Welcome to the blog


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19 Responses to “Welcome to the blog”

  1. everyman2 Says:

    I have spent the last few days reading the latest copy of the Christian Research Journal entitled, We Were Wrong A Reassessment of the “Local Church” Movement of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. I must say it is the strangest series of articles I have ever read in a Christian periodical. If I was Ricky Ricardo in a “I Love Lucy” episode I would be saying, “You’ve got some splaining to do Lucy”.

    Hank Hanegraaff states on page 4 that the Local Church asked to meet with him in 2003. As a result he said there began an odyssey to China, Taiwan, South Korea and Enland. Besides himself he brought Elliot Miller and Gretchen Passantino on this fact finding journey.

    The Local Church (LC) was asking CRI in essence to show the world that they never deserved the label cult but they are just another orthodox expression of the Church.

    It is unclear if the LC understands that the very group they had come to for help is deep in its own ethical crisis of its own making. Since 1989, when Hanegraaff had taken control of CRI after the sudden death of the founder Walter Martin , he has been at the center of one scandal after another (see my book, Hard Questions for The Bible Answer Man for details of Hanegraaff’s ethical problems). CRI is so ethically compromised that there are very few people in fulltime cult and apologetic research that still respect Hank Hanegraaff as a legitimate ministry leader. When the leadership is corrupted the ministry will always be adversely impacted.

    Though CRI is still the largest apologetic ministry they are also so totally compromised that having them as your champion is hardly a positive thing these days. If a group wishes to clear its label of cult, especially if you are trying to get other cult research groups to look at you seriously, CRI is not the organization you would want in your corner.

    Elliot Miller and Hank Hanegraaff are attempting in this Journal issue to prove that theologially LC is orthodox and is certainly not a cult group. Since it took them several years to research and write this apologetic for LC, I will not attempt to evaluate the theology of LC since I do not have the primary sources at this time to do the work. Give me the same seven years that CRI had and the Asian tour where the leadership opened their doors to the research team and then we’ll talk.

    However, there is another consideration that is needed to look at when one evaluates whether a group is a cult. That is orthopraxy (sound practices). It is well understood in the area of cult research that a church can have a biblically correct statement of faith but if the leadership becomes overly controlling of the members and behaves toward the world outside in a hostile and aggresive way the label of cult is sure to be applied.

    Since Elliot Miller assures the reader that LC has initiated lawsuits against Christian organizations and individuals (Spiritual Counterfeits Project, Harvest House Publishers, Jack Sparks, Neil Duddly etc) but only as a lost resort. Miller fails to mention that the latest lawsuit that LC launched against Harvest House was to the tune of $136,000,000. For my money (no pun intended) that is a tad punitive. LC won the suit against SCP, Sparks and Duddly but in their suit (2001) against Harvest House the Texas courts threw it out.

    Miller, trying to make LC’s desire to sue Christian organizations and individuals understood he offers this really weak explanation: “Rather than promoting these unfounded comparisons, it might be more appropriate for Pement and others making such accusations to ask how many lawsuits Christian publishers have filed against other Christians. The answer is that many major Evangelical publishers have filed numerous lawsuits to recover financial losses from other Christian and secular parties. This information is publicly available to those who would look for it. Publishers’ lawsuits have been mostly over collecting debts from believers, matters that fall clearly under the proscription of 1 Corinthians 6” (page 46)

    This is the old, “But mom all the other kids are doing it!” The Apostle Paul doesn’t say, “Don’t take Christians into secular court unless….” There really is NO reason given in scripture to take Christians to court! Perhaps Miller has no problem defending taking Christians to court because he knows his boss Hank Hanegraaff has sued Christians in secular court. For instance he took Bill Alnor to court in California in 2005 (Hanegraaff lost the suit). One could find the irony in this, knowing The Bible Answer Man sued another Christian. Maybe Hank should change the name of the show to The Partial Bible Answer Man.

    LC’s willingness to sue Christians is one of the reasons the label of cult may not be so easy to leave behind.

