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Because Living Stream Ministry (LSM) has been a consistent target of a small group of dissenting brothers, it is useful to review a number of points:
If we look at these points with a pure and open heart, we will realize that not one thing has changed in the way the ministry in the Lord's recovery is being carried out or in the service of LSM. We can also realize that the direct falsehoods and half-truths and evil innuendoes propagated by dissenting ones have been instigated by God's enemy, Satan, to damage the ministry in the Lord's recovery.
In his biography of Watchman Nee, Brother Lee outlined five general and three specific means by which Brother Nee carried out his ministry:
Watchman Nee used eight different means to carry out the ministry wrought into him by the Lord. Five were general and three were specific. The five general means were preaching the gospel, teaching the Bible, traveling, contacting people, and corresponding with people. The three specific means were holding conferences, conducting trainings, and issuing publications. (Watchman Nee: A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, p. 199)
In carrying out his conferences, trainings, and publication work, Brother Nee was assisted in practical ways by many saints. Brother Lee and others served in the Gospel Book Room to edit and publish his messages. Some saints handled subscriptions, distribution of literature, registration for conferences and trainings, etc. All these activities supported Watchman Nee's ministry with its unique goal—the building up of the Body of Christ, which is expressed as local churches.
When Brother Lee established The Stream Publishers and later Living Stream Ministry, he practiced the same thing. From the outset, LSM supported his ministry in publishing his messages in both printed and audio forms, as well as providing practical assistance in carrying out trainings and conferences. Brother Lee himself always saw the publishing aspect of LSM as being its central task. In his view the semiannual trainings were for the publishing of the interpreted Word.
I also decided to have the trainings to help us in the publishing of the ministry. Much of what Brother Nee shared was never put into print. I feel very sorry about this. Because I saw this situation, I decided that after I leave, I do not want the truths the Lord has shown me to be left in my grave. I want to put out whatever the Lord has shown me. (The World Situation and the Direction of the Lord's Move, pp. 38-39)
For the expounding of the New Testament and the publishing of this exposition for the benefit of the churches and the Lord's children, I made the decision to have two trainings yearly with the help from the trainees and the work of the polishers and the serving ones in the ministry office so that the word of the Lord's truths may be released regularly. This practice helped a lot for the publishing of the interpreted, expounded, and understood Word for seventeen years without any interruption. I consider this as a marvelous environment for the release of God's divine revelation. (The World Situation and the Direction of the Lord's Move, p. 39)
Throughout all the years of LSM's existence, the primary source of the material it has published has been the speaking in the trainings, the conferences, and the ministry station meetings, just as the Taiwan Gospel Bookroom has done in the Chinese language and the Gospel Book Room in Shanghai did for Brother Nee's ministry.
In one of the elders' trainings held during the 1980s, Brother Lee clarified the role of LSM as follows:
The Living Stream Ministry office is only a business office to serve my ministry for two things: to publish the messages in book form and to distribute these messages in both video and audio tapes. That is all the ministry office should do and nothing else. I did not have much time to check on everything related to the office in the past, but the ministry office has always had this specific function and no other function. This little office is a Levitical service serving my ministry to put out the word of God in print and through video and audio tapes. (Elders' Training, Book 9: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (1), p. 61)
Brother Lee viewed the conferences and trainings as opportunities to release the interpreted Word not only for the benefit of the attendees but also for publication in book, audio, and video form.
Today, LSM carries out the same type of Levitical service that the Shanghai Gospel Book Room did under Brother Nee and that the Taiwan Gospel Book Room and LSM did under Brother Lee. Just as the ministry offices of Brother Nee and Brother Lee assisted them in carrying out the ministry through conferences, trainings, and publications, today the various saints serving at LSM:
All these activities support the mission of LSM as stated in its Articles of Incorporation to "promote the enlightenment and revelation regarding the Bible as interpreted by the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee," and all are related to LSM's function as a publisher.
