This essay was originally a letter written to Gene Edwards as a result of things I passed through over a period of years. I owed it to him as years ago I sent him a letter and a tape challenging him as to why he would start a church in cities where a "local church" already existed and wasn't this something divisive? Isn't it wrong to have two churches in one city? Etc. Anyway my challenge he never answered. ( Now here is another fact about Gene Edwards: There are some hurts that modern day people have found through practical ministry errors. My DISCLAIMER concerning him can be found on my article NOTHouseChurch.html.) Since that time I found out he never really even knew about the letter because he has such piles of mail he was never informed about it. When I met him personally at a conference in Washington State he told me to re-send him the tape "The Revelation of the Lost Keys."
Based on what I knew then I challenged the brother. But now some years later some things have happened (the main story took place in Hong Kong among the little flock movement). These things I not only owed to him as an apology but I KNEW he would take grave interest as he has studied the history and pathways of especially prevailing groups of Christians meeting outside the organized church even from the first century on all his life.
Although he already knew the intrinsic facts concerning Witness Lee and the Living Stream Ministry, he probably wishes I would leave his name out of any mention of the group. But I must be faithful to report what has come to me from the other realm beyond the DOOR and be honest as to how it all came about.
These things go along with proven facts that are the real roots that HAVE ALREADY MADE HISTORY. You may choose to not read all this but actually I think you will almost take as much interest in this as Gene will.
THE FOOT WASHED-WASHING JOINT OF SUPPLY
It all started in 1993 on the USS Jason. This ship was the oldest commissioned naval ship in the Union at that time (50 years old!) and so it wore the yellow snake aft (the "Don't Tread On Me" flag) instead of the normal "Union Jack." But we were on a six month Westpak anyhow as scary as that was on such an old ship.
Of the names worthy of mention there are two that stand out as names written in the chronicles of God are two of my ship mates especially: Michael McGrath and James Langfitt. The fellowship in those days for awhile was concerning the real meaning of foot washing. We determined that it was fellowship. sometimes that even means correction. Foot washing is a little hard to give. It is also hard to receive (it depends on you I guess!) That is more especially true for some of us.
I know I'm missing some stuff here but basically we honed in on the fact that Paul did not hold back his fellowship in ANY wise from his brothers as is stated in Acts 20 concerning the full counsel of God (whatever that is!). He was faithful to reveal anything that was as he said "profitable."
Soon after this we pulled into Japan. I got on a bus and went to the city of Fukuoka where there was a local church (I think you know my definition from reading so far from this book) and was put up by them for a weekend. A brother who had "the gift" was visiting from Tokyo for the weekend to speak to them. Although the translation was very poor and I probably only picked up 1/4 of the meaning of it--it was awesome! He drew a picture of a stick figure on the board and drew a bunch of lines at the left shoulder representing a "cutoff" of the flow from the body to the arm. At this point he referred to Witness' book "The Economy of God" talking something about how fellowship had to flow through the Body by giving AND receiving both. If the member (a collar bone? Maybe a neck?) on the body side of the shoulder does not share what he has to the arm this will make a clog. Also if the arm side does not receive what is flowing from the other side a clog is produced!! Whoa! Then he put a Chinese character (Japanese and Chinese characters are very much alike and mutually understood) on the board. It had a line drawn underneath it. The character looked weird to me but it meant "flow" or "fellowship" and when you put something like a wall and a roof over it that changes the meaning of the word to clog (clotting, impediment, coagulation, damper, or smokescreen ect. ect.) or sickness.
The flow brings healing and life! The lack of a flow means sickness and death. Hey! I never knew blood flow was so important to life: spiritual as well as physical. Then he spoke how that if someone withholds fellowship from the member on the other side of the shoulder it could cause the hand to not receive and the hand could die without even knowing what was happening!! Ouch!!!!!! Or you wish it could be ouch but there's no pain when death arrives because of a cessation of feeling. there is not even a knowledge of what happened. Man! Now this was too much heaviness!! And it did not even have to be the hand's fault! And there's a dead hand! At this point through tough translation I shared about our findings on footwashing and how it was hard to give and receive and forwarded that into Paul's words in Acts 20 " And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house," What an example of a joint of supply!
