Rom. 16:17 - Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them.

2 Tim. 2:25 - In meekness correcting those who oppose, if perhaps God may give them repentance unto the full knowledge of the truth.

Note 33 - Rivalry in the Work and Opposition to the Churches, Ministry, and Work in the Lord's Recovery

See the following notes for examples of Brother Dong's independent and rival work in: Africa - 82; Europe - 83; Japan - 84; North America - 85; South America - 86. See also note 101 regarding criticism of the full-time trainings.

Letter of warning to the saints in the churches throughout Spain, February 8, 2009:

In 2005 Brother Fernando Aguera arrived in Madrid. Since that time he and others representing Brother Dong's work have been aggressively promoting the different teachings of Dong Yu Lan in rivalry with the general ministry and work in the Lord's recovery. This work has been carried out in spite of specific requests from the brothers in Madrid to Fernando that he stop and his assurances that he would stop.

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Letter of warning to the saints and churches in the Lord's recovery in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, April 2, 2009:

In 2006, Alex Kemmer, who was active in Stuttgart in promoting Brother Dong's work, was joined by his brother Robinson Kemmer, another of Brother Dong's workers. On August 6, 2006, Robinson spoke loudly and insistently several times during the Lord's table meeting in Regensdorf and attempted to direct the saints to sing the hymns in the way associated with Brother Dong's work. Robinson attempted to extend the singing into the prophesying meeting and had to be asked to stop. It was evident to the saints that he was promoting the practices of Dong Yu Lan's work by his speaking and his attitude. During the afternoon meeting when a video message was shown, Robinson sat at the back of the room and made loud comments in English indicating what he "could" and "could not take." His dissension and his actions bothered many of the saints and disrupted the church meetings.

In Stuttgart on November 26, 2006, both Alex and Robinson openly and publicly dissented against and contradicted the speaking of the brothers in the prophesying meeting, particularly matters related to the ministry of the age. Robinson strongly attacked the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee as "dead, dead, dead!" Up until that time Alex and Robinson had privately urged some of the leading ones in the church to include Brother Dong's Daily Food along with The Holy Word for Morning Revival for the saints' use, to stop ordering literature for the church from Living Stream Ministry, and to add postings of events related to Brother Dong's work to the church's prayer list notices. At the November 26 meeting, the Kemmers' strong and public dissent in opposition to the ministry of the age helped many saints in Stuttgart to realize that Alex and Robinson were promoting Brother Dong's work in rivalry to the general ministry received by the churches throughout the earth. Shortly after this the Kemmers withdrew from the fellowship of the church in Stuttgart.

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Scheduling conflicting conferences

See note 117.

Criticizing the co-workers' desire to be faithful to and follow the principles of Brother Lee's ministry

Personal Testimony of Laerte Salvador, June 18, 2008:

During this timeframe [2004], Pedro (Peter) Dong frequently said that in the blended brothers meeting, when an issue is raised or a decision must be made, the blended brothers normally say, "Let's hear what Brother Lee says." Then one of the brothers would check Brother Lee's books. Peter said that nothing was decided without checking what Brother Lee had spoken on the subject. Peter Dong also often referred to a fellowship he had with Joe Davis at Big Bear. Concerning a certain matter, Joe Davis told Peter Dong, "I need to be faithful to Brother Lee, because otherwise how would I face Brother Lee?" According to Peter Dong, Joe Davis gave the impression that Brother Lee is observing the blended brothers today and that at the judgment seat of Christ they would have to give an account to Brother Lee.

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Personal Testimony of Laerte Salvador, June 18, 2008:

In one of the co-workers' meetings at the February 2005 International Conference in Estancia Arvore da Vida, Peter Dong used the illustration of the movie Ben Hur to accuse the North American co-workers of practicing idolatry toward Brother Lee. In the movie, after Ben Hur was killed in a battle, his dead body was propped up in his war chariot in the front of the army to give the impression that he was still alive in order to inspire the soldiers to fight. Pedro Dong said that the blended brothers use Brother Lee in the same way. Brother Lee had already passed away to be with the Lord, but even though Brother Lee has already died, the blended brothers speak as though he was still alive.

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Helcio Almeida, Perfecting Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, May 30, 2008:

Later, again, Paul used this saying "because David served his own generation," showing that the ministry is while a person is living. After he went to be with the Lord, the ministry is in the living members. There is no way for us to try to follow the ministry of Brother Lee; we are going to follow the members who are living, that the Lord raised up. They are those who will give the testimony and need the seal for their apostleship. Because to say that we follow Witness Lee—everybody can say that. But are we followers of Witness Lee? Is this so? Witness Lee was a brother in the church and we received much help from him; but the Lord took him and now the ministry has been entrusted to the living members of the Body.

