Friday, February 28, 2020

The Old Testament's Revelation of Christ [Pt.6]

by Rudolph P. Boshoff

[Continued from Pts. 1234, & 5]

I. A Holistic Understanding of the Person of Jesus Christ Revealed in the Old Testament

There is a clear indication from the above-mentioned chapters that Jesus was the expected Messiah that was anticipated through prophetic types within the Old Testament text, active within the world through Theophanies, clearly mentioned in the Scriptures. In conclusion, we will show how the Old Testament flows into the New seamlessly.   

II. The Story of God as the Story of Jesus

N.T. Wright (2000:167) calls for the explicit recognition that when we start with the Old Testament Scriptures and ask ourselves what it might look like if God was to become a man, He would very much look like Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Thinking and speaking therefore of God and Jesus in the same breath are not a category mistake, but simply the realized expression of what the Old Testament predicts and foreshadows. Job (19:25-26) looks forward and says:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” 
John (1:14) the Beloved writes: 
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.
The only truthful expression to this reality of Christ is found later in the same Gospel (John 20:28) when Thomas calls out to Jesus as “My Lord and my God.” [Gr. Ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου]. Larry Hurtado (2003:53) says the clear accommodation of Jesus as recipient of cultic worship with God is uncontested and was a major development in the practice and belief of the first Christians. 

When Jesus, therefore, affirms Himself to be “the Alpha and Omega” (Rev 22:13) we understand that He is calling on the Old Testament to affirm who He was and is (Isa 41:4, 44:6, & 48:12). The very identity of Christ hinges on the fact that He was the revealed Lord Yahweh from the Old Testament. We can therefore clearly see that the Worship of God is given to Christ (Isa 45:23, Phil 2:10-11) because He reveals the works of God (Joel 2:32, Rom.10:13) and the glory of God (Exod 33:19, John 12:41), being judge as God (Ecc 12:14, Acts 17:31). Jesus has the highest possible position on the throne of God (Dan 4:34-35, Rom 14:10, Ps 110:1, Matt 22:44, Heb 1:3,13) being equal with God (Exod 20:3, 7; Deut 5:7,11; cf. Ps 110:1; Dan 7:13-14; cf. Ezek 1:26-28, Matt 9:3; cf. Mark 2:7 & 14:61-64; John 5:17-18, 8:58-59, 10:27-33, & 19:7). Jesus Christ as Yahweh rules over everything (Isa 44:24; Jer 10:16, 51:19; Matt 11:25-27 & 28:18; Luke 10:21-22; John 3:35, 13:3, & 16:15; Acts 10:36; 1st Cor 15:27-28; Eph 1:22; Phil 2:10 & 3:21; Heb 1:2 & 2:8; Rev 5:13) forever and ever (Ps 9:7 & 45:6; Luke 1:33; Eph 1:19-21; Heb 1:8). 

The first Christian community who looked at the Old Testament and identified the fact that this Jesus Christ was both Lord and God gave this seamless reality. Michael J. Kruger (2017:144) mentions that the first Christian community could affirm on the authority of the Old Testament that there was One God that was the sole creator of heaven and earth and the same God predicted the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. This Messiah was from the seed of David born from the Virgin Mary and was the creator of all things who came into the world as God in the flesh. To those who believe in Him He would grant salvation because of His suffering and vicarious death, burial, and resurrection. In addition, he will one day return visibly to judge both the living and the dead and reward those who faithfully followed Him.

To understand the central revelation of the Old Testament Scriptures was to identify the person and work of Jesus Christ within the Scripture. There was no other reality evident amongst the first Christian community and to them the coming of Jesus Christ was the ultimate eschatological reality fulfilled in the historical person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, John the Beloved writes:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.
[1st John 1:1-3.]

Works Cited

Bates, MW. The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in the New Testament & Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the God of Israel. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008.)

Bird, Michael F.; Evans, Craig A.; Gathercole, Simon J.; Hill, CE; Tilling, C. How God Became Jesus: The real origins of belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature – A Response to Bart Ehrman. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.)

Bowman, Robert M. and Komoszewski, J. Ed. Putting Christ in His Place: The case for the deity of Christ. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kregel Publications.

Borg, Marcus J., Wright, NT. The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. (San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers, 2007.)

Borland, James A. Christ in the Old Testament: A Comprehensive Study of the Old Testament Appearances of Christ in Human Form. (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1978.)

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1982.)

Bruce, FF. Zondervan Bible Commentary: One-Volume Illustrated Edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.)

Carson DA. Jesus the Son of God. (Wheaton: Crossway Publishers, 2012.)

Childs, Brevard S. Isaiah. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.)

Dunn, James DG. Christology in the Making. (London: SCM Press Ltd, 1989.)

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. (Baker Books. 2004.)

Fairbairn, Patrick. The Typology of Scripture. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969.)

Frame, John M. The Doctrine of God. (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing , 2002)

France, RT. Jesus and the Old Testament: His Application of Old Testament Passages to Himself and His Mission. (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2000.)

Geisler, Norman L. 2002. To Understand the Bible Look for Jesus: The Bible Student's Guide to the Bible's Central Theme. (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2002.)

Gowan, DE. Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries: Daniel. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011.)

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.)

Haasbroek, D. The Wonder of Jesus in the Old Testament. (Pretoria: MP Books,  2004.)

Hamilton, VP.  The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans,1995.)

Hammer, R. The Cambridge Bible Commentary on the Book of Daniel. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976.)

Holmgren, FC. The Old Testament and the Significance of Jesus. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.)

Horbury, W. Jewish Messianism and the Cult of Christ. (London: SCM Press Ltd, 1998.)

Hurtado, Larry W.  Lord Jesus Christ. (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2003.)

Kruger, Michael J. Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church. (London: SPCK Publishing, 2017.)

