The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Wayby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
First Corinthians 12:22-25 tells us that every believer, every member of the Body, is needed. We have been greatly influenced by Christianity to think that among all the saints, only a few are useful and have some capacity to serve the Lord. I believe that this kind of psychology still remains among us. At times we might have considered the saints and concluded that most were not useful or capable. This is the reason that the majority in Christianity have accepted the concept that not all Christians can serve God. Thus, most Christian groups select only a small group of believers and send them to a seminary to become educated according to their theology. Then they build these up as a system, the so-called clerical system, which has become a hierarchy in Christianity. This kind of psychology, this kind of thought, is the very source of hierarchy.
However, in 1 Corinthians 12 God gives more honor to the weak members of the Body (vv. 23-24). Verse 23 says that God clothes the uncomely ones with more abundant comeliness to beautify them. Since 1984 I have been burdened by the Lord to clothe the weaker members of the Body.
In Moscow, after five weeks of gospel conferences, we baptized approximately two thousand new believers. Then in April 1992, after five weeks of conferences in Saint Petersburg, we baptized more than five thousand. By the end of 1992 we may baptize more than ten thousand Russians. In contrast, in the United States if we are able to get one person saved and baptized and brought into the church life, we become very excited. After thirty years of my ministry in the United States, the number of saints in the local churches throughout the United States is approximately fifteen thousand. With the exception of Taiwan, this is better than in other places. In Germany the work of the Lord’s recovery began in 1971. After twenty years we were able to bring less than one thousand saints into the recovery in Europe. At the present time, the number in the recovery in Europe is only a few hundred. The situation is the same throughout the denominations of Christianity. The denominational leaders today do not know how to go on. Their membership has not increased but instead has decreased in the past thirty years.
In the Lord’s recovery we are taking the narrow way (Matt. 7:13-14). Hence, we should not expect to gain large numbers of people. However, in Russia something different is taking place. Before April 1991 we had no thought concerning the Lord’s interest in Russia. Even after we received the leading of the Lord to go to Russia, we had no thought that we could baptize more than seven thousand people in less than six months. In 1974 the church life spread to Orange County in Southern California. For the past eighteen years it has been difficult to gain an adequate increase, especially among the Caucasians. Today the United States is in an unhealthy condition in relation to the Lord’s interest.
Since the changing of the political situation in Russia, a number of Christian and non-Christian groups have gone to Russia to attempt to gain the Russian people. However, it appears that none of these groups has the capacity to raise up the church life there. Our work in Russia surpasses that of any other group because our work is particular. Our work is not merely to hold conferences; it is to set up churches. In two cities, Moscow and Saint Petersburg, our work has resulted in the raising up of churches. In both cities we have thirty full-time serving ones laboring to visit people, to feed people, to nourish people, and to perfect people. No other group would do this; they all still employ the old way of one preacher taking care of one congregation.
Russia is a country of more than three hundred million people. Because of the current situation there under the Lord’s sovereignty, whenever we have advertised that we are holding meetings to teach the Bible and preach God and Christ, hundreds and even thousands of people have come. When they come, eighty to ninety percent in each meeting stand up to pray to receive the Lord Jesus. However, in the United States after thirty years of labor, our number is still comparatively small. In view of these facts, why would we not go to Russia and labor there?
Brother Nee once said that the work of the Lord should “follow the rain.” Where the rain is, there we should go to sow. Compared to Russia, the United States today is like a desert. In relation to the Lord’s interest, the entire United States is sleeping, is dormant, in the night. Perhaps after ten years thousands of Russians may come to the United States to re-evangelize this country. The Lord will not tolerate the present situation; He has a way to do something. If we expect that eventually the Russians will come to the United States, we who are in the United States should go there first to light the fire.
In Moscow we recently held a conference with more than one hundred twenty college students. The promise, the hope, of the Lord’s recovery in Russia is not with the older people but with the college students. Today the college students in Russia are under twenty-one. It may be that after ten years they will be prepared to come to the United States to re-evangelize this country. Therefore, I fully agree that we should go to the campuses to gain the Russian students.
We cannot give up the United States, because the United States is the base of the Lord’s move in His recovery. However, I would propose that some of the brothers from America go, perhaps in a three-month rotation, to join the work in Russia. Whoever would go there would surely be stirred up.
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