Many who have obeyed the Lord and begun gathering in the simple way presented in the scriptures have come across others who have seemingly done the same. Yet, on further investigation only to find it not at all as they had hoped. Sadly, some have formed movements and systems that are unhealthy. This letter addresses concerns dealt with in our assembly around the doctrines of one of these groups: Witness Lee and the Local Church Movement. A former member was propagating some of their very wrong and hurtful doctrines.
A while back you sent to a number of us an explanation on the doctrine of the "Godman". I have given the topic much thought and would like to make some comments. First a short summary of your paper:
The idea presented was that through the incarnation a new entity was created, being "half man and half God"… "a new creation, Godman, a true union, mingling, splendiferous, Immaculate Conception.".
Through his human life and death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, he, the new entity, became "The Life Giving Spirit".
Who, as "The Life Giving Spirit" regenerated believers on faith in Christ, that is, on faith in himself, and also imparted his seed, the heredity, of the new entity which he had become.
The idea of sonship, the adoption of sons, was coupled with the above so as to show the responsibility of the regenerated for the maturation of this new seed within them.
Next, participation in the New Covenant, in contrast to the Old Covenant, is emphasized as the way by which one will enhance the growth of the seed. That is, under the New Covenant one is to be occupied with their spirit, wherein the seed lies, for its development; whereas under the Old Covenant, one is occupied with one’s soul, endeavoring to be righteous or holy in the outward practical life.
Finally, it is pointed out that the church has been in ruin because it has not entered into the participation of the New Covenant under which the New Man is experienced but has held on to the Old Covenant trying to improve the Old Man whom God has rejected.
I believe I have summed it up correctly... It is what I understand it to state. The teaching appears to be one and the same as that presented, yet in more detail, in the notes of the Recovery Version of the New Testament.
"Godman" is a term that has been used for hundreds of years. Though it is not a word that is found in scripture, it, like the word Trinity, represents a biblical concept when used correctly and helps in expressing our understanding of the incarnation, the Word become flesh. However, its use has been with a different meaning than what you have attached to it and will be discussed further on.
Before I continue let’s agree that the topic of the incarnation is, to say the least, a difficult subject of which either of us could be easily confused about. It is, in truth, beyond us to understand it fully. The fact is, understanding the essential nature of spirit is God’s domain. We do not understand fully even our natural life, though we experience it constantly, witnessing its birth in babies and its death in the aged. How much less should we think we would understand the essential workings of the Eternal Word, God’s Son, becoming flesh. It is a mystery, known to God but only revealed in part to man; for man has not the capacity to take it all in. However, a wrong understanding of what has been revealed can have serious effects on our development of other doctrines, which together can greatly alter our understanding of the faith as a whole. Therefore, it can not be overstated… we need to remain within the revelation facts presented in scripture. It is vital then, so as not to stray, we not think we possess all understanding on this or any other matter. For God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble; therefore, let us give ourselves to prayer for humility while we search the scriptures before the God of truth, desiring to please Him Who is the fountain of all knowledge and Who also knows the secrets of our hearts.
The Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D
Now, it was during the first 500 years or so of the church age many of the fundamentals of the faith were addressed so as to clarify their meaning in general concepts. This clarification came about as a result of attempting to correct and check various false teachings that were circulating at the time. The diverse aberrant views concerning the incarnation were all dealt with one by one. The first error was the teaching which made Christ out to be divine only, rejecting His humanity as a reality. The next was to make Him human only, rejecting His divinity. After which appeared different combinations decreasing His humanity or divinity to some degree. Then there was an acceptance of both His human nature and His divine nature as separate, with each having its own person, ego, in place…two personalities. Finally, a man by the name of Eutyches introduced the doctrine that stated there was indeed only one personality but a mingling of human nature with the divine nature to form a new entity. This teaching, which became known as the Eutychian error, appears to be very close to the understanding presented in your paper "The Godman", as well as the doctrine promoted in the Recovery Version notes. For instance the notes on Ephesians 2:15 states: "…God’s nature was wrought into man to make His divine nature one entity with humanity". Also, "…He (Christ) is the very element of the new man making God’s divine nature one entity with humanity. This, the doctrine of Eutyches, The Council of Chalcedon condemned as error.
