THE PROPER WAY FOR THE CHURCH LIFE
The proper way to have the church life is simply to have Christ as the foundation upon the proper ground of oneness. That is all. We must not care for anything but Christ and His church on the proper ground of oneness. If we are strong in the spirit and full of Christ, it will be easy for us to go on with the local church, caring not for other things. Whether or not people play the piano in their meetings, we simply do not care. We only care to minister Christ to people and have the proper church life. We would not criticize or be occupied with different opinions. Whether people have the Lord’s table in the morning or in the evening, it simply does not matter. As long as the church in our city is on the proper ground of oneness, we will be one with it and minister Christ in it. That is sufficient. We will relinquish all opinions and care not for any regulations. Then it will be exceedingly easy for us to go on with any local church with the ministry of Christ.
When Christians come to a new place, they always pay attention to the little things. Some always look to see whether the bread at the Lord’s table is leavened or unleavened. Others want to know whether wine or grape juice is used in the cup. They always consider these trivial matters.
There are others who have certain kinds of rules and regulations for the Lord’s table. These, of course, are not written but nevertheless understood. When they go to another place, they will be very critical if people do not practice the Lord’s table as they do.
Oh, we all need the Lord’s deliverance! We must see that we are not for these things. We are for Christ and His church. As long as the saints love the Lord and come together on the proper ground of oneness to minister Christ to one another, that is sufficient. We all must be fully occupied with Christ and the church on the proper ground. We must not pay attention to anything else. We must give others the freedom to act according to the way they feel led of the Lord. We must not criticize anyone according to our concept. All we need is to keep the oneness and minister Christ to people. We must be liberal in our attitude and strong in spirit.
As far as my realization is concerned, I do not like to use many small cups at the Lord’s table. To me it is contrary to Scripture. I do not prefer baptism by sprinkling over baptism by immersion. To me, this also is unscriptural. I also feel that the sisters should cover their heads. But in all these past years I have never insisted upon these things, and I have never been troubled by them. When I go to a certain place, if the people use one large cup or many small cups, I will not be bothered. If you let me do it, I will have one large cup; but if you do it, you may have the liberty to do as you feel led of the Lord.
Wherever we go, wherever we are, we must go along with the church there. Perhaps we would like to practice immersion, but the church practices sprinkling. Then we should not impose immersion upon them. Of course, this does not mean that we should not fellowship with them regarding this matter. If they would take what we have seen, it is good; but if not, we should not cause trouble. If we realize that by speaking of a certain matter we will cause a disturbance, we should not say anything. Though we may not agree with them in certain things, we should not impose anything upon them or insist upon anything. We must go along with them in their way. If we are in a position to make a decision regarding certain things, perhaps we would not proceed in the same way. But if we are not in such a position, we should not say anything to create trouble. This does not mean that we agree with them in their way, but simply that we do not care for these things. We only care for Christ and the church. There is no other way for us to keep the oneness on the proper ground. We all must be so liberal; otherwise, sooner or later, we will create another division.
We must learn to be liberal and general. For anyone not to pray-read the Word, in my estimation, is a great loss. Whenever I open the Bible, I would pray-read. But if you do not do this, I am not troubled. Regarding things like this, we must have a general attitude. For the ground of oneness, we must be definite; but for other things, we must be general. Then we will have real oneness and a proper expression of the Body of Christ in the city where we live. This is the proper and unique way to practice the church life.
(The Practical Expression of the Church, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)