Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), by Witness Lee

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To try to bring the church into the practice of the biblical way too quickly will not work. I spent three years in Taipei to help the church there make the transition into the God-ordained way. During this time they maintained the Lord’s Day morning message meeting because the saints had to be adequately prepared to meet in another way. Time was needed to bring them up to the proper standard. I used the illustration of some people who need to be brought down from the fifth floor of a building. You cannot ask them to jump down. If they do, they will die. You have to do something to help them walk down from the fifth floor to the first floor. We need to gradually and positively bring the saints into the God-ordained way of meeting, with all speaking in mutuality, for the building up of the church.

Brother Nee spoke twice concerning the church meetings in mutuality. One portion is in The Normal Christian Church Life (see chapter nine, pp. 191-218). The messages in this book were first given in 1937. The other portion concerning the God-ordained way to meet is in Church Affairs (see chapter four, pp. 67-90). The messages in this book were given in 1948. In Church Affairs there are three crucial points concerning the Lord’s Day morning message meeting. The first is that the Lord’s Day morning message meeting with one person speaking and the rest listening is according to "the customs of the nations." This is referred to in the Old Testament and includes idol worship (2 Kings 17:8—NASB). Second, Brother Nee said that this kind of meeting was altogether a waste. Third, he said that such a meeting was not worthwhile to maintain.

Brother Nee saw this many years ago, and I was there when he released this word. He told us that this way of meeting was a very strong habit which was hard to remove. He said that we all had to push together until this unscriptural way was pushed aside. He pointed out, though, that it is difficult to get something to replace the Lord’s Day morning message meeting. This may be likened to endeavoring to change from an old way of cooking to a new way. If no one knows how to cook in the new way, the old way of cooking cannot be stopped suddenly. Then everyone will starve. For this reason, I did not agree that we would completely stop the Lord’s Day morning message meeting in Taipei. We did this when the saints were prepared for it. I am sharing this to help us realize that we should not take the God-ordained way so easily and so fast.

If we mean business with the Lord for His recovery, we have to remember that the God-ordained way to meet is a crucial item which has not yet been recovered. First Corinthians 14:26 says, "What then, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." Where can we see that this verse has been fulfilled? Even with the Brethren, a century ago, this was not fully recovered. Where can we see the fulfillment of Hebrews 10:25, which says, "Not abandoning our own assembling together, as the custom with some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as you see the day drawing near"? These two verses are the Lord’s words in His holy revelation. In Matthew 24:35 the Lord said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away." Whatever the Lord has spoken, sooner or later, will be fulfilled. I have the full assurance that the Lord’s words in 1 Corinthians 14:26 and Hebrews 10:25 will be fulfilled. If He does not do it in our time, He will do it in the future.

(Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)