Basic Training, by Witness Lee


We have pointed out that everything in the universe is a mystery. God, creation, man, Christ, the Spirit, the church, and the future are mysteries. Even we ourselves are mysterious; we cannot fully understand ourselves. Because there are so many mysteries, there are many philosophies, inventions, and discoveries. As we have seen, every discovery, invention, religion, and philosophy is an inference. However, if we have the divine revelation, we do not need inferences.

Suppose I give a bottle of medicine to a chemist. The chemist may analyze the medicine to find out its elements. However, the one who made this medicine knows the formula, and he may say to the chemist, “There is no need for you to study or analyze the medicine. Simply take the formula, which is a revelation of what is contained in the medicine.” We have the divine formula for the whole universe. Thus, there is no need for us to guess, study, or discover. We simply need to see the revelation.


The basic revelation in the Scriptures is that God in eternity past had an eternal purpose to have a church to express Christ so that God Himself might be expressed for eternity through His chosen people. For this purpose He created the universe and, particularly, He created man. For this purpose He accomplished redemption for fallen man and regenerated the redeemed man. For this purpose He imparted Himself in Christ into the reborn believers. For this purpose He sanctifies them, saturates them with His divine element, transforms them into the image of Christ, and glorifies them with His glory. For this purpose He gathers them in localities to be local expressions of the universal church. Both the universal church and the local church are uniquely one. Christ, the very embodiment of God, is the content and reality of the church, and the church is the expression of Christ. Here there is no division but one God, one Christ, one Spirit, and one church, one Body. This is the basic revelation. All the rest of the teachings in the Scriptures are doctrines related directly or indirectly to this basic revelation. If we isolate any of these doctrines from the basic revelation, the isolated doctrine will become an issue. Furthermore, this issue will become a legality that causes division among the believers. That kind of doctrine should not be considered the basic revelation.


Christianity has become a maze because it has deviated from the formula, from the basic divine revelation. Instead of trusting in the revelation, many Christians rely on their study, inferences, and discoveries.

After certain discoveries have been made, Christians have often made issues of them. For example, the Baptist church has discovered the matter of immersion and has made an issue out of it. The result is that for the Baptists immersion is a matter of legality. This legality causes division. With this insight we can see that every denomination is a legality produced by those who made an issue of a particular discovery. Based upon this principle, we can say that every denomination is a legality and a division. All these divisions were produced by the discovery of certain things in the Bible. We in the Lord’s recovery, however, do not agree with any legality, and we are not making issues of discoveries.

Human society and Christianity have become a maze because both have left the heavenly, divine revelation and turned to study, inventions, and discoveries. An issue has been made out of each discovery, and every issue has become a legality. Take the example of speaking in tongues. Some Christians have made speaking in tongues a legality. Yes, speaking in tongues is mentioned in the Bible, but this does not mean that you should make an issue out of it. If you make an issue of speaking in tongues, this issue will become a legality that controls you and governs you. It will affect the destiny of your Christian life and cause you to care primarily for speaking in tongues. In the churches we do not make issues of anything. We practice immersion because it is found in the Bible. However, we do not make immersion a legality. We practice it without making it an issue.

At one time the question of long hair for sisters was made a legality. More than fifty years ago, I worked for a company that sold hair nets. For a long time we sold only large hair nets. Suddenly, orders began to come in for small hair nets. I wondered about the reason for this change. Then I learned that American women had begun to wear their hair short. According to the legality that insists that sisters have long hair, sisters with short hair may not be allowed to come to Christian meetings. Those who insist on this legality use 1 Corinthians 11 as their basis. This, however, is not a revelation, but a legality made out of a teaching.

(Basic Training, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)