Now, the view put forth by the Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D, as a result of the Eutychian error, is:
Christ is one person with a fully divine nature and a fully humane nature.
His natures are
This short statement is concise and essential to a right understanding of the incarnation. So many wrong doctrines are corrected here.
The Eutychian doctrine of mingling, the same with that of the Recovery Version’s teaching of the "Godman", is shown here to be a false understanding of the incarnation. For underlying this doctrine is a contradiction of a basic truth concerning the nature of God - God is unchangeable (Mal 3:6). He can not increase nor decrease in any way; He is absolutely complete, whole; He can not be improved or processed, refined or enhanced; He can not be diminished, impaired, or tarnished. Being unchangeable, He can have no mixture, therefore there cannot be a mixing of the divine and the human to form a new entity, not a half man and half God creature. Therefore, the Council of Chalcedon was right: the Word incarnate is fully man and fully God without mixture, without altering the divine nature, without altering human nature, without a mingling of the natures in His person or outside His person, etc. To form a mingling would be to form a being other than man and therefore would prohibit Jesus Christ to stand in our stead and pay our debt as our kinsman redeemer (as is taught in scripture). It would essentially deny our redemption in Christ. For He was to be made like unto His brethren in all things (Heb.2:17). There is no absorption into God in the incarnation. We are not absorbed into God in our relationship to Christ, nor is God absorbed into us…we do not become God under any scenario of salvation. As T. Austin-Sparks in His Union With Christ page 6 states when dealing with the subject:
" To give all this (our union with Christ) its true and full value, it is necessary to contemplate or have revealed to us the meaning of Christ, to see what an immense thing has taken place by the Son of God becoming the Son of man, by God becoming incarnate. It is a question of our being taken, not into Godhead or Deity, but into God’s Son incarnate."
"We come, to consider the meaning of Christ. Understand that we are underlining the title Christ. That very title carries the significance of a mission. It is not the title of His essential Godhead. Anointing, which is what the word means, is unto a mission. "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth" (Acts x. 38). Let that govern all that will be said, otherwise it might be easy, if you were so inclined, to raise your eyebrows at different points and scant, as you might think, false doctrine. In our consideration of union with Christ, we are keeping a very distinct line between His Deity and His Christhood as Son of man."
Man Becomes God
However, this doctrine of the "Godman", through a mingling of humanity with deity, in fact, teaches man does become God. This cannot be. The Creator and creature distinction must always remain intact. For the one to become the other, in its essential nature, is impossible. A creation must have a Creator and to have a Creator there must be a creation. To do away with the one does away with the other. Our understanding of the incarnation can not violate this principle. Therefore the scriptures states the Word became flesh but it does not state that flesh became the Word. In the incarnation, the Word tabernacles in the flesh He became. It is stated as if He put on humanity, as one would enter a tent. Yet, it is more than that alone, for it is described as taking on a form: "He being in the form of God…took upon Him the form of a servant…being found in fashion as a man". This is indeed a great mystery, how the Creator, the Son of God, put on His creation, becoming Son of Man, while yet remaining the Creator…"whom He appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds". Yet, there is eternally this distinction between deity and humanity, Creator and created, even in the incarnation. Even as an offspring cannot ever become its father neither can its father become the child. Therefore, it is not said that for those in Christ there is a new deity, but there is a new creation, creation standing in counter distinction to Creator.
I’m not sure (maybe you could tell me) but it may be that this doctrine of the "Godman" has behind it the idea that God is being enlarged through a process, or being refined or changed in some way for His betterment. There is a view of God that would conceive Him as being progressive in nature and as such, He is eternally on a mission of self-realization, self-enlargement, and self-improvement. All things, therefore, are understood as having been made in relation to the realization of that purpose…a continuous wheel of existence for God’s self-fulfillment and self-discovery. This however is not the God of the scriptures. The reason behind all creation and all of God’s actions according to scripture, including the incarnation, is not for God’s fulfillment but is because of God’s love. God is complete and in His fullness He is love, perfect and without measure…there can be no more or any addition to, for He is always all. The incarnation is a manifestation of His perfect love in relation to man through His selflessness, His self-emptying and His humility. This scriptural presentation of the incarnation stands in contrast to the doctrine of divine self-fulfillment. It is wrong to understand the eternal purpose of God to be that in which God is attaining something for His own self-gratification, for His own ends of self-realization, with creation as a means to that end. No, again, He is completely, eternally, satisfied and self-content, in need of nothing in Himself or outside Himself. In regards to His creation, He, out of love, self-sacrificially, gives to the creature for the creature’s benefit, fulfillment, and enlargement… but, again, He can not be enlarged in Himself, He is perfect. For Him to be enlarged or refined or enhanced would be to prove He was not perfect; and if He could be improved upon, it would prove He, in fact, would not be God. Therefore, this is unacceptable as a view of the nature of God.
