李万熙的妄想症

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作者丨保罗·威利斯教授

翻译丨菠萝蜜

编辑丨小葡萄

(转载请注明真道和作者)


译者按:本文作者是来自加利福尼亚的保罗·威利斯(Paul Willis)教授。《天地创造》是韩国异端教会新天地耶稣教证据帐幕圣殿创始人李万熙的著作,该书集中反映了李万熙的“(异端)神学”思想。本文是作者对于《天地创造》一书的思考和回应。

心理上的主动权

李万熙对圣经各卷书的熟悉程度让我印象深刻,特别是他对于圣经的解释,无论你是否同意他的主张。

李万熙宣称凡不完全同意他的人,都注定要下火湖(话说他真的很喜欢那个火湖,而且真的很喜欢把批评他的人送进火湖),这使得对于圣经的几乎每一页的辨别过程都复杂化了。


所以,无论对于不愿加入新天地的人还是想要离开新天地的人,他都获得心理上的主动权,让人感到害怕。

新天地论到那些离开的人,“无论他们是否意识到,都会有七个更恶的鬼进入体内”。

那些在新天地里的人被禁止与背道者联系,而且背道者也被禁止重新回到新天地。

自我幻想

我先岔开一笔。

在我反思李万熙的解经方法,以及他把自己选为圣经据说应该达到高潮的关键人物的过程中,我想起了十八世纪塞缪尔·约翰逊(Samuel Johnson)写的道德故事《拉塞拉斯》(Rasselas)中的一个情节。


在故事中,一群寻找真理的朋友碰巧遇到一位天文学家,他一生都在研究太阳、月亮、行星和恒星的运动。

多年来,这位天文学家一夜夜地沉浸在这项研究中,天文学家开始相信天体只会以正确的方式运动,因为他会追踪它们; 没有他的引导,天体会从轨道上掉下来,地球上的四季也会出现混乱。

这种幻想是逐渐产生的,但一旦它站稳脚跟,天文学家就充满了责任感和焦虑感。

他的新朋友想要帮助他,但他们无法说服他脱离他的幻想。

然而,当他开始享受他们的陪伴时,他发现他的妄想逐渐消失了。

痴迷神学角色扮演

我一直觉得这是个甜蜜又富有警示性的故事,而且我觉得它可以适用于李万熙的情况。

我想象李万熙深深地沉浸在经文中,特别是奇怪又迷人的预言部分。这对他来说是很自然的,因为很显然他几乎一生都待在特别关注圣经这些部分的宗教团体当中。

我也想象他深受经文力量的影响,并想要把这种力量据为己有,让自己尽可能深入地融入他所阅读的内容。


1
扮演”得胜者”


然后有一天,李万熙被启示录中末日事件的紧迫性所吸引,他把目光落在了“得胜者(the one who overcomes)”上面,内心有个声音说:“那就是我。”然后他就走了。

如果他是“得胜者”,他觉得自己也可以是妇人所生的儿子(启示录12章)、两个见证人、白马、保惠师以及使徒约翰本人。


李万熙认为自己可以是“约定的牧者(the promised pastor)”,唯独他继承和践行着耶稣的旨意。


而且很快,李万熙觉得自己不再仅仅是一个小角色,他成为了整个故事的英雄。

觉得如果没有他自己,末日时代的诸多事件没一件会发生。

他实际上已经是必不可少的人物,正如在那位天文学家的心中,觉得他自己对于天体的正常运行是必不可少的一样。


然而,虚构的天文学家和非常真实的李万熙之间的区别在于,天文学家把自己的错觉留给了自己,而李万熙则利用自己的错觉来吸引公众的追随

一旦他坚持认为其他人都必须分享他的错觉,就像我所说的,一种顽固的自恋开始了,任何质疑他的神学角色扮演的人都会被他愉快地扔进火湖。


2
扮演保惠师


但是圣经主张仔细地查考,特别是要注意那些在耶稣来临之前就宣称以耶稣的权威而来的末日领袖们。

所以,我建议进行提问质疑。


首先,我想问“得胜者(the one who overcomes)”是否指的是某个特定的人。

实际上,并不是


在文本中,它指的是历史上存在的小亚细亚七个教会的任何一个信徒,扩而广之,也指后来所有通过基督的大能能够得胜灾难或诱惑的基督徒。

基督并不需要一个假定的“得胜者”来实现他的再临,戴上“得胜者”这个名号。


李万熙不仅是向所有人也是向他自己做出了一个承诺,但是他也在改变这个承诺,他为自己凭空捏造出一个领袖的角色。

他总是反对一切的的圣经注释和一些圣经翻译,这可能源于这样一个事实,即对“得胜者”的误解是如此容易解决。

比如,NRSV版本的圣经,启示录2-3章中就写到“给每一个得胜的人(to everyone who conquers)”(3x),“任何得胜的人(whoever conquers)”(1x),“如果你得胜了(if you conquer)” (2x),以及“给得胜的人(to the one who conquers)” (1x)。


