The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, by Witness Lee


Prophesying is a matter of incarnation, but most Christians have made it a miraculous thing, like the speaking of human words by Balaam’s donkey (Num. 22:28-30). However, this view is absolutely wrong. In 1 Timothy 4:13 Paul charged Timothy to "attend to the public reading, to the exhortation, to the teaching." Paul told Timothy that he needed to exercise himself to practice these matters. This word was spoken not in the principle of "thus saith the Lord" but in the principle of incarnation. In his fourteen Epistles Paul never told us that the Spirit of God or the word of God came upon him. Rather, Paul said, "I solemnly charge you..." (1 Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 4:1) and "I exhorted you [Timothy], when I was going into Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things" (1 Tim. 1:3). Thus, the matter of prophesying, or speaking for God, in the principle of incarnation is seen clearly in the writings of Paul. Without Paul’s writings, it would be difficult to have a clear view of this matter in the New Testament.

The matter of speaking in the principle of incarnation is not just for a few gifted persons. First Corinthians 14:31 says, "You can all prophesy." Dear saints, as long as you are a human being who can speak, you should prophesy. God’s New Testament economy is to carry out everything in the principle of incarnation. If we do not do anything, God is finished. If we tell God that we are tired and do not want to do or speak anything, God may say, "I am so pitiful. Without you I am finished. I cannot do anything; I am crippled." This is today’s situation. God is "crippled" by Christianity. This is why we are here. We are here to carry out God’s economy by every saint speaking in the principle of incarnation. We need to shout, "Hallelujah, Satan, I do not have a gift, but I have a spirit with a mouth plus a tongue. Therefore, I can speak." If we do this, God will be happy.

I am glad that last year the Lord led us to make a quick decision to go to Russia. The decision was made quickly, but the decision could be carried out only through the full-time training. Without the training it would have been impossible to send sixty brothers and sisters to Russia in less than six months. Only a few of those sent to Russia are capable speakers. These speakers are used in the conference meetings. But every day all sixty go out to visit people, to speak to individuals, families, and groups. The Russian believers are very intimate. They do not like to see the saints come to visit them for only an hour. Rather, they prefer to keep our saints in their homes for half a day. During this time, they like to hear the saints speak concerning the Bible, God, Christ, and the church, which consummates in the New Jerusalem. In Moscow, we have baptized more than two thousand new believers. Now we have several hundred in the church life attending the church meetings. These new ones need a lot of speaking. The meetings during the week and the meeting on the Lord’s Day are not adequate. The new ones need someone to go to their homes to speak to them again and again.

We do not trust much in gifted speakers. In our going to Russia we determined not to take that way. We prefer not to have large gatherings of tens of thousands of people. In both Moscow and St. Petersburg there are only thirty full-timers to serve. How could so few care for thousands of new believers? Rather, the large number becomes a frustration. We prefer to baptize a smaller number and then raise them up to be the church. Through such a work, at present in Moscow we have a church with more than one thousand members.

I hope that all you dear saints will pick up the understanding that the Lord needs you. He needs you to live with Him, to live by Him, to live in Him, to live in oneness with Him. You are a God-man. Day by day you should learn the truths in the Bible. These truths concern mainly God, Christ, the Spirit, life, and the church according to God’s economy. Do not speak anything else. Any knowledge other than the knowledge of God, Christ, the Spirit, life, and the church is the knowledge of good and evil from the tree of knowledge, which brings death.

Today a number of dissenting ones in the recovery are speaking something different. They say that Brother Lee is wrong in certain matters. Even if I were actually wrong in those things, none of those things could be a base for them to make divisions. The dissenting ones are deceived, and they also have become a deceiving factor to deceive others. They say that my work has now become a system and that the saints need to come out of that system. This kind of speaking is something that Paul called the teaching of "different things," things that differ from God’s economy, which is in faith (1 Tim. 1:3-4). God’s economy in faith comprises only God, Christ, the Spirit, life, and the church, which will consummate in the New Jerusalem. We all need to know these things.

If you know all these truths and you know how to exercise yourself in keeping the principle of incarnation, wherever you go you can speak. You can speak to people without end concerning God, telling them that God is triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—and that the Son is the embodiment of the Triune God. You should not say, "I don’t feel led by the Spirit; the Lord didn’t give me one word, and this morning I am empty." The fact is that you are not empty. And do not be overly concerned about the leading of the Spirit. When you become "super-spiritual," you are not genuinely spiritual. We do have the leading of the Spirit within us. This leading is the indwelling Spirit as the compound ointment moving, anointing, and dispensing within us unceasingly. Every minute and every second the leading is here. He is ready, and He is waiting for us. When we speak, surely He is happy. We can speak because our "Companion" works with us. Thus, we can speak for Him without end. If we all would exercise ourselves to speak for the Lord, our speaking would change the entire world. When we are silent, God is crippled. When we speak, God leaps like a deer. He is happy.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Paul said, "Do not quench the Spirit." The Spirit causes our spirits to be burning (Rom. 12:11) and our gifts to be flaming (2 Tim. 1:6). Hence, we should not quench Him. However, nearly every day, every week, and every month we quench the Spirit. The Spirit likes to speak. He is a speaking Spirit, yet we do not like to speak. Thus, we often quench the Spirit. I would encourage the quiet ones among us to speak in every meeting, even to speak many times in each meeting. After speaking many times in each meeting for half a year, they can reduce their speaking to allow others to have more time.

(The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)