Lee, AHI. 2005. From Messiah to Preexistent Son. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck GmbH & Co., 2005.)

Loader, RG. Jesus and the Fundamentalism of His Day. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.)

Longenecker, Richard N. The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity. (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 1970.)

Macleod, Donald.  The Person of Christ: Contours of Christian Theology. (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1998.)

Nägelsbach, CWE.  The Prophet Isaiah: Theologically and homiletically expounded Volume XI. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980.)

Nelson, WB. Daniel: Understanding the Bible Commentary Series(Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012.)

Robinson, R. Christ in the Sabbath. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014.) 

Rosen, C. & M. Christ in the Passover. (Chicago: Moody Publishing, 2006)

Stephens, J. Theophany: Close Eencounters with the Son of God. (Herefordshire: Day One Publications, 1998)

Walvoord, John F. Jesus Christ our Lord. (Chicago: Moody Publishing, 1969)

Walton, John H. The NIV Application Commentary Genesis. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001)

Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible exposition commentary: Old Testament Prophets. (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publishers, 2002.)
_____The Wiersbe Bible Commentary on the Old Testament. (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publishers, 2007).
Wright, NT. The New Testament and the People of God. (London: SPCK Publishers, 1998.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Old Testament's Revelation of Christ [Pt.5]

by Rudolph P. Boshoff

[Continued from Pts. 1, 2, 3, & 4]

I. Introduction

In the previous section, we affirmed a definite presence of Jesus Christ as the expected Messiah who was clearly typified throughout the Old Testament and exemplified in theophanies by scholars. Now we will turn our focus to two passages of Scripture and see how they relate to Jesus as God.  

II. Exegesis of Daniel 7:13-14

I have selected the Daniel 7:13-14, since it is the climax of the book where we finally have an encounter with the Son of Man, which is clearly more than just an ordinary man. It is also one of the texts in the Old Testament scriptures that emphatically situates the person of Jesus Christ in a place of clear pre-eminence and Old Testament fulfillment. It reads as follows:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.”
(a.)“There before me was one like a son of man.” 

The Son of Man title existed in pre-Christian Jewish thought and resembled a transcendent redeemed figure whose coming to earth would inaugurate the end of the age (Longenecker 1970:82). This portion relates also to ore-Christian source materials in the first book of Enoch (37-71) and the fourth book of Ezra (13) and affirms the pre-Christian Jewish expectations regarding the Son of Man as the eschatological agent of redemption (Longenecker 1970:83). Hammer (1976:78) holds that this is a man that approaches the Ancient of Days (God) and he is definitely the Messiah. Gowan (2011) notes that the use of fire in this context can signify the presence of a theophany and this can also be a Semitic idiom that means ‘like a human being’ or ‘someone’ but maintains that in light of the New Testament that this refers emphatically to Jesus Christ. This would mean that even from the Enochian Similitudes we see clearly that Daniel’s ‘Son of Man’ is a transcendent and glorified redeemed figure who is exalted above all sufferings (Longenecker 1970:87). Jesus fits perfectly into these categories and the earliest Christian communities affirm that this was in fact Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 14:16-62) and His subsequent crucifixion on the charge of blasphemy by the High Priest (Mark 14:64) affirms He was perceived, yet rejected, as the coming Messiah. 

Longenecker (1970:92) mentions that for the first Christian community the title ‘Son of Man’ resembled Jesus as the suffering man in line with Daniel’s representation that would be glorified and return to complete the full prophetic picture. Jesus also relates to the Son of Man as being and confirms that ‘No one has ever gone onto heaven except the One who came from heaven-the Son of Man [who is in heaven].’ (John 3:13). Jesus clearly relates that him being the Son of man pre-existed with the Father in heaven coming down to be the agent of redemption. He even prayed in John 17:5 that the Father restore Him to the place of glory He had ‘before the world began’ [with you – Greek: ‘papa soi’]. In his exaltation, we can clearly affirm that the Son of Man seated on the divine throne itself (Dan 7:14) receives obeisance and is recognized as the unique Divine Sovereign (Bauckham 2008:171). 

(b.) “Coming with the clouds of heaven.” 

In Matthews Gospel Jesus says:
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” (Matt 24:30) 
He also mentions that He will ‘come with the clouds of heaven’ (ἐρχόμενον μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) in Mark’s Gospel (14:62). This passage draws from Daniel 7:13 that states: 
“And behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like the Son of Man.” 
Miller (1994:207) mentions that in the ancient world, clouds provided transportation only for deities and Jesus is clearly associating this metaphor with Himself (cf. Rev 14:14-15). Clouds are depicted in the Old Testament as being Yahweh’s chariots (Ps 104:3) and God even appears within a thunderstorm (Judges 5:4). David pleads Yahweh for help, and God arrives upon the cherubim from His heavenly temple (Ps 18:11) and Nahum (1:3) beholds clouds at the feet of Yahweh in his theophanic vision. Clouds were associated with Yahweh’s judgement (Isa. 19:1) and the prophet Ezekiel records Yahweh coming from a cloud (1:4, 28) where the temple was filled and judgement would be poured out later (10:3-4). What startled the High Priest was that Jesus dared to parallel Himself with Yahweh that would judge the nations. 

