Christ versus Religion, by Witness Lee

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Most all of us come from a background of Christianity, where we learned that Christians need to have certain kinds of Christian meetings called services. According to this concept everyone must enter the "sanctuary" quietly and reverently and seat himself properly and in order. Some dear ones who have attended our meetings have been exceedingly disturbed by the shouting and the praises. Let me say a word regarding them: they are unconsciously influenced by their background of Christianity. Suppose there are a number of Christians meeting together, everyone dressed nicely, everyone behaving quietly and properly. Suppose that in the same place there is another group of Christians not dressed so well, not behaving so orderly, but shouting and praising Christ. If you were Christ—be fair and honest—which group would you really appreciate? I do not mean which is right or wrong—I do not care for this, and I do not believe the Lord Jesus would care for this either. It is not a matter of being right or wrong, good or bad—it is a matter of life. Religion says the first group is good, but Christ says it is not good because it has no life. The first group is an insult to Christ. Christ is life, and Christ has conquered and subdued death. Christ would say to the first group, "Why is death so prevailing among you? Surely this is not like my church; this is like a cemetery." The most quiet and orderly place is the cemetery—there is no confusion there. Why? Because everyone is dead and properly buried. So many so called Christian churches today are just like that: everyone in them is nicely, properly and beautifully "buried." Brothers and sisters, that is not the new wineskin. The living church is where Christ is; it is the church composed of living members, making living noise. This is the new wineskin. We need such a wineskin.


On one hand we have the old wineskin, and on the other hand we have the new. Do not put the new wine into the old wineskin. Some indeed have received the new wine, but they have attempted to bring the new wine back and pour it into the old wineskin. I have been witnessing this kind of folly for almost forty years. Many people have come to the local church and drunk the new wine. They have said, "This is really wonderful—this is just what ‘my church’ needs." So they have tried to bring this new wine back to that old wineskin. Do you know what happened? The old wineskins burst, and the new wine was spilled. If we put the new wine into the new wineskin, however, the Lord Jesus said that both are preserved.

Some dear ones have come to appreciate the pray-reading; so they have tried to bring the pray-reading into their old meetings. They killed their meetings. The new wine simply does not fit in the old wineskins. The new wine requires the new wineskin.

We need Christ as the new garment, we need Christ as the new wine, and we also need Christ in a corporate way as the new wineskin. We need the church life. We do not care for any doctrine, teaching, or form, but just for Christ in you and Christ in me. This is the new wineskin.

(Christ versus Religion, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)