Presented in the Recovery Version of the New Testament are, to my mind, many unacceptable doctrines, rightly considered as error. The fusion of the persons of the Godhead, the annihilation of self and the attainment of deity are three of the more prominent doctrines presented in the notes of this version which seriously alter one’s understanding of the faith. These doctrines inter-link with one another to become a doctrinal system, producing practice and views that will lead one away from fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ unto a mechanistic and methodological preoccupation with supposed spiritual things. That is, by meeting certain criteria, an automatic spiritual event takes place, much like the turning of Buddhist prayer wheels, saying the Catholic Rosary and repeating the Hindu Mantra. The terms employed by followers of these teachings, such as "calling on the name of the Lord"; "pray reading the Word"; "turning to one’s spirit"; "exercising one’s spirit", are examples of this trend. The outcome is a depersonalization of one’s relationship with Christ and the Father and a preoccupation with one’s own spirit in its place. This fixation is evident throughout the pages of the notes in the Recovery Version:
RVNT notes page. 806, "Our regenerated spirit indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This spirit governs, rules, directs, regulates, and leads us in our Christian walk…"
Subtly the believer is directed to look to a part of himself (his own spirit) and not to God through Jesus Christ, thus robbing him of true fellowship with God and truncating the power to live a holy life which comes out of that fellowship. T. Austin Sparks again in his excellent book on man’s nature, What is man, warns against this on page 129:
" When we have fully recognized the nature and faculties of the human spirit, we must ever be watchful against making our spirit the governing factor in our lives. We do not keep our ears open to our spirit. Such procedure would lead us into serious dangers. We must "abide in Christ", not live in our own spirit. For the child of God the Holy Spirit is the Divine indweller of the human spirit, and He has the direction and government of our lives. We shall not escape confusion and confounding if we make anything apart from the Lord Himself our court of appeal or sphere of life."
Man’s spirit is an organ vital to man’s fellowship with God who is also Spirit. Man’s spirit is a means, a channel for communication and fellowship; it does not become the origin of fellowship even after regeneration, but God fellowships with us through our spirit. The regeneration of man’s spirit changes the disposition of man to be that same disposition which was displayed in Christ while on earth. He was humble and dependent on God for all things; not looking to His own spirit for life and righteousness but looking to God the Father. For man’s spirit is a part of man himself and functions in relation to the man as a whole. Even as the human body is the means and channel for man to have contact with physical things, so the spirit of man is the avenue to have contact with the spiritual. One however is not occupied with his body when interacting with the things of this world, but is occupied with the object themselves, whether a person, place or thing. The body falls into line without concentration, if it’s healthy. The hand picks up the book by focusing on the book, not the hand. The boy kisses the girl by focusing on the girl not his own lips, etc. Even so, one is not occupied with his own spirit when fellowshipping with God, but is occupied with God Himself through his spirit. He may indeed be aware of his spirit, as we are aware of our bodies as a sensory communicator, but the focus is on God. The turning is unto God, not a turning unto our spirits…"our Father which art in heaven". Through our regenerated spirits, the Holy Spirit lifts us out of ourselves to have fellowship with the Father and the Son. To be preoccupied with one’s inner self (one’s own spirit), is to turn away from God. Imagine a man who greatly desired to have friends but was taught to run to look at himself in the mirror every time he heard the doorbell or the phone ring. How sad, for that man will never make contact with anyone that way. He will live in an imaginary world talking to his own reflection. So it is with those who are occupied with their own spirit and not God through their spirit. Actually, this error is the practical consequence of the doctrine of "mingling" found in the notes of the Recovery Version. There it is taught that the "Life Giving Spirit", that is, the resurrected Christ as the Triune God, has been mingled with our spirit, so that to be in touch with our spirit is to be in touch with God:
RVNT notes page. 638, "Our spirit has not only been regenerated and made living; it has become life. When we believed in Christ, He as the divine Spirit of life came into our spirit and mingled Himself with it; the two spirits thereby have become one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). Now our spirit is not merely living but is life."
