post
In any case, the insistence that the declaration in Revelation 18 is about Christianity in general, or the RCC in particular, is, at best, speculative and weak. There needs to be more than a bunch of exclusivist preachers denigrating everyone but their kind out there saying it is true based on something more than the kind of nonsense that Lee spouted about it. I need to see scripture more directly aim this at the church rather than at the "world" and/or Satan.

Assuming that John was actually writing Revelation in about 95 AD, the best view of people being drunk on the blood of the saints was the execution of so many Christians by heathen rulers, especially in a way of exhibition, such as in the Coliseum.
Babylon the Great in Revelation is presumed to refer to Rome in some fashion because Revelation 17:9 says "the seven heads are the seven mountains the woman sits on," and Rome was famously built on seven hills.

I think the best bet may be that Rome (and BtG) simply refers to the whole false worldly system, which includes false religions. As you implied, at the time Rome was not a Christian religious center, it was the center of worldly power and oppression of Christians. I do not think it refers to any legitimate Christian group, including Catholic churches. As you said, if Thyatira refers to the Catholic church, then why didn't the Lord tell the believers to leave that church? However, that is not to say there are not some systematized things that Catholics, and indeed many non-Catholics, need to "come out of."

When the Lord says "come out of her my people," it may be a warning to not participate in the evil practices of the worldly system. Or it may simply be a warning to, as Rooster Cogburn immortally put it in True Grit, "get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on" it.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

Igzy,

You and I are pretty much on the same page here.

But one question. Which voice do you hear when Rooster Cogburn says that? Wayne or Bridges?

I actually never saw the John Wayne version until after seeing the new one. The beauty of the outdoors was so impressive in the old version, but the reality of the life and times was actually better in the new. The West was overly glamorized in most John Wayne films.

But the real question is: How do you go by horseback from Fort Smith, Arkansas to the kind of mountains they were in after only a couple of days? They had to be half-way across New Mexico or Colorado to find mountains with that look (in either film).
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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As for pastors, elders, etc., it takes something like rejecting portions of the New Testament as being the Word of God to reject them the way some have.
Given the criticism the recovery has towards "pastoral" Christianity, have you as the ready considered the criticism non-recovery Christianity has towards the non-pastoral system. That being the danger is too great of a non-trained member of the body to speak in error.
Does the speaking supported by scripture?
Is the speaking used to edify or for personal gain?
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Given the criticism the recovery has towards "pastoral" Christianity, have you as the ready considered the criticism non-recovery Christianity has towards the non-pastoral system. That being the danger is too great of a non-trained member of the body to speak in error.
Does the speaking supported by scripture?
Is the speaking used to edify or for personal gain?
I believe the purpose for having a pastoral position is to have a speaker who has been trained in studying the Bible speak God's message to the members of the church. This is not meaning that individual members cannot speak at all, but just that they cannot (or I suppose, rather, should not) in front of the whole congregation like the LRC chooses to because they might deviate (intentionally or not) from the Word. Individual prophesying takes place in smaller group settings where everyone has a chance to participate.

Having ordained teachers is mentioned in the Bible, if I recall correctly. If not, there at the very least is the mention of teaching/speaking being a spiritual gift given to a few people specifically for the purpose of guiding (ie sheparding/pastoring) the church.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:25 AM   #11
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

In the beginning……..
The term "pastor" is simply another translation of teacher or elder. They are all interchangeable in the New Testament. There is solid evidence that the original apostles had originated a system (for lack of a better term) of choosing, training and mentoring young men for leadership in the churches. There were established requirements. It is my belief that none of the apostles just pulled these requirements out of a hat - they themselves were chosen, trained and mentored by the Lord Jesus himself. Then it was a matter of "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you" (1 Cor 11:23). Then young men such as Timothy in turn selected, trained and mentored the next generation. As the centuries passed, man did what man always does….he left the path established by God himself, and instituted a corrupt system which is, to one degree or another, still with us today.

However…….
Those who have advocated a church without official, trained and educated leadership are seeking a kind of utopia which has never existed in church history, and I suggest never will. I think this is one of the major flaws in Watchman Nee’s ecclesiology – that he thought he and his followers could simply ignore and bypass 1900 years of church history and start all over again. A nice thought, but totally naïve on his part. We know from recorded history that, despite his good intentions, Nee ended up surrounding himself with many men who were not necessarily beholden to God and his Word, but rather they were man pleasers, simply and fully beholden to the person and work of Watchman Nee. Then when Nee was no longer available, the wolves among the flock could take advantage of the situation. Nee was the only strong shepherd….there were no officially selected, trained and educated men to go forward as the next generation.

Fast forward to the beginnings of The Local Church movement in the USA…….
The dynamic I described above repeated itself here in America, but this time without the advantage of starting out with someone with the genuine heart and altruistic intentions of Watchman Nee. We now know that Witness Lee did not arrive upon our fair shores with the same genuine heart and altruistic intentions, in fact there is a lot of evidence to the contrary. I will not get into all the gory details at this point….they are well documented on this and other places on the Internet. Witness Lee, not being educated, or allowed to be challenged and balanced by any of his contemporaries (even within the Movement itself, much less within Christianity in general) ended up compounding and greatly magnifying the errors of Watchman Nee and the Little Flock….with the disastrous results we now see before us in The Local Church of Witness Lee.

And tying this into the original question posed by ToGodAlone…….
Witness Lee ended up compounding and magnifying one of Nee’s greatest errors – surrounding himself with, and then appointing into leadership, men who were not beholden to God and his Word, but rather simply and fully beholden to his own person and work. We see this dynamic in full blossom in the Local Church today – a religious system with a fully developed hierarchy (at the top of the pyramid the Blended Brothers) , and even their own faux seminary, which they have dubbed the “Full-Time Training”. So now we get to the rank-and-file members…. “the saints”. The same prejudices and haughty attitude that Witness Lee passed on to his early followers are now passed on to a new generation. (The Full-Time Training simply being a “crash course” - pun intended - that instills all the same prejudices and attitude into young people in a condensed period of time) As for all the older ones, well they need no more training at all. All the prejudices and haughty attitude is now in their DNA. I have been out of the system for many years and I still find myself muttering under my breath “poor, poor Christianity”.
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Igzy,

You and I are pretty much on the same page here.

But one question. Which voice do you hear when Rooster Cogburn says that? Wayne or Bridges?

I actually never saw the John Wayne version until after seeing the new one. The beauty of the outdoors was so impressive in the old version, but the reality of the life and times was actually better in the new. The West was overly glamorized in most John Wayne films.

But the real question is: How do you go by horseback from Fort Smith, Arkansas to the kind of mountains they were in after only a couple of days? They had to be half-way across New Mexico or Colorado to find mountains with that look (in either film).
OBW, Jeff Bridges, all the way. I also did not see the original until after I saw the Coen version. Wayne was Wayne, but Bridges was Cogburn.

BTW, the hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" was the backbone of the movie's soundtrack. Here's a beautiful video that puts some of those musical pieces together.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmhBUxUDPTA
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Old 03-03-2012, 02:59 PM   #13
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... There is solid evidence that the original apostles had originated a system (for lack of a better term) of choosing, training and mentoring young men for leadership in the churches. There were established requirements. It is my belief that none of the apostles just pulled these requirements out of a hat ...

Those who have advocated a church without official, trained and educated leadership are seeking a kind of utopia which has never existed in church history, and I suggest never will.
UntoHim,

I am not sure if you mean that the "solid evidence" you claim exists were the lists of requirements in the Bible or if you are referring to some other evidence. Which is it? If the former, I don't think the lists support the idea of a leadership training system. If the latter, what is the evidence?

By the way, in the case of Matthias, they did pull his name out of a hat, so to speak: They drew lots. Since this was the first apostle that was not selected by Jesus, it may be significant.

I have experienced "a church without official, trained and educated leadership." It was a kind of utopia for me.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

Brudder John,
Of course I meant requirements in the Bible! That was clearly implied in the part of my post that you conveniently left out…
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..they themselves were chosen, trained and mentored by the Lord Jesus himself. Then it was a matter of "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you" (1 Cor 11:23). Then young men such as Timothy in turn selected, trained and mentored the next generation.
Did you leave this part out because you don’t agree with my assessment, or was it a simple oversight on your part.

You take issue with the use of my term “system”. Again, I readily admitted that it was
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a system (for lack of a better term)
If you, as a seasoned English teacher, have a better term, then you are free to fill in a better or more accurate term. Either way, I am not going to get into a war of semantics….didn’t we have enough of that in the Local Church of Witness Lee?

Your reference to Matthias is quite irrelevant to my little diatribe about early church history. As you mention, Matthias was not chosen (much less trained or mentored) by the Lord Jesus, and he is not so much as mentioned in the Gospels. In any event, he does not come into play when it comes to the first generation of leadership in the Church. If you have information to the contrary, then I will stand corrected. (wouldn’t be the first time)

Anywho…. All I was really trying to do was address the concerns of ToGodAlone in his original post:
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..it just seems as though a few of you have retained the LRC dislike of non LRC churches.
As I am apt to do, I probably went overboard. TOO MUCH INFORMATION – that is my specialty. So sue me.
(just kidding)
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:58 PM   #15
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Opps, I think I left out the most important part of your post (at least to you and me, not nessesarily to ToGodAlone)
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I have experienced "a church without official, trained and educated leadership." It was a kind of utopia for me.
I don’t doubt for a minute your experience here. But where did this get Watchman Nee? Where did it get Witness Lee? Where did it get us? If you were to ask me in 1975, I would have told you that I was experiencing a kind of spiritual and corporate utopia. I could have pointed you to all sorts of evidence – the love and fellowship among the brethren, the preaching and teaching of the Word, the oneness among the churches, and on and on. Where did it get us? What was the missing element? Why did it end up becoming what it has become? Just sayin.


A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently.First by Augustine, then by UntoHim.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:42 AM   #16
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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UntoHim,

I am not sure if you mean that the "solid evidence" you claim exists were the lists of requirements in the Bible or if you are referring to some other evidence. Which is it? If the former, I don't think the lists support the idea of a leadership training system. If the latter, what is the evidence?

By the way, in the case of Matthias, they did pull his name out of a hat, so to speak: They drew lots. Since this was the first apostle that was not selected by Jesus, it may be significant.

I have experienced "a church without official, trained and educated leadership." It was a kind of utopia for me.
Didn't Apostle Paul have schools in Ephesus and Rome? In Ephesus (Acts 19.9) apparently Paul helped to train a dozen brothers who only knew about the baptism of John. In Rome (Acts 28) the record ends with Paul using house confinement to educate all who would visit him concerning the kingdom of God.

Concerning Matthias, who replaced Judas, didn't he accompany the disciples from the time John was baptizing in the Jordan? He was with them longer than Jesus was, so to speak, and hence received much of the same first hand instruction as the other eleven. To imply that Matthias was somehow randomly selected is not fair the Biblical record. To stretch my point, history tells us that Matthias was more effective and upright in the house of God, than Judas ever was, and the Lord prayed all night long before appointing him.

I'm not saying that any of LSM's training programs were extracted directly from scripture, but to imply that there is no hint of leadership training in the New Testament is also an extreme view. The bottom line is that what is taught is no better than he who teaches it. John, you have simply confirmed in your post that mature and principled men make the best leaders, regardless of their "spiritual" pedigree. This was exactly Paul's message to Timothy and Titus in his epistles to them.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:16 PM   #17
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I have experienced "a church without official, trained and educated leadership." It was a kind of utopia for me.
Might I inquire as to how?

I realize that there are many flaws with the application of the elder/pastoral/deacon/whatever else system, but I think that stems out of the human sinful nature moreso than the system itself. Fact of the matter is, some people when gifted with power abuse it.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:03 PM   #18
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Brudder John,
Of course I meant requirements in the Bible! That was clearly implied in the part of my post that you conveniently left out…
Did you leave this part out because you don’t agree with my assessment, or was it a simple oversight on your part.

You take issue with the use of my term “system”. Again, I readily admitted that it was
If you, as a seasoned English teacher, have a better term, then you are free to fill in a better or more accurate term. Either way, I am not going to get into a war of semantics….didn’t we have enough of that in the Local Church of Witness Lee?

Your reference to Matthias is quite irrelevant to my little diatribe about early church history. As you mention, Matthias was not chosen (much less trained or mentored) by the Lord Jesus, and he is not so much as mentioned in the Gospels. In any event, he does not come into play when it comes to the first generation of leadership in the Church. If you have information to the contrary, then I will stand corrected. (wouldn’t be the first time)

Anywho…. All I was really trying to do was address the concerns of ToGodAlone in his original post: As I am apt to do, I probably went overboard. TOO MUCH INFORMATION – that is my specialty. So sue me.
(just kidding)
UntoHim,

I did not find a clear implication in your post #11. That is why I asked for clarification. As to what I quoted from your post, to which you took exception, I could have quoted the entire thing and still have had the same questions. There was nothing “conveniently left out,” as if I did it on purpose to mask your true presentation.

You also seem to be bothered by my quoting the word, “system,” from your post. (Unfortunately, your reply about this word was cut off after “was.”) You ask me to choose a different word for you to use in your argument, which I don’t yet fully understand. (If you need a word, please try a thesaurus.) Then, you state that you don’t want to get into a war of semantics and liken that to what went on in the Local Church. This is a non sequitur for me. (And, just so I can get it all off my chest, I never expected the moderator to label me “a seasoned English teacher,” since I have never written such a thing on this forum.)

In your next paragraph, you would brush away my reference to Matthias, saying that it is irrelevant because he was not chosen, trained, or mentored by Jesus. I thought that you were writing about a system that had been established by the “original apostles” about those who were being selected after the Lord’s earthly ministry. To me, Matthias qualifies and is relevant, being the first one selected; but, maybe you have a different group in mind. You also write, “In any event, he does not come into play when it comes to the first generation of leadership in the Church.” I would say that he was in the first generation although not among the originals. Now, this finer point really may be a matter of semantics; but, if I am to understand your idea, then it would require clarification on your part. I would say, however, that you don’t need to bother with further definition on my account, since this is not what I was really interested in anyway.

As I hope you can see, I’m confused by what you originally wrote (the parameters of your thesis), as well as your follow-on post. When I read from you, “There is solid evidence that the original apostles had originated a system (for lack of a better term) of choosing, training and mentoring young men for leadership in the churches,” I thought that you might know something from somewhere that would help me understand more about what you claimed in that sentence. (This is what I was mostly interested in.) It seems from your response that you do not.

In your reply, I detected an adversarial response and felt attacked. I did not intend for my post to make you feel attacked (if you did). I was simply trying to find out what you knew, that is, your claimed “solid evidence.” (Maybe I should have put a smiley face after my Matthias comment.) Regardless, now that I know the two lists of qualifications to Timothy are your evidence, and I don’t consider the lists to be evidence of what you seem to be claiming, notwithstanding your retreat behind “system,” I am content to end my part in this discussion.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:04 PM   #19
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Didn't Apostle Paul have schools in Ephesus and Rome? In Ephesus (Acts 19.9) apparently Paul helped to train a dozen brothers who only knew about the baptism of John. In Rome (Acts 28) the record ends with Paul using house confinement to educate all who would visit him concerning the kingdom of God.

Concerning Matthias, who replaced Judas, didn't he accompany the disciples from the time John was baptizing in the Jordan? He was with them longer than Jesus was, so to speak, and hence received much of the same first hand instruction as the other eleven. To imply that Matthias was somehow randomly selected is not fair the Biblical record. To stretch my point, history tells us that Matthias was more effective and upright in the house of God, than Judas ever was, and the Lord prayed all night long before appointing him.

I'm not saying that any of LSM's training programs were extracted directly from scripture, but to imply that there is no hint of leadership training in the New Testament is also an extreme view. The bottom line is that what is taught is no better than he who teaches it. John, you have simply confirmed in your post that mature and principled men make the best leaders, regardless of their "spiritual" pedigree. This was exactly Paul's message to Timothy and Titus in his epistles to them.
In the verses you cite, I do not see that Paul had schools with the purpose of training leaders. I see no formal program or process (or, dare I say, “system”) in which he was training selected believers to be leaders. First, here is Acts 19:

8 And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. - (Act 19:8-10 NASB)

As you can read in context, even though Paul used Tyrannus’s school, he was not presenting training materials for the Christian leaders of tomorrow. He was not reasoning with the disciples (or some select group of novitiates). He was reasoning and persuading those who would listen about the kingdom of God. When the environment in the synagogue became not conducive to his discussions, he moved to a school building and continued, preaching the word of the Lord and reaching all in Asia. It sounds like these were gatherings with the purpose to bring people to salvation to me.

