星期二, 8月 02, 2005

關於LSM一個出版的言論,嚴重偏離聖經,偏離倪李帶領的陳明

Concerning the LSM Promulgation dated June 30, 2005
“PUBLICATION WORK IN THE LORD’S RECOVERY”

A. Bro. Lee’s explicit word concerning LSM (published twice in 1988 and 1992, reviewed by Bro. Lee)

The Living Stream Ministry office is only a business office to serve my ministry for two things: to publish the messages in book form and to distribute these messages in both video and audio tapes. That is all the ministry office should do and nothing else. I did not have much time to check on everything related to the office in the past, but the ministry office has always had this specific function and no other function. This little office is a Levitical service serving my ministry to put out the word of God in print through video and audio tapes. (Witness Lee, A Timely Word, p. 39, 1988; Witness Lee, Elders Training Book 9, p. 61, 1992)

“…. At times in my speaking I was a little careless, but after my message was polished and I read it again, I changed some of the things which I had said. I have been very careful in putting out my writings….” (Witness Lee, A Word of Love, p. 64, 1996)

B. Concerning one kind of publication – Bro. Lee stressed the term “one kind” when referring to the publications in the Lord’s recovery.

“If the Lord can gain ten thousand saints in the United States to go full-time with one kind of teaching, one kind of preaching, one kind of material, one kind of publication, one kind of way, and everything one kind. This will be our morale! …This is way the Lord needs.” (Witness Lee, Elders Training Book 8, p.127; Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery, p.14, June 30,2005).

For ten thousand saints to have one kind of publication implies that there are MORE THAN ONE publications of the same kind. This one kind of publication is for the work of the one unique New Testament ministry, which ministers Christ for the building up of the Body of Christ.

C. Although the early apostles, such as John, Paul, and Peter, differed in their style, terminology, utterance, certain aspects of their views, and the way they presented their teachings; nevertheless, they all participated in the same unique ministry of the New Testament.

“What beauty and excellency are in this commendation! Although the Corinthians attempted to divide Peter and Paul according to their divisive preferences (1 Cor. 1:11-12), Peter commended Paul, saying that Paul, like him, taught "these things" and that Paul's writings should not be twisted but should be regarded like "the rest of the Scriptures" and should receive the same respect as the Old Testament….This indicates that Peter was bold in admitting that the early apostles, such as John, Paul, and himself, although their style, terminology, utterance, certain aspects of their views, and the way they presented their teachings differed, participated in the same, unique ministry, the ministry of the New Testament (2 Cor. 3:8-9; 4:1)….” (2 Peter 3:162 last paragraph, RcV)

“All God’s servants are engaged in the ministry of building up the Body of Christ, but it does not follow that, because all are in the ministry of the Word, all ministries are the same. Everyone has a different line of ministry….” (Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life, p. 138, 1939)

“The twelve foundations of the city are composed of twelve kinds of precious stones (Rev. 21:19-20). This signifies oneness in variety. Not one stone is the same: Peter is one color, and John is another. Altogether there are twelve colors seen in the Apostles – a real variety. Yet there is also oneness in this variety….So many gifted brothers today do not agree to be one. Even brothers [co-workers in the Lord’s recovery charged by Bro. Lee to keep the one accord - see point 19 in “J” below] who are supposed to be working together are not one. Each tries to convince the other to be the same as himself….If I fail to convert you, then I have nothing to do with you. This is pitiful! Can we respect someone else whose ministry is totally different from ours? We must. We must hate narrow-mindedness and the urge to convince and convert others to be like ourselves. Never forget that Peter is Peter and John is John. The Lord …needs many different persons to express Himself; one individual Christian is not sufficient. It is a real mercy to be one of the stones and yet be different from others. There is no need to convince others to be the same as we are.” (Witness Lee, The Vision of God’s Building, p. 221, 1964)

D. By quoting Bro. Lee from alleged unpublished notes (?) of a purported LSM meeting and publicly declaring it in the policy document entitled “Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery”, LSM has officially enshrined and institutionalized Bro. Lee’s personal spiritual ministry into an earthly organization (LSM corporation). This is contrary to Bro. Lee’s own teaching and warning concerning “organization” in deformed and degraded Christianity (cf. “The God-ordained Way to Practice the New Testament Economy, Chapter Three, Witness Lee, 1987)”