李万熙向众人保证说自己就是约翰福音14-16章应许的保惠师的实体,他把保惠师的身份独独套在了自己身上。

耶稣是在应许保惠师圣灵到使徒那里去,继而到所有基督徒那里去。

但是李万熙却想让我们相信保惠师圣灵只降在他的身上,而且这个圣灵在过去的2000年间得到了有效的封存。

这又是一次篡改,一次不正当的篡权。


3
扮演使徒约翰


与此相关的是,李万熙声称自己是使徒约翰的角色,是接受了启示的人。

像约翰看到启示录大灾难的异象一样,李万熙也宣称自己得到了更加清晰地异象,他将其称之为预言的“实状(physical fulfillment)”。


实际上,李万熙把使徒约翰仅仅看作是为他准备的一个“人物(figure)”,因为李万熙说自己才是实际吃了封住的小书卷,并最终将启示录明明讲解的人。

但是,他又一次抢了人家的戏。


神给约翰的启示是被写下来让所有人读的,但是李万熙宣称他才是真正的使徒约翰,这使得2000年来对历史文本的解读都无效了。

通往神的真理的道路突然间变窄了,而李万熙成为了真理殿堂的唯一守门人。

这是个套路模式,而且还挺烂。

玩小孩子扮演角色的过家家游戏,然后迷于戏中以为自己扮演的角色是真的,这是一回事。

比如:在阅读的过程中,我想象自己是汤姆·索亚、比尔博·巴金斯或者人羊杜纳先生,这是很有趣的事情。


但是把这种假装的游戏强加给别人却是另一回事。

比如:我是狮王阿斯兰,你们必须按我说的做。这个时候游戏就变成海盗行为了。

李万熙所做的,无论有意无意,都是对圣经经文的劫持。


4
扮演“约定的牧者”


最后,更过分的是,李万熙建构了一个圣经历史模式用来证明自己是“天选之人”的有效性。

正如他之前的很多人一样,李万熙注意到,神在不同时代通过不同方式来启示自己。

前人做过很多努力,想要将这些启示的不同方式和步骤进行系统化,但却没有完全让人满意的,因为圣经中充满了鲜活而微小的变化。


其中一个最为严格的方法,是由十九世纪一个叫达秘(Dar)的人发展出来的,它被称作时代论(dispensationalism)。

达秘认为圣经记录了一系列上帝在与选民不断立约的过程中,在不同时代显现并托付不同职权的事情


李万熙盗取了达秘的总体思路,又用特别的方式将其重塑。

他总结出一个严格的套路模式,即背道、灭亡以及通过神所选定的“新牧者”所带来的救恩。


他把亚当、挪亚、亚伯拉罕、摩西、约书亚和耶稣都套用到这个模式中。

大多数其他解经的人都会止步于此,把耶稣作为上帝亲自启示的高潮,虽然耶稣的再临也会被考虑在内。

但是,李万熙却利用他从上述发现的套路模式所获得的动力,将读者推到了末世时代“约定的牧者”所带来的“新福音”里。


为了达到这个目的,他需要耍些花招,为耶稣的“旧福音”规定一个失效日期。

这儿他就有点模棱两可了:《天地创造》这部书的有些部分,他赞颂耶稣通过钉死在十字架上所带来的拯救恩典;而有些部分,他坚称救恩只有通过“约定的牧者”才能实现

他有点把自己逼到墙角了。


完全否定耶稣的工作是不行的,部分是因为李万熙是在与弥撒亚进行了很多类比的基础上建构起了自己的权威。

但同时,他又想让我们相信他自己——李万熙——才是我们必须要相信的新的救恩者,即上帝的工作完全取决于他的出现和他的英雄行为。

强制刚性逻辑

此外,李万熙想要我们相信这个时代论模式的一种刚性逻辑(inflexible logic):

上帝不会通过其他方式来做工,而且这种做工方式在李万熙到来后达到了高潮。

他不会让我们注意到“约定的牧者”这个角色是他自己完全虚构出来的,因为新约中并未明确预言一位“约定的牧者”。


实际上,他的逻辑有某种难以理解的循环:

李万熙是如何“完全通达”——正如他所宣称的——圣经的呢?

他会告诉你,这是因为他就是那位得胜者,因此被赐予了隐藏的吗哪——解开的话语。

李万熙又是如何知道他就是那位得胜者的呢?为啥呢?

