Brother Witness Lee in One Message Mentioning
His Attending at My Father’s Memorial Meeting
Practicing That Everyone Will Be an Apostle,
a Prophet, a Shepherd, a Teacher, or an Evangelist
If we all practice this way, eventually everyone will be an apostle, a prophet, a shepherd, a teacher, and also an evangelist. Thirty years ago, while I was living in Manila in the Philippines, several brothers and I went to the hospital to visit a brother who was ill. The sick brother’s relatives and friends were all from the denominations. When one of them saw us praying around this sick brother, he asked in amazement, “Are you all pastors?” What do you think his concept was concerning prayer? He must have thought that prayer was the pastor’s business. His concept must have been that one normally seeks out a pastor for prayer just as one would seek out an attorney for a lawsuit or a physician for an illness. When a Christian has fallen to the point where he cannot pray and must seek out a pastor for prayer, he has been totally damaged by the concept of the clergy-laity system in Christianity.
The Basic Principle of Christianity
—the Clergy Being the Priests
The basic principle of Christianity is to let the clergy be the priests. At a funeral a pastor is needed to preach a sermon about going to heaven, and at a wedding a pastor is needed to give a word of exhortation. A newborn baby is to be brought to the church to be blessed by the pastor. Most Christians consider spiritual matters as specific duties of the ministers. In their concept church members only need to attend the church services. Back when I was in a denomination, I attended a prayer meeting at which only three people were present: the pastor, his wife, and the chapel caretaker. When they saw me they were shocked, and they said, “You are not a pastor. Why have you come to the prayer meeting?” We have not fully put off this fallen condition among us. Three hundred people may come to the Lord’s Day meeting, but only thirty may attend the Tuesday prayer meeting. The other two hundred seventy people, or ninety percent of the saints, apparently have disappeared. The ninety percent come to hear the message. In other words, the ninety percent come to attend the service, but not to pray.
The Need to Speak and Give Testimonies
for Brother Zhanxiang Liu
A few days ago I attended a memorial meeting for a co-worker. When I saw that the two elders were functioning as pastors for the funeral, within me I was blaming the brothers who were merely sitting there. I believe there were many who knew the brother who passed away in a more thorough and intimate way than the two elders who were speaking. Why were they not willing to come forth to speak? Why did the elders need to do the speaking? Could not the brothers do it? I believe if we had let the brothers and sisters do the speaking it would have been done in a better and more beautiful way. We still have the poison of Christianity among us. Once the leaven is mixed with the flour, it is very difficult to clear it out. I hope that we will clear away those traditions, turn from the past, and learn to speak the word of the Lord. I hope everyone will practice exercising his spirit, letting the Holy Spirit fill his spirit, and rise up to speak for God. (Spoken in Taipei on October 9th, 1985)
Conference: Meeting to Speak the Word of God, Chapter 3, Letting the Word of Christ Dwell in Us Richly