“….In a meeting with the brothers [supposedly the “blended co-workers”] to whom he committed the responsibility for Living Stream Ministry, Brother Lee said, “My burden is for the recovery based on the interpretation of Brother Nee and me. I am the continuation of Brother Nee; I would like to have a continuation of me [NOT MERELY the matter of publication but the person himself], and this needs a corporation…The Living Stream corporation will continue this ministry” (from unpublished notes of a meeting of Living Stream, July 12, 1996). He placed the direction of this corporation for the continuation and publication of the ministry in the hands of a group of blended brothers, who labor to fulfill this charge before the Lord.” (Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery, p. 5, June 30, 2005)

“This degraded religious system takes the natural, human, traditional, cultural, and religious way….This natural, human, traditional, and cultural religion is full of organizations. Without organizations, Christianity could not survive. The Catholic Church and all the denominations depend upon organization….We must realize that organization kills. We trust in the living Spirit. The church as the Body of Christ should be a divine organism full of the living Spirit.” (Witness Lee, The God-ordained Way to Practice the New Testament Economy, p. 28-29, 1987)

“….In the New Testament we cannot see an organization with board members, a chairman, a secretary, or other officers. All the major denominations have board members and a chairman. The Catholic Church has the pope as the head of their hierarchical organization….In the Lord’s recovery we do not have board members with a chairman or president.” (ibid., p.169, 1987)

“David "served his own generation," and slept (Acts 13:36). He could not serve two! Where today we seek to perpetuate our work by setting up an organization or society or system, the Old Testament saints served their own day and passed on. This is an important principle of life…. God's work is [the] spiritual to the point of having no earthly roots, no smell of earth on it at all. Men pass on, but the Lord remains….” (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Vol. 40, p. 84-85; also see points 15 & 16 in “J” below)

E. The churches being led by an organization with two entities (LSM corporation and Taiwan Gospel Book Room) – In a publication dated December 1989 by Bros. Ron Kangas and Kerry Robichaux (both are present active members of LSM corporation), entitled “A Response to Recent Accusations”, the authors assert as follows;

“’Organization’ is also sounded out as an alarm to the saints. But again we ask, Where is the fire? It is instructive to consider the difference between an organization and its hoped for antithesis, an organism. By such consideration we will best be able to determine whether there is indeed the establishment of an organization in the Lord’s recovery….” (Ron Kangas and Kerry Robichaux, A Response to Recent Accusations, p. 25, December 1989) Based upon the purpose and intent of the LSM document entitled “Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery” dated June 30, 2005, the answer to this question should be in the affirmative.

“Such a leadership as exercised by Paul and by John was not the leadership in organization….In the New Testament we cannot see an organization with board members, a chairman, a secretary, or other officers. All the major denominations have board members and a chairman. The Catholic Church has the pope as the head of their hierarchical organization. But the leadership in the New Testament ministry is not the leadership in the worldly sense to control others. In the Lord’s recovery we do not have board members with a chairman or president.” (Witness Lee, The God-ordained Way to Practice the New Testament Economy, p.169, 1987)

The leadership in the New Testament ministry in actuality is not the leadership of one controlling person…. Instead, we have the leadership of one controlling revelation in the one ministry through those who bring in the revelation of the ministry. The revelation controls, and it controls through those who bring in the revelation…. The ministry among us is not the ministry of a single person, but the unique New Testament ministry, the ministry of the Lord’s move on this earth in the dispensation of the church….” (ibid., p.172, 1987) Without any doubt, the controlling revelation of the ministry was brought in and unveiled to the churches in the Lord’s recovery through the ministries of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. All the saints in the Lord’s recovery, including the so-called “blended brothers”, are the present day recipients and beneficiaries of such a controlling revelation of the ministry in the Lord’s recovery.

When Bro. Lee was alive and ministering, the scope of operation and function of LSM was very clearly defined (see point A). A full eight years after Bro. Lee has departed to be with the Lord, LSM has disregarded the twice published (and REVIEWED by the speaker) intentions of Bro. Lee concerning LSM and has declared itself to be the de facto CORPORATION leading the local churches in the Lord’s recovery.

