THE FUTURE OUTLOOK
The Need for Changing the System
In any event, the conclusion from our fellowship was first that the Lord’s recovery has spread. Up to the present time, the number of people among us has not been huge, but without a doubt, the Lord’s recovery has reached all of the major languages. Our literature has been translated into almost twenty languages. We may say that our publications can be found in every major language. Also, on the six continents on the earth, there are over six hundred churches in the Lord’s recovery as our fields of labor. The truths and the fields for our labor are the factors of blessing in our advancement.
Consider Taipei as an example. The entire city of Taipei is our work place. Already there are twenty-one meeting halls, and the number attending the meetings is about three to four thousand. However, though there are so many people, they have not been able to function nor have they been fully put to use. This is because our system has been faulty, causing the brothers and sisters to be limited in their usefulness. We may use a country as an illustration. To have a strong country there needs to be a strong public educational system. If the educational system in the country is not sufficiently strong and widespread, then the country will have a difficult time forging ahead since it will not be able to produce talented people.
Therefore, in Taipei there was a change in the system. Everything was rearranged to open up a new atmosphere so that every place could become a workplace and a place of blessing. Regrettably, there have not been enough people to meet the need of this situation. This is because even though there are many people in the church, not many have been perfected. This was our mistake in the past, an error in our direction. For example, suppose there were some brothers who had begun meeting with us in 1949. At that time they were still single. Thirty years have since passed, and even their children have grown and now have a college education; some are even married. However, these brothers, meeting week by week, listening to messages continuously for thirty years, have not yet graduated from spiritual elementary school.
This shows us that if a person gets saved and begins to go to the meeting hall to listen to the preaching of the word, after one year, he may feel he has gotten something. However, after another year of listening, he may feel about the same; after ten or fifteen years, he will still feel almost the same. Even after hearing messages for twenty or thirty years, he will still be about the same. It seems that he understands addition, he has heard about subtraction, and he has also heard about algebra, geometry, and calculus. Yet when the time comes to apply what he has heard, he cannot add, subtract, multiply, or divide correctly, much less do calculus. The reason is that he has not gone to school to obtain a formal education. Every Lord’s Day he has gone to the meeting, but at the meetings there are only some “famous” speakers preaching without any classes for learning. If at a university there were no exams, no books, and no professors but only a bunch of students listening to famous people lecturing every day, then after thirty years of listening, these students would still have not been perfected. Therefore, we must see that this has been our negligence.
This is our urgent, present need. The system for our meetings needs to be changed and must be changed. Our concepts must also be changed. The truths we preach may be spiritual, without any emphasis on education; however, since they are truths, there inherently is a good deal of substance that is educational in nature. Since it is educational, there needs to be an educational system.
The Availability and Spread of the Truth
Second, in recent years there has been a wonderful situation. Regardless of the country, the most seeking ones among the Christians have been the young people. This is a situation we did not encounter before in the past fifty years in the Lord’s work. It is easy for young people to be saved, and after being saved, they have a desire for the truth. In other words, the young people all have a desire for knowledge. Since they have believed into the Lord Jesus, they want to know what He is all about and what the Bible teaches. This is why, according to the statistics of the Taiwan Gospel Bookroom, the best-selling books have been the books on studying the Bible, especially the life-studies. This phenomenon is the same throughout the world. Apparently it has not been very dramatic; however, the result and effect has been deep and wide.
In the past, the charismatic movement was quite prevailing in America, but now it is out-of-date. The charismatic movement pumps air into people, but regardless of the type of air, eventually it dissipates. Even if the best tire or the best football is filled with air, after a period of time, that air will seep out. Therefore, the charismatic movement cannot meet people’s needs. What people really need today is the truth. God desires that all men would be saved and come to the full knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). It was not only so during Paul’s time but it is even more so today. The entire earth needs the truth. Take South America for example. All of Central and South America have opened to the truth, especially to the truth among us. Even if we were to send two hundred full-time workers to Central and South America, that would not be enough. Everywhere there is a reverberating cry for the truth.
If every one of our co-workers were able to present the truth to others, then wherever they went, they would be able to set up a stall for the truth. Perhaps ten people would come on the first night, the next night twenty would come, and after one week perhaps two hundred would come. They would all come to listen to the truth. It is a pity that none of us goes out to do this. We all know that the Central and South Americas are strongly influenced by Roman Catholicism. Catholicism does not have the truth. Although the charismatic movement brought in some excitement for awhile, ultimately there was no truth in it. As a result, the people in Central and South America are hungry inwardly, longing for someone who can preach the truth to come to them.
After this fellowship, I believe that we all will realize that the Lord’s recovery has a vast field for the work today. Furthermore, because the truths in the entire New Testament have been completely released and put into print, we surely have the truths among us. We should have a hope for the present generation; this refers to the young people’s being saved. Fifty years ago when we first came out to work, we did not see a situation like the one today. Once in Taipei, after two days of meeting, Hall One alone had about one hundred fifty people baptized with the majority being young people. Today the situation in the entire Lord’s recovery is the same. Whether it is in Germany, Japan, or America, everywhere there are young people; what they seek after the most is the truth. Today as we work, we must learn the secret that although many things can excite the young people, what retains them, gives them long-lasting satisfaction, and edifies them is the truth. Therefore, first we should change the system of our meetings by splitting them up, and second, we should pay attention to the availability and spread of the truth.
The Lord’s recovery has already been among us for sixty years, first entering into the Chinese-speaking world and then moving into the English-speaking world in the west. Today the Lord’s word is in all the major languages in the world. Our publications are even in the Russian-speaking world; there are over ten books already translated into Russian. This situation truly causes us to be encouraged. The speed of our translation has not been able to match the pressing need. This shows us that the field of work there is vast. Their desire to seek the truth is urgent. Now we need to have a clear vision so that we can measure up to the biblical way. At the same time our goal is to present and dispense the truth.
Not only is there an abundance of truth among us, but the spiritual truths are also rich in the following four aspects: Christ, the Spirit, life, and the Body of Christ, which is the church. Aside from us, almost no one can speak on these four great truths—Christ, the Spirit, life, and the church. Among us, these truths are very rich. Today the reason we are here is because we all have been kept by the truth and have been inwardly enriched with life. Now we need to find a way to spread outwardly, allowing the Lord to truly increase.
For our practice, in principle we have to break up the large meetings into smaller meetings. This is not to say that there will not be the large meetings. Rather, on the one hand, we may have the large meetings, but on the other hand, we have to pay attention to the release and spread of the truth. For this reason, all of us must rise up to learn the truth.
(Speaking for God, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)