    I have been in contact with people who work in cult recovery ministries who have said they have worked with people who were exited out of the LC and told of high control of their lives while in the group. The people who have come out of LC and told stories like this fuel the on going debate of what really is the LC: A Christian group that has been misunderstood all these years or a bible based cult that needs to be scrutinized. When I worked at Wellspring here in Ohio I worked with dozens of cult victims in 2005 and 2006. Though never working with exLC members personally, the very fact that others have worked with exLC who came for therapy is a indicator that there is a problem inside LC.

    In my opinion, as previosly stated, CRI is the wrong organization to ask for this type of help due to its on going ethical problems. Perhaps if the LC is truly serious in exonerating itself it should ask several other Christian cult ministries that are not convinced of their orthodoxy to examine them. This could go along way in removing the label of cult if the examination warrants it. At the same time it would be risky, I know several ministries that would deal honestly with anything they would uncover. If the LC truly believes they can pass a rigorous examination by representatives of several research groups. I will be more than happy to put them in touch with those who would be willing to take a look. It of course is up to the LC if they truly want the scrutiny. This Mea Culpa by CRI will not get the job done.

  2. Brook Alexander Says:

    Witness Lee and the Local Church did not “win” their lawsuit in l989 against SCP and Duddu, et al. They drove their opponents into bankruptcy (and thus out of the lawsuit) with protracted legal maneuvering, then (because they could no longer defend themselves), extracted a “default judgment” from the Court. There was never either a hearing or a determination of the case on its merits. What the Local Church “won” was a procedural triumph, not a legal or (even less) a theological vindication.

  3. John Metz Says:

    This blog claims that CRI assured us that the LC has “initiated” lawsuits against other Christians including Harvest House. However, as CRI made clear in the Journal and as the facts demonstrate, Harvest House, joined by its authors, acted first and initiated litigation against the LC.

    The blog entry attributes a quote in one of the Journal articles to Elliot Miller and portrays it as a weak excuse for litigation offered on behalf of the local churches – basically that litigation was okay since others used litigation as well. However, the Journal plainly stated that the passage came from an unpublished article written by local church members. Moreover, the passage itself clearly was not proffering an excuse but an example of the hypocrisy of some local church critics. In other words, the passage contended that certain critics are quick to chastise the local churches for lawsuits against Christians but gloss over other lawsuits filed by other Christians against Christians. The blog entry sustains this argument by not only glossing over such litigation but entirely misconstruing the argument.

  4. everyman2 Says:

    Mr. Metz,

    Please reread that portion of the article. Miller does not say they, the Local Church, to bring suit in light of I Corinthians chapter 6 is biblically wrong. But rather to obfuscate the truth this passage speaks to, he asks why those who signed the Open Letter are not also crying about the long list of Christian organizations that have also broken this particular Scripture.

    The point is, that Pement and those who signed the Letter not being involved in calling these companies to task is not the issue of CRI’s Journal. It is the defense of the Local Church not about Christians suing Christians. It is biblically wrong to take a Christian(s) to court if you are a Christian. If the Local Church wants to be thought of as Christian organization they can not repeatedly break the Scriptures by pretending it somehow does not apply. I also again maintain Miller can not speak against anyone for suing Christians because he knows his boss has done it.

    The words of Miller are found on page 46 starting with the phrase, Rather than promoting… [note: read through to the end of this article on p. 46. Those words are Miller’s not from any article of the LC. This is where his apologetic for the LC suing other Christians is found.]

  5. John Metz Says:

    Actually, it is you who are in error. Miller quotes several paragraphs from the unpublished document in question starting at the bottom of the first column of page 45 and continuing to the very bottom of the first column of page 46. Please note the margins remain the same for the entire length of the quoted portion with the last paragraph being set apart with ellipses. This convention indicates that material from the unpublished document had been omitted, not that the authorship had changed. This particular paragraph begins with the phrase, “Rather than promoting…” Miller’s words do not begin again until the top of the next column, which begins with “To sum up:”

    To be direct, why do you excuse Harvest House from any responsibility in filing the first litigation in the matter? Could it possibly be a double standard? That is the point of the paragraph you have so obviously misunderstood.