This was a prerogative that was clearly only central to Yahweh in the Jewish understanding. Yahweh would judge the nations several times in the Old Testament from a cloud-mass (Ezek 30:2, 34:12; Joel 2:2; Zeph 1:15) where His anger would become a dark smoke cloud (Isa 30:27). France (2002:612) holds that Jesus here declares that in the metaphors ‘sitting’ and ‘coming’ Jesus is referring to one initiative and that is ‘sovereign authority.’ The representation of clouds in the Old Testament was clearly connected with eschatological judgement and salvation (Isa 4:5; Nah 1:3). What Jesus is saying is in fact justifying the High Priest reply, because He identifies Himself with Yahweh that will stand in complete judgement of the High Priest Himself as well as the whole nation of Israel. Further, makes Himself the spiritual head of the nation of Israel because He was assuming a place of authority over the High Priest who was under the impression that He was judging Him.  Donald Macleod (1998:59) says the fact that Jesus calls for the return with the clouds of heaven is synonymous with his return to the glory of His Father and being the royal, superhuman, and divine, Son of Man clearly lends itself to the idea that He was preexistent and the divine Messiah.          
II.a Exegesis of Isaiah 7:14

I have selected Isaiah 7:14 to show that the intention of God in the incarnation of the Messiah was so that He would be a sign of God born of a Virgin being God with us. 
The passage reads:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.”
F. F. Bruce (2008:738) contends that the Prophet Isaiah was referring to a young woman (almâh) or virgin in the time of Ahaz born to his harem or even of Isaiah’s own son born to his wife (Isa 8:1-4). As for the immediate context, this Son would be a sign of God’s presence amongst the nation of Israel and there would be a future expected fulfillment in another Son (Isa 9:6). Matthew immediately mentions that Christ fulfilled this expectation and says that “the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” [Greek – ‘μεθ ἡμῶν ὁ Θεός’] (Matt 1:23) coming directly from Isaiah’s prophecy. In this book there is clear evidence of double fulfillment’’ where specific texts would be applicable to the immediate context and to a future point of time. 

The Prophets Isaiah (9:6) states that ‘a Son will be given’ who will be ‘eternal father. Oswalt (1986:247) says this phrase must not be taken lightly as this person mentioned in an ancient Near Eastern context contains a clear divine element. Some scholars might think that only an immediate fulfillment would apply to this context, but what we recognize is that Ahaz’s good son Hezekiah was already born at the time of the prophecy and he had other children as well which means that his wife would not have been a ‘virgin’ anymore. The only reasonable explanation was then to understand that this Prophecy was given with an future prophetic intent as well and the context of Isaiah clearly speaks of the Messiah as being send and commissioned by God (Isa 9:6, 11:2). 

Carl Nägelsbach (1980:125) says that we should keep in mind that the title ‘Immanuel’ [אֵֽל] refers to the Son as a ‘type’ that points to the faithfulness of God and a pledge from God that in His Son’s visitation to His people in the person of the God-man, He would redeem His remnant. Wiersbe (2002:19) mentions that the ultimate fulfillment is of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is ‘’God with us’’ (Matt 1:18-25; Luke 1:31-35). The virgin birth is a key doctrine because Jesus is not born from sinful human flesh but He is born sinless and perfect to be the Savior of the entire world. Brevard Childs (2001:66) shows that this name does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament and closely only parallels a Psalm (46:8, 12) that is an expression of trust in the presence of god integral to Israel’s piety. There is a clear application evident within this given text and we can be assured that the New Testament believers had absolutely no reservations to apply this phrase to both the Old Testament context. Ahaz did not accept the sign of God’s presence amongst them and the Jews in the New Testament the sign of the Son in their presence as Immanuel God with us but Jesus bares a clear resemblance to the Messiah predicted in the book Of Prophet Isaiah and is ultimately deemed as the fulfilment of its context (Isa 40-55).  

II.b Summary

This section sets out to show that in the Old Testament there was definitely an expectation within the Hebrew text of one to come as the Savior of all humanity. In Daniel’s vision, he speaks of a figure that would transcend the bounds of just a normal Prophet or human being, approaching the Ancient of Days being accepted and commissioned by Him as the ruler of everything. In the New Testament, the favorite designation of Christ was to title Himself the ‘Son of Man.’ Similarly, in the book of Isaiah we find the prophet speaking of events that would inaugurate the favor and direct presence of God amongst Israel. The sign will be that this child will be born from a virgin as affirmed by the voice of the Gospels in latter times. There are numerous passages of Scripture that hints and confirm the expectation of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament and the fulfillment is applied in the new.

[Continued in Pt.6]

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Old Testament's Revelation of Christ [Pt.4]

by Rudolph P. Boshoff

[Continued from Pts. 12& 3]

III. Jesus in Old Testament Theophanies

James A. Borland (1978:9) describes a theophany as “a manifestation of God in visible and bodily form to conscious man perceptible by human senses, before the incarnation” of Jesus Christ. The validity and fact that distinguish theophanies are evident and we will look at the characteristics and facts of Theophanies in the Old Testament. 

III.a The Characteristics of Theophanies in the Old Testament

Borland (1978:17-19) mentions that it is important to recognize that Theophanies were actual and not imaginary that was initiated by God alone. In Judges 13:8 Manoah prayed; “O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again to us” and Moses inquired to God to “show me thy glory” (Exo 33:18-34:9) but the Old Testament text unanimously shows that God was always the One that disclosed Himself out of His own will. Genesis 12:7 mentions that He “appeared… and said”; “found her… and He said” (Gen16:7-8). No human petition, prayer, technique, or formula could evoke the presence of God because God’s will revealed His essence and nature where man was the recipient of His self-revelation. Theophanies were therefore always revelatory in that it always revealed something about God or His will to a recipient (Borland 1978:20). 

God would declare a promise to a specific individual like Abraham (Gen 12:1-3), Hagar (Gen16:10-12) and sometimes He would warn or judge as we see with Adam and Eve as well as the serpent (Gen 3:14-19) or Cain (Gen 4:9-12) or Sodom (Gen 18:20-21). At another time God would simply instruct like with Joshua (Jos 5:14-15) or Samson’s parents, Manoah and his wife (Jud 13:3-5). It is important to note that Theophanies were for specific chosen individuals. Many times God would appear to individuals like Adam and Eve (Gen.3:8-19), Cain (Gen.4:9-15), and Enoch (Gen 5:22, 24), Noah (Gen 6-9), and Abraham (Gen.12:1, 7; 17:1-22; 18:1-33), Hagar (Gen 16:7-11), Isaac (Gen 26:2, 24) just to mention a few (Borland 1978:21-22). Another point is that Theophanies were intermittent and did not occur with precise regularity. God appeared as He pleased and there was no hard or fast rule as to these apparitions (Borland 1978:23). 