LSM functions in two related capacities. It publishes the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee as well as the present speaking of the co-workers who are laboring in the continuation of their ministry. It is also serves as a ministry office to provide Levitical support to the co-workers in various matters as listed above. LSM does not determine who will speak or what is spoken at the conferences and trainings; that is the responsibility of the co-workers. LSM merely coordinates with the co-workers to facilitate the release and propagation of the ministry to all the churches, saints, and loving seekers of the Lord throughout the earth. To this end LSM provides logistical support for the international gatherings in the way of venue preparation, audio and video recording, publishing the spoken messages in printed form, and other support services. It performed these same functions in support of Brother Lee's ministry when he was alive. It continues to perform these functions in support of the propagation and continuation of his ministry through many co-workers. There has been no change in the function of LSM since Brother Lee's passing, although there has been further development along the lines he established in the areas of translation, broadcasting, and Web site publishing.
LSM also maintains facilities and handles the administrative and business operations for the Full-Time Training in Anaheim (FTTA). This arrangement has been in place since Brother Lee established the FTTA in 1989. Then, as now, the development of the curriculum, the selection of the trainers, and the conduct of the training are not carried out by LSM but by the co-workers, who labor together in prayer and fellowship.
It is true that some of the ministering co-workers also serve in the editorial and management functions of LSM. This arrangement is no different than it was when Brother Lee was alive. Brother Lee himself not only ministered in the international trainings and conferences but also was directly involved in the editing of his own publications and in overseeing LSM, including the FTTA. Those who criticize the co-workers for "wearing multiple hats" are attacking the arrangement Brother Lee himself made for the continuation of his ministry. It was Brother Lee who perfected these brothers to serve and who brought them into the management and oversight of the office publishing his ministry, the speaking in the international gatherings, and the oversight of the full-time training Brother Lee set up to bring the young people in the Lord's recovery into the riches of his ministry.
Before Brother Lee died he made arrangements for the continuation of the service of Living Stream Ministry as the practical means to continue to put out the truth according to the line of ministry started by Brother Nee and continued by him. He said:
My burden is for the recovery based on the interpretation of Brother Nee and me. I am the continuation of Brother Nee; I would like to have a continuation of me, and this needs a corporation... The Living Stream corporation will continue this ministry. (From unpublished notes of a meeting of Living Stream, July 12, 1996)
Thus, LSM was charged to continue publishing Brother Lee's ministry. The direction of LSM was committed to a group of co-workers whom Brother Lee felt would be faithful to carry out his burden (see Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery, p. 5). Those co-workers serve on LSM's Board of Directors. Brother Lee specifically asked Benson Phillips to serve as president of LSM.
Furthermore, Brother Lee brought several brothers into service in LSM to assist him in releasing the truth through his ministry. He personally asked Ron Kangas to serve as the editor of his Life-study of the Bible beginning from 1974. Ron subsequently edited The Conclusion of the New Testament and performed many other tasks. In 1985 Witness Lee arranged for Ed Marks to begin serving full-time as an editor in LSM. From that time until Brother Lee's departure Ed edited nearly all of Brother Lee's messages from the conferences, including his fellowship on the God-ordained way and the high peak of the divine revelation. Brother Lee also asked Andrew Yu personally to function as the office manager of LSM. None of the brothers serving in an oversight capacity in LSM took on their responsibilities out of personal ambition or self-will.
