Living Stream Ministry


#1

Who are these people? Does anyone here know? I got into a discussion with a few of them earlier this week, initiated by me since I don’t know very many Christians around here (imostly Orthodox). I’d never heard of this particular group, and I had assumed it was some sort of Bible study group or something like that. I asked if they were representing a specific denomination, and they said no and that Catholics are as welcome to attend their prayer meetings and Bible study as anyone. They also gave me a Bible, even after I told them I use the NAB that was given to me in RICA, so I really did not need or desire their “Recovery Version”. They replied that this translation is very close to the NAB, and filled with many helpful footnotes. I told them that the NAB is likewise filled with notes, then the conversation entered a sort of impasse and I took the Bible, told them I would read it and talk to them again later.

Reading a little bit of this “Recovery Version”, I can’t help but notice that much of the information contained in the “helpful footnotes” is very odd. Lots of references to Jesus as “The Slave-Savior” (I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean), and an alarmingly un-orthodox understanding of the Trinity (the apostles and the Holy Spirit are one? Since when? Christ is our “allotted portion of the Saints”? What? And apparently He became God the Father in the flesh for His time on Earth…this is also news to me!).

Anyway, I have no idea what this group is about (as I said, I thought it was a Bible study, not a sect, since they were set up under a banner stating “Christian meetings”, and they told me they were not representatives of a specific denomination), but I am pretty sure that their Christology and broader Theology must comprise some sort of heresy, or probably several. The trouble is that I have no clue what specific heresies they may be guilty of, and I do not want to read any more of their strange Bible “footnotes”. However, I do want to make it clear to them next time I see them (on Thursday) that I do not agree with their views and will be returning to them their Bible at that point and not meeting with them again under any circumstances. I am quite annoyed at what I feel was a misrepresentation of who they are, and I really wish I had not been talked into giving them my e-mail address (they told me they wanted it to let me know what time their Bible study was next week). I will be telling them to completely remove me from any list I may have inadvertently ended up on, as I certainly want no contact at all with heretics or cults.

If anyone here knows anything at all about this group calling themselves “Living Stream Ministries”, please let me know. I do not want to talk to them on Thursday and say “I really can’t meet with you because I am pretty sure you guys are heretics, but your beliefs are so weird I can’t even tell you exactly what heresy you are committing.”

They are apparently based in Anaheim, California, if that helps. I am in Eugene, Oregon.


#2

Don’t have anything to do with these people. They are a cult of some sort, just “another” denomination…I wouldn’t even speak to them.


#3

good instinct; sniff carefully any Bible study that denies it represents any specific denomination. Maybe it’s just as they say, but it’s impossible to organize a Bible study without relying on one type of interpretation or another.

Catholics are as welcome to attend their prayer meetings and Bible study as anyone.

Of course. Who would turn someone away? But will they be OK with a newcomer staying Catholic, that’s the issue.

However, I do want to make it clear to them next time I see them (on Thursday) that I do not agree with their views and will be returning to them their Bible at that point and not meeting with them again under any circumstances. I am quite annoyed at what I feel was a misrepresentation of who they are, and I really wish I had not been talked into giving them my e-mail address (they told me they wanted it to let me know what time their Bible study was next week). I will be telling them to completely remove me from any list I may have inadvertently ended up on, as I certainly want no contact at all with heretics or cults.

Say so loudly and clearly.

I do not want to talk to them on Thursday and say “I really can’t meet with you because I am pretty sure you guys are heretics, but your beliefs are so weird I can’t even tell you exactly what heresy you are committing.”

If it comes right down to it you could end up saying that and then shut the door. Do not let anyone use your instinct to be polite or your fear of not knowing what you’re talking about against you. Say, “I don’t want anything to do with your Bible interpretation and don’t expect good results from your group, so I am no longer interested in talking to you. I have a belief system that I consider true and reliable and am not looking for any modifications to it.” Close the door, hang up the phone, end the contact.


#4

I found their website. They are protestant in nature, and hold that the Bible was hidden from the people until Luther came along. (They do not name the Catholic church in this.) They do no *specific *Catholic-bashing that I can find.

Their statement of faith sounds pretty mainstream Protestant, apparently believing in the real Trinity.

Apparently, their religion is based on “witnesses” from two Chinese men, one from the '30s.

I guess the only way to find out the specifics is to buy their books and read them, or go to one of their Bible studies. … No thanks!

Ruthie


#5

open-letter.org/is what some mainstream Evangelicals say about them. Apparently Living Stream/Local Church have been suing their critics. So I wouldn’t expect much dialogue. I’d just walk away.


#6

I hope there is no rule here against bringing back “dead” threads, because I just met with these people and I feel compelled to share my experience and my thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.

I met with one of the two original men I had talked to last week. With him was another gentleman who I had never met before. I first tried to simply tell them what I had talked about saying earlier in this thread: “I can’t meet with you guys because your beliefs contradict my beliefs. Goodbye.” Of course, once I said that, they wanted to suck me in to meeting with them anyway. Out of kindness (or foolishness), I took a seat.

