The Ministry of the New Testament and the Teaching and Fellowship of the Apostles, by Witness Lee


All the works (the ministries) of the teachings other than the teachings of the apostles (Acts 2:42) for the accomplishment of God’s New Testament economy are not counted in this unique ministry (1 Tim. 1:3-4). This includes the works of the Judaizers, who still taught genealogies from the Old Testament, and also the law (v. 7). Such things are not part of God’s economy and were considered by Paul as different things (v. 3). Thus, the works of the teachings of things other than God’s economy should not be considered a part of the ministry. The ministry is only for the accomplishment of God’s economy, which is to build up the church as the Body of Christ.


In the turmoil among us, the intention of the dissenting ones is to condemn me; therefore, they say that the ministry is Witness Lee’s ministry. They go even further to say that all the churches who follow Witness Lee’s ministry are "ministry churches." They say that my ministry no longer builds up local churches but builds up "ministry churches." Once when several of the dissenting ones came to contact me, they pointed out that in his book The Normal Christian Church Life, Brother Watchman Nee made it clear that the missionaries sent out by the different denominations or missions all built up their "mission churches," not the local churches (pp. 160-164). The Presbyterian missionaries built up Presbyterian churches, the Baptist missionaries built up Baptist churches, and the Methodist missionaries built up Methodist churches. All those churches should have been local churches, not denominational churches. Brother Nee said that if all the Western missionaries sent to China would not build up their mission churches but would all build up the local churches, there would be no division. These brothers brought this to my attention. In my response to the brothers, I asked them whether they considered all the churches raised up by my ministry denominational churches, and whether they considered my ministry a denominational ministry. I have the full assurance that when I brought the recovery to the United States, I did not carry out a denominational ministry, nor did I raise up denominational churches. What I brought to America was "the ministry." Through this ministry the Lord brought the work of His recovery to America and has raised up the churches, built up the churches, and nourished and perfected the saints for more than thirty years. The very work that raised up the local churches in America is surely "the ministry." This being the case, the churches raised up through my ministry are the churches of the ministry and should be one with the ministry.

Some of the dissenters have called my work of the ministry "the system of Witness Lee’s ministry." In 1986 and 1987, while I was in Taipei conducting the full-time training, some of the brothers who carried out the training charged the trainees to be one with the ministry, although I never told the brothers to do that. After that, the dissenters condemned me and the brothers for charging the trainees to be one with the ministry. However, concerning this point I would like to ask you: Is it right or wrong to be one with the ministry? Surely it is right to be one with the ministry (Phil. 1:3-5; 2:1-4, 25, 30; 3:17; 4:15-18; Col. 4:2-4).

The dissenting ones then went on to say that such a charge to be one with the ministry meant that Brother Lee was going to make himself the "king" in the Lord’s recovery, to control the entire recovery through his training. On March 19, 1989, in his resignation from the eldership in Anaheim, John Ingalls declared publicly, "There has been a pervasive control exercised over the church...This control has not been exercised so much directly, but very much indirectly, through videos, conferences, trainings, and elders’ meetings." John accused me of controlling the churches in the recovery through my video tapes, conferences, trainings, and elders’ meetings. In his view, I should not minister at all, for whatever I do in carrying out my ministry is to control the churches. Today the dissenting ones are very busy spreading this kind of talk.

The truth is this: God’s covenant has a ministry to carry it out. The new covenant has the new covenant ministry. That is today’s ministry. This ministry encompasses all the ministers. What Paul had was a part of this ministry. Peter, Martin Luther, and Brother Nee also had a part, and today my ministry also is a part of the new covenant ministry. To say that the church should be one with the ministry is altogether right. In John 17 the Lord Jesus taught us all to be one (vv. 20-23). The ministers and the churches all need to be one. It is altogether right for the ministry and the church to be one. But the dissenters have condemned this and have caused some of the weaker ones among us to feel uncomfortable to mention the ministry in their speaking. When the elders hear this kind of nonsensical talk from the dissenting ones, they bear the responsibility to make the saints clear concerning the New Testament ministry. We need to keep the truth in order to cover the young ones. Otherwise, they will be damaged.

(The Ministry of the New Testament and the Teaching and Fellowship of the Apostles, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)