As to Acts 28, I have chosen the following verses to highlight, as they seem to be the ones most relevant:

23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. ... 30 And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. - (Act 28:23, 30-31 NASB)

A similar analysis applies to this passage. Paul was preaching the gospel (if you will) in the place where he lodged. He preached and taught to all who would come and listen, thus furthering the kingdom of God. He was not carrying on a leadership training institute with some chosen believers.

These are the facts according to the record as I read it. If you want to believe that Paul was carrying on some type of formal training for leaders on the side, you are free to do so. It is not, however, even implied in these verses as I read them.

You are right that Matthias had been with the apostles as they were with the Lord—that was the objective criterion that put him into the pool for selection in the first place. I was not trying to describe the whole situation or cover up the truth. It’s there in the Bible for all to read. I was just replying with UntoHim’s phraseology, since it dawned on me that the first selection of an apostle after Jesus’s earthly ministry was finally determined by lot. I accurately depicted the end of the transaction, which was the part that applied to the phraseology. Of course, that was not all that happened, as if everyone in the room was given a slip of paper or whatever—men, women, and children. Maybe I assumed that readers would have read the account before and realize the obvious connection to UntoHim’s statement, not try to take it to a place where it was not intended to go. I resist your implication that I implied that he was “randomly selected.” To say such implies that it was merely a matter of chance, when those involved had prayed that their drawing of lots would be guided by God. However, then, according to the Bible, they did draw lots, and Matthias was the selection.

As to your last paragraph, I have not stated a detailed position on the matter. Further, I hope that you are not ascribing to me one of the extreme positions that you have identified. What I have done so far is this: To UntoHim, I asked questions and stated that I didn’t think the lists of requirements in the Bible supported the idea of a leadership training system. To you, I think I have shown that the verses you brought up do not support such a thing. I don’t intend to go further with this at this time; since I am working on other writing projects.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:09 PM   #20
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Opps, I think I left out the most important part of your post (at least to you and me, not nessesarily to ToGodAlone)

I don’t doubt for a minute your experience here. But where did this get Watchman Nee? Where did it get Witness Lee? Where did it get us? If you were to ask me in 1975, I would have told you that I was experiencing a kind of spiritual and corporate utopia. I could have pointed you to all sorts of evidence – the love and fellowship among the brethren, the preaching and teaching of the Word, the oneness among the churches, and on and on. Where did it get us? What was the missing element? Why did it end up becoming what it has become? Just sayin.


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UntoHim,

By your reply, it seems to me that you might have thought that I was referring to the Local Church, the so-called Lord’s Recovery. Whoa, if that's what you thought, I'm sorry that I gave you that impression.

First, I do not count my experience in the Local Church as a kind of utopia. I might have had such a thought at some point, especially during my early career there, when I was a new, young Christian. I was referring to my experience after the Local Church.

As to where did it get us (whether you are talking about before, during, or after the Local Church), that is “above my pay grade.” In other words, I do not know God’s design and where He wants to take each one of us as we journey with Him. I learned a lot in the “Lord’s Recovery,” both positive and negative, which my heavenly Father is using as He sees fit.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:10 PM   #21
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Might I inquire as to how?

I realize that there are many flaws with the application of the elder/pastoral/deacon/whatever else system, but I think that stems out of the human sinful nature moreso than the system itself. Fact of the matter is, some people when gifted with power abuse it.
As to how I experienced such a church that was a kind of utopia for me, I will relate it in a brief story: After I had been out of the Local Church for some period of time, I was invited to attend meetings being held in homes. It was frequented by mostly former Local Church members. My wife and I were favorably impressed and began to attend regularly on Sunday mornings.

Here’s how it was: We didn’t have a set form of meeting; we didn’t have an assigned speaker; we didn’t have any particular things we had to do. It embodied some of what I remembered having been told by Witness Lee about full participation by all the members but was never allowed to fully experience in Lee’s Recovery. We, in our small gathering, didn’t even mind periods of silence, if that was what happened.

When Jane and I hosted the meetings at our house, we often didn’t set up chairs. We usually began by eating and drinking (physical food and drink) and talking in small groups. At some point, we often gravitated to a room around whatever fellowship had materialized. We would continue meeting as a whole group, being free to leave it, as sometimes happened in order to attend to the needs of a member. We might or might not sing a song aloud; we might or might not pray aloud, etc. We did not lean on songs as crutches, as often happens. You know, now it’s the Lord’s Table meeting, so we sing songs until we’re hoarse.

My experience in those “no-human-leader” meetings was great; we depended on the One Leader, and He proved Himself to us. I learned that we could trust Him to lead the meetings. After experiencing a few of these meetings, I asked someone what they did about leadership. The very fact that I had to ask the question should help you to understand that no one stood out in that way. He replied something to this effect: “We decided at the outset that we would not have any recognized leaders. We determined to let the Holy Spirit have His way in our meetings.”

There you go; that’s it; end of story. A few Christians simply decided to fully recognize the authority of God during their meetings, which is quite scriptural but probably not often practiced; and, it was the best experience of my Christian life. I can’t help but think that God was well-pleased also.

As to outside the meetings, I can only say that no one took to themselves or was appointed to any position of leadership. The church managed to get along with just us regular brothers and sisters, along with our Elder Brother.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:10 PM   #22
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As I hope you can see, I’m confused by what you originally wrote (the parameters of your thesis), as well as your follow-on post. When I read from you, “There is solid evidence that the original apostles had originated a system (for lack of a better term) of choosing, training and mentoring young men for leadership in the churches,” I thought that you might know something from somewhere that would help me understand more about what you claimed in that sentence. (This is what I was mostly interested in.) It seems from your response that you do not.
Ok, I see that I did not make myself clear. With the little time I have I’ll try to make amends. The “something from somewhere” is the record of the early church as presented to us in Acts and in the writings of the apostles, mostly Paul and Peter. All through their writings we see clear indications that they themselves were taught and mentored by the Lord Jesus himself. It seems to me that part of this teaching and mentoring was to establish them as leaders in the early church, as well as to pass these leadership qualities (teaching, shepherding, administering, etc) on to a new generation of disciples. As I noted in my original post, I think the purity of this “dynamic” got corrupted by man, but it does not change the fact that there was clearly an establishment and training of leadership in the early church. If you feel that there is some sort of discontinuation of this establishment of leadership (maybe as some believe that there was a discontinuation of apostleship, the gifts, etc?) then maybe we can just agree to disagree on this.

Quote:
In your reply, I detected an adversarial response and felt attacked. I did not intend for my post to make you feel attacked (if you did). I was simply trying to find out what you knew, that is, your claimed “solid evidence.” (Maybe I should have put a smiley face after my Matthias comment.) Regardless, now that I know the two lists of qualifications to Timothy are your evidence, and I don’t consider the lists to be evidence of what you seem to be claiming, notwithstanding your retreat behind “system,” I am content to end my part in this discussion.
No, I didn’t feel attacked at all. I hope you didn’t either. It’s just some bantering back and forth between two people on an Internet forum. The problem is that there has been so little of that around here I think we are both just a little out of practice! Well you have read my response above so you already know that the qualifications to Timothy are just a very small part of what I was talking about, so no need for me to defend something I wasn’t claiming in the first place.

I think what’s interesting, at least in an ironical sense, is that ToGodAlone has gotten some answers to his original question posed in his opening posts by our back and forth here, and that’s a good thing since it’s his thread, and if we’re going to highjack his thread we should at least answer his question in the process.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:15 PM   #23
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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In the verses you cite, I do not see that Paul had schools with the purpose of training leaders. I see no formal program or process (or, dare I say, “system”) in which he was training selected believers to be leaders. First, here is Acts 19:8 And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. - (Act 19:8-10 NASB)
Of course, John, there are no scripture delineating some course of leadership training, but there are cases where Paul took opportunity to train leaders. Here are my observations from these verses --
  • Paul took the disciples away from those who spoke evil of the way
  • Paul was in this setting with only desirous disciples/believers
  • Paul taught daily in this school, not just Sunday morning service
  • Paul had opportunity for two years to develop the disciples
  • The fruit of this was that all in Asia heard the word of the Lord


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As you can read in context, even though Paul used Tyrannus’s school, he was not presenting training materials for the Christian leaders of tomorrow. He was not reasoning with the disciples (or some select group of novitiates). He was reasoning and persuading those who would listen about the kingdom of God. When the environment in the synagogue became not conducive to his discussions, he moved to a school building and continued, preaching the word of the Lord and reaching all in Asia. It sounds like these were gatherings with the purpose to bring people to salvation to me.
If Paul was not training Christian leaders of tomorrow, what was he doing? He was teaching them the truths of the kingdom of God. He was equipping them in the gospel work. He was training shepherds to care for others. Paul was developing the next generation of elders, deacons, evangelists, shepherds, teachers, etc.

I frankly don't understand your statements, "I do not see that Paul had schools with the purpose of training leaders. He was not reasoning with the disciples." How do we distinguish between the disciples and those who "would listen to about the kingdom of God"? I'm quite sure Paul would measure his words according to the audience, but I believe that Paul labored to pass on everything he knew, and all that he was, and all that he himself was doing for the Lord. In a nutshell, Paul was struggling to reproduce himself in the disciples at the school of Tyrannus, proven by the fruit after two years.

John, perhaps our discussion here is simply one of semantics. I am in no way justifying "the stuff" that goes on at the FTTA or the Catholic monasteries of my youth, but I am saying that Paul took many opportunities to train future leaders. Paul trained Timothy and Titus to train future leaders. He told Timothy to lay these things before the brothers, (I Tm 4) charge and teach these things, being a pattern to them, etc. II Tim 2.2 repeats this charge, "and the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, these commit to faithful men, who will be competent to teach others also."
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:44 AM   #24
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As to how I experienced such a church that was a kind of utopia for me, I will relate it in a brief story: After I had been out of the Local Church for some period of time, I was invited to attend meetings being held in homes. It was frequented by mostly former Local Church members. My wife and I were favorably impressed and began to attend regularly on Sunday mornings.

Here’s how it was: We didn’t have a set form of meeting; we didn’t have an assigned speaker; we didn’t have any particular things we had to do. It embodied some of what I remembered having been told by Witness Lee about full participation by all the members but was never allowed to fully experience in Lee’s Recovery. We, in our small gathering, didn’t even mind periods of silence, if that was what happened.

When Jane and I hosted the meetings at our house, we often didn’t set up chairs. We usually began by eating and drinking (physical food and drink) and talking in small groups. At some point, we often gravitated to a room around whatever fellowship had materialized. We would continue meeting as a whole group, being free to leave it, as sometimes happened in order to attend to the needs of a member. We might or might not sing a song aloud; we might or might not pray aloud, etc. We did not lean on songs as crutches, as often happens. You know, now it’s the Lord’s Table meeting, so we sing songs until we’re hoarse.

My experience in those “no-human-leader” meetings was great; we depended on the One Leader, and He proved Himself to us. I learned that we could trust Him to lead the meetings. After experiencing a few of these meetings, I asked someone what they did about leadership. The very fact that I had to ask the question should help you to understand that no one stood out in that way. He replied something to this effect: “We decided at the outset that we would not have any recognized leaders. We determined to let the Holy Spirit have His way in our meetings.”

There you go; that’s it; end of story. A few Christians simply decided to fully recognize the authority of God during their meetings, which is quite scriptural but probably not often practiced; and, it was the best experience of my Christian life. I can’t help but think that God was well-pleased also.

As to outside the meetings, I can only say that no one took to themselves or was appointed to any position of leadership. The church managed to get along with just us regular brothers and sisters, along with our Elder Brother.
Thanks for sharing.

Just a few things that were on my mind as I was reading that:
Quote:
A few Christians simply decided to fully recognize the authority of God during their meetings, which is quite scriptural but probably not often practiced
I feel that most Christian assemblies fully recognize the authority of God during services and whatnot, or at least those in my experience have. I'm not sure if what you meant by that was not having an appointed speaker/leader or something else.

Another thing that I noticed was that you mentioned an Elder Brother. What do you mean by this? Was he just on the old side or was this a title representing something? Am I missing the point entirely on this (I very well could be)? It was just interesting that you singled out this Elder Brother from the rest if everyone was supposed to be on the same level.

One last note, I have said that having appointed teachers is definitely scriptural. All the apostles were teachers. I'm pretty sure they taught and raised up many other teachers to spread the Gospel. If nothing else, I think that having a leader/speaker appointed just provides more structure to meetings. Not that I feel that that is 100% necessary, but it just helps facilitate things better, especially among larger groups. Now in the case of a small home setting, like the one you mentioned, then I can see how not having one would still be fine. In this case, the meeting feels more like a weekly Bible study than a Sunday service (usually considered different things in my experience), but I suppose there's nothing inherently wrong with that.

On the whole though, it seems as though your attraction to this group kind of stems from your LRC experience and wanting something similar in style to what you had there. Small settings, meeting in homes, everyone able to participate, and so on. Again, there is nothing wrong with these things and I say again these are all things that would go on in a typical weekly Bible study in the churches that I attend.

God reveals Himself to us in many ways and I'm not going to glorify one more than the other, but I think that at times, having a pastor speak, being someone that has gone through intensive study of the Bible, its history, its original text, and having this be his calling from God, is more beneficial than having everyone else, who does not have such training and thus at times will lack certain insight, speak to each other. But again, both have their place and both are encouraged, and perhaps that is why most churches that I see have both practices in place.
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:59 AM   #25
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Another thing that I noticed was that you mentioned an Elder Brother. What do you mean by this? Was he just on the old side or was this a title representing something? Am I missing the point entirely on this (I very well could be)? It was just interesting that you singled out this Elder Brother from the rest if everyone was supposed to be on the same level.
I surmised that John was referring to Jesus, the Firstborn from the dead, thus the Elder Brother of us all. The capital letters gave it away.

"In the last of these days God has spoken to us through His Son..." (Heb 1:2). God is no longer speaking to us through some oracular mouthpiece, but rather today is speaking through His Son. Looking for intermediaries is a waste of time. The age of intermediaries is over.

Interesting that the LRC, with all of its decrying of the papal system, created a pretty good facsimile of its own.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:49 AM   #26
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Interesting that the LRC, with all of its decrying of the papal system, created a pretty good facsimile of its own.
Many have made the exact same observation about John Darby and his own succession of MOTA/oracles.

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Old 03-09-2012, 12:26 PM   #27
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Interesting that the LRC, with all of its decrying of the papal system, created a pretty good facsimile of its own.
http://afaithfulword.org/articles/Quarantine.html

See point #4. The decree "respecting the feeling of the body", is not a papal system, but it does promote a hierarchy. This is why I find non-LSM Christianity so much more appealing. Where a brother or sister aren't relegated to non-factors.

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Old 03-09-2012, 04:40 PM   #28
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Once we elevate man, we duplicate all of man's errors.
We duplicate them, and exacerbate them. "Little children, guard yourselves from idols."
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:17 AM   #29
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This was a question that I've wondered over the past few months. From the way some of you post, it seems as though you have a disdain for both the LRC and "mainstream" Christianity as well. I'm not saying that "regular" churches are not without flaws or anything like that, but from what I've read, it just seems as though a few of you have retained the LRC dislike of non LRC churches.

That being said, I was wondering how has being in the LRC affected your views of denominational (and non-denominational) churches? If I recall correctly, some people had an issue with the pastoral system or the elder system or something like that, but maybe I am confusing that with another place.
Man oh man, ToGodAlone, didn't think you'd get such boisterous and diverse response did ya? Of course, you've been around here a while now, so I guess you know how we ex members roll...we were so cooped up for so long without any outlet to express our opinions...well sometimes we just get a little aggressive with our newfound freedom. (even though some of us have been out for years, at least speaking for myself, we still don't handle prosperity very well)

In any event, I think you can see that there is not really a monolithic way we all look at mainstream Christianity or the pastoral system as you call it. Some of us have eventually found our way back into what we used to know as "Christianity", in many of it's different forms and formats. I know of a few ex Local Churchers who have actually returned to the Catholic Church (gasp) Some ex members have, for many and diverse reasons, chosen to refrain from attending mainstream (or mainline) Christian churches. I think John has given a very clear and reasonable reason for his stance regarding this matter, and I hope he will expand upon this when he gets a chance.

