The Spirit and the Body, by Witness Lee

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Eloquence does not express Christ. On the contrary, an eloquent sermon is a form of entertainment. If we exercise to have the practice of the Body, so many halting ones will begin to speak. If the members exercise their spirit to be spiritual and to speak for Christ, something of Christ will be manifested, although their speaking will not be eloquent. This is the Body. For the long run, we need meetings filled with speaking that is not eloquent, yet speaking through which Christ is expressed. This kind of meeting edifies the saints and builds them up. We all need a change of taste. We are accustomed to a diet of eloquence and musical messages. What we need now are words spoken haltingly that manifest Christ. I believe that this is Paul’s meaning in this portion of the Word.


According to our natural concept, we admire eloquent speakers. But to admire eloquence is to damage the Body. This is the reason God has had to temper the Body together. I thank God that He has been tempering the Body. He has humbled the eloquent speakers, and He has raised up the halting ones to speak for Him in order that there should be no division in the Body. In today’s Christianity there is division everywhere. Most of these divisions have been caused by eloquent speakers. Every eloquent speaker will draw a group to himself. Those who admire various kinds of musical speech will gather around the eloquent ones. I do not appreciate such "music." Instead, I prefer to listen to the little ones speaking in a halting way. We in the church life must no longer exalt eloquence, because the eloquent speakers create division and draw a following. In Christianity today there is a great deal of competition in speaking. Whoever is an outstanding speaker will have a large following. But this will cause a big division. This trend still influences the churches. Thus, we must rise up to oppose it and learn how to adorn the less honorable ones, the ones who speak haltingly. We need to say, "Praise the Lord for this brother! He speaks haltingly, but he has a life-giving matter to share with us. We wish to adorn him, beautify him, and honor him." This is the Body life.

In these messages I am not teaching you mere doctrines. I am passing on to you what I have learned through the years so that we may have the proper Body life. Suppose an eloquent speaker comes into the meeting. Will you still admire him? If you do, it means that there is no Body life. Rather, by admiring the eloquent one you create a division and kill the Body. You will help to produce an atmosphere in which those who cannot speak well will be despised. We should not give so many crowns of honor to the eloquent speakers. Rather, we need to buy shoes to adorn the halting and stammering ones. We need to encourage the less honorable members to speak again and again. This will build up the Body life and establish the genuine Body ministry. In the long run, eloquent speakers damage the Body life, but the halting speakers build it up. This is utterly different from the practice in today’s Christianity, and it absolutely contradicts our natural concept. Nevertheless, for the sake of the proper Body life, we must all learn this lesson.

(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)