  6. everyman2 Says:

    Mr. Menz,

    I like to deal with one issue at a time. Therefore, I have your second comment standing by until you get around to my response comment and tell me what you think.

    BTW, are you a member of the Local Church or just a supporter of Hank Hanegraaff?

  7. everyman2 Says:

    Mr. Metz,

    Wrong is wrong. The quote in the first column is from an unpublished manuscript so my dear Menz you are right! However, In Miller’s “To sum up” portion he still never takes to task the LC for breaking of I Corinthians 6 and that still is my point. CRI is trying to sugar coat this breach of Scripture. Where will it stop?

    If the LC wants to defend suing under these conditions and this is evidence that they do, it just fuels the old evaluation that they are aberrant in their theology. If you want to defend people (Christians) suing other Christians and I sincerely hope you will not want to do that, we will have to talk.

  8. John Metz Says:

    Please do not consider my posts to be attacks. As someone who writes about these issues you have an interest in and an obligation to get the facts correct. I intend to deal only with factual matters rather than engage in argumentation.

    There are articles on Contending for the Faith which address the reasons for litigation. There is a overall article on the subject at http://www.contendingforthefaith.com/libel-litigations/index.html and one dealing with Scriptural matters at http://www.contendingforthefaith.com/libel-litigations/harvest-house-et-al/scriptural.html. These speak much more eloquently than I can. As far as I know, no one has ever addressed these articles in a serious and meaningful way; perhaps very few have ever read them.

    By the way, it is Metz, not Menz. Please feel free to call me John.

  9. everyman2 Says:

    John,

    You sent me to a site by the Local Church. Their arguments do not excuse a lawsuit against a fellow Christian. Is it just possible you are a part of the LC group?

  10. John Metz Says:

    I just saw this post today, after you posted on AR-Talk that you asked me who I was twice and I had not responded twice. A little unfair, don’t you think? Please see my post on AR-Talk.

    I think you demonstrate one of the principles of the countercult community, that is, if argumentation is presented on a site affiliated with the local churches, it can be summarily dismissed. In today’s parlence, you have “deemed” it to be not worthy of consideration.

    Since you contend that you are concerned about lawsuits against Christians, will you condemn Harvest House for their lawsuit against one of the local churches? That lawsuit was filed during negotiations to extend the statute of limitations and thus open the door for some kind of amicable resolution.

    If not that lawsuit, will you condemn any of their lawsuits against Christian bookstores that were apparently for recovery of bad debts?

    This was the point of my original post: the hypocrisy of the countercult community concerning litigation among Christians. Can you point ot anyone in the countercult community who has written anything even vaguely negative about Harvest House’s litigation? I am not aware of any such writing and would be quite surprised if you can point to one.

  11. Jay Howard Says:

    John,

    I am sorry you did not see my second request for your affiliation. However, not responding to the first was unusual for you due to your speed with all other responses you made to me about the content of my blog.

    Since I claimed that the LC violated I Corinthians 6, you could rightfully conclude that like the Apostle Paul, I believe suing Christians is sinful whether a business or an individual Christian. Therefore, in direct answer to your question, regarding Harvest House Publications unless they are prepared to disavow themselves as a Christian based company they too are subject to I Corinthians 6 as well.

    Since violation of I Corinthians 6 is only a small stitch in the greater fabric of what makes the Local Church a grand theological mess, you continue to strain at nats when modalism, the LC claims of being the real expression of the Church on earth and that all other churches are mere shadows or worse, the other doctrines your church endorses, and the hundreds of individuals that have left th LC battered and bloody; these are the deeper issues that cause the Christian countercult community to continue their unending wariness, regardless of youse guys’ new best friend CRI. You see, for all the work that CRI has done singing the praises of Witness Lee and the gang, I have yet to see anyone who understands “nuanced” theology that has been impressed or more to the point, fooled by the LC’s new “tarnished” champion.