For me personally, my "views of denominational (and non-denominational) churches" have evolved greatly over the past 15+ years that I've been out of the Local Church. I think this might be a function of the fact that Evangelical Christianity has itself evolved greatly (for the better mostly) over the past 20 - 30 years. Many of the tired, old religious/philosophical traditions have been discarded for a fresh and renewed turn towards the Word of God, and along with this turn has come a revival of true worship. It seems to me that God is taking the different man-made "streams" (traditional, conservative, pentecostal/charismatic, etc), taking what is biblical and profitable from each, and infusing a little of each in The Body of Christ. Time will tell I guess.
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:04 AM   #30
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In any event, I think you can see that there is not really a monolithic way we all look at mainstream Christianity or the pastoral system as you call it.
I was very active in the Recovery since the mid-70's, even migrating twice to start new churches. I say this so that no one can happen by and conclude that "maybe Ohio never saw the vision of God's economy" or perhaps one might think that I "never was really consecrated to Christ and the church."

After several years of serious study, I was forced to conclude that the Recovery has made no improvements over the so-called "pastoral system" in mainstream Christianity, nor in any of the matters of church ecclesiology, such as the ground of oneness. The exact same pitfalls and shortcomings which can be seen in mainstream Christianity, can also be seen in the Recovery. But since the Recovery boasts of its superiority, and condemns the rest of the body of Christ for its failures, she has become like the Pharisees of old, steeped in hypocrisy.

All the various descriptions of what a dreaded denomination looks like can be applied to the Recovery. On the one hand we claimed that we had no name, yet LSM assisted some in Columbus to sue their brothers in court over the rights to their name. We claimed that we had no hierarchy, but the hierarchies among the co-workers regularly fought with each other and overruled the elderships in the LC's. We claimed that we had no headquarters, yet here in the Great Lakes area, we had two, Anaheim and Cleveland, which both fought for control over the area LC's. We claimed that we only had the pure word of God and no systematic theology, yet any LC caught not using LSM's materials was in serious trouble. Senior workers claimed there were no controls, yet our history was filled with stories of godly elders removed from their office simply for deciding to keep the Shepherd and His flock above the demands of "the ministry office."

I could go on and on here about the blatant contradictions that troubled mine and many a conscience. When I began to stare these hypocrisies in the face, I finally received my answer as to "why was there so little blessing in the LC's?" We sued outsiders and quarantined insiders. We had effectively squashed every available means for the Lord to correct us. We had become like Jerusalem of old, "who kills the Prophets and stones those who are sent to her." We were no different than Laodicea, who claimed to have "all the riches of the ministry, and in need of nothing."
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Old 03-10-2012, 12:50 PM   #31
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Man oh man, ToGodAlone, didn't think you'd get such boisterous and diverse response did ya? Of course, you've been around here a while now, so I guess you know how we ex members roll...we were so cooped up for so long without any outlet to express our opinions...well sometimes we just get a little aggressive with our newfound freedom. (even though some of us have been out for years, at least speaking for myself, we still don't handle prosperity very well)
Haha I assure you I actually did expect a diverse array of responses. I just wanted to see where people were coming from with regards to their views on mainstream Christianity.

So often I have seen current LRC members mistakenly think that they have something that everyone else does not (and Ohio touches on this in his post above rather nicely) and that everyone else is lacking. Even in members who don't want to think that the LRC is above any other church gathering end up having the sense of superiority ingrained into their minds and so while they can't seem to put their finger on what they actually think is wrong with "regular" Christianity, they still believe it to be lacking. If this view had somehow been retained throughout the years by ex-members, then I think that just goes to show how deep the LRC culture gets into you.

Personally I think it's a darn shame if an ex-LRC member can't eventually come to peace with the rest of Christianity because they think there's still something wrong with it. The church has its problems and it always will...but don't those always come from the people and not the system itself? Heck, the LRC system isn't full of superiority and condemnation on paper is it? It's how WL and LSM used and manipulated it that created those feelings. Now I'm not saying that everyone has to go and attend an Evangelical church or whatnot, do whatever the Lord moves you to, but as long as everyone accepts each other as part of the Body of Christ, we're all on the same team, no matter where we attend. That goes for those in the LRC as well (although I will admit this is hard for me to do at times).
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:31 PM   #32
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In one of the WL books I seem to remember reading about the two winds of the spirit, that one wind was blowing toward Babylon and the other toward New Jerusalem.
I bought into that concept.
I think some felt that the LRC were the only ones riding the wind to the New Jerusalem and the rest of Christianity was heading to Babylon.
Today though I was reading,, 1 Cor 4:6
Now these things, brothers, I have transferred in figure to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us the matter of not going beyond what has been written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one, against the other.
In this matter of not going beyond what is written, I have eaten a lot of things that went beyond what was written. Witness Lee wrote a lot of things that were not written when Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
I was puffed up and proud to have the knowledge provided by WL and viewed myself as having something to feed interpretations to others that wasn't in their Bible. I was one who on behalf of one (WL), against the other (the rest of Christianity)
I was reading this today and it was something I was looking for as I was debating with some Catholics where they believe that you need someone of authority to interpret scripture. I was challenged that I could not find one scripture that supported the doctrine "Solo Scriptura" and that in fact believing that Scripture can be understood by the Spirit and did not need a man's interpretation was actually a man-made belief system. They can say that because that is the Catholic teaching and they have placed the Catholic teachings into a position of authority.
I must admit today that I was seeking to do the same in the Local church.
I was puffed up and one against another. Lord forgive me.
I am one who was quaranteed by the LRC,, Praise God!
I am alone and in a position where I am not looking for an official interpretation.
Today I started writing about my experience just before being connected to the LRC and what I see now.
Puffed up:
[left]
Why are the churches, each one against the others? That was the question I found myself asking God while looking at the intersection that I could see from my living room window. Three of the four corners each had a church building built on it. I watched in amazement as people went in and out of those buildings. I was wondering why I had driven across town to go to church for several years. There was three "churches" close to home just a short walk from my house.
But, I told God, "I am not going to any "churches" until You show me where to go".
I thought it was going to be a long time till I went to church again. I was feeling like a "leper" as the leadership in my church had just told me "I knew where the door was".
The next Lord's day I had a brother from another church group call me and ask me "brother what are you doing". I replied sheepishly, "well I was about to watch a football game as I was just kicked out of my church". The brother let me know that he also had been kicked out of his church too. I was stunned! Before I could think, I told him I would be right over.
It has been many years since that happened and now I would have to say that the church I had been shown where the door was had been like what Paul was afraid of as he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:20
For I fear that perhaps when I come, I may find you not such as I wish; that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slanders, whisperings, demonstrations of being puffed up, tumults;

I had experienced the slander in the church, been told about the whisperings about me and my family and had seen the strife. There was great ambition there as they wanted to become the biggest church group in the area with a big "work" with all kinds of new positions (ministries) to which those who had selfish ambitions were jealously seeking after with a lot of tumults. There was a huge chart posted on the wall as to who would disciple whom and who was accountable to whom and who was over whom. To me it looked like a chart used in corporations but with the pastor on top, then the elders, then the ones in charge of the different ministries, then the group leaders, and then those who were on the bottom. I spoke up about the chart and said "God builds His church up in love. I was suppose to believe that there was no other place in town that was better than that place and to be honest I had believed them. Now I know they had only convinced me with their demonstrations of being puffed up.

Now all over the world in church groups there is a lot of demonstrations of being puffed up. For our sakes though Paul said he used himself and Apollos as examples in 1 Corinthians 4:6 so that we can learn how not to be "one, against the other". He wanted the Corinthians to learn the matter of "not going beyond what has been written.
1 Corinthians 4:6
Now these things, brothers, I have transferred in figure to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us the matter of not going beyond what has been written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one, against the other.

Since Paul wrote this, we have had about 2,000 years of experience of going beyond what has been written. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he had scolded them for some saying I am of Paul, and some others saying I of Apollos, and and others I am of Cephas and even I of Christ.
1:12 Now I mean this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of 2Christ.

Today there are billions of people saying "I am of"...... then insert one of over 30,000 names for Christian groups.
Here are the ABC's for examples
Adventists, Baptist, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Four Square, Greek Orthodox, Holiness Churches, Independent, Jehovah Witness, Krimmer Mennonite Brethren, Lutheran,
Mennonite or Methodist, North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox, Pentecostal or Presbyterian, Quakers, Reformed, Seventh Day Adventist, True Holland Reformed Church, Unitarian, Vineyard, Worldwide Church of God, Church of Yahweh and Zwingli.
Are they puffed up? Are they one against the other?
Did this happen by not learning the "matter of not going beyond what is written"?

I pray that the Lord helps us learn the matter of not going beyond what is written and that we are not one opposed one to the other.

In 1 Corinthians 4:19 Paul says.
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will ascertain not the speech of those who are puffed up but the power.

Oh Lord! How much speaking have we heard from those who are puffed up? That go on and on beyond what is written. Sharing how they have become wise and are letting us in on something they know will cause us to follow them. Now I ask, Do they want to feed us something from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Do they just want to stay within the bounds of what was written?

Genesis1:6 says
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate".
We can see that:
The tree was pleasant for food,,
The tree was delightful to look at,,
The tree was to be desired in order to make one wise,,
What can you say about eating the tree of knowledge of good and evil in order to make one wise?
In James 3:15, 17 it says;
This wisdom is not that which descends from above, but is earthly, soulish, demonic.
In 1 Corinthians 3:19 we read
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written, He grasps the wise in their craftiness'';
but there is another source
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, forbearing, compliant, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, without hypocrisy.
In 1 Corinthians 1:30 I say
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to you from Him: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

and in Colossians 2:3 we read
3 In whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.
Then Colossians 3:16
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to Me.
and finally 2 Corinthians 2:17
17 For do not be like the many, adulterating the word of God for profit; but as out of sincerity, but as out of Him, before Him speak in Christ.

Lets all speak in Christ and as Paul made himself an example of, not going beyond what is written.I have had two experiences of being treated like a leper and I want to let it all go and put it all behind me. I hope to stay out of going beyond what is written and getting puffed up, one against another. Am I being puffed up?
I think Babylon is the going beyond part. We all can follow Pauls example as in Babylon we can't understand each other but maybe that thought in and of itself is going beyond what is written. What do you think?

Last edited by RollingStone; 03-22-2012 at 01:41 PM. Reason: clarify
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:53 PM   #33
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"why was there so little blessing in the LC's?" We sued outsiders and quarantined insiders. We had effectively squashed every available means for the Lord to correct us. We had become like Jerusalem of old, "who kills the Prophets and stones those who are sent to her." We were no different than Laodicea, who claimed to have "all the riches of the ministry, and in need of nothing."

It’s interesting that you brought this point out Ohio, because I was just discussing this exact same thing with my wife the other day. I was telling my wife about my experience having coffee with the pastor of the church we’ve recently been attending. During the conversation w/ the pastor I told him of my experiences with the Lord recently and about some of my doctrinal views. To my surprise he didn’t express the slightest bit of suspicion; none, no wrinkling of the forehead, no raised eyebrow, no grimace, nothing. He was completely positive and receptive and I gotta say it was nice for a change.

I think of the locality that I used to attend and how suspicious they were of everyone and everything. That’s why there is no increase there. Thirty years, THIR-TY! And no increase, because they ran off the increase, they ran off all the help, all those who were sent to her, gone. How sad. I imagine it was the same kind of environment among the Brethren. May the Lord have mercy on us all and may we not fall victim to suspicious pride.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:55 AM   #34
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It’s interesting that you brought this point out Ohio, because I was just discussing this exact same thing with my wife the other day. I was telling my wife about my experience having coffee with the pastor of the church we’ve recently been attending. During the conversation w/ the pastor I told him of my experiences with the Lord recently and about some of my doctrinal views. To my surprise he didn’t express the slightest bit of suspicion; none, no wrinkling of the forehead, no raised eyebrow, no grimace, nothing. He was completely positive and receptive and I gotta say it was nice for a change.

I think of the locality that I used to attend and how suspicious they were of everyone and everything. That’s why there is no increase there. Thirty years, THIR-TY! And no increase, because they ran off the increase, they ran off all the help, all those who were sent to her, gone. How sad. I imagine it was the same kind of environment among the Brethren. May the Lord have mercy on us all and may we not fall victim to suspicious pride.
The Recovery folks have been programmed over the years to somehow believe that they were the Lord's unique testimony on earth. Coupled with that is the ingrained belief that the Lord is actively managing the direction of the Recovery thru WL and the Blendeds. LC'ers are convinced that if the Lord were somehow upset with the current state of things, then "He would have done something by now."

The same could be said of the nation of Israel 2,000 years ago. God used all manner of ways to effect change in His people, yet without success, to the point He sent His own Son. We know how that turned out.

Today a fortress surrounds the Recovery. They convince themselves that they are today's Israel, to the exclusion of all other Christians, and are waiting for Him to return. Like their predecessors the Exclusive Brethren, the mental strongholds, reinforced by insider teachings and past events, have become bunkers that can withstand atomic blasts. Who would they listen to? Even the apostles rise from the dead, the Blendeds would find ways to discredit them. Similarly as Israel's chief priest justified the murder of Jesus Christ, I have repeatedly watched LSM defend the indefensible and justify that which should only have been condemned. When it comes to many areas of church administration at LSM, wrong is right and right is wrong, white is black and black is white.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:26 PM   #35
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When it comes to many areas of church administration at LSM, wrong is right and right is wrong, white is black and black is white.
In a nutshell, that's Isaiah 5:20.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:58 PM   #36
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In a nutshell, that's Isaiah 5:20.
I never was very original.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:29 PM   #37
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Jesus,, told the Pharisees,,
you are Offspring of vipers
you are Hypocrits several times
you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but your inside is full of extortion and wickedness.
you pass by justice and love for God.
you love the chief seat in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces.
you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly appear beautiful but inwardly are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

Did WL surround himself with Pharisees,,

Are they like the Roman Catholic Group with system for getting people more focused on listening to the mother than on listening to the Son, puffed up in their own delusion.

A bunch of mamma's boys who don't know who their daddy is or where their Head is.. or they think they have two Heads.

Look in the mirror,, We all with unveiled faces reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord Jesus

They want to make the doctrines the Head.

The Body doesn't have two Heads,, The Head of the Body is Christ,, and is made up of all the members who have Christ as their Head,

If you are turning to something other than Christ as your Lord,, than you are making that your Lord.

The Spirit gives life,, The oneness is in the Spirit,,, the doctrines divide.

The Pharisees told Jesus He was a servant of Beelzabub. And they killed Him,,

Things haven't changed too much.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:49 PM   #38
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QUOTE from UntoHim in post #22:
Ok, I see that I did not make myself clear. With the little time I have I’ll try to make amends. The “something from somewhere” is the record of the early church as presented to us in Acts and in the writings of the apostles, mostly Paul and Peter. All through their writings we see clear indications that they themselves were taught and mentored by the Lord Jesus himself. It seems to me that part of this teaching and mentoring was to establish them as leaders in the early church, as well as to pass these leadership qualities (teaching, shepherding, administering, etc) on to a new generation of disciples. As I noted in my original post, I think the purity of this “dynamic” got corrupted by man, but it does not change the fact that there was clearly an establishment and training of leadership in the early church. If you feel that there is some sort of discontinuation of this establishment of leadership (maybe as some believe that there was a discontinuation of apostleship, the gifts, etc?) then maybe we can just agree to disagree on this.

No, I didn’t feel attacked at all. I hope you didn’t either. It’s just some bantering back and forth between two people on an Internet forum. The problem is that there has been so little of that around here I think we are both just a little out of practice! Well you have read my response above so you already know that the qualifications to Timothy are just a very small part of what I was talking about, so no need for me to defend something I wasn’t claiming in the first place.

UntoHim,

In a nutshell, your rework of the thesis is better than your first submission; however, I still have problems with it. I’m not suggesting that you try to improve it, though; since I’m not that interested in pursuing the details of this topic, which would probably be very time-consuming.

Just so you’ll know, two glaring problems I have with your latest are these:
  • To give the following as your biblical support is not quite kosher: “the record of the early church as presented to us in Acts and in the writings of the apostles, mostly Paul and Peter.” (One shouldn’t have to read the whole New Testament subsequent to the Gospels and try to figure out what you’re leaning on to support your idea.)
  • Paul was not mentored by Jesus (at least while Jesus was on earth teaching the other disciples)


Se-Man-tics

I certainly don’t want to go overboard with a discussion of semantics, since you stated previously that you didn’t want to discuss it in relation to the word, “system.” Hopefully, it won’t be too tiresome if I present just a little bit from my thoughts about words you have used that I find problematic.

I will not bother much with the meaning of “training,” since you have dropped it from your latest thesis. Suffice it to say that it does have negative connotations for some of us, especially for any of us who attended Witness Lee Living Stream Ministry trainings and were coerced into giving over control of our free wills to him. Please note that, at least in my opinion, the word is not used much in Bible translations (KJV, NASB, or NIV) and doesn’t appear to me to be used in the way in which you tried to apply it.