Before his death, Brother Lee also made several arrangements for the continuation of the Lord's ministry in His recovery. On March 24, 1997, Brother Lee wrote "A Letter of Fellowship with Thanks," in which he said:
The Lord has shown me that He has prepared many brothers who will serve as fellow slaves with me in a blended way. I feel that this is the Lord's sovereign provision for His Body and the up-to-date way to fulfill His ministry. (Leadership in the New Testament, p. 6)
Brother Lee did not give a detailed list of who the "many brothers" were, but he did make definite arrangements for the continuation of the ministry:
In the fall of 1996 Brother Lee had a time of fellowship in his home with a number of brothers who had been closely serving with him. That was a very precious and poignant time, for we all knew the serious condition of our brother's health. On our part, having had some fellowship, we assured him in the Lord that whatever was needed during that time, we surely would provide. He just said, "Thank you." He then opened up his heart to fellowship with us in a very endearing yet firm way. He said that after he would go to the Lord, certain things must continue. He said that the full-time training established by him in Anaheim, the two semi-annual trainings, and the other annual gatherings—the Chinese New Year's conference, the two trainings for the elders and responsible ones, the Memorial Day conference, and the Thanksgiving conference—must continue. Then he said, "This you should regard as my will." (Ron Kangas, "A Man of Prayer Praying to the Mysterious God in the Divine and Mystical Realm," The Ministry Magazine, vol. 5, no. 9, October 2001, p. 17)
As Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery states:
It is important to note that Brother Lee spoke directly about the continuation of the ministry among us. He felt that after his departure the ministry should be carried out by a group of co-workers who are blended, just as his own service in the ministry was under his coordination with the co-workers. (Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery, p. 4)
The dissenting ones' attacks on the co-workers who labored with Brother Lee are in stark contrast to Brother Lee's own appraisal of them:
...However, after I came back from Taiwan to the United States in 1989, from the time we began to have the training here in Anaheim to this day, I can testify that we have had a group of co-workers here who are truly in harmony. This harmony depends on our knowing the cross and the Spirit. The co-workers visited different places through the invitations of the churches and have thereby blended the churches as one. This is a good phenomenon. Now the churches around the globe all have the desire to be blended together. There is definitely such a trend of blending in the Lord's recovery. (The Governing and Controlling Vision in the Bible, p. 75)
This same appraisal is evident in Brother Lee's fellowship with a sister who was his helper for many years:
I was ... glad to be able to share with you what Brother Lee told me that I should do after his departure. That must be the Lord's sovereign arrangement. I think Brother Lee's charge to me is of particular significance today because of the perverted things spoken by the dissenting ones in their fierce attacks against the blending brothers.
I can't remember the exact year Brother Lee's fellowship took place. I can only say that it must be within the final two years of his life. It took place in his study in his house on Ball Road. And it was after we had finished our work close to noon. He was at his desk, sitting in his chair, and I was still also in my chair across from him, preparing to leave.
Then, calmly yet solemnly, Brother Lee told me, "Felisa, if someday I should go to be with the Lord, you should go on as you always have been. You should simply follow the brothers; they told me that they would speak all the things that I have spoken, and I believe that they would do it. You should just follow them and go on." (Note: Brother Lee used my Chinese name and spoke these words to me in Chinese.)
Ed, Brother Lee did not tell me specifically who "the brothers" are. He didn't have to. There's no doubt in my mind today that Brother Lee was referring to all of you blending brothers, because since his departure, you all have been faithfully speaking all the things that he spoke in his ministry. I truly appreciate the fact that you all have been faithful to keep your promise to Brother Lee.
Grace be with you.
(The Ministry Magazine, vol. 11, no. 1, January 2007, pp. 13-14)
Furthermore, in fellowship given by Brother Lee on April 6, 1997, after speaking to some of his co-workers about the burden for the messages for the Elders' and Co-workers' Conference being conducted in his absence due to his illness, he said:
I believe the blending brothers will do a good job, speaking according to my speaking. Then, all the elders and co-workers will see how they should carry out their work, what work they should do, and what goal they should attain. They should no longer do their own work. They should only do the work of the New Jerusalem. (The Ministry Magazine, vol. 1, no. 1, October 1997, pp. 49-50)
This shows that Brother Lee's appraisal of his co-workers was that they would carry out the same one work with the same burden by speaking the same thing.
Similarly, the dissenting ones' harsh criticisms of the serving ones in LSM are diametrically opposed to Brother Lee's evaluation of their service:
We have over forty faithful, full-time workers in our three offices in Anaheim, Irving, and Taipei. In addition to these workers, a number of other saints volunteer their time to help us spread the truths. We are serving the churches all over the earth with the publishing and the tape ministries, and we have been doing this for over seventeen years. I thank the Lord that we have such a marvelous environment for the release of His divine revelation. I am thankful to the Lord that much of what I have spoken has been put into print. Even if I die, my word in the Lord still speaks. He has provided us with the marvelous environment for the release of His divine revelation. (The World Situation and the Direction of the Lord's Move, pp. 39-40)
The dissenters' deplorable railings against the brothers serving the Lord and His recovery in Living Stream Ministry is in the principle of beating the Lord's slaves (Matt. 21:35; 24:49).