  12. John Metz Says:

    As I have preciously stated, you employ certain tactics that allow you to avoid dealing with facts. Your latest post engages in guilt by association and makes false assumptions. That is the precise reason I did not make my affiliation an issue. I did so in the hope that I might engage you in a reasonable discussion. Fat chance.

    You attack me concerning 1 Corinthians 6 which deals with law cases involving business dealings among believers. It is not an absolute and many Christian teachers disagree with you that the passage prohibits all lawsuits under all circumstances. However, all Christians agree that bearning false witness is a sin. I would challenge you to honestly examine the record and see if you are not guilty of defending those who bore false witness against fellow believers.

    Once again, I ask you (you have refused to deal with this question) “Why do you give Harvest House a free pass on filing a lawsuit?” Will you step up and condemn them equally for that litigation and the others in their history or will you continue to duck the question?

    Since you have made an issue of who I am, I will state that I have met with the local churches since 1973. I state again, I am posting as an individual and my posts are my own. This is why my “affiliation” should not be a factor.

    If you will come clean and answer my questions, which have been my point since my initial post — the hypocrisy of our critics concerning litigation, perhaps we can have a civil discussion of other matters.

  13. everyman2 Says:

    Your declaration of affiliation today is as they say in the ‘Hood,
    “A little too little, a little too late.” You really should have “come clean” yesterday before I “made you”. Do I need to use any more “quotation marks”? When I asked a question of you yesterday, did you really think I was posing a question not expecting an answer? If you find your affiliation such a detriment to communication that should say something about the LC and its reputation. Christians should not have to obfuscate their church connections. I do not have this problem with Lutherans, Baptists, Assembly of God members, Methodists etc. They quickly let me know what church they are with. You’re the only “Christian” that has held this information back, in recent memory and that lack of candor will always send up red flags with me.

    I posted my response about Christian businesses and Christian Individuals in relation to litigation at 7:53pm. This is over an hour before this last post of yours claiming I did not give you my opinion. Something does not seem right about your failure or inability perhaps, to read my posts or respond in a timely fashion.

    Since when does the LC see other Christians as “fellow Christians”? LC has a history of seeing all other Christians and their teachings as inferior to them.

  14. John Metz Says:

    I apologize, I did not see the last sentence in the midlle paragraph of your previous post. No excuse, I should have noted it. Perhaps I was going too fast.

    We have always see ‘other’ Christians as Christians. This is more than evident in our literature. Please go to http://www.contendingforthefaith.com/eBooks/Concerning%20Our%20Teachings.pdf. This is a link to the book “A Confirmation of the Gospel: Concerning the Teachings of the Local Churches and Living Stream Ministry.” This book is our response to Fuller Seminary after the initial part of our ongoing dialogue. Starting on page 42 is our view of the local ground. It includes many statements from both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee.

    Please note especially page 45. There is a great deal of misunderstanding about this, especially among the countercult community. I have no reason to doubt that you are a genuinely saved believer in Jesus Christ and would have no problem receiving you as such.

    Jay, you admit in your original post that you have not done adequate research. I suggest that you do it — you may find out many things that will surprise you.

    As for defending Elliot Miller (whom I know and would have no problem defending) none of my posts were in his defense. I merely pointed out that you had mis-attributed a paragraph to him and had mis-constued the point of that paragraph. You agreed with the first part. I would like your comments on the second. Who among the countercult community has criticized Harvest House for filing litigations? Please point me to the posts of others.

  15. everyman2 Says:

    Here are two quotes that come from the Local Church:

    “But not long after the New Testament was completed, the Church began to lose all the important things found in the Bible. Eventually, by the fifteenth century, everything was lost. Very little of God was known.”

    The above quote is not that far removed from the Great Apostasy taught by the LDS church. Joseph Smith Jr. is the one they point to that restored the gospel to earth.