"In God’s justification we have received righteousness, which is the Triune God Himself entering into our being, into our spirit. This righteousness results in life (Rom. 5:18, 21); hence, our spirit has now become life."
Now, in the theology of the Recovery Version, for our spirit to become life, as presented above, is for it to become one with God. However, the scriptures never teach of a union with believers and God, but a union with believers and Christ as Son of Man. It is in His manhood we are joined, not His deity. It is the person of Christ who acts as mediator between God and man, thus proving the distinction between the two.
Christ, however, is both human and divine, as I’ve already stated. How then is it possible to be joined to Him without being joined to His deity? Again, it is only in understanding the incarnation that we can approach this question. As the Council of Chalcedon concluded, Christ was man as well as God, without mixture or change, division or separation. Therefore, we as men can be joined to Christ’s humanity without being joined to His deity. As a magnet joins to iron, so we being human can be joined with Christ’s humanity. However, as a magnet may attract iron, it will never join with gold. So is there ever a distinction between the humanity of Christ and His deity. Christ, nonetheless, is the same person in His divinity as well as His humanity. He is the eternal Son of God. It is He, His person, who is the defining element of the character of divinity, of what the divine is like, and it is He, His person, as the Heavenly Man, that has also defined the character of the new humanity. A new humanity that is made after His likeness in character, thus a divine nature, without becoming deity (which is an impossibility) but remaining human. So it is stated in scripture we as God’s sons are disciplined to become partakers of His holiness (Heb.12:10) but never so stated concerning our becoming partakers of His deity. Praise God, we in Christ as Son of Man, have been begotten of God so as to be children of God as men, not as gods. We as men share in the character and nature of God, in Christ, as it is realized and expressed in humanity. We are moral beings made after the image of God, therefore, we should express the same moral nature of God, but only as is applicable to humanity not deity. Man does not have a creative nature, for example, therefore God’s nature, as Creator, is not expressed in us. Again, man in Christ is neither omnipresent nor all knowing, yet God is. Man shares only in what pertains to humanity in Christ. He does not become God. The teaching of the Recovery Version, where it is stated that in resurrection Christ’s "humanity was uplifted into His divinity" is a wrong understanding of the glorification of Christ as well as His sonship in resurrection.
At the foundation for the Recovery Version’s doctrinal system is a misunderstanding of the nature of the Godhead. Their view is a peculiar version of Modalism, with Modalism being the belief that God is one person presented in different modes, generally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The uniqueness of The Recovery Version’s presentation has to do with the idea that there is a fusion of the persons in the Godhead.
Above are the diagrams of the three persons of the Godhead according to the Recovery Version notes. As is obvious, they are the same. The Father is as the Son, as the Son is as the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit is as the Father. It makes little or no sense and this is brought out plainly when seen as a diagram. The make up of each of the persons of the Trinity includes the fusion of the other two persons, so as to have no distinction between one another. If I were to remove the titles at the foot of each, they would be impossible to differentiate. This idea of the fusion of persons not only makes the Recovery Version’s brand of Modalism peculiar, it makes it very confusing. Since all three persons exist together at one time in each of the persons, and there is no difference between them, yet a union between them, then there is really only one of them. What this leads to logically is an understanding of the incarnation that includes the whole of the Trinity becoming man. And indeed the Recovery Version’s notes states that not only the Son experienced the death of crucifixion but the Father and the Holy Spirit did so as well. All three, being in the person of the Son, partook of the resurrection and ascension also, for all three persons must experience all that the others experience. This fusion actually forms, not three, but the one "all-inclusive" person of the "Triune God"…thus Modalism:
RVNT note page.904, "The God who operates in us is the Triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit – the very God who is Christ in us (2 cor. 13:3a,5) and the Spirit in us (Rom. 8:11). The three – the Spirit, God, and Christ – are one."
As I’ve stated, this is very confusing, as well as very unscriptural. The truth of scripture is that the Father sent the Son to die in our stead. The Father did not experience death and neither did the Holy Spirit…Jesus Christ died for our sins, no other! The biblical view of the Trinity is that each of the persons of the Godhead are distinct one from the other and that unity is in essence of Godhead not in their persons. When the apostle Paul states that in Christ "dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead bodily"(Col. 2:9) he is referring to all that makes up Godhead, all that makes up deity, and it is this fullness which is in Christ. Paul does not mean that all the persons of the Godhead dwell in Christ rather all that makes up each person of the Godhead, making each equally divine, dwelt also in Christ, for He was the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. The scriptures teach a distinctness of persons whether it is in the Trinity or among angels or men. God’s relationship among the persons of the trinity is as one person to another, no fusion of persons. God’s relationship with us is also as one person to another and so is it with Christ and us. The confusion, which is taught in the Recovery Version, where it is understood one’s ego can be fused into another’s so as to become the other person, is unbiblical as well as nonsensical, and leads to wrong ideas of sanctification.
This idea of the fusion of persons, which the Recovery Version promotes, continues in their doctrine of sanctification. In this doctrine, it is taught that one is to be so mingled with the "all-inclusive Life Giving Spirit" that he eventually loses his own identity and becomes the person of Christ:
RVNT note page 934, "Not only is there no natural person in the new man, but there is no possibility and no room for any natural person to exist." ; note page 935, "In the new man there is room only for Christ. He is all the members of the new man and in all the members. He is everything in the new man. Actually, He is the new man,…" ; note page 926, "Christ, who dwells in our spirit to be our life and person, is our hope of glory…" ; note page 899, "He (Paul) and Christ had one life and one living. They lived together as one person…" ; note page 884, "The reality of the name of the Lord is His person. To be in the Lord’s name is to be in His person, in Himself." ; note page 879, "As the Body of Christ, the church needs Christ as its life, whereas as the new man, the church needs Christ as its person." ; note page 629, "…we have an organic union in person, name, life and existence with Christ in His resurrection."
These notes attest that it is these teachers’ notion that the goal of God is to annihilate the believer’s individuality so that the Lord Jesus’ individual personality, ego, might become the believer’s own person, ego. This makes no sense, for who did Christ die for if He is to annihilate as a person all that believe. It makes salvation no salvation at all. The scriptures teach that it is the same "I" that is "fleshy, sold under sin" that is delivered "through Jesus Christ our Lord" Rom. 7:14-25. Now that makes sense. One can then say "Thank God I am saved!" for he would be saved with the "I" intact. But if the "I" is annihilated, then there is no salvation. Now, if what is meant is only that we have, in the new life received in Christ, a like nature corresponding to Jesus’ in its character and life all would be fine. Then we would know Him, not as our person, but as a person; as a person we can love Him and have fellowship with Him… a relationship… we can know Him as our Lord. This idea of the fusion of persons not only undoes the Trinity but also undoes salvation and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. For if we become the person of Christ, then who is Christ the Lord over?
This teaching naturally leads to a depersonalized spiritual walk. What I mean is it leads one to look to the Lord not as a person but to look to one’s own spirit and mind thinking that in them, one has the mind and the person of Christ:
RVNT notes page 639, "The leading of the Spirit is not outward but inward, and is composed of the law of the Spirit of life, the Spirit, and the life…being led by the Spirit rather than of the Spirit’s leading us, indicating that although the Spirit is ready to lead us, we must take the initiative to be led by Him. This means that we must take Him as our life and everything and that we must put to death everything of the old creation in us. We do not need to seek after the Spirit’s leading, since it is already present within us, dwelling in our regenerated spirit. If we live under this leading, we will walk and behave in a way that proves that we are God’s sons." ; note page 641, "This is not the mind of the Spirit that is independent of us. It is the mind of the Spirit that has been mingled with our mind and has become a part of our heart. The Spirit not only has mingled Himself with our spirit; He has also mingled His mind with our mind."
So here we are told again, the relationship we have with God is one and the same relationship we have with our own mind and our own spirit. The doctrine of the mingling has effectively done away with God in relation to us and we in relation to Him.
