THE DEGRADED SYSTEM IN CHRISTIANITY SHUTTING UP PEOPLE’S MOUTHS
Although God’s desire is that we all speak for Him, today in Christianity the degraded system of worship services is a system of one man speaking and all the rest listening. Such a system of one person speaking shuts the mouths of everyone else.
Thirty years ago when I was in Manila, Philippines, working for the Lord, one of the saints had a relative who was sick and was staying in the hospital. This saint brought along two or three others to visit his relative. While they were there, some other Christian friends and relatives of the sick person also came to visit him. When the other Christians saw our brothers and sisters praying so confidently, they were astonished and asked, “Are all of you pastors?” The reason they asked this was that those Christians did not even know how to pray.
I was born into a Christian family, studied in a Christian school, and attended Sunday school every week. My mother was baptized quite early in life, so when we were young, she taught us many Bible stories. We were moved to tears when we heard the stories. However, I never once saw her pray. Even so, every Lord’s Day she always insisted that we children dress up properly and go to church. We did this week after week and year after year; apart from the pastor, we did not hear anyone else who could preach or pray. Therefore, it was commonly said that if someone is sick, he should see a doctor, if he goes to court, he should get a lawyer, and if he needs prayer, he should find a pastor. In Christianity the pastors are those who specialize in prayer and Bible reading, while all the other people do not have the ability to speak.
We are speaking these things in order to show you Satan’s scheme. The Bible has been released from the chains of Catholicism through Luther and interpreted through the Brethren. Yet because of the traditions of Christianity, the degraded system has produced many who belong to the clergy. These ones specialize in preaching, Bible reading, and praying, while the rest of the congregation remains silent, not needing to speak for God or to speak God’s word. This is due to the fact that people have become accustomed to merely “going to church” and have thus lost their ability to speak for the Lord. This is altogether the subtlety of Satan. God wants us to speak, and He wants us to speak His word. After saving us and regenerating us, He wants us to speak for Him and to speak Him forth. Since we are begotten of God, we ought to speak God’s word and to speak God. However, the concept of “going to church” in today’s Christianity has shut up all the mouths of the children of God.
Therefore, in the Lord’s recovery we need to change the system of our meetings. In our meetings we should not have one person speaking and the rest just listening; rather, everyone should speak. If we look at the context of 1 Corinthians 14:31, we can see that when Paul said, “You can all prophesy one by one,” he was referring to speaking in the meetings. When the whole church comes together, we all can prophesy one by one, speaking for the Lord.
GOD WANTING MAN TO SPEAK GOD’S WORD FOR GOD’S EXPRESSION
The purpose of God in creating man in His image was that man might express Him. In which points does man express Him? First, man expresses Him in speaking. There are some Christians today who believe that we can express God by our behavior alone and without speaking. In other words, they say that if we have a good testimony and a proper living with good behavior, we will be able to express God in the presence of men. This is not wrong, and this has its place, but we cannot avoid the matter of speaking for God. Speaking cannot be replaced; speaking is the real expression. Suppose there is a preacher who dresses himself tidily and properly and has his hair combed neatly, and when he stands on the podium, he is gentle and courteous, giving people the feeling that he really behaves well. However, if he would stand there for two hours, staring at the congregation with a smile but without saying a word, the congregation would not be satisfied, and he would not be able to express God. Therefore, when we express God, we need to have a proper living, but even more we need to speak forth clear words.
Regardless of whether we are in the office, in school, or in the midst of our relatives and friends, we need to speak. If we do not speak, it will not be easy for us to maintain a proper testimony. For instance, suppose you work for a certain company, but you have never told people that you are a Christian, and you refuse to let them know that you are a Christian. Rather, you only try to maintain a good conduct. In this way, perhaps after half a month, your colleagues may come and invite you to a Saturday or Sunday dancing party. Then it would be hard for you to be separated from among them. However, suppose you go to a new place to work, and after the first or second day at work, you declare, “I am a Christian; I love the Lord Jesus.” After two weeks when they are planning to have a dancing party, they will not come to you, so you are naturally separated from among them. Therefore, if you do not declare and if you do not speak, you leave a back door for Satan to come in and for you to slip out. But once you have declared and spoken, not only is the back door closed, but every other door is also closed; then you have protected yourself.
God wants us to express Him mainly through our speaking for Him. In the time of Noah when the whole earth was corrupted, God came and called Noah to be a herald of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5), and Noah then preached the righteous words of God for one hundred and twenty years. Today we should speak for God in the same way.
(Speaking for God, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)