Witness Lee and the local churches not manipulating
members as a cult
This term implies some action to cause the members
to change their thinking for the benefit of the leader. It suggests that there
is a motive of self-interest in the manipulator out from which the members are
given suggestions or otherwise coerced to take some actions, which they would
not have otherwise taken. The result is a loss to the members and a profit to
the manipulating leader. However, with Witness Lee
and the local churches there is no such
manipulation of the members. There is no local church cult.
Whenever a decision is required regarding a
specific course of action no direction is given. Instead, the members are
advised to pray and seek the Lord’s leading. No leader or responsible member
tells others what to wear, what to buy, whom to marry, what career to prepare
for, etc. The decisions belong to the individual members but they are urged to
pray. The Lord Himself operates in His members as the head in a body directs its
motions. This is not manipulation of members; this is not a local church cult.
This is walking by the Spirit.
The actions of the members are not the result of
manipulation by a charismatic leader. They come from the Lord Himself as the
Spirit within. As each member prays and comes to the Lord in His word, they are
fed with the spiritual food. Food in the physical body is assimilated into the
body to sustain it and cause it to grow. The Lord’s members assimilate Him as
food to His spiritual body. He causes them to grow with the growth of God. The
outward manifestation of this growth is a corporate people operating according
to the Lords leading individually and collectively. With Witness Lee and the local churches, it
is not a matter of manipulation but the expression of the Lord’s life.
The benefit is not to the leaders in the church.
The profit is to the Lord Himself. No leader in the local churches is being made
wealthy or being exalted. Rather, they serve the Lord and His body as slaves.
The issue is not self-exaltation but self-effacement. The issue is the
glorification, the expression of God. Witness Lee’s realization of his ministry
was that it was not something for himself; rather he realized that he was
diminished and decreasing for the sake of the Lord’s increase. His final word,
“sacrifice,” indicated that his realization was that his entire life was poured
out and consumed as a sacrifice for the Lord and His interest. Is this a local
church cult? Certainly not!
With Witness Lee and
the local churches there is not a manipulating charismatic leader. Witness Lee was not such a one. He was a spiritual
man who led people to love God, worship God, and give themselves to Him. All the
glory is the Lord’s. This is not a local church cult. This is the Lord’s Body.