Confirming Testimonies from Saints in Kampala, Uganda
This section of afaithfulword.org presents five firsthand testimonials in the form of letters by five local saints in Uganda:
- Brother Godwin Kihuguru
- Sister Sarah Kihuguru
- Sister Mbabazi Mpuga
- Sister Rachel Aderi
- Sister Edna Kanabahita
These saints were eyewitnesses of the events that transpired over a five-year period, from 2001 to 2006, in Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda, Africa. These testimonies describe what took place in the church in Kampala and the division caused by the work under Titus Chu's leadership and confirm the accuracy of the account of Brother Tim Knoppe.
A striking feature of these accounts is their stress on the divine life. These letters consistently describe how the saints in Kampala were led into the subjective experience and enjoyment of the Lord as life. Even upon their initial touch with the Lord's recovery, these dear saints had a real experience of life and fruit-bearing according to the God-ordained way revealed in the Bible. They testify of the taste that they experienced of the Lord in the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. They give personal accounts of how the church in Kampala was raised up through the one ministry and how they relied simply and purely on the Lord by cooperating with Him to be constituted with the Word. They testify how they were led by and into the ministry to appreciate the Lord in His Word. The result was that, even in a short amount of time, a pure testimony was raised up—the church in Kampala, Uganda.
Their reports go on to reveal that a very different work came in—a work that was not according to the constricted way of life (cf. Matt. 7:14). They testify of their experience of being pressured and even manipulated to support this new work, which applied worldly means to attract increase and to build up that work, rather than bearing fruit and building up the church through the overflow of the divine life by means of prayer, the Spirit, and the Word (Acts 1:8; 4:31; 6:4; 8:4). These saints tell of the stark contrast between what they had initially seen, experienced, and tasted of the pure recovery of the Lord—the life and life supply that they had enjoyed from their first touch of the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee—and what they experienced when workers sent by Titus Chu tried to take over their church life.
Besides the undeniable, detailed and sometimes shocking accounts, these five saints testify of the accompanying confusion that was brought in—how the work was done in a way of natural effort and worldly mixture. Their assessment of the work was that it was designed to measure success in sheer numbers and that it was carried out in a way that was no different in nature from the work of the denominations in which each had once been involved.
The reports further demonstrate that Titus and most of those under him acted and taught in a way that was divisive and controlling. Their accounts reveal the deceit and manipulation that were perpetrated on the church in Kampala and that this different work was carried out without fellowship with or care for the local saints who had originally taken the stand for the church life in Kampala. Ultimately, as you will see, this different work brazenly set itself in direct competition with the testimony of the church in Kampala.
These negative events that took place in the church in Kampala are a direct result of the different teachings introduced and promoted by Titus Chu and by those sent by him to do a work in Uganda. What Titus Chu and those who defend him object to, among other matters, is Brother Lee's stress that all the co-workers should do one work by teaching the same thing under the same vision in order to preserve the one accord. Titus and those working under him have rejected this scriptural truth and have used different teachings to justify and build up their own "kingdoms" under the cloak of the Lord's recovery.
Emphasizing separate regional works caused great damage in the 1980s. It became a basis for some to claim their region as a private territory of their work. In response, Brother Lee emphasized the uniqueness of the work in the Lord's recovery, the need for fellowship among the workers, and the danger of promoting anything apart from God's economy.
While the ministry is going on, it is regional. This does not mean, however, that the Lord has different moves in different regions and that He has different bodies and different testimonies. This does not mean that the ministry or the work under Peter's leadership in the Jewish land was for one kind of testimony, and then the work and the ministry under the leadership of Paul in the Gentile world was for another kind of testimony. The Lord has, in the New Testament age, one unique ministry for one move to produce one unique Body as one unique testimony. ( Elders' Training, Book 4: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery , p. 28)
To some extent this may also be the situation in some places in the recovery today. Certain ones take the proper ground and keep the fundamental faith, yet they live in the flesh, in the self, and in the natural man. They may be selfish and pursue their own interest, seeking glory and exaltation. Even worse, they may have ambition, something that is hateful and abominable in the sight of God. The root of every rebellion that took place among us in the past seventy-two years has been this ugly and evil matter of ambition. ( Life-study of 1 and 2 Chronicles , p. 80)
Brother Lee also spoke concerning the way to avoid, remedy, and cure "this kind of illness" among the churches; that is to know and honor the feeling of the Body.
We are here for the Body. Without the backing of the Body, without the backing of the recovery, we have no way to practice the local churches. If we practice the local church life and neglect the view of the Body, our local church becomes a local sect.
The recovery is for the Body, not for any individual or merely for any individual local church. If we are going to do something, we have to consider how the Body, the recovery, will react. The problems are all due to the lack of seeing the Body and of caring for the Body.... ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , p. 35)
Turmoil after turmoil has transpired because of our not knowing the Body. The only remedy that can cure us of this kind of illness is the seeing of the Body. When Brother Nee taught about the Body he said that with whatever we do, we have to consider how the churches would feel about it. When we do something, we must not forget that we are members of the Body, and that Body is not only a local church. The local church is not a "local body"; if it is, it becomes a local sect.... ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , pp. 28-29)
The purpose of publishing these reports is to demonstrate the effects of different teachings and works. Such things damage the Body of Christ, as this narrative illustrates. This treatment does not examine the different teachings that were brought in; it merely chronicles the events that took place.
The saints who offer their testimonies here speak strongly concerning their experience of touching the sweet flow of life in the Lord's recovery, of then being brought into another, different, lifeless work, and of the joy of being reunited in fellowship with the Body in a real way.
[Evan Koch with Bill Buntain and Dan Sady]