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.

Notes 107-110 - Unbiblical Hierarchy

107Hierarchy of God, Christ, "the apostle," and the elders

Ulisses Jardim, Perfecting Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, May 30, 2008:

Praise the Lord! God has a move. God has a flow that comes from the throne and reaches all the brothers and sisters in the church. And this move, brothers, starts in God the Father, the Son, and the apostle. So, brothers, if we want to know where the Spirit is going today, we need to hear what the Spirit is speaking through the apostle. When we are one with the apostle, the result is much blessing; our spiritual life is different. Have you noticed this? If you rebel in anything, you lose the blessing immediately, you dry up. Have you noticed this? I hope that you have not had this experience, but those who have had it testify of this kind of experience. When I am not one with the apostle, I dry up. The flow stops. Why, brothers? Because there is an order in the flow. The order is God the Father, the Son, and the apostle. It is like Paul speaks here, "I am not an apostle by the will of man, but by the Father and His Son Jesus Christ." So, brothers, to be according to the up-to-date speaking of the Spirit is to be one with what the apostle is speaking.

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From three brothers' notes of an elders' perfecting training conducted by Brother Dong's co-workers on October 11, 2007:

Verse 28 [of Acts 20] says, "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of the living God, which He obtained with His own blood." In a hierarchy of responsibilities we have God, Christ, apostles, and elders. And where the elders get in there, the flock gets in also. The elders represent the church. When the responsible brothers do not participate in the perfecting, the flock, the church, also suffers damage.

In this verse we can see that elder = bishop ("overseer"). The overseer must have a vision! The Holy Spirit is the one who gives the vision. But how is this vision passed on? It is through the apostle.

Pedro Dong, Perfecting Meeting, São Paulo, Brazil, May 31, 2008:

I want to say something about the government of the church that we just read about.... Concerning the government (administration) of the church it is very important for us understand how authority and submission work or function. We have read three times corporately in Hall 1 the same book [ Authority and Submission ], and every time we read it we extract riches that we did not get before. So, the Word of God is living; therefore I say it is no law, it is Spirit, it is life. So in this matter of the church's administration we need to understand the matter of authority and submission to the authority. The authority of God is what holds up this whole universe. If there was no authority of God in this universe, this universe would be in a mess and it could not subsist. Praise the Lord that all is being upheld up by the word of God and the authority of God. This is spoken in the book of Hebrews.

Now you will not understand God's authority if you do not understand, if in practice you do not understand, God's delegated authority, the representative authority. You will not be able to practice. For example, the Lord hands the church over to you, the responsible brothers of a certain church. Suppose you are going to govern, you are going to exercise God's government of that church. If you say, "We understand that we need to be under the authority of God," but if you do not understand that authority comes from God's delegated authority, you may say, "We do not submit ourselves to any man; we submit to God." So many people speak these "beautiful" words. Brothers, you will not understand, you will not be able to practice God's authority in the government of the church. Isn't this the truth?

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Helcio Almeida, Perfecting Meeting, São Paulo, Brazil, July 4, 2008:

There were some false teachers, because today, what keeps us is to be clear about who was sent to us. The church walks on the foundation of the apostles and of the prophets. We need to know the truth concerning the apostles. The apostle is someone we can see because the apostle is like a father. Our apostle, we know who he is because we see him. No one can present himself as our apostle if we do not see him. The apostle, we see him. The one the Lord has sent to us, we know who he is....

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Brother Dong has promoted a strange teaching to undermine the local administration of the churches and to place ultimate authority in himself as the "apostle":

Dong Yu Lan, Conference in Salvador, Brazil, June 22, 2008, Message 2:

The number of saints in the church in Jerusalem kept increasing. Many priests, scribes, and Pharisees also came into the church life. Although Peter was already mature in life, but he was not experienced enough. He saw that these priests were being saved. [He thought,] "These people have a high position in Judaism. They brought in so many Jewish people. Then let us serve and coordinate together." This is the good heart in his soul. It ended up with two groups of people in the church in Jerusalem. Originally the church was simply led by the twelve apostles. Now the people in Judaism were brought in, of whom the leading ones were called elders. So, there are two groups of people in Jerusalem: apostles and elders. Peter had learned the lesson of not contending with others. Eventually these priests, people in the mind, became stronger in power and greater in number. As their influence increased, the apostles' influence diminished.