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Brother Dong's co-workers have gone further to claim that the direction of the Lord's recovery needed to be corrected by them following Brother Lee's passing.

Helcio Almeida, Perfecting Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, May 9, 2008:

Finally we saw the up-to-date word. Amen! From 98 until today, this is what the Lord has given us. The Lord has given us many items that are on one hand to correct the path of the recovery and on the other hand for us to advance till He comes.

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Helcio Almeida, Perfecting Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, May 30, 2008:

Since 97 to now, since Brother Lee went to be with the Lord, we have considered how to effectively realize what the Lord has done and evidently, with the passing away of Brother Lee, to initiate a new stage in God's move and in the very word of God. So, we see a correction and a new direction of the Spirit. We have seen the deficiencies in the recovery and we were able to realize, based on what the Lord produced since 98 up to now, exactly what is the correction and also the burden to bring us to complete the work of the building up.

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Criticizing the Practices of the Churches in Taiwan

Dong Yu Lan, Conference in Piracicaba, Brazil, September 29, 2007, Message 1:

We have six young brothers who went to Taiwan for their gospel move, with the view to learning from them concerning preaching the gospel. I will not go into detail, but I am very disappointed. Instead of pray-reading the verses in the Bible, they only pray-read the footnotes in the Recovery Version. What a pity! The Bible is the Word of God. When we pray-read it, we see Brother Lee's light and are filled with Brother Lee's riches. They pray-read the footnotes in the Recovery Version just like other the books of Confucius; however you read them, you will not touch the Spirit. You will only get knowledge in your mind, but no Spirit whatsoever.

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Dong Yu Lan, Conference in Santiago, Chile, July 14, 2007:

They [Paul Wu and Lin Horng] had never released their spirit. In Taiwan, all the meetings are led by the elders. So, when they saw us releasing our spirit, they also released their spirit. They said, "Why did the United States say that you were not the church? You are the genuine church, more church than the church." This is the church that Brother Nee and Brother Lee longed for in their times.

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Dong Yu Lan, International Conference at Estância Árvore da Vida, September 3, 2006, Message 3:

Today we were reading a book of words spoken by Brother Lee in 1994. He was eager that the brothers exercise their spirit by calling on the name of the Lord. And he spoke a word about his concern with North America and the Far East. And he commented, saying that if there is not a proper release of the spirit, the condition would fall into Sardis and Laodicea. He was very much concerned with these two regions of the earth. But the point is: did the brothers take this word to put it into practice? Even up to now, we can see that they didn't mean business with this word. Actually, his concern arose after he came to Brazil and what he saw here; then he wanted to bring what he saw here to North America and also to the Far East. But the brothers didn't receive it.

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Asserting leadership

Pedro Dong, Regional Service Brothers' Meeting, São Paulo, Brazil, July 3, 2007:

What do they say that the unique ministry should be? It is to follow Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. But both Watchmen Nee and Witness Lee have already passed on to the Lord, so whom do we follow? It is to follow those who present themselves as the continuation of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee's ministry. Brothers, there is no succession by artificial and human means; the Lord is the one who commissions people. When there is commission, then there is the ministry that the Lord delegates to a certain person to carry out. If there is no commission, brothers, then it is not by a group of teachers, no, that merely compile messages using the messages of Brothers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. When they compile messages, what do they make themselves? The continuation of this ministry? Brothers, there is no such thing. Yes, the Lord set up the leadership in the work, in the church firstly to the apostles and secondly to the prophets; you can read this in 1 Cor. 14...

So then, brothers, the leadership in the work, the leadership in the churches, was given to the apostles. But who is an apostle? An apostle is a person sent by God, commissioned by God. And how can you distinguish, discern whether one is or is not an apostle? By the churches that he raises up. Is this not so? By the fruits. Paul said, "I may not be an apostle for others, but for you, O Corinthians, I am an apostle because I begot you in Christ. You are the credential of my apostleship; you are the fruit of my apostleship, the fruit of my work." So, who is an apostle? The apostle generates churches.

Brothers, unfortunately these persons who work on these messages end up taking the lead in the Lord's recovery. Brothers, Ephesians 2:20, yes, read it, "Being built up upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets." Here it doesn't say apostles, prophets and teachers. No, it says apostles and prophets. So, who are the apostles? The apostles are those that the Lord raised up and commissioned, am I right? Called to raise up churches, and to preach the gospel to raise up churches. And who are the prophets, brothers? Prophets are those to whom the Lord gives revelation of the Word. Prophets are not those who compile messages; they are persons to whom the Lord speaks and reveals His word. Do you understand, brothers? And who are the teachers? The teachers are those who get the apostle's and prophet's word and explain it to the people of God. Therefore, those who compile the messages, these are the teachers. So, the teachers do not take the lead in the work.