Theophanies were therefore temporal occurrences that were transitory only for a brief period. Gods preferred self-disclosure is ultimately evident in the persona and manifestation of Jesus Christ (John 1, Col 2:9-10) as perfect God and perfect man (Borland 1978:25). Theophanies also included auditory perception and were both audible and visible (Borland 1978:26). In Genesis 32:30 Jacob expressed amazement when he said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” and with God’s revelation of Himself at Mount Sinai (Exo 24:11) there was a very similar wonder at the actual visible and aural experience. Even though these experiences were visible and audible, they varied in form. It is a fact that God did appear (Gen.18:1, 4-8) in the semblance of human form (Gen 18; 32, Exo 24:9-11, Jos 5:13-15, Jud 13:3, 6, 8-11, 1 Sam 3:10, 21) that showed signs of change from time to time to where not even Abraham always immediately recognized his visitor from heaven (Gen 12:7, 17:1-22, 18:2) (Borland 1978:27-29). 

Borland (1978:29-30) also mentions that we need to keep in mind that Theophanies were Old Testament occurrences before the incarnation of Christ. There is nothing in the New Testament similarly to these revealed experiences and we know that these appearances were related to the second person of the Trinity as revealed in the New Testament. In the next section, we will look at four Old Testament references that show these apprehensions of God the Son. 

III.b Some Theophanies in the Old Testament

i. Jacob Wrestling With God (Gen 32:24-32)

In this Theophany there is a clear identification of both the form and the person that is Jacob is encountering (Borland 1978:78). This Theophany reveals an appearance of a man and the person is a messenger of Jehovah (Hos 12:3-5). This apprehension of a man asks Jacob his name being fully aware of his promise (v.28). Walvoord (1969:52) indicates that God changes Jacob’s name to Israel, in this culture only God changed names. Jacob was so deeply impressed with this event and was assured that the ‘man’ he struggled with was the place where he saw God ‘’face-to-face’’ and he called the place ‘Peniel’ because he survived (v.30).  Jonathan Stephen (1998:141) mentions here that for Jacob this was the most critical part of his whole experience and in it, God reveals Himself to show himself faithful on Jacob’s behalf. Jacob does inquire of the man to reveal His name, but at the time, it was more then what God was willing to reveal (Stephen, 1998:142).  

ii. Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel of the Lord (Num 22:22-38)

Borland (1978:79) mentions that the messenger of the Lord stood in the path of Balaam and mentions that the donkey could perceive him but not Balaam. God opened up the donkey’s mouth (v.28) and the eyes of Balaam (v.31). Both the donkey and Balaam saw an individual who ‘stood’ with a sword ‘in his hand’. These speak of human acts that show that God seems dressed for the occasion to fit the social customs and the circumstances of the particular situation. The angel of God warns Balaam (vv.22-35) and even cautions him that what he is about to do is evil in His sight (v.32). God instructs what Balaam must say (v.35) and speaks just as he heard from the man who was God (v.38).  

iii. Joshua and the Commander of the Lord's Army (Jos 5:13-15)

Even though this is the shortest theophany in the Old Testament, it is worth noting as it corresponds once more with the two previously mentioned examples that I have given. Joshua encounters a man standing with a drawn sword in his hand (v.13). Joshua immediately inquires of the man if he is for them or against them (v.13). The reply from this man is ‘neither’ (v.14) which seems a bit confusing but the then mentions that He is the commander of the Lords army. Joshua immediately bowed down with his face to the ground (v.14) worshiping asking what the Lord wants from him (v.14). As with Moses at the burning bush when He encountered God (Exo 3:1-15) the commander of the Lord’s army instructs him to take of his sandals as He was in the presence of God and the place where he was standing was sacred to which Joshua complied (v.15). Borland (1979:79) states that Joshua does not use the word ‘Adam’ but ‘Ish’, which clearly denotes a being that appears to be human but do not have a human nature. Joshua’s immediate reaction is worship to which a monotheistic Jew clearly held as only reserved to the God of Israel (Deut 6:4) but interesting to note that this theophany held both the appearance of a man and the designation of God.   

iv. Gideon Questioning the Angel of the Lord (Jud 6:11-23)

The author of the book starts of by attributing personalized traits of a man who ‘sat under a tree’ (v.11) and in his encounter with Gideon, he calls him ‘sir’ (v.13). Clearly, Gideon at first had no idea who he encountered and in this instance thought, he was encountering an ordinary man. He carried a staff (v.21) and spoke (vv.12-23) with questions that evoked a deep skepticism in Gideon’s mind (v.13). When the Lord turns to Gideon, he asks for an additional sign to confirm it is God speaking to him (v.17). Gideon brings the Lord a meal in where the Lord stretches out His staff and consumes the food with fire (v.21). Gideon mentions that he had seen the God face to face (v.22) but the Lord immediately gives him peace that he would not die because Gideon had seen him (v.23) (Haasbroek 2004:95).  

III.c Summary

This chapter sets out to show what scholars reveal about what the Son of God was actively present in the combined testimony of the Old Testament. He was prophetically present in the Old Testament and we recognize that he was the fulfillment of the coming expected Messiah. He is also seen as portrayed and signified through the lives and typologies evident in all of the people, places, and prophecies. Lastly, we maintain that the Son did not just exist in the mind of the father but that He was in fact active and communicated directly with various individuals in history even before His incarnation. We can therefore affirm that the reality of the Old Testament is truly given to the Jewish people, and in retrospect for us, to come to the full understanding of the revelation of Jesus Christ who explained that all of the Scriptures evidently speaks about Him (Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Heb 10:7; Matt 5:17). These theological perspectives agree therefore that Jesus transcends both space and time and He seems to be the very central focus of our faith in both the Old and the New Testament. In the next chapter, we will look at a textual analysis that affirms this reality.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

God As My Witness: The Local Church Movement Redux

[NOTE: This article originally appeared as a chapter in Counterfeit Religion: A Biblical Analysis of Cults, Sects, & False Religious Movements, (Torrington, CT: Church Militant Pub., 2019).]