F. Conforming the churches to the stand of LSM corporation – By declaring to all the local churches the stand of LSM that there should only be “one publication”, LSM is thereby coercing all the saints in all the churches to conform to its declared position, i.e., “all the saints and all the churches everywhere should be restricted in one publication in the Lord’s recovery” (Publication Work…., p. 8, June 30, 2005). In a publication dated December 1989 by Bros. Ron Kangas and Kerry Robichaux (present active members of LSM corporation), entitled “A Response to Recent Accusations”, the authors assert as follows;

“We must carefully scrutinize the charges. [one person] says that pressure is being applied with the expectation that all the saints and the churches will (1) ‘conform to the burden of the ministry’ and (2) ‘be identical with one another in full conformity of practice.’ The question is, are these expectations indeed wrong? We believe that the first is certainly not. Whether conformity to the burden of the ministry is proper or not, depends on what the burden of the ministry is. If the ministry expects the churches to conform to something that is not according to God’s Word, then conformity would be improper….” (Ron Kangas and Kerry Robichaux, A Response to Recent Accusations, p. 31, December 1989) With respect to the authors’ assertion that conformity to the burden of the ministry, and by extension, to LSM corporation’s present stand concerning “one publication”, should be according to God’s Word, the urgent question therefore is, where in the Bible can we find the basis or the truth concerning “one publication”? If the Bible does not teach the truth concerning “one publication”, then according to the reasoning of the aforementioned authors, conformity would certainly be improper.

“It is wrong to reject the opinion of fellow workers under the pretext of doing the will of God, but it is also wrong to accept their opinions as a substitute for the direct instructions of the Spirit of God. (Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life, p. 43, 1939)

We should not insist on anything but the faith. And we should not impose anything other than the faith on others” (Witness Lee, The Practical Expression of the Church, p. 48, 1968; also see point 9 of “J” below) This is in stark contrast to LSM’s assertion in page 9 of the document “Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery” saying that “the matter of one publication is not a matter of the common faith but something related to the one ministry in the Lord’s recovery.” Yet in page 8 of the same document, it says, “all the saints and all the churches everywhere should similarly be restricted in one publication in the Lord’s recovery.” These are contradictory statements in the LSM document which should be subject to scrutiny based on the revelation of the Word of God.

“I am not talking about something in the Lord’s recovery, but I am talking about the ministry [Bro. Lee’s personal ministry in context of the New Testament ministry; Also referring to the work, which is for the ministry, and the ministry, which is for the church].…I do not control any churches….through my ministry on this globe, thousands of saints have come into the recovery….I am not talking about the churches, I am talking about the ministry. The ministry is one thing and the churches are another thing….[apostle] Paul never tried to force all the churches to follow him in his ministry, bur Paul surely had a ministry for the churches.” (Witness Lee, Elders’ Training, Book 7, pp. 74-76, 1986; Publication Work…., p. 16, June 30, 2005)

“In February 1986 we had an urgent elders’ conference in which I spoke of the new way [published as Elders’ Training Book 7 – One Accord for the Lord’s Move]. Because the Lord’s recovery had become dormant, I was like Gideon, sounding the trumpet to collect a group of people to fight for the recovery. I had no intention to force anyone to follow me….” (Witness Lee, A Word of Love, p. 64, 1996)

G. By stressing the matter of the “blended service”, the “blended brothers”, and the “blended co-workers”, who represents the corporation (LSM and Taiwan Gospel Book Room), LSM has debased the Scriptural principle and teaching concerning the apostles, who actually should be the ones taking the lead in the work of the ministry for the building up of the Body of Christ, according to the teaching of the apostles in the New Testament. (1 Cor. 12:28; cf. Eph. 4:11-12) By emphasizing the “blended co-workers” as the official group representing LSM corporation in taking the lead among the local churches, LSM has added a foreign element to the Bible contrary to the word of the apostle John in Rev. 22:18 which says, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this scroll.” The Bible’s teaching concerning apostles has been clearly unveiled to us through the writings of Bros. Nee and Lee. On the contrary, where in the Scriptures does it say or teach that it is the “blended co-workers” or an earthly organization (LSM corporation) that takes the lead in the church, the ministry, and the work? According to the Bible, how are they appointed or produced? What defines and qualifies a “blended co-worker” according to the Word of God?