The Recovery Version also deals with the doctrine of transformation, which equates to the salvation of the soul in contrast to the salvation of the spirit. Therefore, transformation is the process of sanctification. Now sanctification, according to the scriptures, is a matter of holiness and moral cleanliness:
Finally then, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as ye received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, even as you do walk, that ye abound more and more. For ye know what charge we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the passion of lust, even as the Gentiles who know not God;…For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification. I Thess. 4:1-7
Simple but amazing sanctification is a partaking of God’s holiness through a process of obedience. Not an obedience in our own strength but in faith in the enabling of God through Christ. But what is mandatory is that one choose as a free moral agent to do right while looking to Christ. And what is right in the case of sanctification is that one obey God; obedience originating from our relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord. Our choosing of righteousness, goodness, faithfulness, etc. all out of our relationship with our Lord is the issue behind sanctification. Whereas righteousness is an absolute, it nonetheless is relative to each created being as to how it is realized and portrayed…even man makes distinctions between what is expected of children as compared to adults. In regards to man, who was created as a moral being, the first and highest righteous obligation is obedience to God his Creator. Everything else in regards to righteousness stems from that. Therefore, to God each person will give answer concerning disobedience and immorality, because all righteousness is in relation to Him the Righteous One.
The teaching that states that we are to live now in an amoral state in Christ is a false teaching. The fact that Christ in His humanity was praised and rewarded above His fellows because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity (Heb. 1:9) should be proof enough that man is a moral being, expected by God to love righteousness. However, this doctrine of transformation is founded on the bases of an amoral footing. For these teachers would have us understand our walk is without consideration as to whether something is right or wrong but only if one is operating out of his soul or his spirit:
"The matter of experiencing Christ and God’s salvation is absolutely different from religion. It is not a matter of right or wrong, but of living and doing things in the soul or in the spirit. This mark has been missed and even lost by Christianity. The Lord is going to recover this mark today, for it is the "key" to all things."
"We must only discern whether we are in the spirit or in the soul in everything we do or say. It is not a matter of right or wrong and good and evil, but a question of Christ or self, spirit or soul. We must discern whether our whole life and daily walk is in our spirit."
From Witness Lee’s The Key to Experiencing Christ – The Human Spirit
Again, the outcome is that one does not have a relationship with Jesus as Lord but in place of that, a looking to one’s own inwardness. By a subjective evaluation of what one determines as emerging from his soul verses his spirit one concludes as to whether they are in union with God or not. As a result, we are off moral ground and now any action or thought is possible. For if one believes it is God in him dictating action, and has not a moral compass for his conscience to register with, he is likely to go off, very far off, not to speak of, go mad.
Well then, if it is not through the moral choosing of righteousness in obedience to God one is sanctified, how does it come about according to these teachers? They teach that the process of transformation is by absorption of divine life through saturation …an amoral, impersonal procedure:
RVNT page 673, "The Divine Trinity’s divine dispensing in our spirit, soul, and body causes these parts to be saturated with the processed divine life, with the result that our entire being is completely united with the processed Triune God and mingled with Him as one."; Page 656, "Transformation is the inward, metabolic process in which God works to spread His divine life and nature through out every part of our being, particularly our soul, bringing as our new element and causing our old, natural element to be gradually discharged. As a result, we will be transformed into His image,…" ; page 887, "To be holy is to be saturated with Christ and transformed by Christ, and to be without blemish is to be spotless and without wrinkle, having nothing of the natural life of our old man".
