Note 97 - False Accusations Against Living Stream Ministry
Living Stream Ministry (LSM) was established by Brother Lee to publish the ministry of Brother Watchman Nee and himself. It is and always has been a publishing operation.
The Living Stream Ministry office is only a business office to serve my ministry for two things: to publish the messages in book form and to distribute these messages in both video and audio tapes. That is all the ministry office should do and nothing else. I did not have much time to check on everything related to the office in the past, but the ministry office has always had this specific function and no other function. This little office is a Levitical service serving my ministry to put out the word of God in print and through video and audio tapes. ( A Timely Word , pg. 39)
Ezra Ma, one of Brother Dong's close co-workers, has made many false accusations against Living Stream Ministry. For example, speaking in a Service Brothers Meeting in São Paulo on October 2, 2005, Ezra said:
Living Stream dictates rules to the churches, defines who is in the ministry, who is not in the ministry.... Everyone has to ask Living Stream if they approve or not. Living Stream sends co-workers to establish or take elders out of their duty, things like that.... To declare, when he [Brother Lee] declared to the local churches, that there should be only one publication, Living Stream is coercing all the saints in all the churches to be conformed with this declared position, that is, all the saints and all the churches everywhere must be restricted to one unique publication in the Lord's recovery.
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There is no truth in Ezra's statements. It is noteworthy that Ezra cites no specific examples to substantiate his assertions. In fact:
- LSM does not dictate rules to the churches; it serves the churches. As Brother Lee stated, when the
same accusation was made during his life:
The office does not give orders to the churches, but it does ask the churches to coordinate with the office. For instance, in printing our books, it is difficult to decide how many copies we should print. In the initial years we did not have a proper way to make this decision; consequently, we printed more copies of some of the books than were needed. Eventually, the office asked the churches to submit standing orders for books and tapes. This has been a great help to the office. Sometimes, when a church has not submitted its standing order, the office asks the church to turn in its order. This is not the issuing of a command to that church but merely an asking of that church for its cooperation. The ministry office has also had to coordinate among the churches the procedure for the distribution and viewing of the video tapes of the semiannual trainings. It is mainly concerning these kinds of things that the office has communicated with the churches to coordinate with them. Besides these things, I cannot find any evidence that the Living Stream office controls any church. After hearing such an accusation, I asked any church who felt that they were under the control of the office to inform me of this, but to this date no church has confirmed this accusation. ( The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way , p. 26)
- LSM does not define who is in the ministry and not in the ministry.
- LSM does not send co-workers to establish elders, nor does it send co-workers to remove elders.
- It is false to attribute to LSM the co-workers' statement regarding their desire that those serving in the ministry and the work in the Lord's recovery honor Brother Lee's fellowship to be restricted in one publication.
- It is false to say that the co-workers' statement is in any way coercing the churches, much less to attribute this coercion to LSM.
In an e-mail from Ezra to "manager" brothers dated June 15, 2007, he reports on fellowship given by Helcio Almeida concerning the direction that will lead to Laodicea. In that e-mail he states:
What the Bible shows us is opposite of what Living Stream Ministry promotes. The emphasis given by LSM, the Ministry (capital letter), is bringing much confusion. Today, the continuation of the ministry of Brother Lee is a company, LSM.
Ezra's accusation is again false. The only sense in which LSM is continuing Brother Lee's ministry is that it continues to publish his ministry. This is based on Brother Lee's express desire that he communicated to the co-workers during his final illness. The leadership in carrying out the present ministry in the Lord's recovery is the responsibility of the co-workers in the Lord's recovery. This also is based on Brother Lee's fellowship concerning the continuation of the ministry in the Lord's recovery:
It is important to note that Brother Lee spoke directly about the continuation of the ministry among us. He felt that after his departure the ministry should be carried out by a group of co-workers who are blended, just as his own service in the ministry was under his coordination with the co-workers. Further, the need to publish the ongoing ministry still exists, and to this end Living Stream Ministry and Taiwan Gospel Book Room, a blended service overseen by a group of blended brothers who serve in coordination with the blended co-workers, continue to publish the Lord's speaking among us in all the seven annual "feasts" and the weekly ministry meetings. In a meeting with the brothers to whom he committed the responsibility for Living Stream Ministry, Brother Lee said, "My burden is for the recovery based on the interpretation of Brother Nee and me. I am the continuation of Brother Nee; I would like to have a continuation of me, and this needs a corporation... The Living Stream corporation will continue this ministry" (from unpublished notes of a meeting of Living Stream, July 12, 1996). He placed the direction of this corporation for the continuation and publication of the ministry in the hands of a group of blended brothers, who labor to fulfill this charge before the Lord. (Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery, pp. 4-5)
Ezra Ma accuses LSM of bribing saints in South America with offers of support. In a meeting with co-workers in Taipei, on November 6, 2007, he said:
It is very likely that Andres Capillo is supported financially by LSM. We know that many Brazilian brothers are supported by LSM. A brother from Peru now in Argentina, who is also supported by LSM, went to visit our full-timer in Peru. Our full-timers are not supported by anybody; they simply live by faith and in great difficulty. The brother was not home; the sister answered the door. He asked her, "Isn't the life difficult serving full-time? But if you come to our side, you will receive abundant supply." Not only in Peru, but also in São Paulo —Brother Nelson is the full-timer there—but in Brazil also, those who are under LSM and created troubles and division in Brazil, said the same thing to our full-timers. This is what we 've experienced firsthand.
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Ezra's accusations against LSM are false. Living Stream Ministry does not now and never has supported full-timers in South America.
Many of the accusations by Brother Dong and his co-workers against LSM have already been answered in some detail in " False Accusations Against LSM and What Is Behind Them" on www.afaithfulword.org. It is a convenient untruth to attribute the criticism of Brother Dong's ministry and work to LSM because this casts that criticism as a mere conflict between publishing houses over turf or a potential market for publications. That is not the case. In fact, concerns over Brother Dong's ministry and work have poured in from many parts of the earth. The steps taken by the co-workers, first to issue a public statement contained in Publication Work in the Lord Recovery and to write directly to Brother Dong and subsequently to warn the saints in the churches in the Lord's recovery throughout the earth, were initiated out of concern for the Lord's interest, both to preserve the truth and to rescue as many saints and churches as possible from the damaging effects of Brother Dong's divisive ministry and work.