On Holding the Head and Interpretational Differences

One dissenting brother stridently attacks Brother Ron Kangas' speaking in the 2004 Summer Training on the Crystallization-study of Colossians in which Ron said:

When Christ is the Head practically in our experience, it is impossible for there to be different interpretations of the Scriptures. The Head is very clear. Interpretational differences prove that some members have problems with the Head and are not under the Head. (The Ministry Magazine, vol. 8, no. 7, p. 183)

What this dissenting brother is opposing in Ron's speaking is actually a respeaking of Brother Nee's fellowship in The Mystery of Christ:

If we hold the Head, we cannot have different interpretations of Scripture. Differences arise when someone is not holding the Head, because He cannot possibly say one thing to one member and something else to another.... (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 44, pp. 812-813)

Ron's speaking is also firmly based on the word of Paul in Ephesians 4 concerning winds of teaching and holding the Head:

Eph. 4:13-16 - [13] Until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, [14] that we may be no longer little children tossed by waves and carried about by every 3wind of teaching in the sleight of men, in craftiness with a view to a system of error, [15] but 1holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the 4Head, Christ, [16] Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.

fn. 4:143 - Any teaching, even a scriptural one, that distracts believers from Christ and the church is a wind that carries believers away from God's central purpose.

fn. 4:151 - Or, truthing it. This is in contrast to the sleight and the error in v. 14. To be carried away by the winds of teaching in the sleight of men unto a system of error is to not hold to truth. Truth here means things that are true. According to the context, it must refer to Christ and His Body: both are true things. We should hold in love to these true things that we may grow up into Christ.

fn. 4:154 - Head here indicates that our growth in life by the increase of Christ should be the growth of the members in the Body under the Head.

If the ones ministering among the churches present different interpretations of Scripture, these unavoidably become winds of teaching which distract the saints from Christ as the centrality and universality in God's economy and the one unique Body of Christ for His corporate expression and representation. The clear context of Ron's speaking is that as members of the Lord's Body we should submit to the headship of Christ in an absolute way. The section headings under which this word was spoken are (from major to minor):

Christ Being the Head of the Body, the Church
  It Being Crucial for Us to Realize That Christ Is the Head and That We Are
  the Members of His Body.
    The First Principle of Living in the Body of Christ Being to Obey
    the Authority of the Head
      Our Relationship to the Head Determining Our Relationship to the Other Members
      of the Body

Because we submit to Christ as the Head, we care for His interest, which is the building up of His Body. In order to maintain a proper relationship with the other members of His Body and in order to maintain the oneness and the one accord in His Body, we should not strive for different interpretations of Scripture. We should not become factors by which winds of teaching could blow the immature ones away from Christ, the Head. For this reason Ron said:

...Our way is not to fight or argue. There is no point in even discussing differences because this and other things like it are a matter of headship. (Ron Kangas, "The Body of Christ," The Ministry Magazine, vol. 8, no. 7, p. 183)

This again is an echo of Brother Nee's word in The Mystery of Christ:

...If differences arise, we must not try to straighten them out by discussion; rather, we should just recognize Christ as the Head. In the church we all must hold the Head, whether it involves the understanding of the truth, the handling of business, or any other matter. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 44, p. 813)

This also matches Paul's word that the way to deal with the winds of teaching is to hold the Head, Christ, as the source out from whom all the growth of the Body issues unto the building up of itself in love. A similar thought is found in Colossians 2:19:

Col. 2:19 - And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.

In both Ephesians 4 and Colossians 2, holding the Head is related to the growth of the Body. If we genuinely care for the Lord's interest, we would not speak anything that frustrates the growth of the Body. We would not stir up strifes and questionings by promoting teachings that differ from the general ministry in the Lord's recovery. Such things distract the young ones among us and carry them away from Christ and His Body.

...We should not be blown about by the winds of teaching; furthermore, we should not preach or teach different opinions in the church. We have no dissension; we simply work according to God's New Testament economy and avoid speaking about anything else. (The Church Life in the Lord's Recovery Today, p. 56)

Ephesians 4:14 says, "That we may be no longer little children tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching in the sleight of men, in craftiness with a view to a system of error." Any teaching, even a scriptural one, that distracts believers from Christ and the church is a wind of teaching that carries believers away from God's central purpose. The only way to escape the waves that are stirred up by the winds of teaching is to grow in life, and the safe way to grow in life is to stay in the proper church life with Christ and the church as the safeguard. (The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, p. 48)1

The dissenting one attempts to controvert Ron's respeaking of Brother Nee's ministry by pointing to the difference in understanding between Brother Nee and Brother Lee concerning the identity of the two witnesses in Revelation 11. His challenge is misplaced. When Brother Lee spoke to the elders concerning this matter, it was to present himself as a pattern of not teaching differently from the leadership in the Lord's ministry. He stressed, as he always did when discussing this point, that although he held a different understanding of the identity of the two witnesses, he would never say anything publicly to contradict Brother Nee's ministry:

Actually, there is nearly nothing different between my understanding and Brother Nee's except for one thing. I never told anyone what this was, not even my wife or family, until I came to this country and Brother Nee went to be with the Lord. The doctrinal item which I felt different from Brother Nee was regarding the two witnesses in the book of Revelation (11:3-12). This was the only difference between my understanding and Brother Nee's. My intention is to show you that I was not altogether the same in everything with Brother Nee. In this one thing I was not the same and I am still not the same. My point is this-in spite of this difference, I never uttered anything in my ministry that Brother Nee did not preach, and I did not teach anything that he had not touched. (Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move, p. 83) [emphasis added]

The point is that Brother Lee held the Head and cared for the Head's interest, the Body, by not making an issue over a different interpretation of a minor point. Rather than proving the dissenter's point, this example is an illustration of exactly what Ron was talking about. Had Brother Lee contended with Brother Nee or merely spoken differently in his teaching among the churches, he would have damaged the Body, which would be the strongest evidence that he was out from under the headship of Christ.

In contrast, the dissenters feel they have a right to teach whatever they like and publish whatever they like without regard for its effect on the Lord's recovery as a whole. By their attacks against the ones taking the lead in the ministry, they undermine the authority of the Lord in His Body. In their disregard for the effect of their winds of teaching on the Body as a whole, they surely are exposed as ones who are not holding the Head.

Notes:
1Other significant portions from Brother Lee's ministry on the subject of "winds of teaching" include:

How to Administrate the Church, pp. 49-88.
The Centrality and Universality of Christ, pp. 10-11.
The Experience and Growth in Life, pp. 180-182.
Life-study of Ephesians, pp. 382-383, 585, 712.