The apostles are specially commissioned of God to found churches through the preaching of the gospel, to bring revelation from God to His people, to give decisions in matters pertaining to doctrine and government, and to edify the saints and distribute the gifts….” (Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life, p. 30, 1939) “….If God has called a man to be an apostle, it will be manifest in the fruit of his labors. Wherever you have the commission of God, there you have the authority of God; wherever you have the authority of God, there you have the power of God; and wherever you have the power of God, there you have spiritual fruits. The fruit of our labors proves the validity of our commission.” (ibid., p. 35; 1 Cor. 9:1-2) Based upon this fact in the Scriptures, the evidence of apostleship therefore is manifested in the fruit of an apostle’s labor.

“Because [Paul] had begotten [the Corinthian believers] in the Lord through the gospel (1 Cor. 4:15). The fruit of his labor was the evidence of his apostleship.” (1 Cor. 9:21, RcV) “The sufficient result of the apostle's effective work was not only an evidence, a proof, but also a seal of his apostleship. It put a distinctive mark on his apostolic labor that authenticated and certified his apostleship. (1 Cor. 9:22, RcV)

“[Apostles are] Those who are called and sent by God (1 Cor. 1:1; Rom. 1:1) (1) to preach the gospel that sinners may be saved to be the materials for the building of the church, (2) to establish the churches (Acts 14:21-23), and (3) to teach the divine truth (see note 1 (3) in ch. 9). Their ministry is universal for all the churches.” (1 Cor. 12:282, RcV)

H. The New Testament ministry, Bro. Lee’s personal ministry, and the Ministry (LSM)

1. “The ministry” means “the unique New Testament ministry” which is the universal ministry embracing all individual (personal) ministries of all the ministers. It is “the ministry,” “the unique ministry.” (2 Cor. 3:8; 4:1)

“When we say that the New Covenant ministry is unique, we do not mean that it is the ministry of only one person... By the unique ministry, the new covenant ministry, we mean the ministry of the Spirit and of righteousness. Whoever ministers the Spirit and righteousness to others is one in the unique ministry, no matter who he may be. Peter, John, James, Paul, Timothy, Titus, Apollos - they all had the one ministry. The ministers are many, but the ministry is unique….Some…may have the concept that I think of myself as someone like Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. I always answer this question by saying, “No, I definitely do not mean that my ministry is the unique ministry.”… Although we do not accept all different kinds of ministries, we do accept the ministry of anyone who truly ministers the Spirit and righteousness (Witness Lee, Life-Study of 2 Corinthians, Message 27, pp.235-237).

”The ministry among us is not the ministry of a single person, but the unique New Testament ministry, the ministry of the Lord’s move on this earth in the dispensation of the church….” (Witness Lee, The God-ordained Way to Practice the New Testament Economy, p. 172, 1987)

2. “Brother Lee’s ministry” means his “personal ministry.” Likewise, Paul’s ministry,” and “Apollos’ ministry.” (Act 20:24; 21:19; Rom. 11:13) The New Testament reveals that there is a plurality of personal ministries in relation to the one unique ministry of the New Testament. There is no evidence nor basis in the Scriptures to show that the apostles’ personal ministries can be SUCCEEDED in name and position after their death by another person or a group of persons, let alone by an institution, e.g., LSM corporation succeeding Bro. Lee’s personal ministry. One of the present day examples of organized religious SUCCESSION can be seen in the Roman Catholic Church, wherein every elected pope is considered to be the successor to the apostle Peter.

“In the Lord’s recovery there is only one ministry. If you say that the ministry is my ministry, you must say it with the realization that what I minister is the New Testament ministry. The New Testament ministry was commissioned by the Lord Jesus to His twelve Apostles and then to Paul and his co-workers”…. (The God-ordained Way to Practice the New Testament Economy, p. 164, 1987)

…. Whoever ministers the gospel of Jesus Christ as the Son of God becoming a man, dying on the cross for our sins, and resurrecting to impart life into us, is one of the New Testament ministers…..They are many, yet they have one unique ministry for the building up of the Body of Christ….” (The God-ordained Way to Practice the New Testament Economy, p. 165, 1987)