    This second quote, “When we were in the denominations, we were blind, I do not believe that any dear Christians who have really received sight from the Lord could still remain in the denominations…. Allow me to say this: If anyone is still in the fold, he is blind. Of course a blind person requires the fold to keep him. But when he receives sight, he will swiftly leave the fold for the pasture, for the sunshine, for the fresh air.”

    John, your church taught this (teaches it now?). This last statement is putting the LC or LSM in, at the very least, a higher category of Christian Truth than all other Christians.
    Are you prepared to say that the LC or LSM has totally repudiated these statements? If so, please reproduce those statement(s) that renounce the old teachings here on my blog. If your group has reversed itself, perhaps now it is just another “blinded denomination” the Lord is unhappy with. What a conundrum.

    What Christians need to see is real theological movement on the part of the LC and not just lip service, meant to placate the “blinded denominations” into an artificial alliance with the LC, that Lee’s movement would use for its own purposes.

    Also the damage your group has done to hundreds of ex LC members is not even being talked about by CRI or your leadership. If you truly believe your church is making theological amends, the LC will also have to attempt to correct the wrongs done to those exmembers all these years or your theologial mea culpa will mean absolutely nothing. Do you really understand the mess your church has made?

  16. John Metz Says:

    I noticed that you did not provide either the reference or the context of either quote. I wonder whether or not you have the source material or have read the context of either portion. Please furnish me with the book and page number from which each quote was taken. As you know, Witness Lee’s writings are voluminous and, although available online, the references would be helpful in replying.

    Concerning the first portion, the Reformation came about to reclaim the truths of the Bible that were obscured during the Dark Ages. Although God maintained a testimony through that time, it took the Reformation, a real move of God, to reclaim the lost truths, beginning with justification by faith and the fidelity of the Bible, and to spread them to the common people.

    To the contrary, Joseph Smith got his “revelation” by literally talking through his hat, a practice of the occult soothsayers, and rejected the many moves of God in history such as the Reformation. I reject your comparison to the LDS, another attempt of guilt by association. Witness Lee never referred to anything like Joseph Smith in the portion you referenced or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, he taught that we Christians in this age owe a great debt of gratitude to the Reformers and to many others who followed after them. Lee taught that we in this day and time have the great privilege of “standing on their shoulders” and enjoying the fruit of their struggles.

    I take it from the second reference that you must be a defender of dividing the believers into different denominational affiliations. Do you believe denominations are according to the Bible? Do you believe that the myriad denominations are evidence that the Christian practice of the church life has improved from the pattern in the Bible (see the Lord’s prayer in John 17)? If you do, please provide me with the Bible verses that support your view?

    To love, recognize and receive all Christians, we do reject the status quo of dividing Christ’s body into denominations. Many of us can testify that when we were in the denominations, although we were genuinely saved, we were blind to the deeper things revealed in the Bible, especially the enjoyment of our dear Lord Jesus Christ as our food (John 6:57), the apparent point of the portion you referenced.

    Jay, did you read the portion to which I referred you in my last post? It is quite relevant and would shed much light on the passages you used in your post.

    For someone who has admittedly not done much research, you freely make a lot of unfounded and unproven accusations. Your apologetic method seems to follow the principle that if you throw enough mud on a wall, some of it might stick. Do you have any idea of the damage caused to genuine believers around the globe because of such unfounded accusations? In Part V of your posts you seem to be dismissive of the statement of fact that the countercult community is partially responsible for the death and imprisonment of real believers in countries where religious freedom is not protected. You intimated that we should just bear this damage without concern. However, in your latest response you dangle unproven and unspecified damages in front of me supposing to cast blame on the local churches. It that not a double standard? Are you concerned about all Christians who are “damaged” or just those whose stories might help advance your cause?