The dissenting ones make numerous false allegations concerning LSM. Among these are:
In addition, the dissenting ones use half-truths and evil innuendoes to besmirch the reputation of LSM. For example:
What Benson actually said was:
The Living Stream Ministry is not related to the full-time training, but it does provide many practical things to aid the training.... The Living Stream Ministry does not run the training. It is run by the co-workers. They fellowship among themselves. There are no Living Stream Ministry employees involved there.
The dissenting Web site also cites as "evidence" a statement in Generation magazine that says that it "is a publication of the Full-Time Training in Anaheim, a section of Living Stream Ministry." From a business perspective, that is true. As a matter of practical economy, FTTA was not set up as a separate business entity. However, the fact is that the actual conduct of the training in terms of content and the shepherding of all of the trainees is carried out under the coordinated oversight of the co-workers, not LSM. Most of the co-workers who serve in the FTTA were asked by Brother Lee to serve there and served with him there while he was alive.
And I would say this: Yes, the Living Stream Ministry is related to the full-time training, the Living Stream Ministry does certain practical things to aid the training, but it's only in that realm. The Living Stream Ministry, even though we're so close in Anaheim, the Living Stream Ministry does not run the training. Does that surprise you? No. Living Stream Ministry doesn't do that. Who does that? You come to Anaheim, and you come Monday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon, almost every week, if not every week, every other week, who gathers together? Not the employees of Living Stream to fellowship about the training and all the trainees, but who gathers? The co-workers gather, and they fellowship over the line that is being carried out in the training; they fellowship over the trainees. What does Living Stream do? It counts the dollars and makes sure that it's financially stable; that it's still afloat. (Transcribed from Benson Phillips' speaking after Message 4 of the Thanksgiving Conference in Washington, DC, November 25, 2006)
Neither the basic form nor the content of The Holy Word for Morning Revival has changed since that time. The outlines are prepared using Brother Lee's utterances, and the ministry excerpts are from the ministry of both Brother Nee and Brother Lee. While there is no rule that says churches must use The Holy Word for Morning Revival, it is significant that some of the churches which have opposed its use are also abandoning the practice of all prophesying and returning to a practice of only a few speaking.
We found that this really works. If we can get the material in the saints' hands, we can shepherd them into getting into it and can help them to touch their spirit. In this way they can really gain something. It seems that this improves the level of the entire church life. We are very happy that now the Living Stream is publishing The Holy Word for Morning Revival because a number of brothers will be freed up to spend more time with the saints instead of producing materials. (Paul Neider in The Present Situation of the Churches in the Recovery throughout the World, pp. 27-28)
The proper conclusion based on the facts is that any implication that LSM seeks to control the churches is false. The dissenters perpetrate this falsehood largely by attributing to LSM decisions made and fellowship given by the co-workers in their proper exercise of shepherding care for the churches and then claiming LSM has overstepped the bounds of its mission. This is fundamentally dishonest. What these dissenting brothers do not want the saints to know is that the co-workers whose fellowship they are opposing include the leading co-workers in the work, not only in North America, but also throughout the earth. Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery was an affirmation that the co-workers desire to follow the teaching and pattern of Brother Nee and Brother Lee to preserve the oneness of the Body in the Lord's recovery. The recent quarantine was likewise an action taken by the leading co-workers to protect the Body from the divisive actions of some. In each case, LSM performed its proper function in serving the ministry. It functioned as a publisher in printing Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery at the request of the co-workers. It functioned as a ministry office in providing the venue for the co-workers to speak to the attendees at the fall 2006 International Training for Elders and Responsible Ones in Whistler, Canada.
The agenda of the dissenting ones to discredit LSM is made all the more obvious by their incessant repetition of their inaccurate attribution to LSM of every point on which they disagree. As of December 1, 2006, their site contains ten articles with LSM in the title. In the article entitled "LSM will 'appeal ... all the way up to the US Supreme Court," "LSM" is used 51 times. In an article criticizing "Is 'One Publication' Scriptural?" on this Web site, "LSM" is used 40 times.
