Has the Truth Changed
or Have Some of the Metro Toronto Elders?
|...[R]eceiving a person who has made trouble in the recovery and who is still making trouble involves the Body very much. If we behave ourselves properly, we are okay in the Body. But if we commit something that is condemned by the New Testament, the Body has the right to say something. The Body surely will check with a local church if there is a division-maker among them whom they have not disciplined. If they do not discipline such a one, they are wrong and are offending the Body. (The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life, p. 31, from Witness Lee's speaking in a meeting with the elders of the churches in Canada on August 14, 1993)
A recent anonymous email attempts to draw comparisons between events that took place in the church in Vancouver in the early 1990's and events currently playing out in the church in Toronto. There are many parallels, but the author of this email does not have the facts straight. This email accuses the "soon to be blended brothers" of somehow mistreating those then in the lead in Vancouver. It overlooks the fact that the brothers most vocal in criticizing the actions of the former leading ones in Vancouver were not the existing co-workers ("soon to be blended brothers" 1 ) but elders and workers in the churches in Metro Toronto. 2 Included among these were Nigel Tomes and other strident critics of the co-workers and of the recent quarantine of Titus Chu. The author(s) of the anonymous email was either ignorant of or chose to disregard the large body of letters 3 sent from the Metro Toronto brothers to the leading ones in the church in Vancouver. Some of the brothers who signed these letters are the same ones who reject the quarantine of Titus Chu today.
These letters demonstrate that a striking change has taken place in the stand taken by the authors of these early letters and the stand some of them 4 are taking today. In this series of articles, we will examine the correspondence between the brothers in Metro Toronto and those in the church in Vancouver. At the end of each article there is a list of the letters referenced in that article. We encourage you to read them carefully. You will recognize many of the signers of these early letters as current or former elders in the church in Toronto. What you will find impossible to reconcile with the position taken by some of the Toronto elders today is the strong stand the Metro Toronto elders took in 1992 and 1993 against divisive activities and the case they made for honoring the feeling of other churches in the Body regarding the quarantine of a divisive brother. Today, their public stand is 180 degrees removed from the public stand they took then. So we ask: Has the truth changed, or have they changed? Were they wrong in their dealings with Vancouver then, or are they off the mark today?
The following series of articles deal with the issues raised in this correspondence:
2Saints began to meet as the church in Toronto in the 1960s. At that time a number of municipalities were federated into a regional government known as Metropolitan Toronto. In 1967 a number of municipalities were merged into a six-city configuration that included the City of Toronto, North York, and Scarborough, among others. The meeting hall of the saints was in North York, but the church in 1974 was incorporated as the church of the Torontonians. Subsequently, saints began to meet as the church in Toronto and the church in Scarborough. In 1998 the provincial government consolidated all six cities into the City of Toronto. Based on that decision, the three churches all became the church in Toronto with three halls corresponding to the meeting halls of the three churches. The correspondence referred to in this article occurred when there were still three churches. Since all three acted in concert, we refer collectively to the brothers who signed the letters as the Metro Toronto brothers.
3Most of the letters discussed in this article were assembled in a packet distributed by the Metro Toronto brothers to all the churches in Canada on February 5, 1993.
4Not all of the signers of the letters in 1992 and 1993 have endorsed the action some the Toronto elders have taken in rejecting the quarantine of Titus Chu and certain of his co-workers.