RECENT NEWS FROM PEKING
I received and read the card that you sent before. I have been so long in answering, please forgive me for this! (Parts omitted.) There will be a conference soon, so I cannot write too much. Because the Lord has not opened a way to us in the environment and in other needs, we could not hold it in July but waited for God’s way. We now clearly understand God’s will and time, and we have decided to have a conference for ten days beginning on August 16. The first three days will be for preaching the gospel. The last seven days will be on overcoming. A brother in the Lord will be responsible for the first three days, and I will be responsible for the last seven days. Please pray unceasingly. May the Lord gain the glory!
Hsu Chung Chieh
Mailing Address: 19 Chi Hsiang Alley, Shih Ching Garden, 4 East Peking
A LETTER FROM HAINAN
Greetings to God’s faithful servant, Brother Nee:
Last month I received a letter from three brothers in Singapore (Wang Kai Sen, Yang Jen Chu, and Chang Chia Chi) telling me that the Shanghai Gospel Book Room was publishing Collection of Newsletters on news from the meetings in the Lord’s name in every place. When I heard that this good news concerns everyone meeting in the Lord’s name, I was very happy and gave thanks and praise to our Lord for the realization of this publication. May the Lord bless the flow of this publication to all the localities so that all the meetings in the Lord’s name can receive this good news. (Parts omitted.)
The number of brothers in Hainan coming to worship God and break bread on the Lord’s Day is very small. Brother Ts’ai Shou Lun has already left us and gone to another locality. I do not yet know when he will return. Brother Shih K’e Jen will leave for Southeast Asia soon. May the Lord revive the church in Hainan. I ask the brothers there to pray for the meeting here and to pray for me. I also hope you, Mr. Nee, will guide us in the proper path in the Lord, so that we carry out the Lord’s will. Amen. I also greet the brothers in the Lord with peace!
Your little brother in Christ,
Yun Feng Chan
July 6, 1934
Mailing Address: c/o Hung Sheng Hao, Wen Ch’ang Pai Yen City, Hainan, Canton.
ANSWER TO BROTHER WANG KAI SEN
Brother Kai Sen:
I received your question concerning whether or not the Open Brethren are a denomination, and I am writing several facts that I know so the brothers in your locality can determine for themselves.
(1) They have a name. They have a missionary board called the Christian Mission to Many Lands which is abbreviated as C.M.M.L. It does not matter whether or not it is a real organization or something done as a matter of convenience. A special name is already the action of a denomination.
(2) They have a center. They have a central organization in Bath, England. All the offerings collected by the meetings in each locality are sent to Bath and two brothers there administrate them and send them to every country in the world for those who work for the Lord among them. In this way, the workers who have a good relationship with Bath receive more money. Those who do not, receive less money. This also means that when their workers say they live by faith, it is empty words. Actually, in their hearts they know that there will be money coming from Bath. Furthermore, this makes Bath into a little Rome because the workers must subconciously acknowledge Bath or they will have to worry about losing their living. The workers do not receive the offering directly from the hand of the believers or the church. All of their property purchased abroad is not offered to the Lord and then put into the workers’ hands to administer as the Lord leads. All of their property is administrated by a Steward’s Company in England. The name used on all the contracts and deeds is the name of the company. Is this not centralized administration?
(3) They have hired workers. The Western workers among them receive money from Bath, so the Chinese workers among them automatically receive their salaries from the Western missionaries. The preachers among them receive a predetermined amount in salary like those in other denominations, because they believe that if they do not do this, the work can not be carried out.
(4) They have a hierarchy. The hierarchy of the priesthood is something of Judaism. Christianity should not have it. The basic difference between the New Testament and the Old Testament is that all the believers in the New Testament are priests and there is not a group of special people acting as priests. The Nicolaitans in the ancient church, the Roman priests, and the Protestant pastors have all become a modified hierarchy of priesthood.
The Westerners among them usually accept the honorific title of pastor. At the same time, they stand in an elevated position in their meetings. Recently, one of their co-workers in Jehol rose up to oppose this, but he met with fierce opposition. They have followed the denominations around them to have the hierarchy of priesthood.
(5) Their way. After we began a meeting in Shanghai, they established a separate table meeting. After we had begun a meeting in Kuling in the winter, they came the next summer and established another table.
Brother, what I have written above are all facts. You need to pray much before the Lord to determine whether or not you should have fellowship with them or be among them. All questions are not just outward; they are a matter of whether or not we are living according to the Christ who is within us. May we be faithful. I bless you with peace.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 25: Collection of Newsletters (1), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)