Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Witness Lee and the local churches:
A Personal Testimony Refuted

3. No Cult Leader

Witness Lee and the local churches have no charismatic cult leader

To say that there is a local church cult is to say that there is a “charismatic” leader. Athabascas offers the following understanding of “charismatic” under the term “authority:”

Authority is the capacity of an individual or institution to secure compliance from others based on the possession of a recognized right to legitimately claim obedience. Authority is obeyed because the individual or institution issuing commands is believed to have the right to do so. Max Weber (1864-1920) defined three ideal types of authority: traditional, which rests on history, myth and ritual; charismatic, founded on a belief in a leader's exceptional qualities and inspirational mission; and rational-legal, founded on democratic principles and a framework of law to which all individuals and institutions are subject.

Charismatic leadership carries the understanding that the leader bears authority and that this authority comes from the followers’ belief in the leader’s “exceptional qualities and inspirational mission.”

Given such an understanding of the term “charismatic leadership” no one who has spent much time with Witness Lee and the local churches would suggest that there exists a situation in which it is believed that they should obey Witness Lee’s authority because of his Charisma, his “exceptional qualities and inspirational mission.”

Rather, what is readily apparent is Witness Lee’s understanding of the Bible and experience and growth in life. He is one who studied the Bible day after day for over 60 years. Not only did he know the content of the Bible but he was able to bring together all of the important points from throughout the Bible like pieces of a puzzle to present a clear picture, unveiling the word to the recipient of his speaking. The result and response to his teaching was not some kind of irrational devotion and obedience to a man. The result was not a local church cult. His ministry produced people who loved God and loved the Bible. His ministry has as its goal the building up of the Body of Christ through the ministering of God’s word as food to the believers. Why do the people with Witness Lee and the local churches receive and follow this ministry? Not because of some particular gift or ability Witness Lee had. They follow this ministry because here they receive the spiritual nourishment causing them to grow with the growth of God and to give themselves to God. Such a one as Witness Lee surely has some spiritual authority but he never exerted any kind of authority over his followers. He continually and faithfully ministered the Word of God to them to the end of his days. He did not beat the Lord’s sheep; rather, he gave them food. He did not build up a following for himself as a local church cult but his part of building God’s house was with gold, silver, and precious stones.

Witness Lee did not start a cult and carry it on by his charisma. There is no local church cult. Witness Lee and the local churches are genuine believers, members of the Lord’s Body who continue to be nourished from the Lord’s word through Witness Lee’s ministry.

Copyright 2020 by witness-lee-cult.org
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