3. The capitalized word “Ministry” should refer to the business corporation of LSM. By virtue of the public declaration dated June 30, 2005 entitled “Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery”, LSM, a non-profit charitable organization incorporated in Orange County, USA has declared itself to be the institutional successor to Bro. Nee’s and Bro. Lee’s personal spiritual ministries. In page 5 of the same document, it states that, “Living Stream Ministry and Taiwan Gospel Book Room also publish the ongoing ministry [whose personal ministry is this “ongoing ministry” referring to?] in the Lord’s recovery as the extension [read SUCCESSOR] of the ministry of these two brothers.” Since the phrase “ongoing ministry” mentioned here does not denote the New Testament ministry nor any individual person’s ministry, it can only be referring to the LSM corporation, represented by the so-called “blended co-workers”, as the “extension” [meaning SUCCESSOR] of the ministries of Bros. Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Again, where in the Bible is there the basis for such an organized “extension” or man-made arrangement of succession of one individual’s personal spiritual ministry?

“….there is no instant ministry. Neither is there any hand-me-down (meaning SUCCESSION) ministry; there is only ministry produced by constitution.” (Ron Kangas, The Ministry Magazine, June 2003, p. 12) “We are not claiming succession of any kind. Timothy was not Paul’s successor, but he surely was Paul’s continuation.” (ibid, p. 15) This is again a vivid contrast to LSM’s intent and purpose as promulgated in the document “Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery” dated June 30, 2005.

“Second Corinthians speaks concerning the ministry, which is constituted with, and produced and formed by, the experiences of the riches of Christ through sufferings, consuming pressures, and the killing work of the cross. The ministry is not merely a matter of gift. A person may be able to speak fluently and eloquently and give many good illustrations and proverbs, but this is just a gift. What the church, the Body, needs today is the ministry….” (Witness Lee, An Autobiography of a Person in the Spirit, pp. 9-10, 1976)

I. The many work groups doing the one work of the unique New Testament ministry (Eph. 4:12)

1. The word “work” is used in the Bible to convey two different connotations. When referring to the work of the ministry for “the building up of the Body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12), it denotes the one unique work of the New Testament ministry, whose aim to build up the Body of Christ is the universal goal of the personal ministries of all the workers.

“….all the co-workers in all the regions should do the same one work universally for the unique Body. We should do only one work. There should not be several works in the Lord’s recovery…. There is a risk and the danger that these different works will issue in divisions…. Even Paul and Peter did not carry out two works. Even though they worked in different regions, they had only one work to build up the Body of Christ.” (Witness Lee, Further Consideration of the Eldership, the Region of Work, and the Care for the Body of Christ, pp. 18-19, 1991; see related point 19 in “J” below)

2. The second connotation refers to the different groups of co-workers, wherein each work group is being led by a senior co-worker who is either their spiritual father or elder brother in the Lord. These separate groups of co-workers all do the “one work” of the New Testament ministry to build up the Body of Christ. No particular group of co-workers exercised control over the other work groups. Neither does any specific group of co-workers exercise sole control over the work of the Lord. Furthermore, it is the Holy Spirit, not man’s intention or by man’s organization, that the work of a group of co-workers was initiated. (Church Affairs, pp. 141-144; Acts 13 & 14)

“But it was the Holy Spirit who initiated another beginning at Antioch [Acts 13], established another group of apostles, and sent two out to work. Therefore, it is clear that on the earth there was not only one but two regions of work….Therefore, when it pleases the Holy spirit, He can establish a third region, a tenth region, a hundredth region, a thousandth region, or a ten-thousandth region on the earth. This is according to the intention of the Holy Spirit regarding His work on the earth, and not according to man’s intention.” (Church Affairs, pp. 143-144)

“Artemas and Tychicus were intimate fellow workers of Paul. Zenas and Apollos worked independently of him. Yet Paul still charged Titus to care for the latter two, showing that there was no jealousy between the two groups of co-workers.” (Titus 3:131, RcV)

“Both Paul and Apollos were persons living in the Spirit. Yet, one urged the other to visit the church, but the other did not have the desire to do so. This shows that both had freedom in the Spirit and that the Spirit had freedom in them. This shows also that no one exercised any control over the work of the Lord. (1 Cor. 16:122, RcV)