  17. everyman2 Says:

    The misuse of facts in my blog by you John is truly staggering. I clearly stated that when Mao took over in China 1948 his communist atheist government equally persecuted all religions and religious individuals. The idea that the cult ministry somehow is to blame for the communist persecution of the LC is vile beyond words. This atheistic regime would use any tool or reason, however benign, to find further excuses to persecute those who are religious in China. Your LC IS JUST ONE OF MANY GROUPS THAT ARE ROUTINELY PERSECUTED in China. I abhor persecution against anyone and I made that plain in my first post on CRI and the Local Church. You might as well blame the manufacturers of the vehicles, that drove the soldiers to the places, where they would round up religious people to persecute. In your logic, they would have to be a part of those you blame for persecuting the LC as well.

    You are an unfortunate example of how false religious systems twist the thought process of those that become involved in their groups. Your constant shrill cry of victim is like the hundreds or by this time thousands of cult victims (and you are a victim too) I have spoken with over the years. They all feel put upon by Christendom somehow. You are completely blinded to your groups bad treatment of your own members, that many times requires psycholgical help to get their lives back. I know this because I have interviewed former LC members and have talked to individuals who have worked with multiple former LC members who have come to them, over the years, to seek therapy to reclaim their lives.

    You have a strange way of accepting all Christians when you say of denominations, ” we were blind to the deeper things revealed in the Bible…” This is a clear statement that your LC has special information that denominational Christians will not find in their faith groups. Using the LDS church (mormons) as a parallel, I have met with dozens and dozens of mormon missionaries who start by building a bridge between my Christian beliefs and theirs. Then they always interject, “But Jay we have a deeper truth that you need and we would like to give you.” So if you have to get deeper truthes from the LC, that means by definition, my Christian understanding is somehow inferior to yours because you went to the LC for these “deeper” truthes from the Bible and I didn’t.

    You John have finally shown your true theological colors and it is nothing different than what I have been hearing for 35 years from Scientogists, JWs, Mormons, Khrishnas, Moonies, Way members, Wiccans, etc. Yours is just another flavor in a rather large cultic candy store. Say hello to Hank for me.

  18. everyman2 Says:

    Hello John,

    BTW, I was on the Harvest House Publishers website today. I had read their information on the LC lawsuit a number of months ago but since you bring it up over and over again, that Harvest House sued the LC (They got the drop on us Tex) first and you poor souls kinda just HAD to respond with a suit of your own. Well there, HHP has a slightly different version of what you call the truth. http://www.harvesthousepublishers.com/about_cstatementfaq.cfm

    According to their report, youse guys fired the first suit shot. Now since you have been so above board with me this whole time (like how you could not quite bring yourself to tell me you were a member of the LC, since 1973, until Anton Hein “outed” you on AR-Talk. Then you conveniently remembered to let me know. I asked for that information twice on this very comment section!!) why should I believe you about the LC’s lawsuit against HHP? At this point you might not even be John Metz. Who knows? Your continued obfuscation of key facts and your penchant for casting the LC in a cloak of victimization, all the time, these are both signs of a person who has been subject to thought reform. The fact is John you are as much a victim of thought reform as any member, of any group, I have ever met. It is a sad situation.

  19. Awareness Says:

    I was in the Local Churches from 1971 to 1981. I started in the Church in Santa Cruz, Ca. then moved to the Church in Detroit (where Ron Kangas was the leading elder), and then ended in the Church in Ft. Lauderdale. During that time I went to most of the conferences held by Witness Lee, and read all the material by Nee and Lee.

    During my time in the local church, as long as I believed that I was in God’s move on the earth everything went fine.

    My first question of this was when I moved to the church in Detroit. Then I found out that Witness Lee contradicted he and Nee’s doctrine that each local church is autonomous without centralized control, by forcing Lee’s elders on an already existing local church.

    I was absolute in those days, so I put that question on the back shelf, but from that point on kept an eye open for more contradictions by Lee.

    Then Witness Lee had a new push. He said we were to concentrate on places where there were young people, and the church in Detroit was told to pick up and go to Ft. Lauderdale, for the spring breakers there each year. Again I questioned : If each church is autonomous how can Witness Lee dictate to the local churches in that way?

