The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, by Witness Lee


Because of the rebellion in these past four and a half years, many negative things were spoken by the dissenting ones. A number of these things were distributed in writing, and some have even become slogans. In this message and the next, my intention is to fellowship with you concerning twenty "problems" raised by the dissenting ones.

A. The Problem of Control

The first problem is the problem of control; this problem comprises four items. The main thing for which the dissenters condemned me is that I and the Living Stream Ministry office control the churches.

1. "The Centralization of Control"
by the Training Center

The dissenting ones used the term "the centralization of control." When their conspiracy began in September 1987, I was in Taiwan conducting a training for full-time serving ones. In December of that year I came back to the United States. Shortly thereafter, four of the dissenting ones came to speak with me. The first one to speak used this term "the centralization of control." Prior to that time I had never heard such a term. While I was waiting to discover the meaning of this term, this brother expressed that my training center in Taipei was considered by them to be a center to control all the churches on this earth. He said that this control was to such an extent that all the churches on the earth had to report their meeting times to my training center in Taipei. I had never heard of such a thing. He said that this was my way to control all the churches. He then said that I trained the young people in my training center in Taipei, and eventually they were all instructed and charged to go back to their churches to control the churches for me. Then the fourth brother continued, saying strongly that the training in Taipei should be dismantled into pieces.

2. The Control by the Trainings, Conferences, Messages, Tapes, Etc.

The dissenting brothers also accused me of controlling the churches by my trainings, conferences, messages, tapes, etc. On March 19, 1989, in a word spoken to the church in Anaheim upon his resignation from the eldership, one of the dissenters said, "There has been a pervasive control exercised over the church...The control has not been exercised so much directly, but very much indirectly, through videos, conferences, trainings, and elders’ meetings." This word implies that whatever I do in my ministry—teaching, training, publishing, and distributing audio and video tapes—is all for the purpose of controlling the churches.

In a very positive sense, I would say that my ministry does "control" people. If you are going to take drugs, my trainings will "control" you. If you are going to lose your temper with your wife, my books will "control" you. It is true that my trainings, conferences, publications, and tapes exercise a considerable "control" over thousands of people around the globe. Without such "control," many people might have done certain things that would have damaged themselves and their families. In this sense, it is true that my ministry "controls" people.

Any kind of edification exercises some amount of "control." All the schools, classes, teachers, and professors control their students. Although the "control" exercised by my ministry over the saints and the churches is very positive, the dissenting ones speak of control in a very negative way to undermine my ministry. This is why I say that when you hear these things, you should not merely react to the outward appearance, to the "shell." You must bring what you hear to the Lord; then the Lord will lead you to see what the intrinsic thing is within the shell.

(The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)