“The regions of the work should not divide the churches. There were regions in Paul’s time, the Jewish and the Gentile, but they never divided the churches.” (Witness Lee, Further Consideration of the Eldership, the Region of Work, and the Care for the Body of Christ, p. 16, 1991) “If you are going to a place which has previously been under the work of some other co-workers, you should find out what has been taught by them. Then you should go along with them. If you do not care for what they have taught or done in the past and teach according to your preference, you will make trouble. We should always try to maintain a good, beautiful, nice, and pleasant order among us.” (ibid., p. 30)

“….Whoever ministers the gospel of Jesus Christ as the Son of God becoming a man, dying on the cross for our sins, and resurrecting to impart life into us, is one of the New Testament ministers…..They are many, yet they have one unique ministry for the building up of the Body of Christ. All the ministers’ different works should be for this unique ministry (Eph. 4:11-12).” (Witness Lee, The God-ordained Way to Practice the New Testament Economy, p. 165, 1987)

For a worker to do a “different work” that issues in division in the Body, it means that he is carrying out his personal ministry without being controlled by the vision of “one work” of the unique New Testament ministry. The Bible does not support the concept that there is only “one work in the sense of only one work group.” As long as a work group and its workers carry out their ministries according to the calling of the Holy Spirit, those who belong to another work group have no right to interfere with the other group’s work, unless it is ascertained that they are doing their work against ’ “the unique work” of the New Testament ministry. In terms of the work of the unique new Testament Ministry, there should only be “one work”. But in terms of the works of the many ministers who have a part in the unique New Testament Ministry and who belong to different work groups, there can be “many different works.” (see preceding quotation by Bro. Lee)

J. Various quotes from Bro. Nee and Bro. Lee

1. “Let us lay it to heart that our work is for our ministry and our ministry is for the churches. No church should be under a specific ministry, but all ministries should be under the church. What havoc has been wrought in the Church because so many of her ministers have sought to bring the churches under their ministry, rather than by their ministry serve the churches. As soon as the churches are brought under any ministry, they cease to be local and become sectarian.” (Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life, p. 138, 1939)

2. “….all ministries should be for the building up of the church locally, but the church should not be required to be for any ministry. We always stress that as mentioned in Ephesians 4, the work of those who have a ministry,…is to perfect the saints for the building up of the Body of Christ. The goal of their work is not to build up their ministry but to build up the churches locally. This was what the early apostles did…. Therefore, although they did a great deal of work in various places, the result of their work ultimately belonged to the local churches and was for the building up of the churches in all the localities. (Witness Lee, The Building Work of God, p. 139, 1958) “….The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry. We must be exceedingly clear concerning this principle…All the gifts and gifted persons must be entirely for the local church. This is a tremendously vital matter.” (Witness Lee, The Vision of God’s Building, p. 175, 1964)

3. “The sphere of a church is not the sphere of any ministry, but the sphere of the locality. Wherever ministry is made the occasion for the forming of a church, there you have the beginning of a new denomination. From the study of Church history we can see that almost all new ministries have led to new followings, and new followings have resulted in new organizations. Thus ministerial "churches" have been established and denominations multiplied.” (Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life, p. 139, 1939)

4. “….The churches have their local situations, and there is no way we can unify their conditions….The more sectarian a group is, the more uniform its members are. But the more a local church is according to God’s standard, the less uniform it will be…. Paul was a great servant of the Lord, yet even he could not unify all the churches.” (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Vol. 58, p. 161)

5. Uniformity and oneness are not the same thing….in the church we do not practice uniformity because in the household of God, a large household, there are many degrees of maturity among the children. To eliminate the degrees of maturity would be absolutely wrong and would be impossible. However, this does not mean that we do not need oneness. In the practicality of the church life, as in the family life, there is the need of oneness; but in the degree of the growth in life, it is impossible to have uniformity. To make all the children the same in the growth in life is not to practice oneness; it is to practice uniformity. (Witness Lee, The Intrinsic Problem in the Lord’s Recovery Today and Its Scriptural Remedy, pp. 26 ~ 27, 1990)

6. “There may be differences not only among believers in a local church but also between local churches themselves…. If you visit a church that differs in practice from the church in your locality, do not try to correct it or to change anything. Wherever you are, you should simply be one with the church in that place. As long as it is a local church, you need to go along with it without imposing or opposing…. Then we shall have not only the doctrine of the Body in Romans 12, but also the practice of the Body life in Romans 14. (Witness Lee, Life-Study of Romans, p. 622)

