CLOSING THE BACK DOOR TO DIVISIONS
As human beings, we have to be Christians. To be a Christian is to be a member of the Body. As members of the Body, we must have the Body life, and to be in the Body life, we must find the proper ground, put ourselves on it, and practice the proper church life. This is very important; it is not a small matter. Without the proper ground there is no safeguard against further divisions. If we do not realize the proper ground, we may be happy today, but after two months we may all feel unhappy. We may start another meeting in another place and feel that there is no difference between the two places of meetings. Then after five months someone may start a third place of meeting. This can go on endlessly if there is no safeguard, standard, or limitation. However, if we all realize the proper ground and have the vision, the light, concerning the church ground, we will be limited. The back door for divisions will be closed. No one among us could make any divisions because we know that in order to have the oneness in the church life, we must keep ourselves on the proper ground.
TURNING TO THE GENTILES WITH FAITH AND A VISION OF THE PROPER ONENESS
We cannot remain in the denominations, because they are divisions. However, if someone desires to stay in the denominations, there is no need to argue with him or to try to convince him to come out. Many times both in the Far East and in the Western world, Christians came to me and said, “Brother Lee, I do not feel that it is necessary for me to give up the denominations.” I said to them, “Brothers, do what you feel in peace.” If they want to stay there, let them, but eventually they will suffer a loss.
Some may think that we should go to the denominations and fellowship with them so that they can see what we have. We have done this many times. In 1937 I traveled throughout almost all the northern provinces of China for this purpose, but very little resulted from that. In Acts 13 the apostles did their best to minister the word to the Jews, but the Jews rejected it. The apostle then said, “Behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (v. 46). If we are rejected, we should do the same thing. I can never forget how in May of 1934 Brother Nee and I talked together as we drove from Shanghai to a little city nearby. While he was driving, he turned to me and said, “Brother Lee, now we have no other way but to turn to the Gentiles.” He said this because at that time we were rejected by Christianity in China. People used our writings on the gospel, edification, and life, but in one matter—the church—they could not get through. We were rejected because of this. People came to us secretly to buy our books; they liked those books and they used them, but they would not take the way of the church. Therefore, Brother Nee was forced and compelled to say, “Let us go to the Gentiles.”
We praise the Lord that after a few years the work began in a prevailing way among the Gentiles. A good number were brought into the church life. Hundreds of new converts were baptized daily. Our success depends on how faithful we are to the Lord. Do not look at the environment, at the present situation. We must have faith, and we must have the vision.
(The Ground of the Church and the Meetings of the Church, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)