For many years Editora Árvore da Vida (EAdV) had permission from Living Stream Ministry (LSM) to translate, print, and distribute the ministry materials of Brothers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee as published by LSM. This permission was based on what Brother Lee, as founder and president of LSM, had allowed decades ago. However, over the past few years two factors have begun to characterize the publication work of EAdV, and these make it clear that EAdV has significantly deviated in its work. Because of this deviation, the brothers who oversee LSM, in fellowship with the co-workers and with Taiwan Gospel Bookroom (TGBR), have deemed it necessary to revoke all permission given to EAdV to further translate any LSM materials into Portuguese, Spanish, or any other languages and to reprint any titles already translated. On December 21, 2009, LSM sent the letter below revoking these permissions to the brothers who oversee EAdV.
LSM wishes to make clear that this action does not mean that we intend to isolate any of the churches or any of the dear saints in Brazil and in the rest of South America. On the contrary, we hope that we could strengthen our fellowship with them in God's New Testament economy, and we welcome them to use our publications and to attend our seven annual blending times. But as a publisher of the divine and biblical truths throughout the earth, we feel before the Lord that we cannot stand with the deviation that we witness in EAdV's publication work and that the co-workers and the local churches in the Lord's recovery have publicly warned against. We feel that it is our responsibility to clearly speak out against this deviation and terminate our permissions to EAdV as outlined in the letter below.
The brothers who oversee Living Stream Ministry
[Note: Only the original English letter was signed by the brothers who oversee LSM and TGBR. The translations of this letter into Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese were not reviewed or signed by them. The English letter was delivered to the offices of Editora Árvore da Vida by courier and by email on December 22, 2009.]
December 21, 2009
To the Directors of Editora Árvore da Vida
With this letter Living Stream Ministry (LSM) hereby revokes any and all former and current permissions given to Editora Árvore da Vida (EAdV) to translate into Portuguese, Spanish, or any language any and all LSM materials, including all its ministry materials of Brothers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. We also revoke any and all former and current permissions to further reprint any titles already translated from LSM materials.
We understand and acknowledge that many years ago Brother Witness Lee, on behalf of LSM, gave EAdV permission to translate LSM materials, and particularly his ministry, into Portuguese. We also acknowledge that until some years back EAdV was faithful to the ministry of Brother Lee in its publication work and was therefore qualified to translate LSM ministry materials. However, some years back EAdV began to deviate from Brother Lee’s ministry in its publication work in two significant aspects. First, EAdV began to promote as its main author a minister (Dong Yu Lan) who is now recognized by the churches in the Lord’s recovery as having deviated from the full contents of the New Testament ministry. Second, EAdV became selective in what it translated and published from Brother Lee’s ministry, providing the Portuguese-speaking saints only what it felt was beneficial in Brother Lee’s ministry and not what Brother Lee himself felt was beneficial, as evidenced by what he wished published worldwide in numerous languages. Because these two characteristics in the EAdV’s publication work have persisted for a number of years, it is now obvious that EAdV does not intend to remain faithful to the ministry of Brother Lee. We strongly feel that Brother Lee’s past permission cannot be taken as a license to mix his ministry with that which goes against the full New Testament ministry or to deprive the saints of all that his ministry offers. Therefore, we who now oversee LSM do not feel that it is proper for us to allow EAdV to translate LSM materials any longer.
We also understand that EAdV has a significant amount of books in print, translated from LSM materials. These, we feel, are very good for the saints to enjoy, and hence, we do not require that EAdV cease selling what it already has in print. However, EAdV should not reprint any titles that have been already translated from LSM materials. Any past permission to do so is also hereby revoked. LSM is willing to buy the translation copyright for all of EAdV’s titles as well as its current stock of titles, if a reasonable agreement can be reached to do so. We hope that in doing so the books previously published by EAdV can continue to be made available to the saints.
We want you to know that our decision has not been made only among ourselves at LSM. We have also fellowshipped this matter with Taiwan Gospel Bookroom, with whom we labor as one in the publication work for the Lord’s recovery, and they agree with our decision. They also asked that we include them in the signing of this letter, and we are very happy to do so. LSM and TGBR are one in this matter before all the saints in the Lord’s recovery worldwide.
Further, we want to make very clear that our decision related to EAdV in no way affects our relationship with the many churches and the many saints in Brazil. In terminating these permissions to EAdV, we emphatically declare that we are not isolating the churches and the saints in Brazil. Rather, our intention is solely and genuinely to protect and accelerate the publication of the ministry of our Brothers Nee and Lee in Portuguese. We have already begun to do so with our recent publication of the New Testament Recovery Version, The Holy Word for Morning Revival, and many new titles from LSM in Portuguese, and we will continue to endeavor to release more materials. Also, as has always been the case, the seven feasts hosted by LSM, both the conferences and the semi-annual trainings, are fully open to the saints in Brazil. We hope that no one will take our decision in this letter as a basis for spreading falsehoods about LSM’s relationship to and care and concern for the saints and the churches in Brazil and South America, all of whom we love dearly in the Lord.
Lest there be misunderstanding among the saints and the churches worldwide, this letter will be published openly on LSM’s websites and in print in relevant languages. We wish to make very clear our decision in this matter so that there is no confusion among the saints about our standing in relation to EAdV, its main author, and its publication work.
For Living Stream Ministry:
For Taiwan Gospel Bookroom: