Elders' Training, Book 07: One Accord for the Lord's Moveby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Our fellowship in this elders’ training of 1986 will not be that much on vision, teaching, or doctrine. My burden to have this training is absolutely for the practice. Since October of 1984 the Lord has begun something new in Taiwan. Some brothers from the United States went to Taiwan, and they got burned with the fire of the Lord’s new move. They came back to the United States with this fire. Because I dared not control, restrict, or quench this fire that has begun in the United States, I had a burden to pass on some practical points of fellowship according to the urgent need. Again, this is a training of practices, not doctrine.
The troubles that Christianity has been suffering always come from two sources—doctrines and practices. Most of the debates are concerning the doctrines. Doctrines, of course, bring in practices, and practices follow doctrines. The New Testament gives us the vision, the revelation, concerning the church. Following the revelation are the practices. It is not true to say that some of the practices in the New Testament are not according to the revelation concerning the church. Actually, every practice in the New Testament is according to the divine revelation, the heavenly vision, of the church. Throughout our history in the Lord’s recovery, all our practices have been according to what we have seen of the Lord’s revelation, of the heavenly vision.
We need such a training concerning how to take care of the practical side of the recovery. Just to talk about the recovery is not sufficient. Just to say that you are in the recovery, for the recovery, and one with the recovery does not mean too much. This is like a “kite in the air” and is not something solid on the rock, which could never be shaken. We have been in the recovery for over half a century. We have never been shaken and nothing has ever changed us because we have seen not only the doctrines, the visions, and the revelation concerning the church but also the practices.
Since October of 1984 in Taiwan we have seen and discovered something more. The practices among us have been radically changed. Even up to the present time, however, many who are very positive for the Lord’s recovery are not clear about what I am doing.
In the book of Revelation there are no elders in the churches; rather, there are the messengers who are the stars (1:16, 20). At the time that this book was written, the church had become degraded. Hence, in Revelation the Lord repudiates all formalities. Being an elder may be somewhat legal or formal. Do not desire to be an elder; desire to be a shining star. Do not be one with a mere position—be a shining star.
The Lord’s recovery has been with us for over sixty years. It was under the leadership of Brother Watchman Nee on mainland China for the first thirty years, from 1922 to 1952. The eldership greatly bothered us. I was not taking the lead in the recovery at that time, but I was always under Brother Nee’s umbrella. He talked to me personally about the problem of the eldership. Since I came out of mainland China to Taiwan and then to the United States, over the past thirty-seven years the matter of the eldership has caused me much concern and has burdened me to such an extent that I did not know how to deal with the situation. What is the main trouble? Ambition. When we were having the training on Matthew in 1976, I illustrated that a wife of an elder is not like the first lady, the wife of the president. All the wives of the elders should consider themselves as wives of slaves. Because of the poor situation, nearly everyone has ambition in the matter of the eldership. This bothers me.
In 1973 this ambition crept into the recovery. Since 1973 ambition was brought in and has been very much promoted and uplifted either secretly or openly. Ambition has been growing up to be a real “gopher” in the Lord’s recovery. According to my observation, from 1973 until the present day we have missed the mark to some extent and have suffered much loss in the rate of increase. The rate of increase in the Lord’s recovery has been very much brought down by the ambition of the elders and by the ambition of the co-workers. This ambition has damaged us very much. Throughout the past thirteen years I have been fighting against this very thing—the ambition of the elders and the ambition of the co-workers. I really hate this ambition among us. I have had some consideration that it might be better not to have a mere official eldership. We should pay attention to the way revealed in Revelation where there are only messengers or stars and no elders.
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