There is the consistent bent in this doctrine of mingling to depersonalize our relationship with God and Christ substituting for it a supposed influence of "life". But life is never realized in us outside of the person of Jesus Christ. Life is not absorbed nor transmitted through the impersonal process of saturation. We are to know Him, person to person, and not as a thing or influence. This is what the scriptures teach in regards to our receiving life. To have fellowship broken because of unrepentant sin is to have our experience of life diminish because our relationship with Him is diminished. For He is the life and the life we receive is through our union with Him. Not, however, a union as conceived by these teachers, a union through mingling, but a union through joining, as two people join by holding hands or by kissing one another. It is a union that accentuates the distinctiveness of individuality, a love union, as persons sharing with one another, like a marriage union:
"And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and Him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. Jn 17:3
We are to abide in knowing Christ through a faith relationship with Him. What will break off our abiding is our sins, our immorality, and our lust. These are moral issues and as stated above bring us into conflict with the righteous God, therefore:
"If we say that we fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…" I Jn 1:6
"…he that keepeth His commandments abideth in Him, and He in him." I Jn 3:24ff
What these teachers are saying is that all one needs to do is look within, to one’s own spirit, to be assured one is abiding, making one’s own subjective evaluation the criteria. The scriptures are much in conflict with this line of thinking. For we are led by the Spirit knowing the Spirit is righteous and can not do evil. In fact, it is on a moral basis we are to judge whether or not a spirit is the Holy Spirit (I Jn 4:2-3); and whether or not prophets are true (I Jn 3:7); even as to whether or not we know Him in actuality. (I Jn 2:3). It is simple enough, if a spirit would have us commit evil, such as murder, it is not the Holy Spirit, for no murderer has the love of God in Him. (To demoralize our relationship with God is to also open us up to spirits other than the Holy Spirit.) The Holy Spirit is just that, holy, and therefore cannot do evil nor lead one to do evil… not into adultery, covetousness, etc. We are to judge these things on moral ground. Our joining to Christ is on such ground as well. Christ could never have us walk contrary to our conscience. He knows we cannot follow Him if we believe it is morally wrong to do so. For us to follow Him, believing He is having us do evil, would be an evil act on our part and God would judge us for doing so. He must first enlighten us so we can obey Him. For us to try and make ourselves amoral beings by refusing to discern good and evil is to make us subhuman, incapable of love, goodness, faithfulness, etc. To do so robs God of every thing He desires to obtain in man.
It is true we are to be subservient to God in all things, not making decisions for direction in our lives on the basis of what we think is good for us but we are to follow His leading in all things. His leading however is in the full context of righteousness. It is because we believe God is good that we can unreservedly surrender our wills to Him without violation of our conscience. But this can only be done on the assurance that the spirit leading us is the Holy Spirit. And the only way we can ascertain this is by a moral test: does the spirit hold true to the truth concerning Jesus, His Lordship, His coming in the flesh, His bodily resurrection, etc? The character of His nature must hold true: he that says he abides in God and loves not his brother is not displaying the Spirit but possibly another spirit. So to make disenment as to whether or not one is in the Spirit apart from a moral context, that is, by discerning if one is in his spirit vs. his soul, is to discern incorrectly. For the scripture states the criteria for discernment as to whether or not one is in the Spirit is a moral one. There will not be sin in one’s heart who is abiding in Christ but in its place will be love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control. For one abiding in the flesh there will be moral evidence as well: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envying, drunkenness, reveling, and the like. Since we are instructed in scripture to put off the old man in correlation with putting away our evil thoughts and actions and to put on the new man in like manner but with good thoughts and actions (Eph 4:22-5:16 and Col 3:5-15), it is, therefore, in a moral context we know Christ. Outside of a moral context we know nothing.
Lee’s Key to Everything is peculiarly absent of any reference to God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. This is revealing to me. After all that has been said, after so much spiritual talk, man’s spirit by way of mingling ends up the all important "key to everything": Man’s spirit is what we are instructed to turn to, not God’s Spirit. Man’s spirit becomes the hub to which, as the point of origination and transfer of Divine life, we are to look. How can it be so stated and not cause alarm at the seeming displacement of God as the center of all things? Is it not because one has been conditioned to accept it? Is it not because it was during a process of indoctrination, where slowly a theology was created in an atmosphere of innocence and trust on the learner’s part, that the Holy Spirit’s objection was muffled? This theology leads to the unthinkable – man becomes God. This theology that instructs us to look to our own spirit as God is not the truth but a lie. The transference of divine life is not from our spirits but from Christ. We become partakers but never originators of that life. Our joining with Christ is one that is known and realized in clear distinction of persons. We do not lose our individuality but we become distinctly aware of the difference between the Lord Jesus Christ and ourselves in our relationship with Him.
Now, because of my love for you, I have given myself to this subject for a considerable amount of time. It was my intention to come to an understanding of what you were teaching. I wanted to know if there was truth in what you had shared. I have gone before the Lord desiring to know the truth. I have now presented what I believe to have been shown me by the Holy Spirit concerning these doctrines. Though there is yet a lot more that I could address, I think what I’ve written should suffice. I ask only that you would be open to the Lord as you contemplate what I have written and that you would do so in the same sincere manner as I have.
In His Great Love,