But today it is inverted; the teachers are taking the lead in the work and are claiming to be the unique leadership of the unique ministry, the unique speaking in the world. Brothers, it is not one speaking. Here there is no unique speaking, sorry to say; there is only logos, there is no rhema. If you are one who only compiles messages and does not have the revelation of God and the commission of God for this, there will be no rhema. Do you understand or not? There is logos; you work with logos. But there is no rhema, because that work does not have the Lord's speaking; the Lord has not entrusted this kind of person to bring a living speaking. Therefore, brothers, this point must be very clear.

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Dong Yu Lan, Conference in Piracicaba, Brazil, September 30, 2007, Message 2:

Teachers of the truth, however, must stay within the bounds of their position of expounding the Bible. They can use Urim and Thummim to determine the meaning of the word of God, but they ought not to interfere with the administrative affairs of the church. Their status in the church comes under the apostles, the prophets, and the evangelists. They are established to only teach the truth. They should not be the leadership in the church. Ephesians 2 tells us that the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets rather than of the teachers. Some people obviously have only the ministry of the teachers. They were told by Brother Lee plainly that they could only do the work of the teachers and nothing else. You can only make a teacher, not an apostle or a prophet. Now there are some churches being built upon the foundation of the teachers. This is abnormal. But we do all things according to the Lord's word. All the teachings come from the teachers. The teaching of Jezebel is illustrated by the leaven of the woman added into the meal.

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Helcio Almeida, Perfecting Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, May 30, 2008:

The apostles and prophets take the lead in the church because they have the word, the rhema. This is a characteristic of the apostles and of the prophets. Maybe the difference between them is that the apostle speaks to the churches and the prophets speak to the church. But the great instrument that promotes God's move is the instant word, is the revelation of the word. Maybe that is why the apostles do not use an "outline;" their "outline" is the Word of God. But the teachers are not this way; the teachers need to use an "outline" because the teacher is limited in the revelation that the Lord has given to the apostles and for the prophets. Then, in the third place are the teachers because the teachers, they come with the word of knowledge, they have the capacity, they have eloquence to be able to give understanding of the revelation that was given to the apostles and to the prophets.

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Disseminating Poisonous Writings

On August 18 and 19, 2005, approximately five weeks after the booklet Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery was released, Ezra Ma sent out two e-mails (E-mail from Ezra Ma with Nigel Tomes' article attached, August 18, 2005; and E-mail from Ezra Ma with 4 dissenting articles attached) with a total of five attachments to an undisclosed recipient list. The attachments included:

  • A nine-page statement by Nigel Tomes, in which the author makes several accusations against the principle of one publication, calling it "a public policy, mandated upon the saints and the local churches," comparing it to the practice of Roman Catholicism, and questioning the legality and ethics of LSM's stand (Nigel Tomes, Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery - Review and Response, August 2005).
  • A revision of Tomes' nine-page statement (Nigel Tomes, Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery - Analysis and Response).
  • An anonymous document that attributes Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery to LSM and attempts to use the words of Brother Nee and Brother Lee to refute the principle of one publication (Concerning the LSM Promulgation dated June 30, 2005).
  • An anonymous document from Toronto attacking LSM ("Points to Fellowship regarding the pamphlet 'Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery'," July 2005).
  • A Portuguese translation of the booklet Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery (see " A Obra de Publicação na Restauração do Senhor").

Ezra included his own dissenting comments in the e-mails that accompanied the divisive writings. He wrote :

The co-workers and the elders of the Great Lakes region and of the Boston region have decided not to stay quiet anymore, and are producing documents to show the 'deviation' practiced by brothers connected to LSM: deviations from the New Testament practice according to the Bible's revelation and deviations from what even brothers Nee and Lee have taught us. (E-mail from Ezra Ma to an undisclosed recipient list, August 19, 2005)

He further promised that the chronology he was working on concerning matters related to one publication would be sent to "all the co-workers," referring to those co-workers who follow Brother Dong's "orientation." (E-mail from Ezra Ma to an undisclosed recipient list, August 19, 2005)

As a result of Ezra Ma's circulation of the dissenting writings via e-mail, LSM withdrew its offer to him to join the Portuguese Recovery Version translation team (Letter to Ezra Ma from Living Stream Ministry, August 31, 2005).