The CRI Debacle

In 2009, the Christian Research Institute (CRI) published a special edition of the Christian Research Journal with the phrase “We Were Wrong” on the cover. In the feature article, president of CRI, Hank Hanegraaff, recanted on the previous position of his organization regarding the local churches (LC).[1] The late Walter Martin, founder of CRI, had concluded on theological grounds that Witness Lee and his local church movement constituted a cult. Martin cited a variety of theological problems present in the LC, chief among these was a modalistic conception of God which confused the persons of the Trinity. Hanegraaff’s article was a complete reversal of the position taken by Martin, as Hanegraaff insisted the LC affirmed the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.[2]

CRI’s reversal was a surprise to many who had come to respect the considerable scholarship and ministry of Martin. Additionally, it had become well known that the LC had initiated a number of lawsuits against evangelical ministries which had identified it as a cult. This decades long litigious behavior was consistent with a cultic disregard of the Bible’s clear prohibition of lawsuits among Christians.[3] Christian authors and publishers have been sued for millions by the LC, all for their assessment of the LC as a cult. The most notable of these lawsuits was issued against John Ankerberg, John Weldon, and Harvest House Publishers at the Supreme Court of Texas. Ankerberg and Weldon had rightly identified the LC as a cult within their Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, and subsequently, the LC sued them and lost.

In 2007, over sixty evangelical scholars signed an open letter outlining the considerable theological problems in the teaching of Witness Lee and the LC. The letter called the LC to refrain from further lawsuits against Christians and ministries, and to abandon its unorthodox teaching.[4] Seemingly in response, LC published a pamphlet featuring the testimony of Hanegraaff, Gretchen Passantino, and Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Theology, vouching for the alleged orthodoxy of LC. In this pamphlet Hanegraaff wrote, “The local churches are not a cult from a theological perspective… I stand shoulder to shoulder with the local churches when it comes to the essentials that define biblical orthodoxy.”[5] There is good reason to question what Hanegraaff means by “biblical orthodoxy,” both because LC doesn’t affirm the Bible’s teaching on a number of key doctrines, and because Hanegraaff left evangelical Protestantism for Eastern Orthodoxy in 2017.[6]

Marshaling Fuller Theological Seminary to vouch for your orthodoxy is akin to using Charles Manson as a character reference. Fuller, and then president Richard J. Mouw, left biblical Christianity long ago, trading biblical inerrancy and a variety of other central Christian doctrines for the wasteland of modernity.[7] Mouw is well known for his attempt to mainstream Mormonism among evangelicals.[8] If anything, Fuller’s lack of orthodoxy should detract from the credibility of LC’s claim to orthodoxy.

Not long after the CRI Journal published its defense of LC both in the aforementioned article by Hanegraaff and the full-length apologetic written by then editor-in-chief Elliot Miller, evangelical scholars Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes issued a blistering rebuke citing the obvious problems with CRI’s new perspective.[9] Geisler and Rhodes identified the mass of contradictory theological statements issued by the LC and their publishing organization Living Stream Ministry, and the continued theological error in LC’s understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. 

As for CRI’s evaluation, Miller’s article, to put it plainly, is a puff-piece. It is as though Miller published the arguments of LC on their behalf. To demonstrate the validity of my assessment, I have provided a fresh evaluation of the major theological error of the LC movement below. 

The “Trinitarian” Theology of the Local Churches

In 2017, I completed my doctoral work on the theology and Christology of Oneness Pentecostalism. In the course of that work, I read virtually every piece of extant literature published up to that time that was written on the subject. I spent years documenting and detailing the theology of Oneness Pentecostalism such that I could offer an evenhanded critique that properly represented the movement and its beliefs. I mention this because the expertise I gained in that study granted me a great familiarity with modalistic theology. I found that while there are various forms of modalism (e.g., the sequential modalism of Sabellianism, and the incarnational iteration espoused by groups like to UPCI), each form boils down to the belief that God is a single person who has revealed himself in three manifestations. Unitarianism is the presupposition of all modalistic religion. 

In studying the materials published by the LC, I have no doubt that the LC espouse a form of modalism. While the movement may object to that categorization, it is evidently and objectively true. As Geisler and Rhodes have pointed out, there are many contradictory claims made in the literature of LC. LC claims the co-eternality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and then explicitly confounds the persons of the Trinity. One could derive either orthodox trinitarianism or modalism from their teaching within the span of a single paragraph. Hence, the problem is not with LC’s orthodox statements, but their unorthodox statements. From the perspective of this author, CRI has capitalized on the orthodox statements of LC, while neglecting their evident heterodoxy. 

When the LC movement published A Confirmation of the Gospel: Concerning the Teaching of the Local Churches and Living Stream Ministry, a sixty-page doctrinal statement, it intended to clarify its doctrine such that it would convince evangelicalism of its orthodoxy. Despite the intention, this work is likely the greatest evidence of the LC’s modalism. The book dismisses historic trinitarian hermeneutics as “external theological con-structs”[10] which “obscure” “biblical facts concerning a deep reality that exists in the Godhead.”[11] Instead, while criticizing the claim that it affirms a form of modalism, LC embraces classic modalistic interpretations of the Bible, suggesting that Jesus is God the Father. In response to this apparent contradiction, LC invokes its belief in what it calls the doctrine of “coinherence:” 

Because of this marvelous reality of the coinherence of the three in the Trinity, we believe that frequently the Bible identifies the hypostases with one another, sometimes to the chagrin of less-nuanced systematic theologies.[12]

Coinherence, or what has been more popularly known as perichoresis, is a biblical doctrine which refers to the indwelling, interworking, and complementary function of the persons of the Trinity.[13] What this doctrine does not refer to is the confusion of the identity of one divine person with another; the precise error of LC. 

