Round 1

Watchman Nee Purgatorial Supporter

I was reading on the local churches and Witness Lee's teachings because I have run into them and an interest has sparked within me.  Regarding Watchman Nee's purgatory, I was wondering why you were criticizing this statement:
"If a Christian has any unrepented of and unconfessed sins, which are not forgiven, he will suffer the Gehenna of fire." And he also says "In the coming age, there is still the possibility of forgiveness, but one cannot come out until he pays the last quadrans and clears up everything with his brother."
I was wondering about how you could suggest that a Christian would not have any unforgiven sins?  A believer in Christ is part of His church, right?  Why then, are members of His church told to repent of their sins at the beginning of Revelation?  Those letters were addressed to the "church" in those cities, and they receive praise as well as correction.  The people who received those letters were in the church, according to the letters themselves, yet they were still told to repent.  Are you saying that if they don't repent, then they are kicked out of Christ's body?  The Lord said that no one can snatch us out of His hand and Paul said that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Another thing is that you used 1 John 3:6 and 1 John 3:9-10 to say that anyone who is born of God will not continue to sin.  I'm under the impression that the moment we believe and receive the Lord we are born of God.  Yet I know that I've sinned and may even sin again since I've been saved.  I would like to meet one person who has not sinned since receiving Christ.  If all our sins are forgiven, then why confess and repent?  Because the ones we don't repent of will not be forgiven.  Does this mean then that God will disown us as His children?

In Hebrews chapter 12 verses 5-11 talk about how we, as sons of God, are disciplined by God, similar to how any parent disciplines their children.  So then we know that receiving discipline means that we have been born of God, because if we aren't then we must be illegitimate children.  So, if He is determined to discipline His children, and you can't escape the discipline of God, how then can you assume that God will toss you into hell after you die when you accepted Jesus as your Lord?

 What about 1 Cor. 3:11-15?  This says that our foundation is Jesus Christ and that we can build on that foundation.  Then it gives six materials for building: gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, and stubble.  Then it says that the work that we built on the foundation will become manifest and revealed by fire.  Then it says that whose work remains will receive a REWARD and whose work is consumed will suffer LOSS, BUT he will be SAVED through fire.  Salvation is a gift from God by our believing and receiving the Lord, right?  A reward is like a prize for doing something good, right?  So what is the reward?  If the person that suffers loss will still be saved, then his salvation is a gift then, right?  But he won't receive a reward, he'll suffer loss.  Then Paul said in Phil 3:14 that he is pursuing toward a goal for the PRIZE.  If we have to receive the Lord for salvation and repent and be saved, then that is a gift.  A prize however, is given to someone for doing something well, right?  A prize is EARNED, but salvation is not by works, so it must be a gift.  So what is the prize?

BCBSR Response

Thanks for your interest.

Can we pay the penalty for our own sin and buy our way out of hell? If so then why did Jesus die? And so also if payment for sin can be rendered by suffering in the "Gehenna of fire", then logically everyone will eventually be saved after they suffer enough in the afterlife.

Jesus died to save us from the wrath of God. As I see it Lee and Nee teach essentially that God subjects his saved ones to wrath - hell fire - being cast out into the outer darkness. You say, "Are you saying that if they don't repent, then they are kicked out of Christ's body?" Isn't that what Lee and Nee are saying when they speak of Christians being tied up hand and foot and thrown out into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth? And when they are cast into Hell fire?

Your own reasoning shows that you can understand that such passages are not speaking about those who have been redeemed - those who are children of God. Yes I agree with you that "The Lord said that no one can snatch us out of His hand and Paul said that nothing can separate us from the love of God." And therefore those who have been redeemed aren't subjected to the wrath of God. They don't get thrown into hell fire and they aren't cast out into the outer darkness separated from God. And therefore such passages are not speaking about people who are saved.

As for your questions concerning the interpretations of certain passages I will direct you to my study guides:

 Concerning the verses in 1JOhn see:
Concerning 1Cor 3:11-15 see:

Concerning Php 3:14 see:

And Concerning "nominalism" see:

 As for the Hebrews passages, God disciplines us in this life because presently we're in the flesh and sin dwells in the flesh. In the afterlife that will not be the case. We will walk in perfect righteousness not by effort but by nature. You say, "if He is determined to discipline His children, and you can't escape the discipline of God, how then can you assume that God will toss you into hell after you die when you accepted Jesus as your Lord?" I'm not sure if you actually meant the opposite of what you just said. For I don't assume that God tosses the redeemed into hell. Are you assuming He does?

Now I have a question for you. How does a person become sinlessly perfect to the extent that for all eternity he has lost the capability of sinning at all? Or is that not the state of righteousness in which we will be spending eternity? Will we continue to sin in heaven and periodically get thrown back into hell to pay off our sins? That certainly is far from the salvation described in the gospel of Christ.

So how is such a state attained? Certainly concerning this life I assume you recognize that even those you assume to be sinlessly perfect "overcomers" can nonetheless fall into sin? So if death doesn't do anything with respect to sanctification then how is it that such a state is attained in the afterlife? You might claim that being tormented enough in hell-fire creates such a state. (If so maybe you should set up torture chambers in your church to sanctify people early on). But what of even these local church "overcomers" who are not subjected to such torment? How do they become eternally and continuously perfected? Yes, death does do something. For we who have a dual nature - sin dwells only in the flesh.

Being subjected hell-fire is not about sanctification. It's a judicial matter. It's about pay back. Its about wrath and vengeance. But the gospel is contrary to wrath. John 3:36  "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

We read also that "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Rom 5:9 To me the Local Church views the gospel as only offering salvation from eternal wrath, but not necessarily from say 1000 years of being subjected to hell fire. Not much of a concept of salvation or grace if you ask me. Certainly not consistent with the "much more" concept of this verse in Romans.

"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1Thess 5:9 And what about our sins? What does the New Covenant say? "Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more." Heb 10:17

Again, Thanks for your interest and good Biblestudying to you,

Steve Amato

Round 2

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Edition: Jul 29,2015