7. “For the keeping of the oneness of the Body of Christ that we might not be sectarian, we must tolerate certain differences, such as differences in the way of baptism and in the observing of days (Rom. 14:15). This we consider as unity with variety. By tolerating this kind of variety, we annul uniformity. This is variety versus uniformity. If we practice this, we can be in one accord in spite of the variety that we may have….” (Witness Lee, The Intrinsic Problem in the Lord’s Recovery Today and Its Scriptural Remedy, pp. 37, 1990)

8. “To maintain the one accord we must take one way for our driving…. In the New Testament there is only this one unique way constituted with three substances – prayer, the Spirit, and the Word….this is God’s ordained way….We need to take this principle in all our practices….we should not use anything other than prayer, the Word, and the Spirit to carry on the gospel or the church life….” (Witness Lee, Elders’ Training Book 7 – One Accord for the Lord’s Move, p. 27-29, 1986) If there is to be UNIFORMITY in the practices among the local churches, then we should be uniform by taking the unique God ordained way of prayer, the Spirit, and the Word in carrying on the church life.

9. “…. the faith is something unique, something specific, something special. Therefore, in the church life we have only one thing that is specific or special. That is the faith, our Christian faith, which is composed of the beliefs concerning the Bible, God, Christ, the work of Christ, salvation, and the church.” (Witness Lee, The Speciality, Generality, and Practicality of the Church Life, p. 8, 1971) “The faith is the speciality of the church life. This is something very specific, very special. Concerning these points of our Christian faith there should be no argument. If we are going to fight for something, we have to fight for this. There is no need for us to fight for other things. We have to fight the good fight of such a faith (1 Tim. 6:12). We have to contend for such a faith (Jude 3). We have to teach and preach such a faith.” (ibid., p. 12)

10. “Paul shows us that when speaking about unity, there is a minimum unit requirement, that is, the local church. If the Christians in Corinth want to talk about the unity of the Body, they should not talk about it in Rome or talk about it in Jerusalem, but talk about it in Corinth. If you do not talk about it in Corinth, it is useless and you are deceiving yourselves. Suppose I live in Shanghai and cannot get along with the brothers in Shanghai, but with the brothers in Nanking I get along quite well. This is useless and I am deceiving myself. We must see that the unity of the Body is required by the Scriptures, but it has a boundary, a minimum boundary requirement, which is the locality. The brothers in Corinth must be one with the brothers in Corinth. If you are not one in Corinth, all your words are deceiving others.” (Watchman Nee, Further Talks On The Church Life, pp. 109 ~110)

11. “All the local churches, regardless of their size, are on the same level. Do not think that Anaheim is the lead church. What happened to Jerusalem when the early churches began to look to it for direction? The Lord sent Titus with his army in A.D. 70 to destroy it. There is no ground for any church to be over another. (Witness Lee, Life Messages, Vol. 1, p. 147, 1979)

12. “…. We have the term the Body of Christ and we have the doctrine of the Body of Christ, but where is the practicality and reality of the Body of Christ?…. We have the term and we have the doctrine, but practically, we do not have the reality…. I treasure the local churches, as you do. But I treasure the local churches because of a purpose. The local churches are the procedure to bring me into me into the Body of Christ [the goal]. The churches are the Body, but the churches may not have the reality of the Body of Christ. Thus, we need to be in the local churches so that we can be ushered, or brought, into the reality of the Body of Christ.” (Witness Lee, The Practical Points Concerning Blending, p. 10, 1994)

13. “Because of our negligence in the past in the matter of receiving people according to God and according to His Son, we have offended the Body of Christ, and many brothers and sisters in the Lord [referring to the genuine believers in the denominations]. For this reason, I had a deep repentance before the Lord…Of course, sectarianism in the denominations is wrong. It is something very much condemned by God. Nevertheless, those who are genuinely saved in the denominations are children of God and have been received by God. Hence, we should receive them, but we would never participate in the division in which they are.” (Witness Lee, The Experience of God’s Organic Salvation Equaling Reigning in Christ’s Life, p.69, Feb. 1997)

14. It was never Bro. Lee’s intention to debase the teaching concerning the local church. As mentioned in point 11, the Body is the goal and the local churches are the procedure. One is no less important than the other. Having the vision of the Body of Christ is as crucial and should be matched by the revelation concerning the local churches. In page 25 of his book entitled “Further Consideration of the Eldership, the Region of Work, and the Care for the Body of Christ”, Bro. Lee says, “The church should be measured by the ground of locality and by the reality of the Spirit of oneness. It should not be measured by people’s spirituality. Spirituality is relative and conditional.” Also in page 26, he states that, “The recovery is based upon the truth that Christ has only one Body…. One of the tests of a genuine local church is that it should have universal fellowship with all the other local churches.”

