AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
FOR THE CHRISTIAN
This is to inform you that in order not to delay the publication of this issue of The Christian, we have combined the January and February issues, that is, Issue Nos. 13 and 14 into one issue. Many readers subscribed for twelve months last year. But we could not supply them the back Issues of Nos. 3 and 4 (now No. 6 is also out). As a result, we are adding two issues of this year to their subscription to make up twelve. This means that their subscription ends at Issue No. 14. Since this is Issue No. 13-14, their period of subscription ends after this issue. We ask that these readers would immediately renew their subscription so that we do not have to complicate our paperwork. If you subscribe early enough, you will not be cut off temporarily, and we will not have to wait and wonder if you still want it or not. According to our practice, once the period of subscription is over, we will stop mailing. We hope that you will help us in this matter. Moreover, our publishing address has moved from "Pagoda, Fukien," to "Shanghai." Hence, readers should direct their mail to "P.O. Box 323, Shanghai."
Issue No. 17
A FEW WORDS TO THE READERS OF STRAIGHT PATHS
Dear readers, we know that it is hard for a busy and uncalm mind to receive anything, and it is hard for a stubborn and prejudiced subjectivity to be without error. It is most easy for a heart that is not humble to breed negative feelings and criticisms when it encounters things contrary to itself. Therefore, when we read this special issue, the first thing we should pay attention to is our own attitude.
Straight Paths cannot solve all our problems regarding what we should know and should do. Yet at such a time when traditional teachings are kept most devoutly and organizations of human will are stressed most enthusiastically, Straight Paths can cause us to doubt these things and search them out in the Bible. The strictness in the Bible will never be "too much." The freedom in the Holy Spirit will never lead to "confusion." We do not need to be overly worried about these two matters. But our greatest shortcoming lies in our unwillingness to investigate, know, understand, and obey! After reading Straight Paths, we should investigate and consider much the Lord’s words. We should also write down what is not clear to us and what seems contradictory, and we should ask directly for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and indirectly for the opinion of the Bible scholars, while always keeping a heart of prayer and obedience. The Lord will surely have something to teach us.
Anything that does not measure up to the truth must be destroyed. However, the purpose of destruction is to lead people to obey the truth, not to build up themselves. If we know that a certain matter is sin, we should break away from it first and should also lead others to break away from it. We should never condemn others with empty teachings and thus lose our love! Our Head is Christ. We, the many Christians, are merely the members. Through Christ, we have become one Body and are severally members one of another. The word of God is our light. All these are things that we already know. Therefore, after we have read Straight Paths, we should beware of following others, and we should also beware of others following us. The most important thing is to hold Christ the Lord as the center of everything and to take the scriptural teaching as the standard of all our conduct.
If something is not according to the scriptural teaching and cannot be accepted by our heart, of course we should investigate it again carefully. But if the teaching of the Bible is very clear, and our conscience acknowledges it as proper, yet because of ourselves and because of others, we have many considerations so that we become hesitant and negligent, eventually letting it pass away, then what more can we say!
During the long, long night, the one who most eagerly expects daybreak is the watchman. During this age of long, long night, are not we, the Christians, those who most eagerly expect the Lord’s coming (parousia)? Dear readers, let us be watchful and prepare!
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 07: The Christian (5), Chapter 32, by Watchman Nee)