Basic Principles for the Practice of the Church Lifeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the church there are both brothers and sisters. In many places, especially today, the sisters are not willing to submit to the brothers. Some sisters have come to me, saying, “Are not the sisters equal to the brothers? Is there no equality between us? Do you believe that the brothers are greater?” I have even met brothers who stand for the sisters. They say, “We do not agree that we brothers are above the sisters. We are all human. Why do we have to be different from the sisters?”
Galatians 3:27-28 says, “As many as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there cannot be slave nor free man, there cannot be male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Cannot be Jew nor Greek indicates that in Christ the problem of races has been dealt with; cannot be slave nor free man means that in Christ the problem of social ranks has been dealt with; and cannot be male and female indicates that in Christ the problem of gender has been dealt with. However, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 says, “Even as the body is one and has many members, yet all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ. For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit.” Galatians 3 says we have been baptized into Christ, and 1 Corinthians 12 says we have been baptized into the one Body. However, 1 Corinthians 12 does not mention male and female. In Christ, the problem of male and female has been done away with, but in the church there is still male and female. If there were not the problem of male and female, there would be no need to speak about head covering in the previous chapter, chapter 11, and there would be no need to speak about the position of sisters in the church meeting in chapter 14.
In Christ, the racial problem, the social problem, and the gender problem are all gone. But in the church, while the racial problem and social problem are gone, the problem of male and female still remains. Therefore, when sisters or brothers come to ask why there is a difference between the brothers and sisters, or whether we feel the sisters should submit to the brothers, the only reply is to ask, “Do you take the headship of Christ? Do you submit yourself to the headship of Christ?” This will solve the problem. If all the brothers and sisters with such a problem would go to the Lord to submit themselves to the Lord and take the headship of Christ, the problem is solved.
The order in the church comes from the headship of Christ being realized by us in a practical way. If each of us submits ourself to the headship of Christ and takes His lordship in a real way, there will be no problem. There will be no argument; rather, a nice, spiritual order will spontaneously come into being among us. We will get nowhere by doctrines, teachings, and arguments. We can argue everyday until the Lord comes back, but we will not solve the problems. However, if each one of us would submit to the headship of Christ and pray, “Lord, You are the Head, and I realize Your headship in my life in a practical way,” every problem will be solved. Problems are solved not by doctrine or by teaching but by realizing the headship of Christ.
I must speak seriously. Do you realize that there is a rebellious nature within us? There is an element, an essence, within us that is always rebelling. The problem in the church is one of rebellion; no one likes to submit to others. This damages and spoils the church life. I beg you to take this word from one of your brothers. If we are going to practice the church life with sincerity, we must submit ourselves to the headship of Christ and realize the headship of the Lord. Otherwise, there is no way for us to practice the real church life. We can come together all the time, but we will not have the reality of the church life. We will only be false, just pretending and presuming; we will not be real. To have the real church life, we need to submit. We should not try to submit to others; we should simply submit to the headship of Christ. Then we will be right in the order in the church. This is not an issue between us and others; it is an issue between us and the Head. If there is a problem between brothers or sisters, that means there is a problem between us and Christ the Head. To be sure, if we are right with the Head, we will be right with others. It is possible for us to realize the real church life only when we realize the headship of the Lord in a practical way.
We are not going to organize something among the Christians, and we have no intention to set up a church of another kind. No, that is something fallen; that is not the Lord’s recovery. Rather, we are very burdened that in these last days the Lord will recover a real church life among His children to express Christ and to bring the coming kingdom of God. There is a great need of the real church life. The real church life requires that we know how to exercise ourselves to apply Christ as our life and realize His headship among us. We live by Him, and we live under Him. He is our life, and He is our Head. This is the only way for us to practice the real church life, and this is the only way for all the problems to be solved.
None of the problems are solved by discussion or argument. The history of the church proves that arguments never get us anywhere. In fact, the more we argue, the more trouble and problems we have. Let us submit ourselves to the headship of Christ. We need to practice to take the Lord as the Head and to realize His headship among us in a practical way. If we are going to argue with a brother, we must first check with ourself and ask, “Am I under the headship of Christ?” If we check in this way, our argument will be gone. The headship of the Lord is the answer to our arguments.
Let us see clearly that in the church there is the need of a spiritual order, and this order comes only from the headship of Christ being realized by us in a practical way. Without this, there is no possibility for us to practice the real church life. We look to the Lord for this matter. This is very basic and very vital. If we have this, we have the church life. If we do not have this, the church life is gone.
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