House Church Talk - Mao Story

Paul Cox paulcox2 at
Fri Aug 27 10:10:33 EDT 2004

Brother Dan, 
It is my understanding, from reading Nee and talking to some who knew of
his early vision, that he was not as radical on the matter of the
"Ground of Locality", as was Lee.  Nee did indeed bring this teaching
forth, and was probably influenced by his early contacts with the
Exclusive Brethren in that matter.  But Lee has brought it to a dogmatic

One may think that Nee was authoritarian and controlling.  I guess that
is open to interpretation.  But you must remember that much of the
impression that the Christian public is getting of Nee is being put
forth by the Living Stream Ministry.  By far, they do the greatest
volume of distribution of Nee's books, and go to great lengths to give
the impression that Lee is the successor of Nee.  

>From his writings and speaking it is clear that Lee considered himself
to be "The Apostle for the Age."  He didn't actually come out and say
it, but there was the strong implication in his speaking and writing.
This is evidenced by the fact that his followers today do not hesitate
to call him such.  Lee also considered Nee to be the "one person" who
brought forth the vision in his "age." However, there seems to be no
indication in Nee's writings that he ever had this view of himself.
This is something being superimposed on his memory by the Living Stream

In a 1988 elders meeting in Pasadena California, perhaps out of
frustration over the "storm" that was taking place in the Local
Churches, Lee did come out and say that he was THE oracle speaking for
God on the Earth. Fire tends to bring out whatever we really are.  It's
good when we respond properly, but when we harden our hearts, judgment
is deferred.  

Nee was a servant of the Lord who truly knew something of the experience
of the cross.  He not only taught it, but he lived it.  Based on his
testimony and his willingness to suffer ill treatment and
misunderstanding, I don't think he could ever endorse the Local
Churches' practice of suing other Christian groups for hundreds of
millions of dollars.  

This practice was strongly taught and executed by Witness Lee himself,
indicating perhaps an unwillingness to suffer ill speaking on behalf of
the Lord.  There seems to have been a sort of vindictiveness about him.
The fact is, our vindication comes from the Lord Himself, and not
through the use of the worldly court systems and Hollywood and Casino
defending lawyers.  

Brother Dan, I appreciate your testimony about your experience with the
LC brothers in your city.  I hope they are sincere.  However, you should
know that the Local Church is capable of having two expressions.  When
it comes to contacting other Christians for the adding to their own
membership, they can seem quite accommodating.  However, I know for a
fact that their leadership remains very staunch in their belief that
they are the leading edge of God's move on the earth today.  

After all, they do call themselves THE Lord's Recovery.  And now,
through their Full Time Training, they are raising up a whole new
generation of leaders who will follow the same dogmatic belief.  One can
see little hope for a genuine change of heart.  This is consistent with
church history.

But we can pray for the individual members who we know, that they will
become enlightened.  Usually that enlightenment will not lead to change
in the group, but rather to their inability to comfortably hang around.
That's a good thing.    

-----Original Message-----
From: House Church Talk -bounces at
[mailto:House Church Talk -bounces at] On Behalf Of Dan Beaty
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2004 7:32 AM
To: House Church Talk  at
Subject: Re: House Church Talk -  Mao Story


Whether or not this story is an urban legend, I cannot say. I do have a
in my possession filled with first hand testimonies of pursecuted
in China, and know American brothers who have visited the house churches
China. One brother told me of how he was hidden in a house while police
officers searched for him, as a suspected supporter of underground

Also, I personally know a Chinese couple who was in contact with the
churches connected with Watchman Nee before they came to the US. The man
served time in prison there. I have heard absolutely no stories of an
authoritarian Watchman Nee from them, or from any other sources.

Perhaps someone who has closer contact with the Local Church movement
come forward and clarify this, but my understanding is that Witness Lee
actually departed in some measure from his mentor Watchman Nee in his
authoritarian approach with the Local Churches here in the US.

In "Speaking the Truth in Love," John Ingalls describes some of the
that he witnessed in the late 80's when he was a part of that. What I
appreciated in the book was his total lack of bitterness and desire for
upbuilding of the saints in these churches.

Another thing I would mention is my contact with the movement in my
Never have I sensed from them a desire to control other house churches
our area from any of the brothers there. Two other brothers and I had a
refreshing meeting with them last year. They honestly admitted to the
mistakes of the past and were looking to the Lord for direction in the
concepts of home fellowship.

Also, from other contacts I have learned of progress in the area of
between those who have left the LC and those who remain. These positive
aspects seem to be much less known that the others.

Dan Beaty

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Claire Bennett" <clairebnntt at>
To: <House Church Talk  at>
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 5:02 PM
Subject: House Church Talk -  Mao Story

Interesting story Ken, but sounds like an urban legend.  No names,
contact info, locations.  Anyway, I don't know of any large community
this sort of behavior would take place, and Watchman Nee was very much
authority.  That the Local Church cult was spawned through his teachings
part, demonstrates this.

    --- Info and subscription management at

    --- Info and subscription management at

House Church Talk is sponsored by the House Church Network.

House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.