Next stop: Hong Kong. There was an existing division of the local church there. The negative, rebellious group who had somewhat not agreed with brother Lee's "new way" etc. were seemingly represented as divisive and so there was another group of about 500 who broke off. The brothers from the first group (especially the leaders there) refused fellowship (there's that clog at the shoulder again!) and as a result the 1000 saints that met with them were reported as being dead. And yes there was death somewhat. The 500 were so much for wanting to be reconciled with the 1000 that they were not even breaking bread the morning I took a brother named Frank off the ship to the meeting. They believed there should only be one table in the city, so they did not even hold what some know as communion. AS a result what a flowing of living waters in that meeting! The whole meeting it was all I could do (for the sake of the brother who was with me)to keep from throwing myself on the floor and balling my eyes out! For the whole meeting! Surely at least I was in the flow of life that day! (The brother I brought felt the same way)
During those 5 days I visited the meeting hall of those on the negative side. I asked to speak to the "elders" but got a cold shoulder seemingly and they said those guys were too busy to talk to me. Again I thought of the shoulder. I thought of 1000 dead people as a result of these "joints" refusing to receive fellowship from those who were one with Bro. Lee (of course we all thought that the flow on earth started with that brother). I thought what a shame it was that there had to be all that death.
(by the way, this is a story about a little pin,
popping a big balloon, you will get what I mean later!).
Now it gets heavy! Check this out! I got on the liberty junk boat to go back to the ship mid-afternoon (as the ship was anchored out). It was raining almost constantly and profusely those days and the ladder from the second deck was quite slippery. As I came down the ladder I lost footing completely and reached up to grab the bar above to keep from getting killed. Falling unevenly I pulled a ligament in my left shoulder and ouch!
Next day the doctor says if I'd been working out I would not have hurt the ligament. So I ask him to give me a light duty chit to get my work routine eased up as I felt obvious pain. "Nope!", he said, "You not only need to work that arm you need to start going to the gym and work out!" Again I hear Someone trying to say something to me!
About this time we started a practise of washing one another's feet (literally, pee-ew!). I don't think any of us had a sacerdotal concept that any grace was communicated through such practices but we prayed for and shared with one another and got the feeling that sometimes there's some fellowship hard to receive and also hard to give but we need to know that we must do it. The significance of my hurt shoulder was that I needed to exercise it even though it was not perfect and all of us need to function even though we may not be perfect, even though we just had a besetting sin harass us ,ect. ect. If there's pain in that joint of supply all the more reason to exercise it even more and get more blood flowing through it! That will cause it to heal even faster though there may be a little added pain.
I developed soon after a condition on my right shoulder blade of an itch that bugged the heck out of me day after day! The only way ot reach it was with my left arm which could not quite reach it cause of the pulled ligament! So I had to use a pencil or ruler or some manufactured invention of man to meet that particular need of my body cause the member who was supposed to meet it was indisposed!! Hey the lesson is obvious. It was in my face day after day after day! What does it remind you of? Today's Christianity and all its inventions to take the place of the Body of Christ and the normal functions of life! There are so many out there offering you a fast so-called cure for all your problems. They never stop to think its such a man centered gospel with only the need of man in mind not the needs of God AND man. The itch went on for two months! (the Lord said "hello! smell the coffee!!") I had to continue to use a fabricated counterfeit till my right arm through constant reaching finally developed the ability to actually kind of reach that part of my right shoulder blade! So my body came through! To the rescue. But during those 2 months was I gonna wait for that? No way! There's a price to pay for waiting for the growth of life to do the job! It's so much easier to go with the fabricated programs people have today! How hard it is to wait on the Lord and to wait for the growth of life! To meet the real needs according to HIS ways in these days is difficult!
Now I got to back track. Soon after our eventful trip to Hong Kong we went to Singapore. Same problem with the local church there.700 negative ones refusing fellowship with Witness Lee. 400 positive ones. What I couldn't get was how come they thought they could be in the flow of life and not receive from this brother? How come they would fellowship with everyone else and listen to others but not Witness Lee? Did the Body of Christ consist of all brothers and sisters in the churches except Witness Lee? Hey! He's a brother and fellow member too! Sounds like they are cutting themselves off, huh? No matter what the fellowship from a fellow member we got to chew the meat and throw out the bones. EVERY chicken has bones.
So I went to the negative and positive sides of the fence in Singapore to see what I could see or do what I could do. When I asked to speak to the "elders" of the negative side they gave me a run around and said they were too busy and set me up to spend the day with a guy I found out later the positive side said he was the most damaging and dividing person of the whole lot! Those on the positive side told me that when the 700 divided they felt right and totally justified in what they were doing and had no sense that they were damaging the Body of Christ whatsoever. But those on the positive side said they were hurting so bad and were in such pain they could hardly breath: couldn't hardly pray during that time or read the Word or function properly. To my mind it seemed to make perfect sense.