Next, when I read the word, “mentoring,” I automatically think of the business world where I work and someone older helping someone younger move upward in the pecking order. (I know that this is not the exact meaning of the word.) I’ve also heard the word applied to clubs in which someone older helps someone younger with life choices. One way to reduce these kinds of problems is to stick with words used in generally-accepted English translations, such as those noted above. (I don’t personally rely on the NIV, since it is more liberal than the NASB, for example, but used it for the purpose of this response to be as fair as I could.) A quick search for “mentor,” “mentored,” and “mentoring” in these versions did not turn up any hits.

In my opinion, it is much safer to use the language in versions like the ones mentioned to say something like, “Jesus taught the disciples.” We should be able to agree on this. We can also write that others taught, such as Paul and Peter; and, in addition, we can say that we all teach at one time or another. Also, by using “teach,” we can avoid the whole theological discussion that could ensue over whether or not Jesus mentored anyone. In other words, the connotations associated with a mentor may not be what we should associate with God.


This “ship” has not sailed

I also have a problem when you build a “ship.” The whole idea of leadership has been carried to an extreme in today’s Christianity, in my opinion. It is one thing when Christ gives a person with a particular gift to the church; it is quite another when Christians decide to initiate and implement a program of leadership training. The last “regular” church that Jane and I were in instituted a leadership training program to be carried out in all the home meetings gathered under its aegis. It was at that point that she and I headed for the exit.

As far as the word “leadership” being used in Bible translations goes, here are the results: I did not get a hit in the KJV; and, there was one instance of it in the NASB, but only in the Old Testament. The NIV had one instance in the New Testament, and it was about our friend, Matthias. (I used a different version of an online NIV and did uncover another “ship.”) I am not saying by any of this that the idea of leadership is not to be found anywhere in the Bible; however, I have not seen yet any established program of leadership training, such as what you seem to have indicated and such as one might find in today’s milieu of schools and seminars. It seems that many want to assume that such a thing existed because that’s what we see in Christianity today. Maybe it is there in the Bible, and I just haven’t seen it; or, maybe some are just reading it in where it doesn’t exist.


Bantering attack

Finally, I already wrote that I felt attacked by you (so I don’t know why you hoped that I didn’t feel so), and it had nothing to do with me being out of practice as you suggest. Also, I do not consider my postings to be bantering as you think of yours; mine are more serious to me than that.

As you can see by this response and my two “papers” that I used to start other threads, it takes me quite awhile to address an idea. At this point, I still don’t think that the thesis has been described in enough specificity, along with specific references from the Bible, for us to be able to discuss it intelligently. I still have not staked out a position, although you probably have a better idea where I’m coming from by reading my posts. In my opinion, many of us humans want to figure out what kinds of church leaders we should have and then prepare some kind of training regimen to create such church leaders. I don’t believe that such a thing can be supported by the scriptures—at least in the more formal sense that I have understood you to have presented.

As I’ve tried to let you know, I am not really interested in fleshing out the details of all the roles for people in the Bible and how they were carried forward (and it may not even be possible to do so). It should go without saying that Jesus taught his disciples and they in turn taught others. How else would the gospel go forward if no one taught? Everyone can be a teacher in this way, however. The problem comes in, I think, when we try to talk about positions in the church. What constitutes an apostle or a teacher and what, exactly, do those kinds of folks do? This is a topic that is open for debate; but, again, I don’t really want to debate it. I’m not that interested in those kinds of details and think that they cause more problems than they might solve.

Finally, let me leave you with one of my favorite verses regarding this topic:

Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. (Matt 23:10, NASB)
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:54 PM   #39
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Of course, John, there are no scripture delineating some course of leadership training, but there are cases where Paul took opportunity to train leaders. Here are my observations from these verses --
  • Paul took the disciples away from those who spoke evil of the way
  • Paul was in this setting with only desirous disciples/believers
  • Paul taught daily in this school, not just Sunday morning service
  • Paul had opportunity for two years to develop the disciples
  • The fruit of this was that all in Asia heard the word of the Lord


If Paul was not training Christian leaders of tomorrow, what was he doing? He was teaching them the truths of the kingdom of God. He was equipping them in the gospel work. He was training shepherds to care for others. Paul was developing the next generation of elders, deacons, evangelists, shepherds, teachers, etc.

I frankly don't understand your statements, "I do not see that Paul had schools with the purpose of training leaders. He was not reasoning with the disciples." How do we distinguish between the disciples and those who "would listen to about the kingdom of God"? I'm quite sure Paul would measure his words according to the audience, but I believe that Paul labored to pass on everything he knew, and all that he was, and all that he himself was doing for the Lord. In a nutshell, Paul was struggling to reproduce himself in the disciples at the school of Tyrannus, proven by the fruit after two years.

John, perhaps our discussion here is simply one of semantics. I am in no way justifying "the stuff" that goes on at the FTTA or the Catholic monasteries of my youth, but I am saying that Paul took many opportunities to train future leaders. Paul trained Timothy and Titus to train future leaders. He told Timothy to lay these things before the brothers, (I Tm 4) charge and teach these things, being a pattern to them, etc. II Tim 2.2 repeats this charge, "and the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, these commit to faithful men, who will be competent to teach others also."
Ohio,

Reasonings with bullets

I am surprised by your second bullet about Acts 19, since that was not the case according to the way I read the passage. Further, since you make no point as to how any of the bullets would advance your view, I’ll leave you to turn your observations into support for a specific position, along with support from the Bible, if you desire. For example, this from you doesn’t say much: “Paul had opportunity for two years to develop the disciples.” Your observation of “opportunity” makes your statement virtually useless as far as providing proof goes, since it is merely something pulled from your imagination. He also had opportunity not to develop the disciples. You also state that “there are cases where Paul took opportunity to train leaders,” but you do not direct me to the proof.

So far, then, I have nothing to go on except verses 8, 9, and 10 previously quoted. These verses do not indicate that Paul was training leaders. The verses indicate that Paul was reasoning with all who would listen, not the disciples. In fact, it does not make much sense to me that he would be reasoning with the disciples, the ones who already believed. Paul was at the school trying to make disciples of non-believers. I do not mean to imply that the disciples were not learning something from Paul; but, we do not even know for sure if the other disciples were focused on Paul’s dialogue with the unbelievers or if, instead, they were focused more on helping the non-believers toward salvation, one-on-one, much as in a salvation meeting conducted in some Christian circles today.


Recapitulation

Please note the whole context and the progression: Paul was reasoning and persuading the Jews in the synagogue in verse 8 about the kingdom. In verse 9, hardened troublemakers spoke against the Way to the point that he couldn’t continue. He then took the disciples to a school and reasoned daily with the ones who came to the school. According to my reading, the context doesn’t change from reasoning and persuading unbelieving Jews in verse 8 to reasoning with just the disciples in verse 9. Instead, Paul simply moved from one location to another and resumed his reasoning and persuading of unbelievers. Verse 10, then, tells us the result of his work with the unbelievers: Both Jews and Greeks throughout Asia heard the word.

Since he had to leave the synagogue, where he could only speak to Jews, by the way, he was able, by going to a neutral site, to also reach the Gentiles. You mention that this went on daily and not just once a week as in the synagogue, as if this proves something (but you do not state what). I actually take it as furthering my perspective that Paul reached all in Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, with the word of the Lord, rather than just the disciples, as you suggest. It makes sense to me that it would take two years on a daily basis to reach that number of people. It seems to me that you are reading into the account what you want to be there; and, as I wrote before, you are free to do so if you like. (By the way, I don’t think that many of the professional leaders in the “pastoral system” would even agree that these verses support some kind of a seminary or leadership training institute or whatever else you would want to call it. I checked a few commentaries and found none agreeing that they supported the training of disciples.) You are the one to first ask, rhetorically, I believe, if Paul didn’t have “schools.” I hope that I have shown to your satisfaction that he did not, at least as far as the biblical record goes.

By this explanation, I hope that you can at least understand my perspective. You ask how we can distinguish between disciples and unbelievers in the quoted passage. Actually, I don’t have to distinguish between them to support my view; you seem to feel the need to do it to support yours. I maintain that, according to the verses, Paul was only reasoning with and persuading the unbelievers, not the disciples. It does not make sense to me that he needed to reason with and persuade those who already believed. “Reason” and “persuade” are not words that I normally associate with a training program; they do apply to evangelism, however.


Semantics plus

You mention that we may have a problem with semantics. I don’t think it’s limited to that. I think that we have a problem with the original topic. As you might recall, what I objected to was this statement from UntoHim, which I thought was rather bold: “There is solid evidence that the original apostles had originated a system (for lack of a better term) of choosing, training and mentoring young men for leadership in the churches.” I asked for his support and got next to nothing from him. You joined in with some verses; but, as I have now shown twice, they do not support the proposition. To actually fully argue this topic, I think that someone would need to define terms and spell out in detail what the boundaries for discussion are. I do not intend to do that, since it would require more time than I want to invest in the topic (roles in the church) that I don’t feel at this time would be worth the effort.

Since my first post, it seems to me that you have been trying to nudge me toward coming out for an extreme position, which I am still resisting. I believe what the Bible states; I do not believe some of your inferences from Acts. I see leaders in the Bible, but I don’t see much of what I’m calling the “ship”—at least any formalized leadership training program. It seems to me that you would like for me to say that Paul never taught anyone or mentored anyone. That would be absurd; however, that doesn’t mean that there was some sort of a formal system set up by Jesus that the apostles followed in order to make leaders. That is going beyond what the Bible has to say, in my opinion.


He is able

I believe that the Lord is fully capable of making a leader of anyone He chooses, whenever He chooses; and, that person doesn’t have to go through any formal educational system. The Lord looks on the heart, as he did with David. David did not sign up for Leadership 101. He had to tend sheep and do what his father told him to do. God has His own training program, and it may involve a “lion” and a “bear” rather than Hebrew and Greek syntax. We are all being trained by our true Master. In fact, many of us, if not most of us, are leaders already. Do we not teach children? Do we not lead families? Do we not shepherd others? In fact, aren’t these some of the requirements Paul gives to Timothy for overseers and deacons? And, by the way, there is no requirement in 1st Timothy 3 for either of these to have undergone a special training or mentoring curriculum to function in those ways.


It’s a family matter

Even though I’ve given you more to work with in this post, it is still not incumbent upon me to prove a case. I am still disproving, in this post, what UntoHim first claimed, as well as, I hope, proving that your verses do not support his claim.

I look at this topic more as believers bringing unbelievers to the Lord and helping them on their way in Christ as time goes along. We all should be doing this kind of work, and we don’t need special qualifications to do so. I look at this as us all being in a big family together. And, this is a segue into a response to your 2nd Timothy 2:2 verse: The context established in chapter 1, verse 2, and in chapter 2, verse 1, is that Paul was a “father” to Timothy. As I’ve stated, I never said that Paul, or anyone else, for that matter, never taught anyone. Does 2nd Timothy 2:2 tell us that Paul had some special training program established for special people? In my opinion, no. Obviously, he taught people who taught others; this would be normal, especially in a familial relationship. From 2:2, you quoted this: “and the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, these commit to faithful men, who will be competent to teach others also.” What Timothy “heard from Paul,” he didn’t even actually hear from Paul; instead, it came through many witnesses. Also, it wasn’t a special training for a few; it was for the many. Apparently, it wasn’t even special enough for Paul to tell Timothy directly; Paul simply referred Timothy to what he had heard from other witnesses who had heard Paul. I don’t think this verse goes to supporting what I have understood so far of your position.

In my opinion, the Bible does not directly support the status quo as we see it around us. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to go to seminary or to sit under someone who has been there. I’m just saying that the Bible doesn’t directly support it. In the end, it’s really Jesus we should be listening to. Someone having some letters after his or her name isn’t going to safeguard us from error. There were a number of folks with those credentials in the Local Church, and look where it got them (and, indirectly, us). The safeguard from error is not a better teacher with better credentials from a better institution; the safeguard is the Bible, His speaking within, and His servants, our brothers and sisters, without.


Semantics again

Now, as to one of our differences in semantics, you use the word “train” freely. Personally, I have a problem with that word, because of the associations that I make with it that I don’t think represent what was going on back in Jesus’s day. I first think of training as being something you do with a dog. Then, I think of it as classes that I have attended at work in which I am showed PowerPoint slides ad infinitum that the trainer reads to us. Training is, for me, akin to someone saying something like, “Here’s the job, and here’s how you do it.” It’s similar to being given instructions for how to make a pie and shown exactly how to make one. This may not be how you think of training, but these are my “rough-draft, free associations.”

You have stated that you don’t go along with the FTTA or the training administered in earlier Catholic monasteries. I might classify those as more extreme religious training. What about the regular Living Stream Ministry Trainings, where each of the attendees had to fork over $50 and agree to give up their free will to the whim of the trainer? To me, the whole idea of training goes in the wrong direction. In a previous response, you wrote about your thought that “life” was an important consideration in the Bible. Why not carry this thought for Life over to this topic? Paul had a son in the faith; his name was Timothy. Paul wrote to him and passed on things he had learned that he thought would be helpful to Timothy as Timothy followed the Spirit. This would be only normal in a family, I would hope. To me, it doesn’t need to get any more complicated than that. (By the way, I re-read both letters to Timothy while writing this, looking for any formalized system or process of education for leaders. I saw Paul giving advice to his son in Christ, Timothy; I did not see any support for ye ole clergy-laity [or pastoral, if you prefer] system.)

Hopefully, I have given you enough information about my perspective to satisfy you. Since I don’t really have the interest at this time to pursue it further, and it is too time consuming for me, as well, I will just sign off with this verse, which comes to me now and may be apropos:

As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1 John 2:27, NASB)
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:59 PM   #40
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Originally Posted by ToGodAlone View Post
Thanks for sharing.

Just a few things that were on my mind as I was reading that:


I feel that most Christian assemblies fully recognize the authority of God during services and whatnot, or at least those in my experience have. I'm not sure if what you meant by that was not having an appointed speaker/leader or something else.

Another thing that I noticed was that you mentioned an Elder Brother. What do you mean by this? Was he just on the old side or was this a title representing something? Am I missing the point entirely on this (I very well could be)? It was just interesting that you singled out this Elder Brother from the rest if everyone was supposed to be on the same level.

One last note, I have said that having appointed teachers is definitely scriptural. All the apostles were teachers. I'm pretty sure they taught and raised up many other teachers to spread the Gospel. If nothing else, I think that having a leader/speaker appointed just provides more structure to meetings. Not that I feel that that is 100% necessary, but it just helps facilitate things better, especially among larger groups. Now in the case of a small home setting, like the one you mentioned, then I can see how not having one would still be fine. In this case, the meeting feels more like a weekly Bible study than a Sunday service (usually considered different things in my experience), but I suppose there's nothing inherently wrong with that.

On the whole though, it seems as though your attraction to this group kind of stems from your LRC experience and wanting something similar in style to what you had there. Small settings, meeting in homes, everyone able to participate, and so on. Again, there is nothing wrong with these things and I say again these are all things that would go on in a typical weekly Bible study in the churches that I attend.

God reveals Himself to us in many ways and I'm not going to glorify one more than the other, but I think that at times, having a pastor speak, being someone that has gone through intensive study of the Bible, its history, its original text, and having this be his calling from God, is more beneficial than having everyone else, who does not have such training and thus at times will lack certain insight, speak to each other. But again, both have their place and both are encouraged, and perhaps that is why most churches that I see have both practices in place.
ToGodAlone,

I’m goin to preach’n

The preceding post to you related my experience only—my testimony. This post gives my opinion about the current meeting situation in many or most Christian churches. If you are ensconced in what I’ll call a “regular church” (which I am intentionally not defining), this post might not be for you (or many others). Now, I’ll go to preach’n and, hopefully, not bother too much those who are satisfied in regular church congregations. God has placed everyone in the body as it has pleased Him; and, it is, of course, not up to me to judge what the Master has done. In addition, God can move people around whenever and wherever He likes. I am simply reporting to you what I have seen and heard about Christian meetings and am comparing them to what I have seen and heard about the meetings in 1st Corinthians 14. I simply believe, as the Bible indicates, that the Spirit, not clergy, should be in control of church meetings.


1st Corinthians 14

I am confining this presentation to church meetings rather than completely address the pastoral system about which you asked initially. For most Christians, however, church meetings constitute the lion’s share of their church experience and the venue in which the pastor is most visibly in control. When I wrote that I had experienced a kind of utopia, it was the no-human-leader, free meetings as previously described that I was thinking about. As to outside these meetings, as I have written, no one was appointed to any position of leadership. And, again, I repeat: The church I experienced just consisted of regular brothers and sisters who wanted to let the Lord have His way in guiding and building His church without defaulting to a gifted brother to exercise control.

