To prove the case concerning the punishment and reward, I will present you of course my Bible. Thanks for your admonishment in your first email. Concerning many of your arguments you completely take things out of the context and call it your own revelation without taking examining the Bible as a whole. Don’t take what I’m saying to be a serious insult to you but I only want to present to you the complete truth according to the Bible.
I admit that you make a good argument concerning that “everyone who is born of God overcomes the world.” However, even in this verse you are taking things outside of the context without having any adequate knowledge of the Bible as a whole nor God’s eternal plan. I’ll explain it after I presnt to you the interpretation of the parables.
First, I would like to show you some verses concerning the overcomers. Revelation 22:14 “ Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved no their soul-life even unto death.” From these verses, you may say that overcoming is near impossible, which is true. But “nothing is impossible through God” as long as we simply get transformed by him.
Concerning Matthew 18:34, the entire context is about Jesus’ parable concerning the unforgiving debtor. The master who is Jesus forgave the servant of his debts, yet this servant in verses 28 through 35, this servant charged another servant to pay him what he owes. Instead of forgiving his fellow servant of his debt like his master forgave Him of His debts, he threw him in jail. Thus, as a result of his unforgiving heart he had to suffer torture until all of His debts are paid back.
Concerning the punishment in Matthew 25:30, this is in the context of using your talents or gifts concerning what the Lord has given you to further His eternal plan which includes a lot of things such as gospel, teaching, shepherding, feeding Christ, etc. As a reward you will also gain Christ as well. In this parable, the Lord charges us to use whatever gifts he has given us to take risks and build up His Body and present the riches of this Christ to everyone. He also tells us that even if you don’t have many talents, you still have an indispensable portion in the function of the Body of Christ.
Concerning the Lord’s rebuke in Matthew 25:11-12 concerning the 5 virgins outside who are cast out of the wedding feast. This is true in that all the believers in Christ’s eyes are pure virgins. However 5 were faithful and prudent heart that longed for expected His coming while the other 5 were foolish. The oil in their lamps signifies that they are still filled with the Holy Spirit and brightly shine forth the glory of Christ into others, while the flame in the other 5 died out.
Now, concerning Matthew 24:36-51 concerning the rapture of the overcomers. The Lord allegorizes His believers as fruits or grains which will be harvested at the right time. All this depends on our maturity in Christ. To be an overcomer doesn’t mean to be above a certain level but to be at the level that is normal and established by God. Some believers fall short of this including myself but as long as we have a heart for the Lord despite our condition, He will have mercy on us and bestow more of Himself as grace. Thus, reconstituting us as the precious materials for the New Jerusalem and the unblemished Bride to Himself. This parable tells us that believers will be living a normal life concerning the time of His return. The question is whether we are in mature in Christ or not. Will be occupied fully by our lives that we miss the Lord’s coming. This matter even involves our work for the Lord which doesn’t take Christ as the source.
I also request that you look over the footnotes in the recovery version concerning these parables. There is an online website that you can check up on.
Now, we’re going to deal with the verse “everyone who is born of God overcomes the world.” This is entirely true but it is our spirit that is begotten of God. In 1 Thes 5:23 “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved in complete.” This shows that God made man with three parts and when we ate the tree of knowledge of good and evil all three parts became corrupted. However, when we receive the Lord in our spirit that is where we receive our divine birth. As a result, we need the Lord to transform our soul and resurrect us with a new body. So, the punishment is in regards to what natural element like self-improvement which does not equal transformation by God with the source will be judged and burned away. So God, wants us to “behold and reflect Him like a mirror His glory” and the 1000 year punishment will somehow produce this material for God’s eternal plan. However, this does not mean that we are perfect but we overcome because they in Revelation “overcome by the washing their robes in the blood of the lamb
I’d also like to make another request. At the bottom of your page under Witness Lee and the local church can you place in parenthesis under typical local church response “that people in the local church have responded and please see the following articles.” That brother might’ve forgotten this point but if you check with any member of the local church that is well mature in Christ and constituted with the truth they will tell you this.