I told them that I was unhappy that they had lied to me when they said they were not representing a denomination, to which they replied that they weren’t. I opened up their Bible and read the first page where it says very clearly that the Recovery version is the version of the Bible used by Living Stream Ministry, with “footnotes” by Witness Lee. They still denied that they were representatives of a denomination. The man I hadn’t met before said “We simply gave you this Bible because it is what we use. Would you also have a problem if we had given you a King James Version?” I said “yes, of course I would; Catholics do not use the KJV”. He replied “Well, the KJV is not a denomination! It’s simply a translation of the Bible!” I replied that you cannot seriously believe that by giving someone a Bible you are not endorsing the contents of that Bible, or else why wouldn’t they have given me a KJV, NIV, or NAB? If they are all the same, then why did they give me their “Recovery Version” instead? He had no answer, so the man I had met previously jumped in to say that I could still follow my NAB if I wanted to, but that he wouldn’t follow it because he is not a Catholic, so he doesn’t believe that Catholics are using the correct version. I asked him who he thought canonized the Bible in the first place. He didn’t seem to understand the question, so he said “I’m assuming you’re going to say Catholics?” I said “Yes. In the centuries before the Catholic/Orthodox split, we were ONE church. That is the Church that canonized the Bible.” He didn’t like that at all.

That led to my point that even other Protestants find the LSM and their “Recovery” version to be very strange. He objected: “We’re not Protestants!” Uh huh. You don’t like that term, but you’re not Catholic, and you’re not Orthodox, and they’re the only two forms of apostolic Christianity that there are (he didn’t understand the difference between apostolic Christianity and other forms, either; I had to explain it to him), so yes, you are Protestants. His friend at least conceded my point that I couldn’t follow a Protestant sect, as to them I am a follower of the “Whore of Babylon” (I used that term, and his friend shook his head in agreement; I guess that settles that!), so all their talk about how I can still use my Catholic Bible doesn’t really mean much and is just used to make them seem inclusive when they’re not.

As I was getting up to leave, the man I hadn’t met before stopped me and said “You know, I want to tell you something: We will pray for you. And I want you to meditate on the meaning of Jesus’ prayer for oneness of the Body. You are wrong to focus on differences. It is about aligning ourselves with Jesus’ prayer, so that we also pray for the oneness of the Body.”

I told him “No one prays for the oneness of the Body more so than the Catholics and the Orthodox. We are the apostolic churches, and in that way are closer to each other than we are to any Protestant sect, and yet we are not in communion with one another. So your position looks even more tenuous in the light of 2000 years of history dating back to the beginning of Christianity. Your sect was started in the 1930s! And yet I am the one who stands in the way of the oneness of the Body by choosing to follow 2000 years of teachings of apostolic Christianity instead of 70 years of teachings that even mainline Protestants object to as heresy?”

He stared at me with a sort of frustrated look, but didn’t say anything. So I got up and said “It is about aligning ourselves with Christ’s prayer through His Church, which IS one holy and apostolic CATHOLIC Church.”

He did not reply, so I wished them both a nice day and walked away.

I’m no theologian, and honestly I didn’t really enjoy that, but I dunno…I think I at least stood my ground pretty well. I would be very surprised if they were to try to contact me again (I told them to remove me completely from any and all lists I may have ended up on, anyway).

This whole experience is a real eye opener. In a way, I’m glad I just went through that. Sometimes it isn’t until you have to defend your faith from other people calling themselves Christians that you find out how well you can defend it. I’m a new Catholic, and honestly this is the first time that has happened. Most of my family and friends are irreligious/agnostic, so I’m used to the sorts of objections they have. Most of my Christian friends are Catholic or Orthodox (or Protestants who don’t know anything about Catholicism, like I was). This was something different for me. Thank God that I got through it in a direct, honest way and came away more resolute in my faith.


#7

Good for you. You need to be firm about this, because they are likely under a lot of pressure to attract your interest in their group now that they already talked to you and you came to the meeting. It’s unusual to see someone that prepared and present-minded in that situation. And you sound like you were polite the entire time. Any shaky feeling you get is probably because the social balance wasn’t as you had expected it to be. So anything you do is set up so it feels wrong, so that it’s harder to tell what is right. But the sense of being off-center balances out and goes away soon.
It can be a fun game to watch out for the deceptions in the programs. Every time someone says what will happen and then acts as if you were supposed to know something else will happen instead, call it out. "You were going to ask me one question. You asked it. We’re done… I came here to watch a movie and the movie isn’t entertaining me so I’m taking off… You invited me to a Bible study. I’m here and I’m studying my Bible. My Bible… I agreed to watch a meeting of your sect, and I watched. I have no interest in sharing personal information with twenty-nine people I just met and I feel like leaving.:cool: "
Good job.:thumbsup:


#8

[quote="dzheremi, post:6, topic:127364"]
I hope there is no rule here against bringing back "dead" threads, because I just met with these people and I feel compelled to share my experience and my thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.