The example I will use to demonstrate LC’s modalism is its teaching concerning the phrase “Eternal Father” as it is used of the Son of God in Isa. 9:6. LC understands the phrase “Eternal Father” to be a reference to God the Father: 
The Father is eternal; this can be proven by Isaiah 9:6, which refers to the Father as the “Eternal Father.”[14]
LC concludes, “The Son is called the Father,”[15] and goes further to state, 
The Son given to us comes to us bearing in His every action the inseparable operation of the Eternal Father and thus can be called, as Isaiah predicts, the Eternal Father.[16]
Lest one think that the what the LC means by this is that Jesus is called “Eternal Father” in a metaphorical sense, it says, 
We do not need to relegate Isaiah’s prophecy to an Old Testament metaphor… Rather, we wish to afford the passage its full textual force, understanding that the Son who came to us in incarnation was in the Father and that His works were as well the operations of the Eternal Father.[17]
We may conclude therefore, that LC believes that Jesus is called “Father” in the sense of God the Father and that his action is inseparable to that of the Father. Witness Lee’s literature confirms this modalistic interpretation:
In Isaiah 9:6 there is a parallel line; that is, “A Son is given to us;... / And His name will be called... / Eternal Father.” It is abundantly clear that the Son mentioned here is Christ, yet the Son is called “Eternal Father.”…The Son is called the Father, so the Son must be the Father. We must realize this fact. There are some who say that He is called the Father, but He is not really the Father. But how could He be called the Father and yet not be the Father? If I am called a brother, I must be a brother. The Son is called the Father; therefore, He must be the Father. Can we drop Isaiah 9:6 from the Scriptures? It clearly tells not only that a child, the very one born at Bethlehem, is called “Mighty God” but also that a Son given to us is called “Eternal Father.”[18]
The Son is the eternal Father. It is indeed difficult to fully explain this matter, yet this is the word of the Scriptures. “A Son is given...and His name will be called...Eternal Father.” Does this not plainly say that the Son is the Father? If the Son is not the Father, how could the Son be called the Father? If we acknowledge that the child of whom this verse speaks is the mighty God, then we must also acknowledge that the Son of whom this verse speaks is also the eternal Father; otherwise, we are not believing the clearly stated revelation of the Scriptures. However, we deeply believe that according to the words here, the Lord Jesus who became the child is the mighty God, and the Lord Jesus who is the Son is also the eternal Father. Our Lord is the Son, and He is also the Father. Hallelujah![19]

In response to Geisler and Rhodes, LC published four books defending its orthodoxy. In the second of these books, LC produced one of the most damning confirmations of its modalistic theology. So clear is the modalism in this book, that any claim to the contrary must be rejected until it is fully retracted. This book criticizes Geisler and Rhodes for rejecting the plain reading of Isa. 9:6.[20] “Witness Lee, on the other hand, affirms what the Bible affirms.”[21] Just what does that mean? It means that Witness Lee believed that Jesus is the Father:
When the Bible says that the Son is called the everlasting Father, I say, “Amen, the Son is the Father.”[22]
Lest anyone doubt the clarity of that statement, LC confirmed and clarified just what Lee meant. So that the charge of taking Lee out of context cannot be substantiated, I have provided the entire quote below:
Furthermore, Isaiah 63:16 says, “Thou, O Lord, art our Father; our Redeemer from eternity is thy name” (Heb.). And Isaiah 64:8 says, “O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are the work of thy hand.” The prophet Isaiah used these two verses as a further development of what he prophesied concerning Christ as the Father of eter-nity in Isaiah 9:6. In 64:8 Isaiah tells us that the Father of eternity in 9:6 is our Creator, and in 63:16 he tells us that the Father of eternity is our Redeemer. In the whole Bible, Christ is revealed as our Creator and especially as our Redeemer (John 1:3; Heb. 1:10; Rom. 3:24; Titus 2:14). The Father of eternity being both our Creator and our Redeemer not only confirms but also strengthens the understanding that the Redeemer, Christ, is the Father of eternity, the holy Father in the Godhead. Hence, to say that the everlasting Father, or the Father of eternity, in Isaiah 9:6 is some kind of Father, other than the Father in the Godhead, is not according to the context of the whole book of Isaiah.[23]
Amazingly, LC went on in to spin Lee’s teaching to comply with that of Benjamin B. Warfield, the great defender of trinitarian orthodoxy.[24] This is the same tactic utilized by other cults, especially the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Neither Warfield nor the rest of orthodox Christianity has ever affirmed that Christ is “the Father in the Godhead.” 

Lee consistently described God in modalistic terms: 