Once again I thought about the shoulder. If the life is alive but the arm gets cut off, the life side is going to be a hurting mess! The dead side ain't gonna feel too bad. There's no feeling at all!
After that we went to Saudi Arabia and for some reason I had a personal landslide. It took years of reading Gene Edward's writings and many of his tapes and gradually coming to see that there was something wrong with the way I thought (not with the Lord or what He reveals.).
Years later in 1997 after being transferred to a ship (U.S.S. Frank Cable)out of Guam we came to Hong Kong again. In some ways I still had a big head cause the Lord had shown me quite some revelations. According to what people in the local church had said the "rebellion" of the late 80's, early 90's was principally the fault of one Joseph Fung who resides in Hong Kong and who was never there whenever I had pulled in in times past. Or, as I thought was maybe someone scared or unwilling to talk to me (some brothers back in the states having heard about my reception
by the negative side in Singapore said "they probably thought you were a spy from Anaheim!!" Anaheim is where the Living Stream ministry has its roots.). Anyhow, Joseph Fung was one of the people considered a rebel and sure he probably had faults but little did I know what I was about to learn. (The other brothers who had been quarantined as being ring leaders in the so-called rebellion were Bill Malon, John Ingles and John
So: come to find out later they did have honest concerns about truth and things that just didn't set well with their spirit within that's all)To my surprise brother Joseph Fung (quite an old man by now) was more than willing to fellowship with me. (First blow!!) Well here I was ready to share my great revelation concerning the shoulder and my slide on the boat in Hong Kong ect. ect. and straighten this brother out Oh! great man of God that I was! NOT!!!! Now here's the little pin that popped my balloon (he had no intention of course)!
He was sad about the fact that many had divided over the fact that some were not one with brother Lee concerning the new way.
Well THEN he tells me that brother Witness visited him one day and asked him "Do you absolutely submit yourself to me?" POP!!!!! Oh, Oh!! I never heard this!
O.K. throw out everything I said before !!!!! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think you know what I mean. I received it with the wrong mindset. Thinking that the Body of Christ was only the local churches who were under the teaching of brother Lee! What blindness! It doesn't matter WHAT the Lord was revealing to me or how awesome. If it comes to a mind that is biased it is off---waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy off. So, I believe brother Gene Edwards was probably one of the few people that can receive the aforementioned things in the right context.
But you see how the Lord let me down easy. Brother Fung went on to tell me what most of us know ,come on: that he had to tell Witness that there was only one Person in the whole universe to Whom he felt he should absolutely submit himself and its not Witness Lee no matter how anointed and fruitful that brother is! Eventually I learned why the very ones who claim to be standing on the local ground of oneness are not really on that ground! Why? Because they still got the division of the clergy and laity in their own midst though they preach against the idea of such a thing!!
There is a division of two classes! Oh Oh! It was Frank Viola and his books and some of my e-mail correspondence with him that helped me to see that even with a group that stands for one Body there can be this 2 class division within. So where is their claim of standing on the ground of oneness? There are still 2 classes.
Of the writings of Gene Edwards and Frank Viola helped me alot more to see how we can(by church planters LEAVING w/no leadership for awhile ect.)escape that system--and its not easy. But I think you can see from what I just shared with you who was the real source of the division in Hong
Kong (so which side WAS on the "oneness"? I saw it was something different in each man's heart in accordance with light each one had)? Witness Lee? Well, kind of, but really I think it was the authority paradigm he got from Watchman Nee who got it from the brethren. So I left the movement and tried to get in fellowship those who who actually have the same qualifications as the twelve who spent 20,000 hours in the direct presence of our Lord had. For one of the most important understanding of this reality see my article in Addendum 4.) Brother Gene Edwards and the men he is training are such individuals who spend this much time. and when they raise other believers up they don't appoint leaders and give those leaders all the speaking, but like Paul in Acts 14 they left them after teaching them and bringing them into a reality of experiencing Christ, without leadership or even writings or hymn books but only with and experience of Christ to all speak that Living One to one another thus really building up the Organism of GOD. Those men LEFT!!! They left! They didn't stay to pastor the next 20 years. Do you hear? THEY LEFT!
BACK: Chapter 25 FWD: Addendum 1
Copyright © 2001 by Kevin “the NorthWest”. Non-commercial use permitted.
Kevin “the NorthWest”