Some of the dissenters have taken to identifying anyone who disagrees with them as "LSM-brothers." Concerning the material on their site, Nigel Tomes has repeatedly disregarded the facts and, offering a thin argument, has stated, "For simplicity, we refer to all the contributors to AFaithfulWord.com as 'LSM-brothers'."8 This is quite simply a falsehood. The words "for simplicity" are dishonest. The writer did not attribute all the articles on the dissenters' Web site to "LSM-brothers" for simplicity but because it serves his purpose to do so. He does not care for truth; he is, in fact, only too willing to pervert the truth to press his agenda.
This kind of twisting of the facts should convince any genuine seeker of the Lord that the source of such arguments are a darkened, corrupted and diseased mind (1 Tim. 6:4-5) under the influence of the evil one, the one who hates the church and the ministry which builds it up.
The brothers who put forth such arguments appear to have no standard of truth. They twist the facts in a shameful effort to:
The words of the dissenting ones are idle, unprofitable, and will lead those who heed them into darkness, confusion, division, and spiritual death. We must all heed the Lord's word that we will render an account of every word at the judgment seat of Christ (Matt. 12:36-37), and we must avoid the defilement of such evil speakings (Matt. 15:18-19):
Matt. 12:36-37 -  And I say to you that every 1idle word which men shall speak, they will render an account concerning it in the day of judgment.  For by your 1words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
fn. 12:361 - The Greek word means not working. An idle word is a non-working word, an inoperative word, a word that has no positive function and is useless, unprofitable, unfruitful, and barren. Those who have spoken such words will render an account concerning every one of them in the day of judgment. Since this is the case, how much more must we account for every wicked word!
fn. 12:371 - What a warning this is! We must learn to control and restrict our speaking.
Matt. 15:18-19 -  But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and those defile the man.  For out of the heart come 1evil reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnessings, blasphemies.
fn. 15:191 - In the kingdom of the heavens, defilement is not related to material things but to moral matters. Material things have nothing to do with the heavenly ruling, but moral matters do. That so many evils issue from our heart proves that we are not under the heavenly ruling.
1Brother Lee specifically told the co-workers that he did not want Titus Chu to teach in the Full-Time Training in Anaheim or to speak from his podium. Due to an insistence by Titus Chu and some of his workers and in an attempt to blend out differences between Titus' work and the common ministry of the co-workers in the Lord's recovery, the brothers did allow Titus to speak in some of the gatherings in the first years after Brother Lee's passing. This was discontinued when it became apparent that he was using his participation to promote his personal ministry and to carry out an independent work.
2Although the subject of this article is the falsehoods propagated specifically against LSM, it is important to also point out a blatant misrepresentation of DCP, since the perpetrator of this falsehood went to great pains to associate that falsehood with LSM. A draft of a DCP document (clearly marked "Draft") was obtained without permission and posted on a third party Internet site along with an inaccurate summary of the outline points included in the draft. The summary used the phrase "accusing the co-workers of conspiring." Neither those words nor any similar words were in the actual document. A dissenting brother rationalizes using the language of the summary rather than the language of the document itself by saying, "Clearly they are alternative versions of the same document." That is not true, and the writer had no real basis on which to assert that it was. Nonetheless, he used that language to write an extended diatribe in which he rails against the authors of the document for making a "trumped-up charge" which he calls "a figment of the authors' imagination" and a "fiction". The "fiction" is in attributing the complained of language to DCP. His display of indignation is toward a statement that was not and never had been part of the draft. Nevertheless, this dissenting author used these words to justify posting a number of pieces of private correspondence (of which he was only one of over 100 parties) to the Internet. Furthermore, the final "published" version of the document, which is printed in Causes of Stumbling Contrary to the Teaching (and available at http://www.afaithfulword.org/articles/Different Teachings and Dissenting Views of Titus Chu and Certain of His Co-workers.pdf) does not include any reference to the parties whose reputation he claimed to be defending by putting private correspondence on public display.