In an effort to spread the same dissenting writings beyond South America, Ezra charged a brother traveling back home to Japan, "Show these to the elders in Japan." ("A Statement Concerning Ezra Ma's Attempt to Turn the Churches in Japan Against LSM," Andy Tsuyoshi Kusagawa and Carlos Kenji Endo, November 3, 2007)

In mid-2007 Editora Árvore da Vida sent an e-mail (E-mail from Editora Árvore da Vida, June 22, 2007) to an undisclosed recipient list with links to two postings on, a website operated by a group of dissenting brothers associated with Titus Chu in the Midwest area of the United States:

  • An open letter from Sergei Kuznetsov, a dissenting brother in Russia (Open Letter from Sergei Kuznetsov criticizing Benson Phillips). The author of this letter is a brother who formerly served with BBD (Bible Book Depot), the Russian branch of LSM in Moscow. The letter is addressed to Benson Phillips, but it is an open letter intended for public reading. In it the author accuses the blended brothers, and particularly Brother Benson, of imposing "the most exclusive and sectarian way" that he claims ever to have seen. Further, he denounces the "unscriptural teachings" propagated by the blended brothers, and he labels the local churches in the Lord's recovery as "LSM churches." He recounts being influenced by a book by Titus Chu and an article by Nigel Tomes.
  • Nigel Tomes' "Analysis & Response".

On the same day, Ezra Ma sent Sergei Kuznetsov's open letter to a brother with the following statement:

Feel free to propagate the letter, with discernment, wherever it is necessary. The content may be made public as a means of immunization and confirmation that the judicial way is not what the Spirit wants. (E-mail from Ezra Ma, June 22, 2007)

According to Juan Rubilar and Miguel Angel Lagos, leading ones in the work in southern Chile, the materials from Nigel Tomes and Sergei Kuznetsov were read numerous times in different places by Ezra Ma, Miguel Ma, and Pedro Dong, and the material was widely distributed. (Interview with Juan Rubilar and Miguel Angel Lagos).

In a letter to Ezra Ma, Benson Phillips conveyed the following report he received from a brother:

The churches in Ecuador have received Nigel's letter regarding the publication work in Spanish (and apparently other related material as well). This material is being distributed widely to the leading ones and the saints. (Letter from Benson Phillips to Ezra Ma, December 11, 2005)

On July 3, 2007, in a meeting with approximately 170 serving brothers in São Paulo, Pedro Dong read Sergei Kuznetsov's letter in its entirety.

Many of the issues raised in these dissenting writings had already been thoroughly answered on the Web site by the time Ezra and other co-workers of Brother Dong spread them throughout South America and abroad. A brief summary of these responses is available in the article " Answers to 23 Questions Posted on the Internet and Circulated in South America" on this Web site.

Misrepresenting the Speaking of Ron Kangas

In a November 2007 fellowship in Taiwan, a group of Brother Dong's co-workers attempted to sow discord between the co-workers from Taiwan and North America. In the meetings held there they made many false representations regarding things they claimed the North American co-workers had said or done. Two particular cases involved the speaking of Brother Ron Kangas in South America.

1st case

Ezra Ma, Meeting with co-workers in Taipei, November 6, 2007, Meeting 2:

I have with me the six messages spoken by Ron Kangas in Peru. You all should listen to them. I would also request that DCP listen to them and check if what he said in these messages is the same as what Brother Lee said. He denied that the churches in South America were churches. He said, 'The father of the churches is the Body. The churches in South America are not acknowledged by the father, because the DNA test has shown that they are not real sons. They are illegal children.' Not so much ministering the word of the Lord, mostly criticizing and attacking.

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Brother Ron did not say what Ezra reported that he said. He did not mention South America, but Southern California. What Brother Ron actually said was this:

There are some brothers in Southern California that did not accept the quarantine given by the blended brothers [concerning Titus Chu], and they have pulled out of a local church; they have removed themselves. Now they're in another locality. They say, "We're the church; we're the church that doesn't honor the quarantine. We're a church that will receive this brother. We have the ground of the church." Actually, they do not have the ground, and the Body-father will say, "That's not my child. I'm not the father of that. Do DNA testing. I have no organic relationship with that. Don't attribute that to me; that's not my son." And so the Body will say that's a sect. More is involved with the ground of the church than simply the locality where you are. Remember, it's the ground of oneness, and oneness is inclusive; oneness involves God, the Body. It's a serious thing to apply the ground of the church in an impure way. It may be less serious for you to establish a gambling casino than to do that. If you establish a gambling casino, you sin against God's holiness. But if you start a church in that way, you sin against God's government. (Ron Kangas, International Blending Conference, Lima, Peru, August 17-19, 2007, Message 2)

