Another Critique from 
an Ex-Local Church Participant

   I was introduced to the local church group in 1972 by my sister and soon became a regular attendee yet I was only 12 years old !!!  I began meeting with the junior high youth group on friday and saturday nights.  Back then I recall pot dinners and guitars and singing jesus songs to popular tunes of the times and several new believers, myself included,  loudlyconfessing  "Jesus as their savior"  while all therest shouted AMEN! That was a special time for me because I had no religious nor christian upbringing in my  disfunctional home and it filled an emptiness deep inside me.  I suppose it was similarly for my older sister who had left home at 16 to live in Los Angeles.  I have many good memories of that time,  I remember feeling brand new after accepting Jesus, and i myself felt accepted by these people who called themsleves "saints" they regularly shared meals and testified how their life had changed and how they wanted the same for others.....  some testimonies were dramatic accounts of how they gave up lives of drugs and sin and emptiness for christ and the local church.    For others, testimony was declaring a spiritual belief system that was significantly different  form  that of their  parents generation, ie. traditional christianity was not where its traditions of my parents are empty....."but Jesus is my realtiy ".   Many songs promoting the local church and bashing tradional christianity were penned to popular tunes as I said before and they race around my head to this day......" the local church is the new and real communal life ""Communal living was emphasized and many homes had several brothers or sisters living together as a formed  "home group" with lists for who was to do what chore what week.
   I was VERY involved in the local church life throughout my junior high and high school days 1972-1978. Yes there were 2 meetings on Sundays .  One in the morning which typically went from 9am to 12:30pm  and yes there was baysitting too ,then an early Sunday evening meeting around 6pm until 8or  9pm.  Sunday evenings were special and called the "Lord's table" as bread and wine were symbolically broken and passed around to partake together all the while singing hymns.  Then there was a  tuesday night service group meeting  and a wednesday  night prayer meeting and a friday night ministry meeting with brother Witness Lee speaking.  Saturday morning was the time to devote to "service" either cleaning the church ,and cooking for the Saturday night  pot luck gospel meetings, etc etc or babysitting for those that did .   I  Personally I tried my hand at guitar, serving meals, kitchen cleanup, babysitting, cleaning the church, etc.  Anytime a member called you were expected to  pray-read with them or do a favor for them, it was like that back then.  Those were  years filled with  meetings, meetings meeting,Bible study, lectures, moving,"training meetings, hospitality, yet there were still lots of singing and some personal testimonies given during the regular meetings.  We were told not to be "wordly' not concern ourselves with what the world was concerned with.  We were expecting the rapture soon !!! Also Those were the years of much growth and expansion of purchasing land and building churches and buliding the largest Conference Center, the offices of living streams ministry, and Brother Lee's homes in Anahiem for he and his family no   $$$$$$$$ expense was spared! The finest materials were used!! $$$$$$ His grandson's got into the best colleges.
Fom 78-84. I was graduating high school and went on to college The local church had a small group on campus and in those days the Living stream ministry printed all those flyers and we were told to purchase, read and study them because  that is  what we were to go over and share in the meetings now.  Witness Lee had footnoted almost every verse of the Bible Book by book.....  Hmm......more people were leaving the local churches than joining...talks of Max Rappaport being a suits talks of slander lible!!!......subtle threats about what happens to those who leave the local churches.......what got me to stop and think for myself were a few things:   I was in college now, I was actually listening and talking to above average people, professors, etc.  I was studying  alot and  going out dating to differnet places,  mylife was not 100% involved inthe local church 1985 my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer......what got me was many in the local church looked at this as a punishmnet from God......since she was so weak and sick she could not attend meany meetings.....there were only a handful of decent feeling Christians in the local church who cared.......most just forgot about the real day to day human life struggle.....thats what hit me.......the Meetings and the life-study messages are all to them they  completely lose track of what a Christian really is supposd to do.......REACH OUT IN LOVE!!!!!!
  ****** I learned true Christian faith helps those that are sick and can't attend a service******* I moved in with my mom and cared for her her last 9 months of life********* thats what God's love enabled me to do********** and no I did not have time to go the local church meetings and no I did not have time to read a message but the REALITY of GOD's love and CARE was ther for me on the day she died........I was given a blesing from God and allowed to see her spirt leave her body and go up.........and that spoke more to me than any living stream message ever could.


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015