    Then, the last straw was, when a new flow from Witness Lee came thru the church in Ft. Lauderdale. It was called “The Flow of Oneness.” The doctrine was explained thusly : Christ is on His throne, as depicted in the book of Revelation. From His throne comes the river of life, carrying the authority of His throne. The river of life, the Holy Spirit, flows to the apostle on the earth, Witness Lee, then thru the co-workers of Witness Lee, then to the elders in each locality, and then to the saints in each locality. Psalm 133 was pray-read to provide a picture of this doctrine of the flow of authority on the earth. Lee became the acting God on the earth.

    What this meant was “our oneness was based upon following and man, Witness Lee.” This to me was a violation of following the Lord in my spirit so, I couldn’t abide this man following doctrine.

    But I didn’t do a full frontal attack on this doctrine. Not at first. For the longest time, whenever this doctrine popped its ugly head up in our meetings, I’d stand up and speak of our oneness in the Spirit, and our oneness in Christ, to which I always received hardy amens.

    Eventually tho, the elders caught on to what I was actually saying, that : our oneness is based upon the Holy Spirit as opposed to based upon following Witness Lee.

    Well, eventually, push met shove, and the leading elder, Mel Porter, stood up early in a meeting and said : “There are ones among us that are seeking to destroy Witness Lee’s ministry. You know who you are. If you are not with us you are against us.” And because I was going around with a yellow highlighter, marking Lee’s writings, proving that even Witness Lee opposed the flow of oneness doctrine, Mel stated, “some are even using Witness Lee’s works to destroy Witness Lee’s work. You have one week to repent before the church or be excommunicated.” And pumping his fist into the air Mel shouted, “If you aren’t with us, get out.”

    Then the whole meeting exploded. Everyone was standing up shouting, in unison, “Yeah, if you are not with us, then get out, get out, get out, while pumping their fists into the air.

    Fanaticism went wild. One brother stood up and started to explain that he was all for Christ and the Church, but he couldn’t get behind following Witness Lee. Mel Porter told him to sit down, but he wouldn’t stop talking. So a fanatical brother for Lee got up and started to cross the meeting saying, “Mel told you to sit down.” He was obviously going to forcibly sit the brother down. But before this fanatical brother could get across the meeting, a brother that was known for his fighting before the church stood up right behind the brother, that wouldn’t sit down, and popped his fist into his hand so loudly that everything stopped, and went silent. So the brother coming across the meeting stopped dead in his tracks, and went back to his seat, avoiding an inevitable fist fight in the meeting.

    So I had a week to repent. But repent for what? For saying that our oneness was in the Lord and the Spirit? I wasn’t convicted in my conscience.

    The week went by, without my repentance, and the elders showed at my door a couple of hours before the meeting was to start. They knew I wasn’t going to repent, and so decided to come and talk to me.

    Long story short, there were many words in this private meeting. The highlight came when I stated that Witness Lee was setting himself up as the Pope in the local churches, so why don’t we just join the Roman Catholic Church.

    The leading elder, Mel Porter, put his foot down and said the following : “This is the way of Life. If you want to go on in the church life, you have to take my personality as your own, and if you want to blow your nose, you have to ask me which side first.”

    The meeting ended when I stated, “I’ll think about it.”

    Well that was it for me. Mel had spilled all the beans, and finally told the truth about the local churches ; that the local churches are a personality cult. Then, I could plainly see that the local church was a cult, and because of that, I couldn’t ever go back again.

    I didn’t “sign up” for a cult. If I had known that at the beginning I would have never joined.

    And it doesn’t matter what Hank H., Gretchen, Elliot, Ron Kangas or Benson Philips say, I know the local church to be a personality cult by my own personal experience.

    They can dance around the cult word all they want, but I know unambiguously that the local churches are a cult. CRI is wrong when they claim that, “They were wrong.” Something smells very fishy to me that they did a 180º on the local church being a cult.

    So now, I not only don’t trust the local churches, but I don’t trust CRI either. Methinks the cult busters in CRI have become a cult too, or taken on cult like thinking, and birds of a feather flock together.

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