I would assume that most people in regular churches, when asked, would say that the Holy Spirit is the leader in their church meetings. In other words, our pastor prayed about what topic to present; our choir sang to us about the prayed-over topic; our pastor delivered the prayed-over sermon to us; and so forth. The problem for me is this: The pastor is in control, and there’s no room for the Spirit to speak freely through another during the meeting as described in 1st Corinthians 14. If something is revealed to another that sits by, no place is given for that person with fresh revelation to speak. Everyone knows who’s really in control; they just couch it in terms to make it somewhat palatable, meanwhile, it seems to me, either ignoring or explaining away what the Bible has to say about meeting participation by all whom the Spirit inspires.

Please note that I wrote “fully recognize the authority of God during their meetings” in my previous post. The word you should focus on is “fully.” When I write that most Christians would say that the Spirit is the leader, I don’t mean it to be taken in a bad way. Christian leaders across America exercise varying levels of control in their meetings. If questioned in detail about their practices, most churchgoers would probably have to admit that the Spirit isn’t given all the room in their meetings. What we did in our no-human-leader meetings was to back off as much as we could and give the Spirit the most room we could to operate among the members.


Local Church—no!

The same type of talk about the Spirit being in control, I presume you know, has been stated by Local Church leaders regarding their meetings. Even though participation by all was encouraged in the early days and was probably more successful in that regard than in many Christian meetings, it still fell short of what we can read about in the Bible. In other words, Witness Lee taught us about it but didn’t actually allow us to do it—fully. In those early days of the Local Church, room was made in certain meetings for speaking from the heart rather than from a “Life-study,” my favorite being the testimonies at the conclusion of the Lord’s Table meeting. Later, this was eradicated. Even so, it still wasn’t usually a giving of the whole meeting to the Lord for His purpose and seeing what He would provide. When we did this in our no-human-leader meetings, it was amazing to me how the Lord would speak a coherent, unified message to us from multiple members. It was really a body ministry.

This points to what I consider to be one of the problems with post Living Stream Ministry Local Church meetings that I have heard about or experienced. They, in effect, wind the clock back to a time when the Local Church was in its infancy in the United States. You can go to one of those and be reasonably satisfied if you don’t mind the controls, which are lesser than the controls in the Living Stream Ministry Local Churches, but controls nonetheless. A few brothers sit up front as the ones to follow; members may start songs, often along whatever line is put forward by a leader; a pre-selected brother gives a sermon for about 45 minutes; and people are free afterward to give testimonies along the line of the message with whatever little time might remain. It’s a proven formula. (We used to call it “the flow,” but even that was usually set beforehand by the leaders.) It may sound good when compared to the meetings that many Christians attend; but, it is short of what Paul wrote about to the Corinthians when he related how to have a meeting.

When Paul wrote about meetings, he was obviously writing about meetings in which the Spirit was given authority to speak through the members on an up-to-the-moment basis. It was real-time speaking, not something planned and packaged ahead of time. Think about it: Before Paul wrote, the meetings in Corinth were out of control as members were “speaking in tongues” on top of each other. What was his solution? He prescribed an “order of worship” and set up some leader trained in how to have a meeting to be in charge of the meeting so that it would be decent and in order, right? Wrong. He did not do what we see around us today. What he basically wrote to them was that they should love one another (1 Cor 13) and take turns, making room for everyone to have an opportunity to participate in speaking in accord with the Spirit. Today, in most churches, the meeting has been scripted so that others have no opportunity to speak—in effect, putting a leash on the Holy Spirit.


With God, it is possible

I remember reading on the forum awhile back from a poster who wrote that it was not possible to have such a free church meeting, so we shouldn’t even bother to talk about it. Well, God has a verse for the impossible things with man. I, for one, know that it is possible because I’ve experienced it. It has also been written on the forum something to the effect that fully open meetings don’t work or don’t work well (or something like that) with large gatherings. My question would be this: Has the person tried it? My follow-on encouragement might be this: If the Bible description of a meeting really doesn’t work well with your large gathering, maybe you should try meeting with a smaller group. This is just a suggestion, of course; I am not trying to override whatever the Lord has directed you to do in regard to assembling with other Christians. My point is that what’s in the Bible does work! Even in Living Stream Ministry conferences, in the early days, after all the pre-arranged things were completed, when testimony time came, they were given freely, even with hundreds or even thousands in attendance. Please note that I am not referring to these conference meetings as being led by the Spirit; I am just noting that during the testimony time, everyone was free to stand up and share something. There was no chaos or disorder; it worked just fine. By the way, testimonies at that time were not controlled and scripted like they are today; so, theoretically, anything could have been said.

If you doubt that a free meeting can work, get together with some others who are willing and give the no-human-leader meeting a try. I believe that the Lord will honor His word; I know that He did with us in our homes. Remember, no one is a leader except the Spirit; we are all just brothers and sisters in the Lord on an equal plane in the meetings of the church. There are no songs that have to be sung—except for His. There are no prayers that have to be prayed—except for His. There are no verses that have to be read—except for His. There are no messages that have to be given—except for His. There is no sequencing to follow—except for His. And, all of this comes through all the members of the body. If all Christians did this, I believe that the church at large would experience a renaissance. Imagine it: Meetings all around in which all Christians were looking to the Lord for direction, listening for Him to speak, and speaking up for Him (or singing or praying or whatever).


What else?

Okay, that is my free-flowing reaction to your post. Now, let me go back and see what else I might need to address from your post. About the Elder Brother, that has been explained somewhat by aron. Sorry, I sometimes assume that we all were in the same Witness Lee conferences and trainings. Jesus is our Elder Brother, and He is the One Who is worthy. All of the talk about leadership sometimes makes me think of the apostles who were arguing about who would get to sit on his right and left in His kingdom. I think He made it plain that none of us has any rank or privileges.

Beginning with your “One last note” paragraph and going through the end, I don’t think that I find much to agree with. I state this with one caveat. I have not fully investigated all of the biblical roles and who does what to whom when and how. It is a really large subject with many details. For example, I am not sure that I agree that “having appointed teachers is definitely scriptural.” This is just one of the details. I do know that elders were selected from among the brothers in a place and then acknowledged by Paul. I don’t recall reading that teachers were appointed. You state that it’s scriptural, so maybe you wouldn’t mind sharing chapter and verse.


Of lesson plans

You write that “having a leader/speaker appointed just provides more structure to meetings,” and I agree with this; but, that is exactly my point. The description of a regular church meeting in 1st Corinthians 14 has no such appointment or structure. You compare the free meeting I described with Bible studies with which you are familiar. The Bible study meeting, I think, is something that much of mainline Christianity has adopted because of the lack in the regular “Sunday service” you mention. The so-called Bible study was and is a step forward toward participation by all the members; but, it is usually quite scripted, at least the ones that I have attended. The mere fact that it is called a Bible study limits the type of participation that is expected. For example, if the Lord wanted to have you pray for the entire hour (or sing or whatever), would that happen? Probably not because, since it is called a Bible study, people come prepared and expecting to study the Bible.

My wife described to me a Bible study she went to in which every time that the Lord began to inspire the group to elaborate along the course of study, the leader would yank them back to the lesson plan so that they could finish the prescribed course of study before time expired. This, in effect, quenched the Spirit and made people afraid to share anything that might be considered off the mark of the lesson plan.


No guesses, please

Your guess as to why I liked the free meetings I described was completely wrong. The Local Church meetings were never like the no-human-leader meetings I described, even in the early days all the way back to 1967. Now, if you want to get all the way back to Bonnie Brae, then someone else would have to step forward, since I wasn’t there; however, since Witness Lee was there, that pretty much erases the idea of no human leader being in the meetings, although I’m told that he exhibited much more of a semblance of humility in those earliest days. Every Local Church meeting I was ever in was structured, and they became more structured over time. We humans have a tendency to look for security in structure rather than in the Lord Himself. Structure makes it easier. It means that there’s at least one less thing for which we have to depend on the Lord. In the Local Church meetings, a certain level of participation was allowed; but, all of the regular meetings were very structured, from the Sunday morning meeting to the service group meetings.

I hope that I have made myself plain to you. I thought that my previous was plain, but you wrote it off as being about the same as the Bible studies you go to. I hope that this extra writing has let you know that what we were doing was not your garden-variety Bible study. Now, I have never been to your Bible studies, so I don’t really know what you normally experience. If you really think that it’s like what I’ve written about, I would suggest that you try a test: Propose to the attendees that they come to the next one with no plans whatsoever and just look to the Lord to provide everything. If someone has been “anointed” or accepted as the leader of the study, tell everyone that you would like to try having no human leader at all, that you want to depend solely on the Holy Spirit. If it is held in the home of the leader, move it so as to eliminate the assumption that the head of the house is the meeting leader by default. Read the verses in 1st Corinthians 14 and say that you’d like to have the next meeting along those lines. Then, come back here and describe to me what happened. If you’re already doing that (but it doesn’t sound to me like you are), I’m encouraged to hear that there are those in the United States who believe that what is in the Bible will work well today, that they are practicing meeting similar to what is presented in 1st Corinthians 14, and that they depending on the Spirit rather than on a human leader.


Say it ain’t so

As to your last paragraph, what to say: You think that at times having a pastor speak is more beneficial than having everyone else speak to each other. First, let me try to very briefly cover the bases: There is nothing wrong with listening to a “pastor” speak. I periodically listen to a TV pastor and appreciate it. You have written your last paragraph in such a way as to try to allow for both pastor-led Sunday meetings and participatory Bible studies in the same church environment. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that you grasped what I meant about having a Spirit-controlled meeting. You also made it plain to me that you appreciate the speaking of a pastor more than the other members of the body because of the pastor’s education (as well as his calling). By the way, you have assumed in writing that way that other members lack a biblical education. This was definitely not the case in the Local Church back in the day. Several whom I know about were graduates of bible colleges, former pastors, and former missionaries. (By the way, I know a Christian who has no formal religious education who periodically meets with formally-trained pastors and teaches them things that they don’t know about the Bible.) The knowledge of the Bible and the ability to teach do not only reside in a church’s pastor. To think such is to be in danger, in my opinion.

Putting your trust in a pastor is how we former Local Churchers got in such trouble in the first place. Yes, it is true that Witness Lee didn’t have a formal seminary education, but that doesn’t mean that we can just go and accept what some other “pastor” says carte blanche. We need to be those who check out everything in the Word of God for ourselves. In other words, for me, the title a person has is not so important, and neither is his education. That doesn’t mean that I think I know everything or would refuse to listen to someone simply because he’s a pastor who has been trained in a system. But, to me, a “pastor” is just another member of the body and has no special status as being above others or more knowledgeable than others or more able than others. Within the church body at large is all the help we need; and, yes, that includes the pastor, but he is not on a pedestal and he is not above being called to account for his teaching—and he should be called to account whenever he deviates from God’s word or assumes, based on his training, that the Bible supports what it doesn’t.


Hasta

ToGodAlone, I hope I covered everything you asked about sufficiently. This went longer than I anticipated. I hope it helps you and is not too much preach’n (since I don’t think I’m a pastor). As I wrote earlier, I am working on other projects and am not prepared to, nor do I know that I want to, dive fully into a protracted discussion of roles in the church or what constitutes a biblical meeting. I have done some writing on the topic of church, but not about roles, and only a little about meetings. I will try to finish revising it and post it sometime soon, which you may find interesting.

To all others, you are, of course, free to address my posts; just realize that I may not respond, at least at this time. I just felt inspired to do some preach’n once I got started with my answer to ToGodAlone. Oftentimes, I delete much of this kind of thing before posting as I work my way back through what I wrote initially; in this case, especially since it was fostered by my experience and accords with the Bible, as opposed to theory underwritten by “the system,” I have left it in, since it may be helpful to some who still have church questions post Local Church. In the end, we should mainly just want to get back to our first love—Jesus.

Please do not be offended by my writing. I am not saying that the Lord does not speak through your pastor; I am not saying that the Lord does not operate within the bounds of the church meetings you attend; etc. I am simply relating some of my thoughts about Christian meetings, the Bible, and what I considered to be a little bit of utopia, a utopia that is sometimes represented to be impossible or impractical, yet one that is supported by scripture.
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Old 04-08-2012, 03:03 PM   #41
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Originally Posted by John View Post
QUOTE from UntoHim in post #22:
[INDENT][COLOR="Navy"]I will not bother much with the meaning of “training,” since you have dropped it from your latest thesis. Suffice it to say that it does have negative connotations for some of us, especially for any of us who attended Witness Lee Living Stream Ministry trainings and were coerced into giving over control of our free wills to him. Please note that, at least in my opinion, the word is not used much in Bible translations (KJV, NASB, or NIV) and doesn’t appear to me to be used in the way in which you tried to apply it.

Next, when I read the word, “mentoring,” I automatically think of the business world where I work and someone older helping someone younger move upward in the pecking order. (I know that this is not the exact meaning of the word.) I’ve also heard the word applied to clubs in which someone older helps someone younger with life choices. One way to reduce these kinds of problems is to stick with words used in generally-accepted English translations, such as those noted above. (I don’t personally rely on the NIV, since it is more liberal than the NASB, for example, but used it for the purpose of this response to be as fair as I could.) A quick search for “mentor,” “mentored,” and “mentoring” in these versions did not turn up any hits.

In my opinion, it is much safer to use the language in versions like the ones mentioned to say something like, “Jesus taught the disciples.” We should be able to agree on this. We can also write that others taught, such as Paul and Peter; and, in addition, we can say that we all teach at one time or another. Also, by using “teach,” we can avoid the whole theological discussion that could ensue over whether or not Jesus mentored anyone. In other words, the connotations associated with a mentor may not be what we should associate with God.
I would agree that using NT language is a safe way to navigate a murky issue. I have always felt the verb "to disciple" was the NT equivalent of "to train". Not that the two words are identical in meaning but that the use of the word "to disciple" though quite scriptural does have a very strange sound and so some feel compelled to find substitute words. Just as "trainee" has a more modern sound than the noun "disciple". Especially for a group that has been very openly accused of being a cult in numerous publications.

If you accept the definition of "to disciple" as being similar to "to train", then the 4 gospels are a record of the Lord's training of His trainees and then they conclude with the charge

Matt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: (American Standard 1901 version)
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:29 AM   #42
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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The problem for me is this: The pastor is in control, and there’s no room for the Spirit to speak freely through another during the meeting as described in 1st Corinthians 14. If something is revealed to another that sits by, no place is given for that person with fresh revelation to speak.
There was a lot in this post. And a lot that I somewhat agree with.

But, at some level, when I read the things that we (any of us, including the Assemblies of God where I was raised) think are positive admonitions of how to do things, I keep noting that my understanding of Paul's writings is that he almost never said anywhere that a meeting should follow a particular pattern. Instead, he put bounds on the things that he considered a problem. And in the case of the Corinthians, it took more than the five to six chapters (as we now break then down) that it took for any of the others. The church there was a mess. They were fighting over who was the best teachers. So, among other things, Paul knocked-down the status of the teachers and made them all servants. They were boasting in their love and tolerance by allowing an open sinner to be named among them, so he ordered that this one be cut off from fellowship until he repented. They were fighting over what were the best gifts and virtually all seeking to have the miraculous ones. Paul took the ranking away and said that all are needed and that, at some level, they needed to pay careful attention to those with what they might consider the lesser gifts.

Then he put a package on the whole thing (to that point) by stating that everything done needed to be out of love or it was nothing.

Then he moved to their meetings. From the nature of Paul's comments, it would seem that it was an open free-for-all. So he put bounds on it. He did not suggest that what he limited them to was "the way to meet." They had many speaking in tongues — limit it to two or three and then only if someone can interpret it for the rest. When he got to "prophesying," he said that there should be only two or three. I realize that there is some disagreement concerning whether the "all can prophesy" that follows closely means all of the two or three, or the whole assembly. But I have a hard time in the context of the whole of this book accepting that Paul was suggesting that if one of the two or three were speaking that if any random brother (or sister) suddenly cannot contain themselves and just pop-up to speak, that there was an intent that one of the designated two or three should consider their time up and sit down.

There was something wrong in where the Christianity of the 60s was. And no one knew what it was. So when something came along that had a more open and appealing texture, we presumed that the thing(s) that new way stood against must be it. We now read scripture with the intent to find evidence that we are, or were, right.

In an earlier post, you mentioned that UntoHim was presuming to say that there was a system of teaching and developing leaders revealed in scripture. But I think we miss that the whole of the gospels follows the very pattern used for generations in which a rabbi took on a small following of those who would learn from him and eventually also be rabbis. Jesus never spoke about it — positively or negatively. It is not specifically stated as what was going on. But it was not mystery to the Jews. It was commonplace.