Why is it so important to understand that the Holy Spirit dwells in man’s innermost depth, deeper within than his organs of thought, feeling and decision? 
Therefore, the Bible clearly reveals to us that the Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit. Otherwise, how could these three be one God?[25]
When addressing the problem of communication with modalistic theology, Lee explains:
If you say that the Son is the Father, then how could the Son pray to the Father? This is not difficult to explain… We have previously pointed out that in relation to the God of Abraham, the main emphasis is that He is the Father; with the God of Isaac, the main emphasis is that He is the Son; and with the God of Jacob, the main emphasis is that He is the Spirit. So He is not only the second person of the Triune God; He is also the whole God. He is the first person, the Father; He is the second person, the Son; and He is also the third person, the Spirit.[26]
Why could it not be that the Lord is the Son who prays and also the Father who listens to the praying? The Father who listens to the praying is the Son who prays, and the Son who prays is also the Father who listens to the prayer.[27]
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three separate persons or three Gods; they are one God, one reality, one person. Hence, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are denoted by one name. The name denotes the person, and the person is the reality of the name. The name of the divine Trinity is the sum total of the divine Being, equivalent to his person. God is triune; that is He is three-one. In some theological writings, the preposition in is added between three and one to make three-in-one. However, it is more accurate to say that God is three-one. Being three-one, He is one God, with the Father, the Son and the Spirit as his reality, his person. Thus the name of the Triune God is Father, Son, and Spirit. Father, Son and Spirit are not three different names; they are the unique name of the divine Trinity. Such a name is a compound title…The compound name in Matthew 28:19 is composed of three parts—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[28]
Lee provided his own analogy to explain his modalistic conception of God:
The electricity in the lights in the meeting hall is, on one hand, in the meeting hall; on the other hand, it is also in the generator; it is in both places. These are not two different electricities but one. At the end in the power plant, electricity is generated, while at the end in the meeting hall, it illuminates. Thank the Lord, He also has two ends: at the end in heaven, He is the Father, and at the end on the earth, He is the Son; at the end in heaven, He is the One who listens to the prayer, and at the end on earth, He is the One who prays. He is both the One who prays on earth and the One who listens in heaven.[29]
LC’s modalism is even seen in its hymnody. Consider Nee’s hymn Experience of Christ In the Spirit:
Lord, when the Father ne’er was known,The Father came through Thee below,That we who lived in ignoranceMight through Thyself the Father know.But, Lord, when Thou wast here on earth,How scarce were those Thyself who knew;A veil there was ‘twixt Thee and them;They crowded ‘round, but saw not through.Now as the Spirit Thou hast comeE’en as the Father came in Thee;As we through Thee the Father know,Now through the Spirit we know Thee.Not with the flesh Thou now art clothed-Then must Thou walk with toil around;But as the Spirit in our heartThou dost supply Thyself unbound.Thou, Lord, the Father once wast called,But now the Holy Spirit art;The Spirit is Thine other form,Thyself to dwell within our heart.By knowing Thee as Spirit, Lord,We realize Thy life’s outflow,Thy glory and Thy character,And all Thy being’s wonders know.Praise to Thy Name now floods our heart;There is no one as dear as Thee;For since we know how real Thou art,No other one could lovelier be.[30]
Nee’s theology was not unlike Lee:
Because unless the child of God perceives this, invariably he shall seek His guidance in his soul…The Holy Spirit lives in the remotest recess of our being; there and only there may we expect His working and obtain His guidance. Our prayers are directed to “our Father who art in heaven,” but the heavenly Father guides from within us. If our Counsellor, our Paraclete, resides in our spirit then His guidance must come from within.[31] 
The singular glory of this dispensation of grace is that God’s Spirit indwells believers in order to manifest the Father and the Son.[32]
Clear As Mud

Prior to LC’s attempt to defend itself from evangelicalism, there was plenty of evidence suggesting that LC affirmed a form of modalism. Any doubt, however, should have been eradicated by the defenses published since 2009. No credible denial of Lee’s modalism has ever been established because the evidence to the contrary is enormous and unrelenting. I have provided but a small fraction of the available evidence. Much more could be said about LC’s interpretation of John 14:10, 2 Cor. 3:17 and other passages.[33] Both the argumentation and conclusions Lee drew were consistently modalistic, confusing the persons of the Trinity.

The claim that the charge of modalism is due to a contextual and linguistic difference doesn’t survive the evidence. Lee had lived in the United States since 1962 and become a prodigious writer with a sound grasp of English.[34] He routinely interacted with orthodox writers in his own volumes and yet insisted upon rejecting orthodox trinitarianism. 

It is only until relatively recently, when LC came under the scrutiny of evangelical counter-cult specialists, that it transparently coopted the doctrine of perichoresis (i.e., coinherence) to account for its modalism. LC’s attempt at portraying itself as orthodox is betrayed by its vast publications both during its many failed lawsuits and now. Much the same can be said about LC’s doctrine of deification, and its repudiation of Christian denominations. 

Recovery of What?

Living Steam Ministry publishes the The Holy Bible Recovery Version. The Recovery Version is alleged to have been translated from both the Nestle-Aland 26th Edition of the Greek New Testament and the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Revised Edition. I scoured both my own copy of the Recovery Version as well as the publisher’s literature and website in order to find our who is responsible for this translation. The only name I was able to find was that of “The Editorial Section Living Steam Ministry” and Witness Lee. Given Lee’s lack of training and exegetical and interpretive abilities, I found that claim dubious. I called Living Stream Ministry to inquire who was actually responsible to the Recovery Version, and other than insisting Lee’s responsibility and that of “others,” the representative of Living Stream Ministry refused to say. The representative advised me to email Living Stream Ministry and she told me that someone would promptly send me a list of translators and their credentials. As of the writing of this work, I have yet to receive that list. 

The Recovery Version is a study Bible that is filled with LC’s commentary. It contains a few bizarre readings that seem to betray the claim of professional translation. For instance, the Recovery Version renders John 1:14 as follows:
And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and reality.
The term that is translated in every other English translation as “truth” (Grk. alētheia) at John 1:14 is translated by the Recovery Version as “reality.” While alētheia can refer to a real state,[35] there is absolutely no exegetical or translational ground for this rendering, except that of LC’s theology. That the Recovery Version translates alētheia “reality” and “truth” intermittently betrays its claim of translational accuracy.[36]

