THE CONTROLLING VISION FOR PRACTICING THE NEW WAY
We must clearly recognize that the burden and commission which we have received from the Lord are not just to go out door-knocking and to lead people to salvation. Rather, we must gain a group of new ones who will be for God’s economy. Today the world population is about 4.6 billion, and the number of Christians and Catholics added together still does not equal one-third of the entire world population. All the rest of the people are non-Christians. Moreover, the Christian group in Taiwan with the greatest number of people is the Presbyterian Church, and they have only a little more than 100,000 believers. The local churches are the next largest with 40,000 or 50,000. The third is the True Jesus Church with 20,000 or 30,000. The total added together does not even equal 200,000, as all the rest of the Christian groups have just a few scattered members. Taiwan is such a modern place, yet it has so few Christians. Therefore, when we go out door-knocking, our principal target is still non-Christians. If we do knock on the door of a Catholic or a Christian, we should not try to change them, nor should we reject them. We should just give them The Mystery of Human Life. If they would not receive it, we should politely go away. We must always remember that in the entire world there are more than 3 billion unbelievers who are the main target of our door-knocking. We must let Christianity go its own way. We will gain new ones for the Lord’s recovery.
This is why we need to be trained. This training is not to train us in methods or techniques but to train us in the truth, that we all could be filled with the truth. Then when we go out door-knocking we would not just gain some people but would help them to know the truth. I have said before that if we take four thousand as the basic number for Taipei and practice according to what we have fellowshipped, then in four years we should be able to gain 2.7 million people. Then Taipei would really be evangelized. I do know that among those whom we gain, probably only a small number will be reliable and stable. Nevertheless, even those unreliable Christians who do not come to meetings are beneficial to us.
In the place where I am staying there are several potted plants. One day I saw an orchid on my coffee table that had roots, branches, and leaves, but only one flower. I realized that any particular thing needs many outward items to support and cultivate its inward substance. In the same way, if 2.7 million people are baptized, then most of them are “roots,” “branches,” and “leaves,” but very few “outshine” others to be the “flower.” Therefore, we should not be worried if the new ones are unreliable or if perhaps there are some false ones among them; sometimes false Christians are beneficial to us. Even at the time of the apostle Paul there were some unreliable ones in the church. Paul was one who received the highest revelation and who led the Corinthians to salvation, yet the Corinthians turned around and said that he had been crafty and taken them by guile for the purpose of getting their money (cf. 2 Cor. 12:16). I believe that God has a record of this, so there is no need to worry. We just need to allow those predestined to salvation to be saved and let those who would oppose do so. Our goal is that all the people in Taipei would be saved.
In 1949 I began the work in Taipei, and the whole meeting hall was full of people on the first day. Because every one of them had come with a different purpose, I told them, “You go to a certain kind of restaurant to eat a certain kind of food. We do not have a Shantung restaurant, so if some of you want to eat steamed bread, you have come to the wrong place.” I expected that the numbers on the next Lord’s Day would certainly be smaller and that those who came would want to eat our food, so I asked the business office to prepare cards for signing up. As expected, less than half showed up; most of the others never came again. I just worked with those who came back, and it brought in the Lord’s great blessing.
In this age the Lord has certainly revealed all the visions in the New Testament to us, enabling us to clearly see God’s economy. Now we should be faithful to go out door-knocking to gain some for this economy and to feed the new ones for this economy by teaching them the truth. On the other hand, we ourselves must live in this economy. In this way, we will have such a group of people under the light of the truth who are being taught, cultivated, and supplied and who in their daily lives live Christ, express Him, and have become one spirit with Him, living in the spirit and walking by the spirit. This is what the Lord wants to obtain today. When the Lord returns, these ones will be the bride for Him to gain and the firstfruits who are raptured first. It is such a group of people who can cause the Lord to have a desire to come back. Where is the bride today? If the bride is not prepared, how can He come? If He were to come anyway, would He not come in vain? Only such a group of people who are constituted as the Lord’s bride through practicing the new way will be able to bring in the Lord’s return. I hope that we all will see this vision clearly.
We must be reminded here that we are going on in the way of recovery, beginning with the step of door-knocking. If we knock on the door of a Catholic or a Christian, we should never try to change them. No matter how much they praise, welcome, or admire you, they will almost always return to their own fold. Nevertheless, we must be broad and do our best to help them. Our strength, however, must be focused on the unbelievers or on the newly saved ones, setting up meetings in their homes and bringing them to know the truth. If we faithfully practice according to the principles we have fellowshipped, then in a year we will certainly double our number.
(The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)