Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (1)by Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the Lord’s ministry as depicted in the four Gospels, we cannot see anything organizational. The Lord did not organize anything. He appointed the twelve apostles, but before He died, He did not make any arrangement for His successors. He did not tell the disciples that after He died, Peter would be first, and John would be second. In other words, He did not tell them that Peter would be the president and that John would be the vice president. There was not such an organizational arrangement.
After He was resurrected, He did not come back to the disciples to make any organizational arrangement. Instead, He said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20). This was His “will” to His disciples before His departure. He told the disciples to go and disciple the nations by baptizing them into the Triune God and by teaching them what He had taught the disciples.
The Lord Jesus’ teaching in the four Gospels became the first part of the apostles’ teaching. Then Acts records that Peter taught the new believers based upon the Lord Jesus’ teaching. That became the second part of the apostles’ teaching. Then following Peter, Paul taught, and his teaching became the third part of the apostles’ teaching. John taught in his Gospel, in his Epistles, and in Revelation, and some others wrote some Epistles in the New Testament. All these writings became the last part of the apostles’ teaching. All these parts of the apostles’ teaching are the contents of the New Testament, which is concerning God’s New Testament economy.
In the Lord Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels, there was no organization. Later, in the book of Acts we see one hundred twenty Galileans organically meeting together (1:14-15). They were living by the Spirit who had been breathed into them on the day of resurrection (John 20:22). Where were those whom the Lord Jesus had saved in Jerusalem and in Judea? All the one hundred twenty came from Galilee. They came together organically, without any organizational arrangement. If the Lord Jesus had organized something, the disciples might have insisted that Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and others from Jerusalem and Judea join them, but there was no organizing. They met together in an organic way. They lived by the Spirit as the breath that had been breathed into them on the day of resurrection.
In the book of Acts, Peter and Paul did not organize anything. The appointment of the seven deacons in Acts 6 was not organizational; it was organic. The apostles said that they should not forsake the ministry of the word to serve tables. They told the disciples, “Look for seven well-attested men from among you, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint over this need. But we will continue steadfastly in prayer and in the ministry of the word” (vv. 3-4). These seven men were full of the Spirit and of wisdom. This does not refer to anything of organization. This refers to life and to the Spirit, indicating that this appointment was altogether organic. This was an organic arrangement. Some may feel that any kind of arrangement must be a kind of organization. Then I would say that this was an “organic organization.” The service of these deacons was organized according to life. Their appointment was organic.
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