In its New World Translation, the Watchtower has resorted to changing the Bible to fit its doctrine. LC uses the Recovery Version’s copious footnotes to accomplish that task. LC’s modalism is throughout this commentary. For example:
To be baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus is the equivalent to being baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, because the Lord Jesus is the Triune God…[37] 
The Holy Spirit is a general title of the Spirit of God in the New Testament; the Spirit of Jesus is a particular expression concerning the Spirit of God and refers to the Spirit of the incarnated Savior who, as Jesus in His humanity, passed through human living and death on the cross. This indicates that in the Spirit Jesus there is not only the divine element of God but also the human element…[38]
The LC’s claim that all other churches are illegitimate is also made plain in these footnotes:
Without the local churches, the universal church has no practicality or actuality. The universal church is realized in the local churches.[39 
Since the reformed Protestant churches are dead, they will be unaware of the Lord’s coming…[40]
Just as the reformed church, prefigured by the church in Sardis, was a reaction to the apostate Catholic Church, prefigured by the church in Thyatira, so the church of brotherly love was a reaction to the dead reformed church. This reaction will continue as an anti-testimony to both apostate Catholicism and degraded Protestantism until the Lord comes back.[41]
To the recovered church, the Lord is also the One who has the key of David, the key of the kingdom, with authority to open and to shut. The Lord uses this key to deal with the recovered church.[42]
The reformed church, though recovered to the Lord’s word to some extent, has denied the Lord’s name by denominating herself, taking many other names, such as Lutheran, Wesleyan, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc… To deviate from the Lord’s word is apostasy, and to denominate the church by taking any name other than the Lord’s is spiritual fornication.[43]
“Confusion” or Truth?

LC has engaged in a disturbing tactic, attempting to prohibit people from quoting the literature made available on its website. Living Stream Ministry has placed the following note on many of the webpages which feature Lee’s and Nee’s writings:
For the sake of avoiding confusion, we ask that none of these materials be downloaded or copied and republished elsewhere, electronically or otherwise. Living Stream Ministry retains full copyright on all these materials and hopes that our visitors will respect this.[44]
It is the author’s opinion that this statement is an attempt to prevent evangelicals and other critics of the LC movement from letting the cat out of the bag regarding LC’s continued doctrinal problems. The only “confusion” that might result from quoting Lee or other LC author’s is that of doctrinal aberration and heresy. By law, a copyright cannot preclude fair use in a work of scholarship.[45]

[1] The Local Church movement is also called “The Lord’s Recovery.”
[2] Hank Hanegraaff, 2009, “We Were Wrong,” Christian Research Journal, Spec. Ed., 32.6, 4.
[3] 1 Cor. 6:1-8.
[4] 01/09/2007, An Open Letter: To the Leadership of Living Stream Ministry and the “Local Churches,” Accessed 05/03/2019.
[5] The Local Churches: Genuine Believers and Fellow Members of the Body of Christ, (Fullerton, CA: DCP Press, 2008), 10.
[6] Ben Hawkins, 04/17/2017, “’Bible Answer Man’ embraces Eastern Orthodoxy,” Baptist Press, Accessed 05/03/2019.
[7] See John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World, 3rd Ed., (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 87, 118-9.
[8] See the resultant book Richard J. Mouw, Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012).
[9] Norm Geisler and Ron Rhodes, A Response to the Christian Research Journal’s Recent Defense of the “Local Church” Movement, Accessed 05/03/2019.
[10] A Confirmation of the Gospel: Concerning the Teaching of the Local Churches and Living Stream Ministry, (Fullerton, CA: DCP Press, 2009), 15.
[11] Ibid., 16.
[12] Ibid., 18.
[13] For a helpful explanation see Vern S. Poythress, Knowing and Trinity: How Perspectives in Human Knowledge Imitate the Trinity, (Philipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2018), 52-62.
[14] A Confirmation of the Gospel, 17.
[15] Ibid., 16.
[16] Ibid., 19.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Witness Lee, The All-Inclusive Spirit of Christ, (Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Publishers, 1969), 4-5.
[19] Witness Lee, Concerning the Triune God: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 1.8, Accessed 05/03/2019.
[20] Brothers, Hear Our Defense: Concerning the Divine Trinity, (Fullerton, CA: DCP Press, 2011), 61.
[21] Ibid., 63.
[22] Ibid.
[23] Ibid., 64.
[24] Ibid., 66. 
[25] Lee, Concerning the Triune God, 1.10.
[26] Ibid., 1.12.
[27] Ibid.
[28] Witness Lee, The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man, (Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Ministry, 1996), 48-9.
[29] Lee, Concerning the Triune God, 1.13.
[30] Watchman Nee, “Hymn 490,” Hymns by Watchman Nee & Witness Lee, Accessed 05/03/2019.
[31] Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, (New York: Christian Fellowship Pub., 1968), 233.
[32] Ibid., 431.
[33] See pp. 83-4 of Burgos, Counterfeit Religion: A Biblical Analysis of Cults, Sects, & False Religious Movements. concerning John 14:10. For a consideration of 1 Cor. 3:17 see Michael R. Burgos, Against Oneness Pentecostalism: An Exegetical-Theological Critique, 2nd Ed., (Winchester, CT: Church Militant Pub., 2017), 140-7.
[34] See the 47 volume set Collected Works of Witness Lee, (Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Ministry, 1985).
[35] BDAG, 42-3.
[36] Using John for example, John 3:21; 4:23-4; 5:33; 8:32, vv. 40, 44-6; 16:7; 17:17, v. 19; 18:37-8; 1 John 4:6 use “truth” while John 1:14, v. 17; 14:6, v. 17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 5:6 use “reality.”
[37] The New Testament Recovery Version, (Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Ministry, 1991), 511, n. 16.
[38] Ibid., 547, n. 7.
[39] Ibid., 1234, n. 4.
[40] Ibid., 1254, n. 3.
[41] Ibid., 1255, n. 7.
[42] Ibid.
[43] Ibid., 1256, n. 8.
[44] e.g., “Tables of Contents from Selected Titles
by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee,” Living Stream Ministry, Accessed 05/03/2019.
[45] See 17 U.S. Code § 107.