15. “…He is walking in the midst of the churches to care for them. To participate in His move and enjoy His care, we must be in the local churches.” (Rev. 1:131, RcV) “…. Without the local churches, the universal church has no practicality or actuality. The universal church is realized in the local churches. Knowing the church in its universal aspect must be consummated in knowing the church in its local aspect. It is a great advance for us to know and practice the local churches. Concerning the church, the book of Revelation is in the advanced stage. To know this book, we must advance from the understanding of the universal church to the realization and practice of the local churches, because this book is written to the local churches. Only those who are in the local churches are positioned rightly, with the right angle and the proper perspective, to see the visions in this book….to know and experience God, we need to know and experience Christ; to know and experience Christ, we need to participate in the universal church through the Spirit; and to participate in the universal church, we need to participate in the local churches. (Rev. 1:42, 1st paragraph, RcV)

16. “It is easy for believers to see the universal church, but it is difficult for them to see the churches. The revelation of the local churches is the Lord's ultimate unveiling concerning the church, and it is recorded in the last book of the divine Word. To fully know the church, believers must follow the Lord from the Gospels through the Epistles to the book of Revelation until they are enabled to see the local churches as unveiled here. In Revelation the first vision is concerning the churches. The churches with Christ as their one center are the focus in the divine administration for the accomplishing of God's eternal purpose.” (Rev. 1:201, 3rd paragraph, RcV)

17. “David ‘served his own generation,’ and slept (Acts 13:36). He could not serve two! Where today we seek to perpetuate our work by setting up an organization or society or system, the Old Testament saints served their own day and passed on. This is an important principle of life. Wheat is sown, grows, ears, is reaped, and then the whole plant, even to the root, is plowed out. That is the Church, never rooted permanently in the earth. God's work is the spiritual to the point of having no earthly roots, no smell of earth on it at all. Men pass on, but the Lord remains. The spiritual testimony of believers is to be heavenly, not earthly. Everything to do with the Church must be up-to-date and living, meeting the present - one could even say the passing - needs of the hour. Never must it become fixed, static. God Himself takes away His workers, but He gives others. Our work suffers, but His never does. Nothing touches Him. He is still God. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Vol. 40, p. 84-85)

18. “…. When an ordinary human being dies, it is the end of his career. No matter how great a person is, once he leaves the world, his work is over. But the death of Christ was not the end of Christ; rather it was the capstone to His work. Death signaled not the termination of his career but the very culmination of his achievements.” (LSM, Christ is God, p. 18, Moscow 1992)

19. “To keep a pleasant, good, and beautiful order in the recovery, we need to be subject to another in the fear of Christ (Eph. 5:21)….” (Witness Lee, Further Consideration of the Eldership, the Region of Work, and the Care for the Body of Christ, p. 29, 1991) “Being subject to one another is the way to keep the one accord….” (ibid., p. 30) “We need to maintain a good order in the Body by being subject to one another. Then we will keep the one accord without criticizing, without despising, and without opposing. We should respect one another, help one another, perfect one another in life, and complete one another in work. We should never despise or criticize others. Instead, we should always receive the help from others and return help to them. We want to be perfected and to perfect others. We should not think that our work is complete or consummate. We should want to be completed and helped by others. Then we can help others to complete their work. If we take this way, we will be greatly blessed by the Lord’s dear, sweet presence….” (ibid., p. 32)

20. “I hope that we will rise up to drop everything other than Christ and to carry Christ as our ark, to carry the Body of Christ as our tabernacle, and to follow the truth as our pillar of fire in the night and our pillar of cloud in the day. The past turmoils should be warnings and lessons to us. We do not want to repeat these things or be influenced by them. We have Christ, we have the church, and we have the truth. Let us go on in this way.” (ibid., p. 32)

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