I have to inquire about your personal life as well Steve. Like are you in your 40s with a wife and kids? Can you explain why you were excommunicated or how you angered other pastors or clergy in the past? Because I believe that it is highly possible that you may be suffering from a lot of personal problems that aren’t dealt with properly. As a result, you may have damaged your relationship with the Lord and with other believers, so as to explain your sojourning around churches. You may know the Bible more than myself but your heart seems to be in the wrong place. There is no need to answer my questions but they are something for you to consider. I only hope that whatever problems or trials that you remember to take the Lord as life and the first place in your heart. In your writing although you present Bible verses, the person who argued for the 1000 year purgatory did a much better job at ministering and feeding Christ than you have done. You can even ask a normal believer to compare your letters with our fellow brother’s letters and ask others of their opinion. Although, they might not agree with punishment and reward at least they can get something of Christ into their being. Don’t take this as too personal attack, but I simply ponder the reasons why you seem to have so much criticism over so many believers and to expose you of your personal flaws. Please accept my sincerest apologies for getting on such a personal level. I do hope that if I did expose you don’t harden your heart but turn to God and eat the tree of life and that His grace is sufficient to meet your needs.
To this email, I would end with Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.”
Please be just and place this email on your site and your reply as well.
Thanks for your consideration and please reply and grace be with your
There's nothing "new" about your perspective. It's the same old Witness Lee dogma you've been indoctrinated with. Thanks for sharing your opinion as to what you think these passages mean, as if you think I've never read the Bible before.
However, as it is written, "He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him", you might have actually checked my perspective first concerning these passages to see whether my analysis has already dealt with your point of view. I mean I've take a great deal of time analyzing Lee's material and spending time with his people before offering critique, but you have not reciprocated. But again what can be expected of Lee's people anyway?
Let's go through it.
"everyone who is born of God overcomes the world." 1John 5:4
Now you say, "This is entirely true but it is our spirit that is begotten of God." And so also I would infer you would interpret 1John 3:7-10 the same way which says, "Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."
Now here's the question - do these having anything to do with a person's behavior? For I would infer that you are saying that being born of God may have no correlation to a person's actual behavior, but merely an internal "spiritual" change alone. (Basic Antinomian Free Grace Theology)
In answer to this question - here's an idea - let's look at the context. Notice 1John 3:10 the phrase "This is how we know". Unless you can offer any other interpretation I can only imagine it could mean "This is how we recognize". And indeed that is consistent with the context, all of which alludes to behavior. Consider verse 7 "He who does what is right is righteous". That's about "doing" things. Consider verse 8 "He who does what is sinful is of the devil." Again that's about "doing" things. And what does verse 10 answer the question as to how you can distinguish between those who are children of God and those who are children of the devil? You distinguish them based upon their behavior. That's what it says.
Now let's consider further - notice that his distinction is between children of God and children of the devil, as if there are only these two categories. A person is either a child of God or a child of the devil. And indeed the context affirms the point for he goes on in making this distinction to say "Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." Notice he doesn't say "child of the devil" here, for he is equating the categories of "those who are not children of God" with the category of "those who are children of the devil". Thus logically there can only be these two categories. Agree?
This verse (and others as well) prove that those born of God have an inevitable behavior associated with them, contrary to the propositions of Free Grace Theology and of Lee's doctrine in particular.
Secondly why is it they have that behavior? The verse indicates it is due to the very nature of the rebirth. Verse 9 says, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."
Well now let's suppose you come up with the upsurd proposition that there are those who live a lifestyle of sin and whom you would agree are children of the devil, but whom nonetheless have eternal life. Well let me counter that idea with this example, "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." 1John 3:15
Notice that "the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Rev 21:8 Now much as it is difficult to find any place in the Bible that Lee agrees speaks of eternal condemnation, this one of those places. So I take it you would agree this is speaking of eternal damnation -not some kind of temporary purgatorial scenario. And yet notice the context. Most all of these characteristics refer to a behavior.
First I want to contrast this with the verse that precedes it. Namely, "He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son." BUT - he then contrasts "overcoming" with "bad behavior" - Rev 21:7 contrasted with Rev 21:8. This is consistent with his usage of "overcomes" in his critique of the seven churches earlier in revelation. For each he associates the word "overcomes" with a corresponding behavior.
Now let's go back to 1John 5:4 "everyone who is born of God overcomes the world." Notice the context "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,for everyone born of God overcomes the world." Once again we notice he associates "overcomes" with a corresponding behavior.
