THE LORD’S RECOVERY
When I was about twenty years of age I learned about this matter of recovery by reading the Bible and studying other Christian writings, especially among the Brethren. They talked about the return from the captivity. They pointed out that the children of Israel were carried away into captivity to Babylon. Then after seventy years the Lord commanded them to return to Jerusalem. That return was a genuine recovery.
When some Christians talk about the Lord’s recovery, they are referring to the recovery of some doctrines. For example, they say that the doctrine of justification by faith was lost, but then it was recovered through Martin Luther. Some also have pointed out that certain practices have been recovered. Over three hundred years ago in northern Europe some of the saints saw the matter of baptism by immersion. They consider that they have recovered not only the truth concerning baptism, but also a practice. To baptize people by immersion into water is a kind of practice.
The Presbyterians consider that they have recovered the presbytery. Presbytery actually means the eldership, referring to the type of church government. They are not Episcopalian nor Congregational in their church government. They administrate the church by the presbytery, the eldership. All of these groups consider that they have recovered some truths, and eventually some practice. Nearly every Protestant denomination today is a result of the recovery either of a doctrine or of a practice.
THE CENTRAL RECOVERY
These are recoveries, but these recoveries are not so central. The central thing in the Bible is not baptism by immersion; it is not the presbytery. It is not any doctrine or practice. The central thing in God’s revelation is that God wants to be expressed. The Triune God desires to express Himself in humanity. God is invisible; yet He wants and desires to be expressed. The invisible God desires to be seen through an instrument, through humanity, the very man created by Him. Man and the entire universe were created for this purpose. God created the heavens and the earth, the lifeless things, the vegetable life and the animal life, and eventually the human life. This means that all the other things are for man. The heavens are for the earth, and the earth is for man.
(Concerning the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)