Monday, October 23, 2006

Response from the church in Cleveland

The beat goes on. The church in Cleveland recently posted this letter on their website concerning the "quarantining" (read: excommunication) of Titus Chu:

An Open Response
To the Signers of the Letter of Warning Dated October 1, 2006
From the Elders of the Church in Cleveland
October 18, 2006

We feel very grieved that the action you have taken – quarantining Brother Titus Chu, his close co-workers, leading ones with them, and any who might echo their genuine concerns for the churches – is most shameful, and even worse, one which we believe is divisive. We feel especially sorrowful that you have rejected the avenue of face to face fellowship desired by us and which was requested both by our brother Titus Chu and ourselves numerous times. This course of parting which you have taken is not one which we would have ever chosen, nor can we in any way endorse, since it is one which we believe is divisive, and will separate you and us from one another and from many pure lovers and seekers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We feel very grieved that the consequences of your action will be more damaging and far reaching than what you have intended or considered.

It is very clear from your letter that there is a divergence in views and understandings regarding a number of points, none of which we consider essential to our faith, and none which warrant such a drastic action. They are items which we have felt and continue to feel need much fellowship, prayer, and searching of the scriptures together. It is unfortunate that you cannot open yourselves to such a basic scriptural practice, but instead label any who desire such fellowship as dissenters.

Your statement, “...the entire ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, which is the New Testament ministry”, expresses your understanding. While we acknowledge that the ministries of Brother Nee and Brother Lee have been vital to the churches and of great use to the Lord and His move for all believers in this age, we are compelled according to truth to acknowledge other servants of the Lord, including Brother Titus Chu, as also having a significant portion in the New Testament ministry. No minister or group of ministers in themselves equal the New Testament ministry.

Furthermore, we fully reject your assertions that Brother Titus’s labor, views, ministry, teachings and practices have caused division and are contrary to “the ministry which produced the Lord’s recovery and continues to supply the recovery and lead it on.” As you well know, Brother Titus raised up the Church in Cleveland as well as many other churches throughout our area and elsewhere. We have known him and have witnessed the fruit of his ministry and labor for 30+ years. He has consistently brought us to Christ, to His economy, to the Spirit, to the Bible, to the riches of those who have gone before, to the profound depths of the ministries of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, to the riches in the saints throughout the churches, to the precious experiences to be enjoyed in the local church life, and we can not exhaust in such a listing the helps we have received from our brother. We definitely reject your assertion that he is divisive and believe that many of your accusations are not only false and slanderous, but your interpretations and baseless conclusions are intentionally skewed to influence the readers.

We have observed over the years, even contrary to your statements, the desire and intention on the part of certain brothers to purge Brother Titus. In one specific instance a number of years ago, Benson Phillips, in a telephone conversation with Bill Barker, stated such when he spoke very definitely of his desire to purge Brother Titus. By the action you have now taken, we know it was never in your hearts to grant our requests for fellowship and prayer to address and resolve the concerns which we detailed in our previous correspondences to you. Rather, we now understand that our points of concern left you unaffected and that you intentionally avoided responding in order to gain the time you needed to come to this point.

Because of these – your longstanding intention to purge Brother Titus, your purposeful maligning of him and his labor, certain false and twisted reasonings which are the basis of a number of your points, your rejections of our requests for fellowship, and the divisive consequences of your letter – we do not respect your current edict, issued in the warning letter of October 1, 2006, and posted on the internet, nor will we honor or adhere to its requirements.

It is our firm intention and stand to continue steadfastly in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles by holding to truth in love, acknowledging the Bible as our first and topmost authority. We will continue to love, enjoy, and embrace the writings of our brothers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, and will continue to lead the saints we serve to know them and their riches. We will also continue to fully receive our Brother Titus Chu and his ministry, as both our doors and our hearts are open to the rich constitution the Lord has gained in him. We feel sorry that you have chosen to attempt to deny so many dear saints throughout the churches the same opportunity.

It is our sincere hope that in the future the Lord will grant you all an enlarged heart and a deep trust and confidence to the anointing Spirit within the saints, whereby they know and abide in Him and recognize and receive all the gifts that Christ in His ascension has given to His Body for our nourishment, growth and perfection.

It is signed by David R. Bixler, Timothy H. Miller, Paul B. Neider, and James H.C. Yang.

Now why do I keep banging this drum? To answer that question, let me tell you a story. The year is 1985. I am in my second year at Lorain County Community College (LCCC). One of the college organizations is a Bible study group, and in that group I meet a Christian brother named Olvin Smith. We spend a long time talking one day, and the next week he invites me to a meeting. Being the Bible study connoisseur that I am, I accept his invitation, and that evening find myself in the home of Tim and Connie Miller. We sing some vibrant songs, we share our experiences of the Lord, and we eat from the rich feast that is the Word of God. It was wonderful, and I continued to enjoy the fellowship of this group of Christians, to the point that when they extended an invitation to me to be baptized by immersion, I accepted.

Was I wrong to be baptized a second time? You know, I don't even care to visit the issue. What I will say is that a sacrament that I was too young to fully appreciate suddenly had meaning for me. Where once I had the form, I now had the reality. Not that the reality can't be known in the place where I encountered the form, but for me it was lacking, so I had to look elsewhere and carry it back.

The Tim Miller whose home became a banqueting hall is the Timothy H. Miller whose name appears at the end of the document I reproduced. I only recently heard from Tim for the first time in 20 years, but the Tim I remember is one who loved the Lord, and indeed still does. Tim isn't a divisive individual, and Titus is not one either. I'm sorry Living Stream Ministry felt the need to cut Titus off, and I hope that someday they will repent of this decision.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

tim was an ok guy.

1:18 AM  

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