Now let's go back to Revelation 21:8 and take a behavior like "sexual immorality". The Bible indicates here, for example, the sexually immoral suffer eternal condemnation. Now let's correlate that with 1Cor 6:9,10 "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." We see a similar list here as in Rev 21:8 Here it indicates that the "sexually immoral" for example do not inherit the kingdom of God.
That is consistent with what we have already studied for two reasons:
1. Rev 21:8 the sexually immoral are eternally condemned
2. Rev 21:7 Only those who overcome inherit all things.
Or put it another way - correlating 1Cor 6:9,10 with 1John 3:9,10 we can say that the sexually immoral are not children of God but children of the devil. If they were children of God they would overcome and therefore inherit all things. But as they don't overcome they are eternally condemned.
Now consider further all the lists I had mentioned before like 1Cor 6:9,10; Ephesians 5:5; and Rev 21:8 - another thing which is implied in these lists is that you can actually identify such people. For if we can not identify the wicked man, then how else are we to obey the command, "I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you."
Now let's consider another characteristic of those born of God. As 1John 3:9,10 indicates that those born of God no longer live a lifestyle of sin, not because of one's will, but because of the very nature of the rebirth, then neither is it possible for such a person to commit moral or doctrinal apostacy. For it is also written, "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19
Now let's see if you've read this verse carefully or whether you've under-analyzed it. Let me ask you as question.
1. How did John identify those who never really belonged to them?
Answer: They went out
2. If a person had ever belonged to them would they have ever left
That's what the Bible says - like it or not. Thus not only once saved always saved, but also once saved a person will have an inevitable behavior corresponding with his salvation status and will continue to endure in such behavior and faith to the end. Thus Jesus said, "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Mr 13:13
Now getting back to your propostions you say:
"First, I would like to show you some verses concerning the overcomers. Revelation 22:14 " Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city." Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved no their soul-life even unto death." From these verses, you may say that overcoming is near impossible, which is true. But "nothing is impossible through God" as long as we simply get transformed by him."
So? Not only did I never say that overcoming is near impossible, let me state emphatically that "everyone born of God overcomes the world". Thanks for showing me the verse. I can quote them as well as you can.Then you say,
Yes, he suffers eternal damnation in hell. For apart from Christ's atoning work we can never suffer enough to pay for our sin. And yes, I'm quite familiar with Lee's purgatorial interpretation, which is inconsistent with the gospel.Then you say,
Actually concerning the man who had no fruit to show was thrown out as worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. There he suffer's God's wrath in eternal damnation. For "The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt 13:41,42Then you say
The five tares were weeded out, being revealed by their diminished oil. They were not bride of Christ but thrown out as mere nominal Christians. Notice that Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, I don't know you." Matt 25:12 Yet He would never had said such if they had been born of God? Would he have said such a thing if they were a true part of his body?Then you say,
Indeed doesn't this remind you of Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" I'm sure there are many people who think that simply by saying "Lord, Lord" they will enter the kingdom of heaven.
Thanks for sharing your opinion. Here's something you might consider.
Notice the correlation between verse 51 and the parallel passage in Luke
Then you request,"He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt 24:51Well if he's assigned a place with unbelievers, then isn't this "hypocrite" in reality simply an "unbeliever"? Thus these people will go to hell and suffer eternal condemnation along with the rest of the unbelievers. For that is their assigned place.
"The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers." Luke 12:46
Already done! In fact a number of these I already dealt with on my Witness Lee's Local Church web page, which you claimed to have read, in which I analyze Lee's interpretion. Apparently while you exort me to read your stuff, and claim that you've read mine, you haven't actually read mine have you? Well what can I expect?Then you say,
Thanks for sharing your opinions, but I dealt with this verse and related verses extensively in my previous email showing how the Bible teaches otherwise.You mention:
But it's not clear to me what point you're saying he's contradicting that "mature" Local Church people would take issue with. Not important I guess.And then you attempt to make allegations against my character, desperately digging to try to find something to accuse me of. So also the religious elite reckoned Jesus and his apostles with contempt. They may accuse them saying "why were you driven out of the synagogues" and "why have you anger the religious elite" "Why there must be something wrong with your spirit -some inherent sinfulness you haven't dealt with." But again much as Jesus said so I also say, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?"
"We are from God, and whoever knows God listens
but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.
This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood." 1John 4:6
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
Edition: Jul 29,2015