COMING OUT OF OUR OPINIONS AND TEACHINGS AND BACK TO OUR SPIRIT
Why are we one in the local churches? It is because we give up mere doctrines and all opinions. In the local churches we are simply in the spirit. If we are still in the mind, we will be divided, but now we are in the spirit. We have come back. Many, however, do not want to come back. Most Christians prefer to stay in their mind. As long as we stay in the mind, we are in captivity in the denominations or free groups. If we are not in the spirit but still in the mind, we are not in Jerusalem. This is pitiful. To be in the mind is to be captured, to be in captivity. Therefore, we all need to get out of our mind and turn to our spirit. This is to return from captivity.
By reading some of the books we have published, some dear ones today have picked up the teaching of the ground of locality. To them, however, the ground of locality may be something in the mentality. In this way, even the ground of oneness becomes a divisive factor. The ground of oneness is for oneness, not for division, but if we take the ground of oneness in our mind and make it a mental matter, right away it becomes a divisive factor. Instead, we need to return to the spirit.
May the Lord be merciful to us that we all would see what the difference between revival and recovery is, that today the Lord needs a recovery, and that the recovery is possible only in our spirit. We need to drop all kinds of doctrines and all kinds of opinions. We need to drop not only the wrong doctrines but even the right doctrines and turn to our spirit. Almost all Christians have some kind of opinion. Some are for foot-washing, some are for head covering, and some are for quiet services. Some are for baptism by immersion, while some are for baptism by sprinkling. Some are for this kind of teaching, and some are for that kind of teaching, but as long as we are still in the teachings, we are in the mind, and immediately we are in captivity. We are captured away from the oneness. May the Lord be merciful to us. We need to drop all our teachings, whether foot-washing or head covering. What then shall we do? We should turn to our spirit and say, “O Lord Jesus.” To do this is wonderful.
A sister may feel that to play a tambourine is a help to the meeting. If this is merely her opinion, however, she needs to drop it. Many other dear Christians are strict gentlemen and ladies. When they come to the meeting and see brothers with long hair, they shake their head. Rather, they need to shake off their opinion about long hair. I also do not like to see long hair on a brother, but I would not keep this as an opinion. In addition, I do not like to see bare feet; the sisters should cover their feet before they cover their head. However, when I come into the church meeting and see bare feet, I say, “O Lord Jesus.” Then I have no problem.
Where could we have the genuine oneness? It is in our spirit. When we turn to the spirit, we are immediately one. We should not say that we like or do not like something. If we say we do not like long hair, the Lord Jesus may say, “I am not bothered.” To say this is easy, but we need to realize that we are under a religious concept and a natural makeup; it is truly hard for us to get away from them. Because of this, you have your opinion, and I have my opinion. Then as long as we stay in our mind, we are divided. We need to come back to our spirit; then we are one. We may say that we have left the denominations, but we may not have left all the opinions. We have given up the denominations, but we may not have given up all our teachings. We have left Babylon, but the Babylonian things may still be with us. We need to come out of Babylon and all the Babylonian concepts.
To say this is easy, but to practice this requires the Lord’s mercy. We may give up the denominations and come together to practice the church life, but we may do it merely according to doctrine. Yes, we may have left Babylon, the denominations, but none of us may ever have left our opinions, so when we come together we eventually will have difficulties. It is not a matter merely of giving up the denominations. It is a matter of giving up being in our mind. We may give up the denominations but still be in the mind. However, if we give up being in our mind, we will truly come out of the denominations. If we give up being in our mind, all the opinions and mere teachings will be gone.
Over forty years ago, if someone came to me, I would have been strong to check with him as to whether he had been baptized by immersion. If he said yes, I would be happy, but if he said no, I might have turned my back on him. I was strong for baptism by immersion. Then one day I left the denominations, but I still kept this doctrine. After a long time, however, by the Lord’s mercy my eyes were opened. Merely to give up the denominations was not good enough. I had to give up the doctrine. We need to come back to Jerusalem, that is, come back to our spirit.
In our mind, we are very complicated, but in our spirit, we are simple. Everyone is simple in their spirit. Elderly people, those over fifty-five years old, are complicated and hard to deal with. However, regardless of a person’s education, degree, or age, if he turns to his spirit, he is simple, like a small child. If we mean business with the Lord for His recovery, merely to give up the denominations is not good enough. We need to give up all the teachings, all the opinions, and turn to the spirit. If someone asks, “What about head covering, foot-washing, and baptism?” we should not say much; we should simply say, “O Lord.” It would be wonderful if the brothers in a certain place came together and said nothing but, “O Lord.” This is the best way to practice the church life.
We are very concerned that a church may be destroyed simply by good opinions. Some may move to a city from several different cities, and some other dear ones may be raised up locally. The ones from one city may say that their former church is the best, and the ones from another city may say that their former church is better than the best. Then those raised up in that city may say their opinion is the best because they were raised up locally. If this happens, that church will be fully destroyed. We must have no opinion. There must be no Chicago, no Akron, no Los Angeles, and no Detroit. There must be only, “O Lord! O Lord!” We need to turn to the spirit. We need a return that the Lord may have the recovery. If we can lay this as a foundation, it is good enough. It is sufficient to practice the church life simply by saying, “O Lord.” Try this.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)