因为他完全通达圣经。


最后,我要顺便提一下,李万熙用一种通常看起来非常随意的解释,来实践他所谓的通达圣经。

比如,在李万熙的笔下,创世纪1-3章成为了末世的比喻寓言。

而启示录14章锡安山上属于羔羊的144000人,李万熙又是按照字面去解释这个数字。


他对圣经是选择一种奇怪的字面解释或是迄今未知的比喻解释,似乎并没有受到任何一以贯之的原则的指导。

如果说有一个一以贯之的原则,那就是要有利于提升他的地位和达成他的目的。

这是我对李万熙“神学”的简要回应。


塞缪尔·约翰逊笔下的天文学家的妄想症可以被治愈,但我怀疑李万熙的妄想症是否能被治愈。

不过,在他快要死的时候,我们有可能想象到,他因为做出了这么多假设,误导了这么多人会感到良心上的痛苦(但是本号编辑认为李有可能到死也不会良心发现)。



原文:


I am impressed with Mr. Lee’s familiarity with the terrain of the scriptures. The crux of course comes with his interpretation of them, and with whether one can agree with his claims. He complicates this process of discernment on almost every page asserting that anyone who does not completely agree with him is destined for the lake of fire. (He really likes that lake of fire, and he really likes sending all of his critics there.) So, he can get a little shrill that way, both with people who do not wish to join his group and with people who wish to leave his group. Those who leave “will receive seven more evil spirits regardless of whether they realize it” (351). Those within the group are not allowed to associate with defectors, and defectors are not allowed to repent of their leaving and to return.

But I digress. As I reflected upon Mr. Lee’s approach to the scriptures, and of his election of himself as the key figure in whom the scriptures supposedly culminate, I thought about an episode in an eighteenth-century moral tale called Rasselas, Samuel Johnson. In the tale, a group of friends searching for truth happen upon an astronomer who has spent his entire life studying the movements of the sun, moon, planets, and stars.

Over the years, immersed in this study night after night, the astronomer has come to believe that the heavenly bodies only move in the proper way because he keeps track of them; without his guidance, the heavenly bodies would fall out of orbit and the seasons on earth would go awry. This delusion is entertained gradually, but once it has taken hold, the astronomer is filled with a sense of responsibility and anxiety. His new friends want to help him, but they are not able to talk him out of his delusion. As he begins to enjoy their company, however, he finds that his delusion gradually melts away.

I have always found this a sweet and cautionary tale, and I think it may apply in the case of Mr. Lee. I imagine him deeply immersed in the scriptures, especially the weirdly fascinating prophetic portions—and this would be only natural to him, as he has apparently spent almost all of his life in groups that pay special attention to these portions of the Bible. I also imagine him deeply affected the power of the scriptures, and wanting to appropriate that power for himself—to involve himself as deeply as possible in what he is reading. And then, one day, caught up in the urgency of the apocalyptic events of the book of Revelation, his eye comes to rest on “the one who overcomes,” and something in him says, “That’s me.” And then he’s off.

If he is “the one who overcomes,” he can also be the son of the woman, one of the two witnesses, the white horse, the Advocate, and the Apostle John himself. He can be “the promised pastor” who uniquely succeeds and carries out the will of Jesus. And pretty soon, he’s not just a bit character—he is the hero of the entire story. In fact, without him, none of the events at the end of the age can take place. He is in fact indispensable, just as the astronomer, in his own mind, becomes indispensable to the proper movements of the heavens.

The difference between the fictional astronomer and the quite literal Mr. Lee, however, is that the astronomer keeps his delusion to himself, while Mr. Lee uses his to build a public following. And once he insists that everyone else must share his delusion, as I am calling it, an inflexible narcissism kicks in, and anyone who questions his bit of theological roleplaying is blithely consigned to the lake of fire. But the Scriptures advocate close examination, giving particular caution to end-time leaders who come in Jesus’ authority before his time. So, questioning is recommended.

First, I question whether “the one who overcomes” refers to a particular person. In fact, it does not. In context, it refers to any believer of the historic seven churches of Asia Minor—and extension, any subsequent believer—who, through the power of Christ, is able to overcome adversity or temptation. Christ does not need a supposed “one who overcomes” to accomplish his return, and in donning this mantle Mr. Lee is not only taking a promise made to all and reserving it only for himself, but he is also changing that promise into something it is not, inventing a leading role for himself out of thin air. His frequent objections to all biblical commentaries and to some biblical translations may stem from the fact that this misunderstanding regarding “the one who overcomes” is so easily resolved. The NRSV, for example, in Rev. 2-3, has “to everyone who conquers” (3x), “whoever conquers” (1x), “if you conquer” (2x), and “to the one who conquers” (1x).