And Jesus didn't tell everyone who came to him to follow along. He told many of them to stay and sin no more. And while what was eventually written down included much of what was said privately, that does not mean that it was/is intended for everyone in all circumstances. Jesus said some things to the crowds. And some to the growing group that followed him. And some to only a smaller group of maybe 70 or so. Then some only to the 12, and even after that only 3 or so heard everything.

We now often read scripture with a "there should be no leader" bias. But it was never stated that way. When Jesus said that those who would lead had to be a servant of all, he wasn't saying there would be no leaders, he was redefining the way that leadership was to act and behave. Rather than being rulers, they were to serve. Much like the shepherd metaphor so often used.

I cannot say that I do not find fault in any church. I find fault in all of them. But I could probably say the same about the best "there is no leader" home church that you can find. And if those are so great, why do so few of them continue for year after year? Could it be that the problem is not leaders, or followers, but people? We all come with our biases. With our opinions. And if we do not learn to discern between what matters and what does not, we will never be at peace with anyone else. There will be the church of the meat eaters that split off from the church of the vegetarian. Which will eventually split between those who want a "traditional" service and those who like the contemporary. Each of those to eventually split over some other nuance until they are eventually arguing over what exact words, if any, should be said for baptism or communion.

We are currently in a transition from one place to another. We can point to all the things about one that are superior to the other. And all the places where one is short and the other does it better. Our reason for the change mostly has to do with none of those. Overall, they are both excellent. But neither is perfect. But our son and daughter-in-law are at the new place. We attended a mass in San Antonio a week ago. Just happened by at the right time on Saturday evening. Very interesting. A strong word about works not saving you. That only the one-time sacrifice of Jesus could save and wash away sins. No, I will not be changing allegiance. Just saying that church is church, no matter how much you do or don't like the ways of a particular group.

And while never specifically stated, the NT is full of the teaching of leaders and the teaching of the people. To miss it is to prove that we are the laymen that we so despise. We do not know the context of the words. We think that we can read them in the context of the late 1900s and the early 2000s and it is entirely understood. We think that if it does not spell it out, it doesn't exist. But it does. The gospels are full of speaking on leadership. And on living the life. Both are present.

Don't miss it. Don't just parse the words. Read the story. You can't read Pride an Prejudice as if it were happening today. You have to understand the times. The times say as much as the words of the book. There is much on leadership in the NT. And they did not consider that it needed to be spelled out. But it seems as if for the few that are determined to "do it differently," maybe it needs to be spelled out. Why do we think that the majority of those who actually spend their lives studying scripture have it so wrong and only the few who do it as a hobby are right? We start to sound like those anti-vaccine wackos who note that autism set in near the time of a vaccination. Anecdotal evidence. But it has started a cottage industry of more wackos. And a school system with less protection from disease. There is a parallel.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:37 AM   #43
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Ohio,

Reasonings with bullets

I am surprised by your second bullet about Acts 19, since that was not the case according to the way I read the passage. Further, since you make no point as to how any of the bullets would advance your view, I’ll leave you to turn your observations into support for a specific position ...
John, you continually return to your theme that there is no formal leadership training program, as you say "Leadership 101," prescribed by the Apostles in the New Testament. I am in complete agreement concerning this. Nothing I have said is to the contrary. (Neither, however, does the N.T. dictate that all such programs be invalid.) I completely understand this fixation of yours, since I have spent at least as much, if not more, time as you in LC "training" programs, centered both in Anaheim and Cleveland.

I am concerned, however, that the flavor of your extreme views mimics that of LSM. Your anti-training platform allows you to judge just about every Christian congregation and denomination on earth, the so-called "status quo." Also your statement here is a little frightful: "I believe that the Lord is fully capable of making a leader of anyone He chooses, whenever He chooses; and, that person doesn’t have to go through any formal educational system. The Lord looks on the heart, as he did with David. David did not sign up for Leadership 101." While no doubt true that He is able, it is exactly the same justification LSM used to exalt their own leader. Yikes!

As far as using the word "train" and its variants,I will try to strike it from my vocabulary in lieu of the more scriptural terms "teach" and "disciple," except when referring to LSM. I have personally heard some brothers say that they felt they were treated as "dogs." While I was educated much at the LSM bi-annual trainings, and did have many wonderful experiences with God's children, I do admit that much of what I was taught was wrong, and sowed many seeds of leaven in my heart, which need to be constantly uprooted. Simply stated, LSM now uses its many "trainings" to indoctrinate, manipulate, and abuse its members for self-serving gains.

Hopefully, I have also given you enough information about my perspective to satisfy you. Leadership training programs are neither endorsed nor prohibited by scripture. I am neither for them or against them. They are only as good as those who teach and those who learn. They can never be "THE way," as only Jesus is, yet can be "A way" used by the Spirit for the body of Christ.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:51 AM   #44
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Why do we think that the majority of those who actually spend their lives studying scripture have it so wrong and only the few who do it as a hobby are right? We start to sound like those anti-vaccine wackos who note that autism set in near the time of a vaccination. Anecdotal evidence. But it has started a cottage industry of more wackos. And a school system with less protection from disease. There is a parallel.
I was following along really well until you launched into your "wacko" medicine.

Child is perfectly fine until he gets some new and improved vacc-shot, and you call it "anecdotal evidence." You wouldn't talk that way if it happened to your child.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:00 AM   #45
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Why do we think that the majority of those who actually spend their lives studying scripture have it so wrong and only the few who do it as a hobby are right? We start to sound like those anti-vaccine wackos who note that autism set in near the time of a vaccination. Anecdotal evidence. But it has started a cottage industry of more wackos. And a school system with less protection from disease. There is a parallel.
Well I found this to be a very readable and enjoyable post that I agreed with right up until the car crash conclusion [Please note the Post is from OBW, I am not sure why this says Ohio].

So, the thread is "how has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon"? Which has brought us to a lengthy discussion of Christianity as the "religious" Babylon depicted in Revelation 17, complete with what sounded like a visit to a Catholic church. Then this last sentence with the analogy to autism kind of ties in the material Babylon in Revelation 18. I understand your term "anti-vaccine wackos" to be extremely derogatory and in apposition to the Bible hobbyists verses the "scholars" who have spent their lives studying the Bible.

I think autism is a great analogy and really brings out the issues very well, I think your conclusion is completely and hopelessly flawed.

There is a very clear and proven statistical link towards the odds of getting autism that proves, (without any dispute that I am aware of, even from "anti vaccine wackos") that this is a genetic disease (or diseases). On the other hand, there has been an epidemic of autism since the end of WWII. Epidemics can only be explained by environmental factors and cannot be explained "genetically".

Looking for an environmental explanation is completely warranted by the facts. Explaining this away as "better screening" is absurd. If you have ever seen an autistic child, the idea that people 20, 30 and 40 years ago didn't recognize a problem is totally absurd. When the so called "pros" try to pass off bogus explanations that is when the hobbyists need to look elsewhere. Discover magazine had an excellent story on the state of the research on Autism in April of 2007. In that article they highlighted what many of the "hobbyists" had done in ignoring the "pros" and focusing on diet. As it turns out it seems that at least some of the genetic traits of Autism are linked to the gut (hence the title "the answer may lie in the gut not the head"). It seems some children are less able to fend of the effect of chemicals and pesticides floating around in our environment, this weakness is genetic, but the chemicals are environmental.

So, getting back to this thread, when the "pros" drop their responsibility and are afraid to lay the blame where it obviously was (yes the disease is genetic but it is also clearly environmental) then you open the door for those less qualified but perhaps more motivated to find an answer to hypothesize. Worrying about vaccinations is reasonable and any health risks associated with over hyping the danger of vaccinations should be laid at the feet of the "experts" who covered up the environmental factors saying with smug certainty that this is a genetic disease. Likewise, if I have learned anything from the LRC it is not to allow anyone to spoon feed me their understanding of the Bible. MOTA, Quarantine, Ground of Oneness, take your pick. Many pros are merely hired to put the "spin" on any issue. That is obviously what "The Fermentation of the present rebellion" was. Am I a wacko because I don't accept RK and KR's spin (two Phd Experts)?
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:07 AM   #46
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

The mindset that "we must arrive at the optimal way to have church" is a mis-aiming.

The LRC equated having the perfect "church life" with satisfying God. But the Bible never puts a perfect church life forth as a goal.

The goals the Bible puts forth are loving one another, holiness, growth, service, testimony. ("The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1 Tim 1:5.)

The church is simply an environment for these things to be worked out. How that looks has some flexibility. Paul emphasizes two things related to this, (1) everyone has gifts which should be utilized by them and respected by others, and (2) everyone can "prophesy" for the Lord in some way (which is related to 1).

The LRC placed an unhealthy emphasis on "all can prophesy." To the point they believed the Lord could not build his church without the kind of open meetings they employed. As if 15-second, rapid-fire testimonies were the key to everything God wanted. Not to be rude, but that kind of mindset is just Duh.

The bottom line, however, is that the perfect church life is not the goal. Endlessly seeking it, or seeking to define it, as a goal in itself, is a waste of time.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:30 AM   #47
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I am concerned, however, that the flavor of your extreme views mimics that of LSM. Your anti-training platform allows you to judge just about every Christian congregation and denomination on earth, the so-called "status quo." Also your statement here is a little frightful: "I believe that the Lord is fully capable of making a leader of anyone He chooses, whenever He chooses; and, that person doesn’t have to go through any formal educational system. The Lord looks on the heart, as he did with David. David did not sign up for Leadership 101." While no doubt true that He is able, it is exactly the same justification LSM used to exalt their own leader. Yikes!
Ohio,

Didn't we have a long discussion, I think it was on the other forum, concerning the training that David went through in 1Sam?

I would just point out here, as a father that has raised three kids to play the violin, that this involves an arduous training process. My youngest has been playing for 2 years (it should have been 2 1/2 but he broke his arm). He is now at the point where he is considered "very talented" by his peers. He tells me he likes to "be good at something" and so now it is not difficult to motivate him anymore. But the first two years were much, much harder.

David was an accomplished musician, composer, and writer of songs. The idea that was done without training is utter nonsense.

If he was this disciplined with his musical studies do you (referring to John, not Ohio) really think he was that cavalier about his life? Sure, before playing before the KIng I'll practice, but fighting a giant like Goliath I'll just leave it in the hands of God?

John let me ask you a couple of simple question, according to the record in 1Sam David cut off Goliath's head and then held it throughout the battle and was still holding it when Saul talked with him. It seems awkward to hold the head of a giant in one hand while fighting with the other. Also, I had always assumed that he grabbed the hair, but "Goliath was a man of war from his youth" and our soldiers today have crew cuts specifically so that you cannot grab their hair. If I was going to shoot a movie and cast Goliath I would have chosen Arnold Schwarzneggar and his war movies all have crew cuts. One other problem I had with the story, David's three oldest brothers were fighting, David is the youngest in the family, so there were several older brothers that could have been sent instead of him. From the story it was clear that the brothers knew he wanted to join the fight, surely the father knew as well. Why send David? Finally, the Bible has nothing but glowing things to say concerning Jesse, the father of David. Most notable to me is 1Sam 16:1-3, where it is quite obvious in a country of millions of people God, Jesse and Samuel are all on a first name basis. Why does God and the Bible give such reverence to Jesse if it isn't for the fact that everyone of his sons has the appearance of the Lord's anointed to Samuel?

1. So assuming that Goliath had a crew cut how did David hold his head and fight at the same time?
2. Why did he do it?
3. Why did his father send him to the battle field?
4. If Jesse is not revered for the way in which he raised his sons then why is he revered?

Let me add a personal testimony here

A number of years ago I wanted to know how to raise my kids and so I looked to the Bible for a positive role model for a father. Ultimately I chose Jesse because like me he appeared to be a single father, not rich, and all of his children were positive examples. As a result I decided that I would teach my kids violin even though at the time of the decision it was a financial hardship. I also decided to have them learn Karate and I home schooled them for several years (even though both me and my wife had full time jobs).

The two oldest are very good at violin, they were black belts in Karate, they were both Valedictorians at their respective high schools, and one of them got a full scholarship to the top ranked engineering school in the country. I also learned a very interesting fact, less than 1% of NYC high school students say they play an instrument, yet more than 25% of the valedictorians say they play an instrument. If it is difficult today to include violin in my kids instructions, imagine how hard it must have been for Jesse.

So you can argue that David wasn't "trained" but I find that funny since I used Jesse's training as an outline to raise my kids.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:55 PM   #48
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I was following along really well until you launched into your "wacko" medicine.

Child is perfectly fine until he gets some new and improved vacc-shot, and you call it "anecdotal evidence." You wouldn't talk that way if it happened to your child.
Autism typically sets in at a certain age. It is also an age at which certain vaccinations are given. Besides the correlation, there has, as yet, been no causal link provided. But your child, or grandchild, is put somewhat at risk despite their own vaccinations due to the presence of those without vaccinations. It is an emotional thing to have that happen to your child. But it does not prove anything. If autism tended to set in at about one year of age, then someone might suggest that the fact that most learn to walk then is the cause of the autism. We would laugh at them for saying that. But there is no more evidence that vaccinations are a cause of autism than any other natural milestone occurring at that time. Only a presumption that it is so. And once you believe it, you believe it.

And the kind of appeal to celebrity that people like Jenny McCarthy and others use as a way to get heard. They just want it to be true. But no one can prove it.

Now if I managed to step into a family minefield by using that example, I did not intend to make it personal to anyone. But there is no evidence of a link between vaccinations and autism other than proximity in time.

BTW, the older you get, the more likely you are to die. I suggest that we warn people about the dangers of getting older. Based on the available data, that is just about as meaningful.

But the point is that people without the slightest idea of what they are talking about are the only ones really pushing this vaccination issue. In a similar way, it is almost only those of us who may be good at parsing English, but have no idea about Greek Hebrew, or the culture, idioms, etc., of the times who are suggesting that those who do are simply pulling the wool over our eyes to become "LEADERS." Sort of blame the experts and suggest that they aren't all in the same breath.

And we were first fed the idea by some who would be our non- leader leaders. Who would give us more rope than the previous leaders so we didn't see the similarities. And the fact that it was happening that way makes me suspect that the old leaders were actually less onerous than the new ones. Yet we bought their wares and continue to show them off even after we have discarded the salesman as a shyster.

I think that is the part that bothers me the most. We have seen through the source, but still cling to way too much of its produce. We seek the leeks and garlic of the LRC. We desperately want more Soylent Green. (For the younger ones out there, there's something to dig around for.)

I wasn't picking on John. We all do it. And even plain-ole evangelicalism somewhat leads us down that path when we are sort of told that "me and my bible" can figure it all out. Not saying we are idiots or fools, but at some level we can't. We need help. We do need teachers. And when we read the Bible as if every word is equally applicable to every person all of the time, we start to put a lot of guilt-trip on ourselves. We get down on ourselves for not being among those that go and disciple all nations. Or even disciple a bunch of the local neighborhood. I'm not sure that was a universal call. At least not as recorded in Matthew. And I've said so here before.

And if it is all for everyone, then I guess elders are ultimately pointless because we can all read those passages by Paul and do what it takes to become one ourselves. Just think, an assembly of elders. I bet that wouldn't last long.

My point is that the best among us — me included — are not immune to this plague. So many of us were set upon by some ideals during that age 16 to 30 period when you set many of your patterns for life. We seldom look to the left or right of our well-worn paths. The "funny" thing about it to me is that, while I see enough about it to point it out, I realize that I am just as much in that rut as anyone else. At least until I see/read/hear something that disconnects me from my rut. Forces me to look aside. Consider something different.

I'm not forcing a conclusion. I'm suggesting that we have concluded too quickly. That we really don't have all the evidence. We just think we do. I would not say that everything about the average leadership in Christianity is simply OK. But I suspect that it is better than the knee-jerk distrust that we have been taught. And taught by people that we don't even trust anymore. Go figure. I see it in me all the time.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:08 PM   #49
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Am I a wacko because I don't accept RK and KR's spin (two Phd Experts)?
I will leave the discussion on Autism out. If you don't like the parallel, think of another one.

As for disagreeing with a couple of PhDs, I must agree with you. Just like I said concerning all of us amateurs v the studied Bible experts, I don't tend to take one or two alleged experts over so many who disagree. I may consider that "sola scriptura" is generally true. But if we think that we each one know enough to decide what it means, we are fools. It takes a bunch of well-studied people spending a lot of time going over things to make some of those decisions. Then a lone Phd in Greek, or whatever (even theology) comes along and says that everybody before him was simply wrong? I don't think so. There may be legitimately more to learn. But the very idea that these new guys have found some serious point of theology that everyone else for the past 2,000 years has missed is simply laughable.