3The dissenters justify calling the authors of the articles on afaithfulword.org "LSM brothers" by arguing that since we support Brother Lee's fellowship concerning being restricted in one publication in the ministry, our posting of articles on the Internet must represent LSM. The particular emphasis of being restricted in one publication is in the realm of the ministry. The ministry is the sounding of the trumpet (1 Cor. 14:8). In the Lord's ministry, there must be no uncertain sounding of the trumpet. The trumpeting of the ministry is the leadership in the Lord's recovery. When Brother Lee called for a writers' conference in 1980, he was looking for brothers who would write to defend and confirm the ministry in the Lord's recovery, not to sound a different trumpet. We make no pretense of sounding the trumpet in the Lord's recovery. Rather we feel our writing is in fulfillment of our charge "to defend and confirm the New Testament ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee and the practice of the local churches." When the ministry and the ministering brothers are attacked, it would be unseemly for them to vindicate themselves. That is the responsibility of others.
2 Cor. 12:11b - For it is I who should have been commended by you; for in nothing am I inferior to the super-apostles, even though I am nothing.
In verse 11 Paul says, "I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing I am inferior to the super-apostles, even if I am nothing." Here Paul says that the Corinthians compelled Paul to become foolish. They bore the responsibility for this. They should have commended Paul, but they were distracted and withheld their commendation. Their silence was wrong. They should have done something to commend Paul, for it was not fitting for him to be compelled to speak concerning himself. This, no doubt, was the feeling in Paul's spirit as he wrote verse 11.
We should learn from this verse that there are occasions when we need to say something on behalf of the elders or those in the ministry. If a certain brother is the target of attack or opposition, he may not be able to say anything to defend himself. In such a situation we need to speak up and commend him. For example, years ago when Brother Nee was the target, I did something to vindicate him. The young ones especially need to learn to commend someone in such a situation. They should be bold to speak out. They should not be silent, and they should not be held back. (Life-study of 2 Corinthians, p. 494)
There can be no dispute that the ministry of Titus Chu and the writings of the dissenting ones, particularly Nigel Tomes, are a different sounding of the trumpet. They promote their own interpretations, teaching differently from the general ministry in the Lord's recovery, because their ambition is to take the lead in the Lord's ministry in His recovery. Their writings are full of self-vindication and attacks against all the brothers whom they perceive as obstacles to their designs. Before the Lord we realize that we have a responsibility to seek to restore the proper relationship between the believers who have been deceived by their machinations and the ministry, knowing that this is crucial to restoring their proper enjoyment of Christ for the building up of His Body (2 Cor. 12:19).
The articles in this series of books (and on http://www.afaithfulword.org/) do not represent the co-workers, although we exercise as much as we can to restrict our speaking to what has already been spoken by Brother Nee and Brother Lee. We are more than open to correction if we have made any misrepresentation of the teaching in the ministry of the Lord's recovery.
4 The dissenting brothers try to make much of the fact that only 95 churches out of the approximately 300 in the U.S. participated in filing the complaint in the litigation. They do not tell the saints that this is actually a far greater number of churches than participated in the prior litigations in the 1980s. In addition, many more churches might have participated, but the decision to proceed with the litigation was made less than a week before the end of 2001. In fact, Harvest House had already sued the church in Fullerton earlier in the month at a time when the brothers were still trying to pursue a resolution of the conflict through fellowship with them. When Harvest House forced the churches to respond, it was necessary to take immediate action because of the possibility that the statute of limitations for pursuing relief through the courts might expire at the end of that year. Many of the churches could not carry out the necessary fellowship in time. Thus, due to logistics many churches were precluded from participating directly in the filing of the complaint. In any case, the decision to proceed was made in a meeting open to all elders and co-workers during the 2001 Winter Training.
5Even in America, there are many other groups of co-workers coordinating in other aspects of the work of the ministry, including Rhema, Bibles for America, the Lord's Move to Europe, all the campus teams, etc.
7One cogent example of this is this article. More than one LSM employee expressed concern that such a defense of LSM was not necessary and that the brothers serving there were more than willing to bear the Lord's reproach. However, the brothers serving in DCP felt this article was needed, not to defend LSM per se, but to answer the lies being spoken to stumble the saints and cut them off from the supply of the ministry LSM is putting out.
8See note 3 above.