The Elders' Management of the Church, by Witness Lee


There is another boundary that needs to be strictly kept. That is the boundary between the brothers and the sisters. This is also a great boundary. There is one thing we must admit: while Christians live on earth today, the place where they have the most opportunity to contact the opposite sex is the church. Between the brothers and sisters, they meet in the meetings, in the service, in the gospel preaching, and in their witnessing work. For this reason, in their administration of the church, the elders must draw a boundary between the brothers and the sisters. This is not a boundary of separation, but a boundary of distinction. This boundary must never be removed or annulled. Whenever you annul this boundary, you will involve yourselves in immense trouble.

In Christianity there are some zealous ones with little spiritual experience who suggest: "We are all brothers and sisters in the Lord. Since we are all spiritual, we do not need to distinguish the brothers from the sisters." I want to tell the brothers and sisters that I have seen the fruit from such a concept. I have heard even more about such things. They bring untold problems to the church. In some places, it is the elders who are reaping and eating their own fruit because the elders themselves have led the church this way. Their way of administration is to cause the brothers and sisters not to have any boundary. This is altogether wrong.

While we live on this earth and in our flesh, in no way can you believe that the boundary between men and women can be abolished; there is no such thing. This is the devil’s teaching. In some places, some teach that we are all spiritual, and that to talk about the boundary between male and female is to have defiled thoughts. Some almost condemn me by saying that it is because my thoughts are filthy and unclean that I am talking about the boundary between the brothers and the sisters. No. Even if thousands of people would rise up to say that my thoughts are unclean, I will still stand up to tell you that you need a boundary between the brothers and the sisters. The elders in every locality must set up a firm boundary between the brothers and the sisters; they should never remove it.

Galatians 3 says that in Christ there is no more distinction between male and female. But in 1 Corinthian 11 and 14, it says that in the church we must still distinguish the boundary between male and female. There is no distinction between male and female in Christ, but there is still the distinction between male and female in the church. If in the church we make no distinction between male and female, then Paul is actually contradicting himself in 1 Corinthians 11 and 14, because there he clearly says that brothers do not have to cover their heads when they pray, but that the sisters do. In addition, the sisters should not speak in the meeting. You can see that there is still a distinction between male and female in the church.

Some have checked with me in a serious way: "Brother Lee, why does the church not come up to the standard of the age? In most social gatherings today, men and women sit together. Why do the men and women sit separately in the church meetings?" Dear brothers and sisters, you cannot deny that David loved the Lord more than you do and was more spiritual than you are. But even David could fall. How much more can we fall also? Today, we are still in the old creation, and it is still possible for us to fall. God has not removed the boundary between male and female in the church. When you and I administrate the church, we must not give the impression that we are all in the Lord and that it makes no difference whether we are brothers or sisters. This indifference is detrimental and must never be permitted. We must learn to draw a boundary here.

Now I have presented to you these twelve boundaries. If the elders know how to draw these boundaries, their administration of the church will be stable, clear, and proper. You will be able to bring all kinds of people and things onto the right track. In this way, the church will have the real administration and building.

(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)