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Ezra questioned whether or not Brother Lee ever spoke along this line. He did, as the following excerpt demonstrates:

We need to see the profit of the Body to the local churches and the profit of the local churches to the Body. We can use a family as an illustration of this. On the one hand, the father is for the members of His family, and on the other hand, the members of the family are for the father. If we do not have a father, we are orphans. An orphan does not receive the profit, the benefit, from a father, so he suffers a lot. But a man who does not have any children also suffers. This is a good illustration of how the Body of Christ is the source of the local churches. Such a universal Body is like the father to all the churches, and all the churches are like the children to the father. ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , p. 33)

2nd case

Ezra Ma, Meeting with co-workers in Taipei, November 6, 2007, Meeting 2:

That said, our first question for the blending co-workers in Anaheim is this: do they acknowledge that we in South America are the churches in the Lord's recovery today? Those who went out said that we were not the churches but a denomination because they were told so by Anaheim. Therefore, our first question is whether or not the co-workers in Anaheim acknowledge that we are the churches in the recovery. If they do, first, we would request that Ron Kangas retract what he said in Quito, [Ecuador,] that the tables in South America are not qualified. Second, we would request that the blending co-workers in Anaheim write an open letter stating that the churches in South America are the churches in the Lord's recovery. Then we can sit down and have fellowship together.

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On June 4, 2005, twenty-one co-workers wrote a letter to Brother Dong to express their concern over many matters concerning the work in South America. In the concluding paragraph of their letter, they wrote, "Finally, Brother Dong, in bringing all these matters to you, we do not at all deny that the churches in South America are genuine local churches and that all of you are part of the Lord's recovery today. We joyfully maintain that you and we are the churches in the Lord's recovery over the entire earth." (Letter from 21 blended co-workers to Dong Yu Lan, June 4, 2005)

Brother Ron Kangas did not say that the Lord's table meetings in South America are not qualified to be genuine Lord's table meetings. Rather, he shared in principle, referring the practice of limiting fellowship to only those in a particular locality or a particular region as something that does not match the nature of the universal fellowship of the Body of Christ and hence does not match the testimony of our fellowship in the one Body of Christ symbolized in the Lord's table:

The key word here is fellowship. Let's say there is a group of believers in a city somewhere, and they say that they're the church. They claim to be the local church, so they insist that they are the church in that locality. So they begin to have the Lord's table meeting, but there's a problem. They do not fellowship with all the churches on the earth. Suppose this is a church in Africa, and some may say you should fellowship with all the churches in Africa. That's all. Because Africa is a separate continent, you don't need to fellowship with Australia or Asia or South America or Europe or North America. These believers are not qualified to have the Lord's table meeting.

The bread is the fellowship of the Body of Christ. But their fellowship is not the fellowship of the Body of Christ. They have a small local fellowship, or they have an African fellowship, but they do not have the fellowship of the Body. If I were visiting them and I attended the Lord's table meeting and I knew their situation I would not partake of the bread. Why? Because that bread is not the Body of Christ. That bread is sectarian bread. I cannot partake of that bread. Don't think that just being in a locality qualifies you to have the Lord's table. Let me ask you a very frank and practical question. You're meeting in your place and the leading brothers declare, "We do not have fellowship with the churches in North America. We only have fellowship with the churches down here." This is very serious. That means the bread on the table is South American bread. It's not the Body of Christ. Do you know what a local church is? A local church is a local expression of the universal Body of Christ.... If those [groups] claim to be a local church, but they are not open to have fellowship with all the local churches, they are not a local church. They are a local church sect. They do not have the fellowship of the Body of Christ.

The apostle Paul was crystal clear. Of course there should not be divisions in Corinth but there should not be divisions anywhere. Suppose a group of believers are in a city and they say, "We're the church here," and, "We can break bread," and, "We are qualified to do this because we follow the orientation of a certain apostle." Is that according to the truth? It is not according to the truth. That concept makes a person the ground of the church. Remember, in Acts they followed the apostles' teaching. All genuine apostles teach the same thing! All genuine apostles are in the fellowship of the apostles, which is the fellowship of the Body. The Lord's table meeting is a feast of fellowship. (Ron Kangas, Conference in Quito, Ecuador, January 25, 2007)

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Brother Ron's speaking faithfully presented principles that should goven our fellowship in the Body of Christ and our practice of the Lord's table. If his speaking was wrong concerning the truth, that should have been pointed out to him by those with concerns. It was not. If, on the other hand, his speaking was accurate concerning the truth and the practice of Brother Dong's co-workers was not according to the truth, they should have adjusted their practice. They did not.

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