Being Desperate and Living Uniquely for the Gospel, by Witness Lee


The hundred and twenty in Acts got the authority and received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. This qualified and equipped them to go. They went, and great things happened. But following this the church became degraded. Degradation binds and restricts the resurrected and ascended Christ from accomplishing His heart’s desire. Nearly everything revealed in the New Testament got bound, restricted and even killed over many centuries until the Reformation with Martin Luther. Even Luther, though, did not get away from the background and the surrounding influence of Christianity. Then the Lord raised up the so-called mystics in the 1600s such as Madam Guyon, Father Fenelon, and Brother Lawrence in the Catholic church. Following this in the 1700s Zinzendorf was raised up and he practiced the church life to a certain extent. That was a great improvement. During the same time John Wesley was raised up as an individual giant to preach the gospel. Then in the next century Darby and his colleagues were raised up to have the brethren church practice. Their expounding of the Word of God opened up the Bible and brought much light.

William Law’s improvement of mysticism helped Andrew Murray to the uttermost. From that point onward was the line of the inner life, which included Mrs. Penn-Lewis and all the great speakers in the Keswick Convention such as G. Campbell Morgan, A. J. Gordon, and S. D. Gordon. With T. Austin-Sparks the writings on the inner life reached their highest level. In the early 1900s Pentecostalism came out, and since the last century great preachers became prevailing such as C. H. Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, and Charles Finney. Today there are others.

These are major items of the Lord’s move from the Reformation. All this has become history. The Reformation, however, eventually became a dead thing. Mysticism died out. The Moravian church life begun with Zinzendorf is far from what it once was. The inner life line died out. Today it is hard to even hear the term "inner life." What has been the result of the great evangelistic campaigns? They put out reports that thousands were gained by the Lord, but now where are they? There is hardly any increase in the statistics of the entire Christianity. The Assemblies of God have the highest rate of increase among the denominations, but it is only six percent yearly. This is a dying situation.

Now we must consider what way we should take. Should we take the Reformation way, the mystic way, the Moravian way, the Wesleyan way, the Brethren way, the inner life way, the Pentecostal way, or the giant preacher way? We have been under the influence of Christianity for years, and this influence is still surrounding us. It is hard for us to jump out. In 1927 I jumped out of Christianity, but I still had a Christianity "tail." That "tail" was with me, but it was reducing all the time. It took thirty years to get this "tail" to completely disappear. We must take the new way. The new way is first to cut off the "tail." Do not wait to reduce it. Do not say that since it took me thirty years to reduce the tail, you need more time. You can be faster. Jump into the new way to go out and visit people by door knocking and setting up meetings in homes. Then your "tail" will be gone.

All the leavened items in Christianity are a part of the "tail." Much of the truth taught today is full of leaven. The birth of Christ has been leavened to a mass, Christmas, and the resurrection of Christ has been leavened to Easter. This is terrible. The way we have practiced in our meetings is still a part of the "tail." This is the old way to gather a congregation and to have a preacher, to encourage the congregation to come together every Sunday morning to hear a speaker.

You may think that there is nothing wrong for a gifted speaker to speak to you on the Lord’s Day. But the entire practice of such a meeting is a killing. The Bible tells us that we are all members of the living Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), and the Bible charges us as the members of Christ to function (Rom. 12:4-6). The first item of functioning is to preach the gospel, to reach the sinners, to visit them to bring them to Christ. Have we done this? Every Lord’s Day we have had a big meeting occupying us. Actually this kind of meeting has killed our function. Many of us have been sitting in big meetings for years, but how much fruit did we bear?

(Being Desperate and Living Uniquely for the Gospel, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)