NOT ELEVATING ANYTHING
IN PLACE OF CHRIST
If you investigate the situation of today’s Christianity, you will learn that every division is an elevation of some kind. It is good to teach the Bible. But Bible study should not become an elevation that separates God’s people from one another. The same is true regarding pray-reading. You may find pray-reading very helpful. However, you should not elevate it by insisting on the practice of pray-reading in the meetings. If you elevate pray-reading, you will make even pray-reading a cause of division. We need to ask the Lord to grant us mercy that we may not elevate anything in place of Christ. If we hold to an attitude of elevating our opinion or preference, we set up a "high place," a place of division. This is what happened among some of those who desired to have that joint meeting in Los Angeles in 1963. Those who opposed speaking in tongues elevated their attitude and preference, whereas those who advocated it uplifted theirs. Neither group was willing to regard my word about caring for the feeling of others. They desired to have their own way. Such a desire led them to set up "high places."
All of us, especially the young people, must learn not to elevate anything other than the Lord Jesus. He alone should be exalted. In the church life we should not have any "high places." Instead, we should all be on one level to exalt Christ.
A MATTER OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE
The "high places" built by Solomon and Jeroboam seriously damaged the ground of oneness. If this matter of the "high places" were not of great significance, the Old Testament would not mention it repeatedly. In 1 Kings 14:22 and 23 we are told that "Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord," for "they also built them high places, and dedicated pillars, and wooden symbols on every high hill, and under every green tree" (Heb.). The word every used with respect to the high hills and the green trees shows that this practice was common and very widespread. Once they were set up, these "high places" were not easily removed, even by good kings such as Asa. Although Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and "removed all the idols that his fathers had made," the "high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days" (1 Kings 15:12, 14). The people might have excused or justified the existence of "high places" by saying that they did not use them for the worship of dedicated pillars or wooden symbols, but for sacrificing to God and for offering incense to Him. Regarding Jehoshaphat, we are told that "he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places" (1 Kings 22:43). Furthermore, although Jehoash also did what was right in the sight of the Lord, the "high places" were not taken down during his reign. Rather, "the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places" (2 Kings 12:3). Time and time again we are told that the people "sacrificed and burnt incense still in the high places" (2 Kings 14:3-4; 15:3-4, 34-35).
(The Genuine Ground of Oneness, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)