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Dong Yu Lan, International Conference at Estância Árvore da Vida, September 10, 2008, Message 10:

When he [Peter] was preaching the gospel, many priests, Pharisees, and other Jews were saved. As a result, many priests came into the church. Their number kept increasing. Peter also made a mistake. He thought, "These people were saved and now are coordinating with me. [unintelligible] They brought in many Jews in Judaism. Why not let them lead the church? Although we have the twelve apostles taking the lead right now, we can have these elders to lead as well." This, of course, is his mistake. Perhaps he fell into the soul. I do not know if the Lord dealt with him. I am not clear. Initially, the church in Jerusalem was led by both the apostles and the elders; after a while, only the elders were in the leadership, because the Jews had a greater influence and number. They also attempted to adopt a human method. What is the human method? How about this: let us have both the elders and the apostles.

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Dong Yu Lan, International Conference at Estância Árvore da Vida, September 10, 2008, Message 10:

One [apostle] is of the New Testament and the other [elder] of the Old Testament; they do not agree with each other. So, let us have another leader, one that is accepted by both the elders and the apostles. Who eventually came forth? James. James was the Lord Jesus' brother in the flesh; he was not a disciple of the Lord.

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This strange teaching has been stated even more strongly by Brother Dong's son, Pedro Dong, a leading co-worker of Brother Dong, who applied it directly to Brother Dong in a Service Brothers Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, on August 4, 2008:

You all know the story of Ananias and Sapphira, but before this story, in verse 35 of chapter 4, it shows that they [the disciples] deposited their goods at the feet of the apostles and they distributed them to whoever had need, so the absolute leadership that the Lord had given to take care of the church or of the churches was the apostles. Chapter 5:12 says that many signs and wonders took place among the people through the hands of the apostles and here it mentions the unique leadership established by God there in the church in Jerusalem...

In verse 7 there was a turn not in a positive way, but in a negative one. The word of God grew and in Jerusalem the number of the disciples multiplied, and also many priests obeyed the faith. Apparently this was positive but actually it was negative, because the many priests who obeyed the faith, they ultimately brought a change in the leadership that the Spirit has given to the church which I have been reading until now. Those verses that I read before showed that the Lord charged the apostles to give the direction to the church... Isn't this so?...

"And the apostles and the elders were gathered together to see about this matter." I would ask you: Before verses 6 and 8 were there apostles and elders? There were apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea [Acts 11:1]! The apostles had the leading from the Lord, the burden from the Lord, the commission from the Lord, right? They were the ones who gave the direction, they gave the word, they were those who fed the people and the things were growing. Day by day the number was added by the Lord of those who were being saved. And they had favor with all the people and the Lord made them to grow. The word grew in their midst. But suddenly the nature started to change, the nature changed here. "And the apostles and the elders were gathered together to see about this matter." Now another group comes in. This group is called elders...

Something is wrong here. It is all wrong here! Isn't it? Chapter 21: You are going to be alarmed; still you have not seen much yet. In verse 17: "And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly. And on the following day Paul went in with us to James, to meet with the "apostles and the elders"? Am I reading it wrong? Yes? They have taken out even the apostles. Do you understand? The apostles disappear here. Now in place of the apostles was James—James and the elders. Now who makes the decisions in the church in Jerusalem? It is James and the elders. The apostles are no longer here. Why? They were leading the people to call on the name of the Lord and to turn away from the law, from the custom of Moses. They were telling the people that the time of the law had passed because now Christ has come. Now we have to get rid of these people, so they took the apostles out of the leadership and the church in Jerusalem became completely degraded before the Lord. In the year 70 A.D. Titus, a prince of the Roman Empire, destroyed the city of Jerusalem, not only because of the Jewish religion in the temple but also because of the church. Brothers, we need to have much fear in relation to this. Do you know why I am reading this? Brothers, the Lord commissions some to take the lead, and it is not what you or I think to be right in our own eyes, but what He established, because He knows whom He will entrust to take the lead. Brothers, in the center, even here in South America, all the time even we ourselves at the beginning did not understand that well the ministry that Brother Dong has. There was no "click." In a certain way we are of the generation of the Life-study. We studied all the Life-study; I passed through all the Life-studies. And, brothers, there are many things that I did not understand why Brother Dong insisted on and spoke in a particular way. Praise the Lord! Little by little we started to see that the Holy Spirit had commissioned this brother to give us the direction.