I met with one of the two original men I had talked to last week. With him was another gentleman who I had never met before. I first tried to simply tell them what I had talked about saying earlier in this thread: "I can't meet with you guys because your beliefs contradict my beliefs. Goodbye." Of course, once I said that, they wanted to suck me in to meeting with them anyway. Out of kindness (or foolishness), I took a seat.

I told them that I was unhappy that they had lied to me when they said they were not representing a denomination, to which they replied that they weren't. I opened up their Bible and read the first page where it says very clearly that the Recovery version is the version of the Bible used by Living Stream Ministry, with "footnotes" by Witness Lee. They still denied that they were representatives of a denomination. The man I hadn't met before said "We simply gave you this Bible because it is what we use. Would you also have a problem if we had given you a King James Version?" I said "yes, of course I would; Catholics do not use the KJV". He replied "Well, the KJV is not a denomination! It's simply a translation of the Bible!" I replied that you cannot seriously believe that by giving someone a Bible you are not endorsing the contents of that Bible, or else why wouldn't they have given me a KJV, NIV, or NAB? If they are all the same, then why did they give me their "Recovery Version" instead? He had no answer, so the man I had met previously jumped in to say that I could still follow my NAB if I wanted to, but that he wouldn't follow it because he is not a Catholic, so he doesn't believe that Catholics are using the correct version. I asked him who he thought canonized the Bible in the first place. He didn't seem to understand the question, so he said "I'm assuming you're going to say Catholics?" I said "Yes. In the centuries before the Catholic/Orthodox split, we were ONE church. That is the Church that canonized the Bible." He didn't like that at all.

That led to my point that even other Protestants find the LSM and their "Recovery" version to be very strange. He objected: "We're not Protestants!" Uh huh. You don't like that term, but you're not Catholic, and you're not Orthodox, and they're the only two forms of apostolic Christianity that there are (he didn't understand the difference between apostolic Christianity and other forms, either; I had to explain it to him), so yes, you are Protestants. His friend at least conceded my point that I couldn't follow a Protestant sect, as to them I am a follower of the "Whore of Babylon" (I used that term, and his friend shook his head in agreement; I guess that settles that!), so all their talk about how I can still use my Catholic Bible doesn't really mean much and is just used to make them seem inclusive when they're not.

etc.
.

[/quote]

You did fantastically. These people bother me endlessly. They used to visit m y house and harass my grandmother, call my phone everyday, text every day. I grieve for them.


#9

I wouldn't even speak to them. http://addled.info/g.gif


#10

I went to their Bibles for America website, hoping to get a free and useable pocket New Testament sent to my address so I could distribute to others. Hoping it would be the NIV, which is very good. A ‘Recovery Bible’ distributed by Living Streams Ministries arrived and this isnt’ your KJV or NIV. Their pocket New Testament has alot of commentary along the bottom of each page. They refer to God as Jehovah, so I started poking in to Revelations to discern if this was a Jehovahs Witness group by any chance…but relabeled. WELL…their commentary repeatedly refers to the ‘Whore of Bablylon’ as the Roman Catholic Church. They arent JW’s but a fringe Christian group originating in China or Korea somewhere.

Unfortunately CRI (Christian Research Institute) which is a very fair org…‘The Bible Answer Man’ Radio show, has labeled them being not a cult but a truly Christian organization.
Other organizations have labeled them as a cult however. I just hope some of them dont show on my doorstep now since they have my address. We’ll see, I consider their bible trash.


#11

I thought I was the only one who’s encountered this particular denomination!

Perhaps I should have been more careful but I’ve been fellowshipping with a group nearby for over a year now (and it’s my fault really: we Anglicans can be much too polite!). For the most part, whilst I think their practises are somewhat cultish, I tend to find their theology is basically more mystically expressed than is usual, but seems pretty much orthodox (small ‘o’!). I actually find it ironic that if you translate their terminology, their ideas are pretty c/Catholic but of course they think Catholicism is of Babylon so whenever they veer too close to it, they suddenly and deliberately go off course rather than follow where their theology leads them. Personally, I think it just reiterates the truth as declared and expressed by the Church Fathers.

I also find it fascinating that the areas on which they are opposed to traditional teaching (i.e. The Rapture, the Recovery and with respect to their interpretation of Revelation - surprise surprise :wink: ) are the areas that their leader (Witness Lee) just went off on a bender and used his own prejudices and distorted understanding of history to justify himself rather than interpreting scripture with scripture which is what he usually does.

They are a strange lot though - they have a blatant prejudice/ignorance of other Christian denominations and teachings, for all they keep denying it - with all the double standards of so many denominations that spring up around the teachings of one person. I do admire their love for the Lord and their emphasis on living as the Church, but to be honest, I could have got all that from reading the Church Fathers/medieval theologians. At the moment, I like being a bit difficult, subverting their ideas about non-Recovery movement Christians and hopefully informing them on things they are just plain wrong about (they are very anti-Catholic, as you can imagine).


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