In claiming to be the unique embodiment of the Advocate promised in John 14-16, Mr. Lee is also taking a guarantee made to many and applying it only to himself. Jesus is promising the Holy Spirit to his disciples—and extension to all believers—but Mr. Lee would have us believe that the holy spirit (always lower-case for him, as he seems to regard the Holy Spirit as more of a function than a person) is only embodied in himself— and that this spirit has been effectively withheld for the last 2,000 years. Again, there is a usurpation—a wrongful taking—of powers here.

Related to this is Mr. Lee’s claim that he literally functions as the Apostle John as a receiver of revelation. Just as John received a vision of the apocalypse, Mr. Lee claims to have received an even clearer vision of what he calls the “physical fulfillment” of these prophecies. He in fact regards John the Apostle as only a “figure” for himself, for Mr. Lee is the actual one who eats the unsealed scroll and finally makes the book of Revelation clear to all. Again, however, he is usurping a role. The revelation given to John was written down for all to read, but claiming that he is the “real” Apostle John, Mr. Lee invalidates 2,000 years of engagement with a historic text. Access to divine truth is suddenly narrowed, and Mr. Lee becomes the only gatekeeper.

There is a pattern here, and it is not a pretty one. It is one thing to play a children’s game of pretend for oneself—and then to become so caught up in the game that one believes it for oneself. (In the midst of my reading it is fun to imagine that I am Tom Sawyer, or Bilbo Baggins, or Tumnus the Faun.) But it is quite another thing to inflict this game of pretend upon others. (I’m Aslan, and you have to do what I say.) That is when play page 3 becomes piracy. What Mr. Lee has accomplished, intentionally or not, is a hijacking of the scriptures.

Finally, and over-archingly, Mr. Lee constructs a pattern of scriptural history to validate his anointed role. Like many before him, Mr. Lee has noticed that God appears to reveal himself in different ways at different times. There have been many efforts to systematize these different ways and steps of revelation, none completely satisfactory, given the fact that the scriptures are full of such living, squirming variety. One of the most rigid ways was developed a man named Dar in the nineteenth century, and it came to be called dispensationalism, because Dar regarded the Bible as recording a series of different dispensations of God’s presence in a succession of covenants with his people.

Mr. Lee takes Dar’s general idea and shapes it in a particular way. He perceives a rigid social pattern of betrayal, destruction, and then salvation through divine selection of “a new pastor,” and he follows this pattern through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and Jesus. Most any other interpreter would stop here, with Jesus as the climax of God’s revelation of himself, though of course the return of Christ would be taken into account as well. Mr. Lee, however, uses the momentum he gains from unfolding this pattern to springboard the reader to a “new gospel” of “the promised pastor” in the end times. To do this, he needs to exercise some sleight of hand to stipulate an expiration date for the “old gospel” of Jesus.

This is where he has to equivocate a little: on some pages of his book he extols the saving grace of Jesus made available through his death on the cross; on other pages he insists that salvation is only made available through “the promised pastor.” He has sort of painted himself into a corner. It won’t do to dismiss the work of Jesus completely, partly because Mr. Lee constructs his own authority on the basis of many messianic analogies, but at the same time he wants to convince us that he himself, Mr. Lee, is the new “savior,” the one we must “believe in,” that God’s work is completely contingent upon Mr. Lee’s appearance and upon his heroic acts.

Also, Mr. Lee would have us believe in an inflexible “logic” of this dispensational pattern: God can work in no other way, and this way culminates in the arrival of Mr. Lee. He would not have us notice that the role of “the promised pastor” is one he has completely made up on his own,for no clear New Testament prophecy is made for a promised pastor.

Indeed, there is a certain impenetrable circularity to his logic. How does Mr. Lee have, as he claims, “complete mastery” of the scriptures? He will tell you it is because he is the one who overcomes and is thus given the hidden manna of the revealed word. How does Mr. Lee know he is the one who overcomes? Why, because he has complete mastery of the scriptures.

Finally, I will note in passing that he exercises this supposed mastery with an exegesis that often seems quite arbitrary. In Mr. Lee’s hands, for example, Genesis 1-3 becomes a figurative allegory for the end times. The 144,000 who belong to the Lamb on Mt. Zion in Revelation 14, however, comprise a number that Mr. Lee takes quite literally. His choice of a strangely literal interpretation or a heretofore unknown figurative page 4 interpretation of the scriptures does not seem to be guided any consistent principle. If there is a consistent principle, it is the promotion of his own status and purposes.

This is my response in a nutshell to Mr. Lee’s theology. Samuel Johnson’s astronomer could be cured of his delusion. I doubt if Mr. Lee will be cured of his—though, on his approaching deathbed, it is possible to imagine him experiencing some pangs of conscience for having presumed so much and misled so many.

——Some Thoughts on Manhee Lee,< The Creation of Heaven and Earth>



– END –



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