A LETTER FROM DR. MU
To the brothers who are my co-believers in Christ!
Since I have decided to separate myself from the co-workers in Jehol (Brethren or C.M.M.L., Christian Mission to Many Lands), my goal in writing this letter is not to criticize them. My only goal is to explain my reasons for this action. I have done this because of a burden I have felt for a long time in my heart. I also waited on God and discussed it with the co-workers in that province before deciding. I believe that by doing this I am placing myself in a better position to practice the proper fellowship with all the children of God, especially with those who obey the principles of the New Testament teachings and patterns. According to what I have seen in my past three years in China, I know deeply that a gospel region controlled by one person with the help of salaried Chinese assistants (almost all of their work receives the supply of foreign money) cannot replace a church that is according to the teachings and patterns of the New Testament. This kind of thing cannot but cause the believers and the sinners to suffer much loss.
I tried to see if I could take a different way in the northern part of Jehol province. I intended to help the brothers in several localities to maintain the testimony of the Lord. It proved to me that this kind of mission board method had already been planted deeply into their minds. They have already learned how to rely on foreigners and their money, and they cannot believe in the eternally living God to supply the spiritual and material needs of the work. When I opposed the title and position of the pastors, one local brother told me that if no one rose up to manage the church and receive a salary to preach the Word, nothing would get done. He cited numerous instances in and out of Jehol province to prove this.
Therefore, my first reason for leaving the Brethren is because I do not want to show people that I uphold and approve of that kind of thing. (Actually, before I began to work in Jehol, I did not know anything of the principles of the work there nor did I know that the practices of the work were different from those in my country.)
I went to Shanghai recently and received great encouragement and help there. I saw a movement there among the Chinese Christians which is found also in many places in China. This movement is one I hear of often. Because they have not seen anything among the many Christian representations in China that is according to the teachings and patterns of the New Testament, they have boldly gone out to follow the teachings and patterns of the New Testament in their meetings. They receive all Christians (unless the Bible has removed their qualification). There are more than one hundred of these meetings in China. More than sixty workers have come out from these meetings, relying solely on the Lord to supply their needs. Many of the brothers in the meetings are country farmers or laborers without an education. I had the privilege of being able to discuss some of the important questions before us with one of their brothers in Shanghai. His English was very fluent, and he has recently been to America and England to see the condition of the Brethren and the meetings there. His name is Watchman Nee. In 1927 he asked the translator of C.H. Mackintosh’s volumes on the Pentateuch why the Chinese translation deleted the references to the position, practices, and truth of the church. The answer he received was that the translator had done this purposely to avoid debate. I thought mentioning this should show you what the condition is of the so-called Brethren in the northern and central parts of China.
I fully believe that this movement is the work of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, we should adjust our methods through the light of the Bible so that we can work with these Chinese brothers. They have a good reason today to look at our (C.M.M.L.’s) position as being unscriptural and as a denomination.
The second reason I have for leaving the Brethren is because I want to be able to match the work that I believe is of the Holy Spirit. This work of the Holy Spirit begins by calling a group of God’s children out of the denominations to practice the principles and examples in the New Testament. By doing this, perhaps we can accomplish the work which has not been completely started of preaching the gospel in all of China. If not, it will never be done.
I believe that if I continue to receive monetary support indirectly from a central organization with authority (as the paper The Response does, which uses the money received from subscriptions to help the missionaries connected with it) and do not directly receive offerings from believers in simple meetings that are according to the Bible (three and a half years ago they gave me to the work in China), I will be one who does not practice what he preaches. For this reason, I have already decided to ask them to discontinue supporting me. I now deeply believe that anything added on to local meetings (which were all they had in the days of the apostles) is man-made and will not help the furtherance of the gospel in the long run.
I confess that the people I am now leaving were once greatly used by God both in their country and abroad. I have also received much help in love from them and much care in prayer. However, this cannot keep me from being responsible before the Lord to do according to what I believe.
Yours in the one Lord and Savior Christ,
Mu Ju Nung
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 25: Collection of Newsletters (1), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)