Witness Lee and the local churches defined as a Cult
False accusations have been made by a small number of individuals
Witness Lee and the local churches are a
local church cult or cultic. Recent accusations have been published on
several Internet sites. However, the accusations made are without substance
and the conclusions drawn are unreasonable. On the Internet anyone can say
anything. It is really the “wild west” of ideas where there is little
regulation. Authors frequently shoot first (write inflammatory statements)
and ask questions later (there is no dialogue with the accused and poor
research into the facts). However, an examination of the meaning of cult or
cultic in it’s various forms (including those inferred from the accusers)
and a comparison with the actual facts clearly disproves such allegations.
Furthermore, the positive testimonies of many regarding the nature of the
Witness Lee’s ministry and the local churches far outweighs the false
statements made by those few with inadequate knowledge and possibly impure
motives. There is no local church cult!
defines a cult to be “a religion regarded
as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents.”
However, Athabasca University's
Dictionary of the Social Sciences probably gives the definition
of the term “cult” which most nearly matches
the understanding of those “local church cult” accusers of the Internet. It
states the following:
This concept was originally developed as one component of a typology:
churches, denominations, sects and cults.
Churches and denominations are seen as established forms of religious
organization while sects were groups that had broken away from established
groups in order to preserve what they thought were central traditions or
orthodoxy. Cults on the other hand
were religious forms and expressions which were unacceptable or outside
cultural norms and thus seen as the first stage of forming a new religion.
However, the term now has a rather negative meaning, suggesting strange
beliefs, charismatic leadership, manipulation of members, strong emotional
bonding, and slavish devotion to the group.
An examination of the teachings and beliefs of Witness Lee
and the local
churches shows that their beliefs are not “strange” but match the common
faith of all Christians. Witness Lee is a dear Bible teacher whose living
expresses his genuine spirituality and inspires the recipients of his
ministry to love and follow the Lord. He is not a “charismatic” leader with
authoritative rights yielded to him by admiring adherents. Witness Lee and
the local churches do not manipulate the members. They cause the members to
pray and seek the Lord’s leading in all things. The emotional bonding in the
local churches is not a strong emotional bond to any leaders among the
members or to the group as a whole but to the Lord Himself, loving Him with
the whole heart. There is nothing abnormal in the members’ relationship to
the church, the Body of Christ. They have not been made slaves, worshiping a
group, but are normal Christians who are slaves of Christ, following Him.
There is not a local church cult. It is worthwhile to examine each of these
points from the current “negative meaning” of the term “cult” and compare
these with the actual situation with Witness Lee and the local churches.