THE NEED OF GROWTH IN LIFE
In order to keep the oneness of the faith and not be carried away by the wind of doctrine, we need the growth in life. If we remain in childhood, we may be easily carried away by the wind of some doctrine. The doctrines may be good, but they are simply toys. Toys are not wrong, but toys are for children. The younger you are, the more you enjoy toys. Do you still toy with doctrines? I can assure you that the more you grow in the Lord, the more you will drop the toys of doctrine.
Ephesians 4:14-15 tells us clearly what doctrine can do if we have not grown up into Christ in all things. As long as we are children, it is easy for the subtle enemy to deceive us by using certain doctrines to distract us from the proper church life, as a wind carrying us away from the proper course. Why? Because children like toys, and the doctrines are just like toys! The more we grow in life, the more we will drop the toys of doctrine.
Forty years ago, baptism by immersion was a real toy to me, and so were many other doctrines. But by His mercy I can hardly say what toy of doctrine I still have today. We must learn never to insist on any doctrine, but just upon the faith. Doctrines divide; only the faith unites.
We all need to be delivered from the toys of all kinds of doctrines. However, it must not be an outward deliverance but a deliverance issuing from the growth in life. We need to grow. While we are still growing, we must realize that we should not insist on any toy. As long as the saints believe in the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, incarnated to be a man, dying on the cross for our sins, resurrected, and ascended to the heavens, we must be one with them. If the Lord Jesus is our unique center, there will be no problem.
INSISTING ON NOTHING BUT THE FAITH
While I was visiting some places in this country, there were some who asked whether it was scriptural to be baptized more than once. I did not say a word. If we have grown in the Lord, we will not pay much attention to doctrinal things. All we will care for is the faith and the oneness.
Some people are offended by sisters having their head covered. That is in large measure a matter of opinion. As long as a sister feels that she must cover her head, there is no need to oppose it. But there are also some who impose head covering, making it a legalistic matter. This is the other extreme.
Some oppose pray-reading, and some condemn loud praising. All this is dissenting opinion and unnecessary. As long as people take the Word of God and praise the Lord, regardless of the way we prefer that they do it, we should not oppose them. If we do, we go too far. On the other hand, if we insist on these things and impose them upon others, we go too far in the other direction.
Since we have seen that the local church is the practical expression of the church, we should not insist on anything but the faith. If anyone says that the Lord Jesus is not the Son of God, we must contend for it. This is contending for the faith. But if a sister feels that she does not need to have her head covered, she should be left to act according to her own feeling in this matter. This is the church life, and this is keeping the oneness. Regarding matters of dissent, the apostle teaches in Romans 14:1-6 that we should take a very liberal attitude in receiving one another in order to keep the oneness of the Body.
(The Practical Expression of the Church, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)