And if they and their MOTA predecessor had not suckered so many in, I would be laughing about it.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:25 PM   #50
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The mindset that "we must arrive at the optimal way to have church" is a mis-aiming.

The LRC equated having the perfect "church life" with satisfying God. But the Bible never puts a perfect church life forth as a goal.

The goals the Bible puts forth are loving one another, holiness, growth, service, testimony. ("The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1 Tim 1:5.)

The church is simply an environment for these things to be worked out. How that looks has some flexibility. Paul emphasizes two things related to this, (1) everyone has gifts which should be utilized by them and respected by others, and (2) everyone can "prophesy" for the Lord in some way (which is related to 1).

The LRC placed an unhealthy emphasis on "all can prophesy." To the point they believed the Lord could not build his church without the kind of open meetings they employed. As if 15-second, rapid-fire testimonies were the key to everything God wanted. Not to be rude, but that kind of mindset is just Duh.

The bottom line, however, is that the perfect church life is not the goal. Endlessly seeking it, or seeking to define it, as a goal in itself, is a waste of time.
I really agree with this. One day someone mentioned casually how EVERY new church / denomination feels they are closer to the Biblical pattern, yet look at how very different they all are. That comment jarred my thinking. No church is perfect, no practice is perfect, no service is perfect, neither can we expect them to be.

The Bible seems to only place boundaries on the church and her meetings. No way is THE way, because THE way is the living Christ, and He simply refuses to be defined by any liturgical service. Neither will He be bound by only one translation of the Bible, let alone one man's theological interpretations.

The verse which you quoted, "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith," (1 Tim 1:5.) took on new meaning in the GLA during the days of quarantines, to show just how far off LSM's Blendeds had gone related to "God's New Testament Economy." They missed the goal of the Bible, so it's no wonder where they ended up.

Once we go down this avenue in pursuit of the "perfect" church, we become vulnerable to a whole host of modern day "prophets" who have discovered (or recovered!) the great, long lost missing link, such as "you all can prophesy, one by one, but only for 90 seconds." We actually had a brother years ago, a little askew at times, who even went so far as to calculate, during the training in Anaheim, the statistical mean and standard deviation for the time each trainee took to prophesy. What's wrong with this picture folks?

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Old 04-09-2012, 02:30 PM   #51
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Ohio,

Didn't we have a long discussion, I think it was on the other forum, concerning the training that David went through in 1 Samuel?
We sure did, and you brought out some great points.

LSM could find the need for "training" in every verse of scripture, while others are convinced that "training" is a root of all evil.

I am convinced that usually the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:37 PM   #52
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Autism typically sets in at a certain age. It is also an age at which certain vaccinations are given. Besides the correlation, there has, as yet, been no causal link provided.
Sometimes "causal links" are there staring them in the face, but they refuse to see them because of personal agendas. Happens all the time. I laugh at every new medicine that gets aired on TV. How many "wonder drugs" of old are now the foodstuffs of the legal profession.

Hate to take more time to discuss this, cause I'm sure the Topiq Natzi will incinerate them.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:39 PM   #53
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The verse which you quoted, "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith," (1 Tim 1:5.) took on new meaning in the GLA during the days of quarantines, to show just how far off LSM's Blendeds had gone related to "God's New Testament Economy." They missed the goal of the Bible, so it's no wonder where they ended up.
Thanks for highlighting this verse. I was struck by the adjectives Paul used. Deceitful workers of iniquity will always feign "love", but Paul talks about love out of a "pure" heart. The idea of how impure motives twist the "expression" of love to the point that heinous acts can be done "in love". Also, love out of a good conscience. If I recall correctly WL in his defense always claimed how much he cared for JI, etc, but was his speaking out of a good conscience? And love out of a sincere faith. Once people are put into a position, like EM, for political reasons then of course they are forced to "feign faith". And love out of feigned faith is all show.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:50 PM   #54
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Autism typically sets in at a certain age. It is also an age at which certain vaccinations are given. Besides the correlation, there has, as yet, been no causal link provided. But your child, or grandchild, is put somewhat at risk despite their own vaccinations due to the presence of those without vaccinations. It is an emotional thing to have that happen to your child. But it does not prove anything. If autism tended to set in at about one year of age, then someone might suggest that the fact that most learn to walk then is the cause of the autism. We would laugh at them for saying that. But there is no more evidence that vaccinations are a cause of autism than any other natural milestone occurring at that time. Only a presumption that it is so. And once you believe it, you believe it.
I think the most recent studies have basically demonstrated, unequivocally, that there is no causal link between vaccinations at age 6 and autism. But here is the issue, you have no right to say what doesn't cause autism until you can say what does cause it. This is where the experts lost all credibility when they started telling people what didn't cause it even though they couldn't tell them what did.

As a result people experimented with many different things and had proven, though limited, success with diet. This was despite the fact they were told that "it is genetic" and that diet and environment didn't cause autism. As we now have a much better idea of what might cause autism we can say that in part that is right, diet and environment don't "cause" autism, the cause is genetic. But diet and environment can have a huge impact so that in a significant portion of those with autism the symptoms can be completely eliminated with a change in diet and environment. And in an even larger percent the symptoms can be alleviated though not eliminated.

Is it reasonable to look at all environmental factors including inoculations since the epidemic was traced to about the time that the inoculations were first given to kids, and also since symptoms often first appeared immediately after the inoculation was given? Sure, why not? Had the experts been on the leading edge of this research it could have been disproved before the hype caused many people to stop vaccinating. Once again the problem is not with the hypothesis or the research. The problem was with "experts" telling people what didn't cause Autism when they couldn't tell people what did.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:27 PM   #55
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I think the most recent studies have basically demonstrated, unequivocally, that there is no causal link between vaccinations at age 6 and autism. But here is the issue, you have no right to say what doesn't cause autism until you can say what does cause it. This is where the experts lost all credibility when they started telling people what didn't cause it even though they couldn't tell them what did.

As a result people experimented with many different things and had proven, though limited, success with diet. This was despite the fact they were told that "it is genetic" and that diet and environment didn't cause autism. As we now have a much better idea of what might cause autism we can say that in part that is right, diet and environment don't "cause" autism, the cause is genetic. But diet and environment can have a huge impact so that in a significant portion of those with autism the symptoms can be completely eliminated with a change in diet and environment. And in an even larger percent the symptoms can be alleviated though not eliminated.

Is it reasonable to look at all environmental factors including inoculations since the epidemic was traced to about the time that the inoculations were first given to kids, and also since symptoms often first appeared immediately after the inoculation was given? Sure, why not? Had the experts been on the leading edge of this research it could have been disproved before the hype caused many people to stop vaccinating. Once again the problem is not with the hypothesis or the research. The problem was with "experts" telling people what didn't cause Autism when they couldn't tell people what did.
OK. I'll try to remember that unsupported health claims is not a good example in the future. Skip the autism/vaccination thing and look at what I was trying to parallel. Do you have any comment there? Otherwise, you are wasting your time.

And at some level, making my point that people get too tied to what they think must be true when they can't explain it. Two things happen near the same time, so they must be related. They can feel it in their bones. And someone on TV said it.

You are right that just because we can't prove it doesn't mean it isn't so. But that is very different from saying it must be so because it can't be disproved. Or hasn't been disproved. People who insist that it is true without any actual evidence are just not believable to me. They lose credibility. Giving the benefit of doubt becomes difficult. Is that understandable without discussing autism?

And even more to the point, it was to parallel the theological assertions of us who are not theologians, like actresses declaring an epidemic based on correlation without actual evidence (and so many buying into it). We need real theologians just like Jenny McCarthy needs real research. And the theologians do not take the position that we and the LRC's non-theologian leadership has dreamed up.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:05 PM   #56
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I think the most recent studies have basically demonstrated, unequivocally, that there is no causal link between vaccinations at age 6 and autism.
Tonight's NBC world news links autism to overweight mothers. Tomorrow it will be global warming.

The medical profession loves to conclude that illness is genetic. I have several friends who recently had open heart surgery for clogged arteries. Each was told it was "genetic." In other words, no one and no thing is responsible. How convenient for the doctors. Imagine if the doctor was truly honest and told him that his wife's cooking is killing him.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:25 PM   #57
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Autism typically sets in at a certain age. It is also an age at which certain vaccinations are given. Besides the correlation, there has, as yet, been no causal link provided. But your child, or grandchild, is put somewhat at risk despite their own vaccinations due to the presence of those without vaccinations. It is an emotional thing to have that happen to your child. But it does not prove anything. If autism tended to set in at about one year of age, then someone might suggest that the fact that most learn to walk then is the cause of the autism. We would laugh at them for saying that. But there is no more evidence that vaccinations are a cause of autism than any other natural milestone occurring at that time. Only a presumption that it is so. And once you believe it, you believe it.
Your comment about walking and autism is laughable, since children have been walking since the dawn of time. What has changed, however, is the number of toxic vaccines injected into our children. As a child, I received only a few vaccines. Presently that number is up in the dozens.

Today we are aborting the unborn for health related issues which are discovered via testing. If autism cannot be detected before birth, then we will be forced to euthanize our children to avert an even bigger disaster.

Childhood illnesses are part of creation, enabling their immune systems to be strengthened naturally. All we are doing is swapping necessary childhood illnesses for far more serious adult illnesses like cancer.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:30 PM   #58
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And even more to the point, it was to parallel the theological assertions of us who are not theologians, like actresses declaring an epidemic based on correlation without actual evidence (and so many buying into it). We need real theologians just like Jenny McCarthy needs real research. And the theologians do not take the position that we and the LRC's non-theologian leadership has dreamed up.
Yes, this is more to the point. Einstein had an absolutely incredible year of releasing ideas that he worked on while he was not a "professional" scientist, but a clerk. The fact that most people who practice science are untrained and as a result have faulty methodology doesn't in any way support an assertion that theology should be left to the theologians. On the contrary, "lead or get out of the way". Autism is an excellent example of research and breakthroughs coming as much from the amateurs as the professionals.

The lesson here is that epidemics, Autism and AIDS are two examples that come to mind, have to be dealt with in a way that all people can trust, otherwise you open the door to panic. And, theories have to be investigated quickly, it is an easy enough proposition to prove or disprove a link between inoculations and autism, however it requires a lot of work doing statistical analysis. Some of these studies can take 5-10 years to be definitive, so it is critical that you begin 5 years before the movie stars start to hear about it.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:44 AM   #59
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The medical profession loves to conclude that illness is genetic. I have several friends who recently had open heart surgery for clogged arteries. Each was told it was "genetic." In other words, no one and no thing is responsible. How convenient for the doctors. Imagine if the doctor was truly honest and told him that his wife's cooking is killing him.
Doesn't sound like such a bad way to go if you ask me...
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:46 AM   #60
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Childhood illnesses are part of creation, enabling their immune systems to be strengthened naturally. All we are doing is swapping necessary childhood illnesses for far more serious adult illnesses like cancer.
So when a kid does not die of scarlet fever at the age of 4...instead dies of a heart attack, or cancer, at the age of 74...all you can say is, we've just swapped one illness for another?
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:15 AM   #61
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So when a kid does not die of scarlet fever at the age of 4...instead dies of a heart attack, or cancer, at the age of 74...all you can say is, we've just swapped one illness for another?
I would recommend "Burzynski", a documentary movie that covers 40 years of history in which the FDA works tirelessly to make sure a proven cancer cure does not get approved without it first being stolen by big Pharma.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:03 AM   #62
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Childhood illnesses are part of creation, enabling their immune systems to be strengthened naturally. All we are doing is swapping necessary childhood illnesses for far more serious adult illnesses like cancer.
And on this we actually agree.

But, as I have said at least twice now, the point wasn't to prove anything about autism, but to parallel the certainty of cause claimed by many who have nothing more than suspicion.

As far as things go, how many factors of the physical nature of man have changed over the centuries? Some of the changes are the result of the more widespread availability of good food. Some the result of the more widespread availability of junk food. Some of the eradication of diseases that killed many in past generations. Some of the onset of new diseases that keep the planet in "balance." Not suggesting some self-limiting symbiosis. Just noting that it is always changing.

Even the viruses are limiting. Those that kill too aggressively die-off because we quarantine their hosts. So only those strains that are less severe and non-fatal survive since they do not get the attention that the fatal ones do.

And every so often, someone comes along and sees some correlation somewhere and creates a cottage industry of nonsensical, almost superstitious medicine to combat it. There is one in which you simply hold a vial (glass) of a substance and it is supposed to cure you.

Forget autism. I used it because it is somewhat better known. I had no idea that everyone would get emotional about it and miss the point. The point that the basis of the claim is a guess — a hunch — and not a substantive fact. And the similarity in that to failing to find the word "training" or "school" or "leader training" and conclude that it is not spoken of. It demonstrates our ignorance of what is actually there in scripture. It is full of training. And the training wasn't for everybody who believed. And it wasn't the same for everybody who followed as a disciple.

We read John's epistle and conclude that when he said "you have no need that anyone teach you" it meant concerning anything. Even that verse has a context.

And arguing against the validity of my parallel does not dismiss my point. It just shows that parallels are not perfect. Just like metaphors are not perfect. And when you argue against the parallel rather than the idea that I seek to create an "aha" concerning with that parallel, you turn the discussion from the point to an irrelevancy. And so even if someday they actually discover a link between vaccinations and autism, for someone to be sure of it today is to be sure based on nothing substantial. My point stands even if the conclusion within it does not.

And when we read scripture, we are not really as smart as we think. I start to wonder about things I have been taught since my youth, and yet I stick with them because I was taught it from my youth. Does that make sense? I face it full on and cannot always reconcile it. It is one of those places where the law of non-contradiction is at a stalemate for me. I know what I have thought for years. And I see something that seems contradictory. I want to believe both. But I do not yet see how they are differentiated in such a manner as to coexist, yet cannot declare one as correct and the other false.

I am convinced that there is an answer that does not contradict. Either one is right and the other wrong, or they are not actually at odds. But I do not yet understand it. So I live with the contradiction rather than blindly hold to one because that is what I was taught at that age when I thought I was so smart.

And I seek more input while some think they have found the answer and are finished. I do not dismiss their conclusions. I take them in as possible evidence that will also become a conclusion for me. But on the current topics, I find that it is not so easy. And I have a hard time leaning much on overlays of scripture analysis that are too much like what we learned in the LRC. I am now at a place where those positions need proving rather than being the starting point. I actually believe that the majority positions are generally stronger and better starting points than virtually anything that Lee taught us that was different.

I liked the more free meetings. But, as someone else recently said, popcorn testimonies do not supply substantial nourishment. Just emotions. And leaderless groups are sheep without a shepherd. It may start as enjoyable. No one directing you with a rod. But eventually you all go in your own direction.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:07 AM   #63
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I would recommend "Burzynski", a documentary movie that covers 40 years of history in which the FDA works tirelessly to make sure a proven cancer cure does not get approved without it first being stolen by big Pharma.
How quickly we are distracted to the irrelevant.

New diagnosis: ADLS: Attention Deficit . . . Look! Shiny!!

Maybe it really is time for the Topiq Nazi.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:26 AM   #64
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Forget autism. I used it because it is somewhat better known. I had no idea that everyone would get emotional about it and miss the point. The point that the basis of the claim is a guess — a hunch — and not a substantive fact. And the similarity in that to failing to find the word "training" or "school" or "leader training" and conclude that it is not spoken of. It demonstrates our ignorance of what is actually there in scripture. It is full of training. And the training wasn't for everybody who believed. And it wasn't the same for everybody who followed as a disciple.
If scientists only dealt in substantive facts there would be no discoveries or advancement of knowledge. Research begins with a guess, it is called a Hypothesis. The experiment is then designed to prove or disprove that.

So then let's reexamine your thesis. Some claim that their is no training in the NT because the word "training" does not appear even though the Bible is full of training, this is ignorant. (I agree with you).

This is like some claiming that Autism might be caused by inoculations which has since been examined and proven not to be linked. (Yes, this example is a good example of ignorance, your ignorance in how the scientific process works. The problem is not that we can't follow your logic, the problem is that it was flawed unless it was supposed to be dripping with irony).
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:32 AM   #65
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How quickly we are distracted to the irrelevant.

New diagnosis: ADLS: Attention Deficit . . . Look! Shiny!!

Maybe it really is time for the Topiq Nazi.
You are the one that suggested parallels

How has the LRC affected my view of Babylon? The way in which PL used threats of lawsuits and excommunication to sell books is beautifully mirrored in this documentary of "Babylon".