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108"If You Go against Brother Dong, You Are Going against God"

Dong Yu Lan, Conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia, August 2004:

And God sent out apostles as His deputy authority. If you disobey the apostles, you disobey God. Paul in 2 Corinthians said that he was an ambassador of God, representing God. The turmoil in the churches today is due to the lack of authority and submission.

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André Dong, E-mail to Hugo Vergara, July 24, 2007:

Look, Juan [Rubilar] hasn't been commissioned by God, but Brother Dong has. If you go against Brother Dong, you are going against God. Read Numbers 12.

The title of the directives (" The Orientations of Brother Dong, to Be Put into Effect Now, through His Son Andre") put out by Brother Dong and his co-workers in response to the decision of the churches in southern Chile to not follow his ministry demonstrates the overarching authority given to Brother Dong's leadership. Brother Dong's "orientations" are not fellowship for the churches to consider in the light of Scripture or of the New Testament ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, but they are directives "to be put into effect now." One would search in vain for a precedent in Scripture or in the ministry of Brother Nee and Brother Lee for such a decree or its contents.

Pedro Dong, São Paulo, Brazil, October 2, 2005:

And what we see, we who follow Brother Dong, we see that there is a commission of God over him, and when he says something, you take this as God's speaking. It happens; it happens.

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Pedro Dong, São Paulo, Brazil, October 2, 2005:

...but these riches [in Witness Lee's books published by Living Stream Ministry] are like the riches that Paul left to us. They do not produce the move. God needs someone living here to produce the move. Don't argue if someone is more educated or not, if someone knows more or knows less. Just argue if a person is commissioned or not. Has God commissioned someone among us or not? If he is commissioned, it is like God doing things through us. God is speaking the word in our midst. If you go against what this person is speaking, you're going against God and the move is not produced in you.

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109"National Co-workers" and "Regional Co-workers"

The following examples illustrate the hierarchy of workers in Brother Dong's work:

  • When Jose Bermeo, Luis Maldonado, and Stalyn Martinez expressed their desire to follow the general ministry in the Lord's recovery, a letter was written to " the church and the churches in Ecuador " by the responsible brothers who, " with delegated authority," rendered their decision that the brothers would be " temporarily excluded from the fellowship of the church." The recipients of the letter are encouraged to keep themselves " in subjection and fellowship with the brothers whom the Lord put to lead the church, maintaining fellowship with those that practice the church life under the leadership of the responsible brothers, national co-workers and co-workers for all of South America." The signatories are variously designated as " In Charge of the Work in EC," " Co-worker in the Work," and " Responsible in the Church." (Letter from the church in Guayaquil, Ecuador, February 2, 2005)

    Click on the icon at right to view the document. 

  • In a letter of quarantine against several saints in Peru, Roberto Graner is listed as " Responsible brother of the work of the churches in Perú." (An Open Letter to the Churches in Perú, n.d.)

  • In a statement regarding his experiences in Argentina, Walter Ortiz notes that Eduardo Kalaidjian "at that time was the national co-worker in Argentina for Brother Dong." (Personal statement by Walter Ortiz, October 29, 2007).

    Click on the icon at right to view the document. 

  • Both Rodrigo Lopez of Ambato, Ecuador, and Andrés Capillo of Lima, Peru, were offered positions as co-workers (Andrés Capillo "at the level of South America") as enticements not to turn away from Brother Dong's ministry, but they declined those offers (Letter from Lima, October 16, 2004; Letter to all the co-workers and the churches in the Lord's recovery from the church in Ambato, December 2004)

    Click on the icon at right to view the document.  Lima:  Ambato: 

  • Open Letter from the Church in Trujillo, November 16, 2004:
  • We were informed of the regionalization, but they did not have any fellowship with the workers or the elders in the churches, for which reason we are suffering now, and these are the consequences of the natural and human work.

110Improper Hierarchy among Elders

In late 2007 a leading brother in one of the churches in Brazil expressed disagreement with Brother Dong and his work in a meeting with some co-workers of Brother Dong, including Roderick Wilson. Roderick told the brother that his problem was his unwillingness to submit to the "first elder" in his locality. Roderick then stated that in São Paulo he considers Pedro Dong to be the "first elder," the one who always has the final word. (Interview with a brother from Brazil, December 18, 2007)

Statement of David Franco, June 18, 2008:

Brother Dong rarely attended any elders' meetings of the church after we were appointed. Instead, Peter Dong would come to the elders' meeting each week with Brother Dong's directions for the church and for the work. Our role was to carry out Brother Dong's directions.

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