How has the LRC affected my view of Babylon? The way in which Phd's were hired to spin out fabricated stories like "The fermentation of the present rebellion" is beautifully mirrored in this documentary of "Babylon".

How has the LRC affected my view of Babylon? The way in which love and truth are the first victims as those with impure motives, bad conscience and feigned faith pretend to be "all knowing" and "all wise" is beautifully portrayed in this documentary.

Autism is an acceptable and relevant illustration but cancer isn't? Why don't you judge your own posts with the same judgement that you judge others?
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:53 AM   #66
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ToGodAlone,
I had a much longer response that was unfortunately lost in the realms of cyberspace. It's a shame...I put a lot of time into it. Time which unfortunately does not come back and so I give you a much abbreviated version.
1) Scripture regarding the positions of teachers/pastors.
Ephesians 4:11-14
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
The word pastor may be substituted for shepherd in other translations (this is NIV if you were wondering), but the meaning is the same.

2) God can move in different types of meetings. Each person is free to go to the type that best helps him/her to grow to know Christ more. I like mine with a bit of structure and leadership...great, God will use that. You like yours to be free flowing...great, God will use that too. One should not be held in higher regard than the other. If there was "one true way" to meet that God wanted us all to do, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion. I don't think God is partial to our methods of doing certain things so long as they are done.

3) 1 Cor 14 is not the be all end all of how meetings should be held. If so, then all women should be kept silent.

That's more or less a summary of what I had before...it's a shame it has been lost, but there it is nonetheless. I hope you don't find anything I said as attacking or offensive as well.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:50 AM   #67
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This is like some claiming that Autism might be caused by inoculations which has since been examined and proven not to be linked. (Yes, this example is a good example of ignorance, your ignorance in how the scientific process works. The problem is not that we can't follow your logic, the problem is that it was flawed unless it was supposed to be dripping with irony).
It is not a matter of not knowing the scientific process, but not knowing the exact state of the application of it to autism and vaccinations. My general understanding is that there have been studies that have found no link, and some that tend to disprove the existence of any un-found link. The last I heard on it left it as not clearly wrong, but near to it.

But I really don't care about the exact state of research into this alleged phenomenon. It wasn't the point.

And for you to suggest that someone (me) is ignorant of how the scientific process works is to stretch the content of what I have said far beyond what it clearly evidences. (And Ohio thinks I am the one who is out picking on people.) Nothing I said should have given you cause to conclude anything about my knowledge of the scientific method.

The only thing worth noting about any of it is whether it might be reasonable to reconsider how well we think we know what scripture says that so many over so many centuries disagree with. That does not mean that we do not raise the questions we think we see. They need to hear our thoughts. And consider them, not just dismiss them. And maybe we will all discover that, as a result of an ignorant question, we realize we have been reading something wrong. So I'm not suggesting that what I, Ohio, ZNP, John, UntoHim, Igzy, rayolita, or anyone else thinks is simply bogus or wrong. It just can't be simply right because we think it is or because we have some sense that the Spirit is with us )and therefore must not be with them).

So forget autism. Forget the scientific method. It evidently is a distraction to some rather than a worthy parallel or example.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:34 PM   #68
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You are the one that suggested parallels.
But the parallel wasn't to discuss autism. It was to discuss reading of scripture. If you didn't get the parallel, it's OK. I can accept that it wasn't a good parallel. But it was provided to create a view into how we read scripture. Or hold to what we have heard in the past. If it didn't work, critiquing the parallel was pointless.

Yes, I brought it up. But not to discuss autism. Instead, to discuss our fixed view of scripture based on our own biases, often gleaned from an unreliable source — the LRC.

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Autism is an acceptable and relevant illustration but cancer isn't? Why don't you judge your own posts with the same judgement that you judge others?
I think you are confusing my comments with someone else's. I never made any comment on cancer. More and more I am convinced that you don't really read my posts.

And your insults toward me (this is the second one in 24 hours) are getting annoying. Read my posts carefully, three times, before you respond again.

And since you said "with the same judgement that you judge others" am I to presume that you think I am judging the ones posting? Or is there an apostrophe missing, meaning that you think I am judging the posts of others? I really can't tell which for sure.

If the former, then you are simply wrong. I am not judging anyone other than the one who keeps throwing distractions at me. If the latter, then what do you think that a discussion of any issue is? A simple capitulation to whatever anyone writes? I don't analyze and comment on the words of a post to irritate the writer or to insult them. I do it to understand what it is saying, and in some cases suggest where I see possible error in the points made. Others can do the same with mine. And even my continuing to try to make my point about autism was not to suggest that my understanding of it was compete ly correct, but to clarify the point I was actually trying to make, which actually had nothing to do with autism. The example of "ignorant" celebrities clamoring about concerning autism as if they know a truth that scientists are trying to hide from us was the point. Aren't we all a little ignorant when it comes to really understanding the Bible? Yet we sometimes speak as if we have all the answers.

No. I was not being ironic in the least. It was, in my mind, a pretty god example/parallel. Maybe not the best.

And since everyone got distracted by the parallel and have virtually ignored the actual point, I have to accept that it probably wasn't a good one.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:06 PM   #69
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I think you are confusing my comments with someone else's. I never made any comment on cancer. More and more I am convinced that you don't really read my posts.

And
your insults toward me (this is the second one in 24 hours) are getting annoying. Read my posts carefully, three times, before you respond again.
Post #63 was your response to my post recommending the documentary Burzynski
which I said was about "a proven cancer cure".

You responded with insults:

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How quickly we are distracted to the irrelevant.

New diagnosis: ADLS: Attention Deficit . . . Look! Shiny!!

Maybe it really is time for the Topiq Nazi.
and then are upset that I asked you "to judge your own posts with the same judgement that you judge others"?

Your post was clearly insulting, mine highlighted the hypocrisy. (However, the "dripping with irony" comment was a little harsh, sorry. I have become frustrated that you seem to refuse to understand why I and others took objection to your comment.)
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:42 PM   #70
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Post #63 was your response to my post recommending the documentary Burzynski
which I said was about "a proven cancer cure".

You responded with insults:
And you would assert that changing the discussion from autism to cancer was "on point"? I was not saying anything about the veracity of the link provided. I was speaking to a post that was entirely wrapped-up in discussion that was not about how we read scripture. That entire post was about the FDA and science. It did not try to make a parallel or link back to the discussion.

My comment was not about you, but the subject of the post. You've spent almost all of your time talking about science and autism, and a little about the FDA and cancer cures.

It is a little like noting that Jesus used a metaphor and then speaking about nothing but the metaphor and not even a little about the thing it is intended to speak about.

It is not about you.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:03 PM   #71
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ZNP,

BTW. You aren't the only one stuck on the parallel and ignoring the point. It was getting ridiculous trying to speak about my actual point but being constantly required to deal with autism. The ADLS comment was for the whole thing. This happens too often with or without you. And there are probably things that suck me in as well.

Yours was just the post that was there when the thought hit me.

And there is a good reason that I have tended to be more scarce around here lately. I guess that trying to talk about how we read scripture is just too much. Especially if there is a distraction in the form of an example, parallel, metaphor, etc., to suck everyone into an alternate universe.

I had hoped that the autism issue would just go away. And the meaningful discussion (with or without any comments on my post) would go on. Instead, we got a flurry of arguments about autism. And then cancer.

And every one of my responses tried to point away from the "parallel" (I will accept it as a poor parallel) and back to what I was trying to say. All to no avail. Yes, you did say a little about it. But you kept going on the autism, and the scientific method, and even a cancer cure. And misinterpreted almost everything I said.

As for the ADLS comment (which was not specifically to you) you must admit that we managed to start off to speak about one thing but got distracted by the shiny new controversy that had nothing to do with anything on this forum. The joke goes like this:

There is a new diagnosis that is beyond ADHD, it's ADLS. Attention Deficit . . . Look!! Shiny!!

And there we were flocked around something new and shiny — a controversy about autism. Many years earlier, we were all flocked around another "new and shiny" think called the "Local Churches." And this "apostle" who would eventually be the MOTA, God's Oracle, and even the acting God on earth.

You take entirely too much as personal attack. And if you think that there is no way I can say anything about one of your posts that is not in agreement and be anything but an antagonist or opponent who wants to insult you, then I guess one of us will just have to resign.

And I guess it will be me. You can have this mess.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:05 PM   #72
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And you would assert that changing the discussion from autism to cancer was "on point"? I was not saying anything about the veracity of the link provided. I was speaking to a post that was entirely wrapped-up in discussion that was not about how we read scripture. That entire post was about the FDA and science. It did not try to make a parallel or link back to the discussion.
Post #61 was my response to Rayliota, not you. Rayliota was responding to Ohio's comment. Ohio's comment was voicing skepticism in trusting "experts" blindly (still within the context of healthcare). Rayliota's comment was pointing out that the standard of health in this country over the last 200 years should be considered to have improved and therefore why should we be skeptical.

My post responded why. Was it too brief for most to understand? Apparently. The point was simple, if Rayliota, or anyone, watches that documentary I think it would be very difficult to not be skeptical of the health care in this country. Yet it doesn't deny that over a 200 year time frame the standard of health may improve, just so long as the powers that be profit from that improvement.

Therefore my post did not "change the discussion". It had nothing to do with the discussion of autism. It had nothing to do with your point about how to read scripture. It wasn't addressed to you.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:11 PM   #73
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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ZNP, BTW. You aren't the only one stuck on the parallel and ignoring the point.
Well that makes more sense, if you had made your post without the direct quote of my post I would not have taken any offense. I would have seen it as commentary on the detour.

More importantly, I think this interchange is beneficial. It is difficult to carry on discussions in writing, over extended timespans with many other interjections going on. But as Igzy pointed out in the other thread, this is the process by which we are being transformed. We need to be immersed into a realm in which the Lord is speaking to us all the time and where we obey His speaking. The fact that we hold each others feet to the fire is a way of forcing us to deal with the speaking.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:12 PM   #74
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Therefore my post did not "change the discussion". It had nothing to do with the discussion of autism. It had nothing to do with your point about how to read scripture. It wasn't addressed to you.
You are correct.

And so am I. The whole discussion about autism and where that lead was the "new shiny" thing and it already had a following. You then joined in. Even took it somewhere else.

I tried to make a point about how we read scripture concerning training and the result was a protracted discussion about something irrelevant to the whole forum. And even if you didn't respond directly to me, you were sucked-in by the new shiny distraction.

Telling it like it is is not an insult. But the way you respond to any criticism, it would seem that it is pointless to offer it.

And as I already said, I will just go away now. I'm sure that you will be happier for it.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:55 AM   #75
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

Good morning all,,
Just looked In the OT at Jeremiah 31:31-34 that says there will come a time when

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will pardon their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

Looking back at my life as a believer I can say that, I had a few weeks, when I was first a baby believer at the age of thirty, where all I had was a Bible and a desire to know God. And I was knowing God. Then I had the thought that I needed to meet with some other believers to know God more.


So I went to "church"

Since I was a baby believer I accepted what was said and going on as what God wanted,, even though a lot of things didn't agree with what I was knowing inside. In my mind I thought,, I am just a baby Christian and surely these other believers know much better than I the things of God.
I saw my self as the very least. They were speaking in tongues, singing, dancing and they had been doing this for generations, I thought they must surely know what they are doing.

It took me 10 yrs to figure out that I was in Corinth and still a baby.
Then I found the "Recovery" and thought I was in Philadelphia for 10 yrs.
Philadelphia became Laodicea.
Then I went into the wilderness where Jesus spent a lot of time. for the last 5 yrs.

Today I am in Jeremiah 31:31,32,33,34
I am back where I started.
Except now I am not a baby.

praise the Lord.

Last edited by RollingStone; 04-12-2012 at 08:57 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:05 PM   #76
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Lightbulb Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

So I glanced at the forum and this thread grabbed my attention. After scanning people's thoughts, it seems the question ought really be "how has the LRC affected your view of "degraded Christianity".

I think Lee claimed Babylon was the world and or Christianity. I honestly do not remember nor does it matter what he said about Babylon.

Babylon in the bible is the city in Iraq. Revelation speaks of "Mystery Babylon".
Walid Shoebat, a former Muslim from the Middle East insists Mystery Babylon is the city in Iraq. Babylon is Babylon is Babylon he says. I will not go into his explanation but it is interesting.

Clarence Larkin has a very interesting explanation which makes very good sense to me. He explains Mystery Babylon is the bride of Antichrist, a system composed of the religious, apostate church and the followers of all false religions. It stands to reason if Christ has a bride, antichrist, the counterfeit copycat will want a bride too right?

Larkin also explains that Paul calls the church a "Mystery" because the church was not known to the OT patriarchs and prophets. He also brought to light the city of Babylon was built on the Euphrates river, one of the rivers that flowed in the Garden of Eden. Both he and Walid make a compelling argument Satan is going to make or has made Babylon, Iraq his headquarters.
I appreciate their insights.

Oh. I have also read New York city is "mystery Babylon".

As for my thoughts and experiences in "Christianity", I have visited many a denomination, non-denomination and home group fellowships. Once I became Completely secure in my relationship with our Creator, I relaxed. I am far more comfortable and "real" outside an organized church or fellowship.

There are a lot of burned out believers who have stopped going to "church". There are also a lot of people who believe in God and want to get to know Him, do not want to go to "church".

And these are the people I like hanging out with. Seems to me that is what our Savior and Redeemer enjoyed doing too. :-). So I am following in His Footsteps.

However, many people on this forum are led by the Lord to fellowship in an organized church or home fellowship. I have no qualms. We are all ambassadors, vessels, instruments of God to be used by Him. If we are yielding to Him, His Peace and Blessings will envelop us. I do not like the organized church because if you do not like something the pastor is teaching, it is very hard to speak up without being blackballed.

The organized church by and large has turned into a big business machine. There is a lot of competition and division among them. I prefer the simplicity of the NT church life, especially the early, early church.

Well, I wrote more than I intended to.
May the Joy of the Lord and the Peace of God permeate each of your spirit, soul and every living cell in your mortal bodies.

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Old 04-16-2012, 09:13 AM   #77
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

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Originally Posted by countmeworthy View Post
So I glanced at the forum and this thread grabbed my attention. After scanning people's thoughts, it seems the question ought really be "how has the LRC affected your view of "degraded Christianity".

I think Lee claimed Babylon was the world and or Christianity. I honestly do not remember nor does it matter what he said about Babylon.
countmeworthy,

I suppose you're technically right in what the question is asking. I used the term Babylon in the original post because from what I gathered about how WL did things, he referred to "normal Christianity" as "Babylon" as well as a host of other terms. I just picked that one rather arbitrarily. The actual city of Babylon itself is not what I'm referring to, and I think I clarified that in the original question, but it was so long ago that I don't remember if I did so properly.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:23 AM   #78
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

Just as a note, it's interesting how the view of the church as an organization and a business is so prevalent here. I don't really see that within the church (though I guess that makes a bit of sense), but rather more outside the church among atheists looking for ways to discount the church.

To a degree I would agree that the church as become quite an organization, but it's far from one giant organization (other than that under the rule of Christ of course). Rather, I see it as many local organizations, very few of which have any kind of "authority" over another. I think that is kind of what many of you strive for in your church gatherings, that is, a group that is independent of any other group. That's what the LRC wanted to do, if my understanding is correct. One church one city meant each one was a local expression independent of the other churches, but all kind of working together. Well...I guess we all know how well that turned out for them, but in terms of mainstream Christianity, I actually think this is being put into practice quite well. Each church is an independent body, but they are always willing to partner together for a cause should a need arise.

It's just interesting how many of you after coming out of the LRC are trying so hard to into a gathering similar to that of the early church...a gathering that the LRC had originally tried to emulate. And I guess in terms of the original question, this is exactly what I'm getting at. Why is this what you look for? Several people have commented on this already. You may have to forgive me for saying so, but I think to a degree some of you might be acting too closed minded with regards to the type of gathering that we are "supposed" to be doing. I don't mean this in any way that you are wrong in thinking such a thought or anything like that, of course, so I hope you don't take it that way inadvertently.
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:45 PM   #79
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Default Re: How has the LRC affected your view of "Babylon?"

ToGodAlone.
Thanks a lot for this thoughtful post. I think you are making a keen observation and your questions and concerns are legitimate.

I especially agree with this part:

Quote:
but in terms of mainstream Christianity, I actually think this is being put into practice quite well. Each church is an independent body, but they are always willing to partner together for a cause should a need arise.
I see a lot of cooperation between different Christians groups, more so than any time I can remember. The thinking of a lot of current and former Local Churchers is kind of stuck back 40 or 50 years ago. The Lord is actually doing a lot in his Body. Maybe He knows what he is doing after all
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