[This e-mail was sent to a list of co-workers with the recommendation that it be shared with all of the responsible brothers in each area.]
September 27, 2005
Dear fellow workers in the Lord,
Because of the growing confusion, discord, and dissension caused by the promotion and proliferation of different ministries and publications, in July the blended co-workers in the Lord's recovery felt responsible before the Lord to let the saints know that, as Brother Witness Lee's co-workers, they absolutely agree with his burden and feeling regarding the need to be restricted in one publication in the Lord's ministry for the sake of the one accord among all the local churches with all the saints. This matter is so serious that Brother Lee said, "In the Lord's recovery, for the long run, we should not believe that this kind of creeping in of the different ministries would never take place. Rather, we must be on the alert. Such a peril is ahead of us. If we are not watchful, if we are careless, in one way or another the enemy would creepingly use some means, some ways, to bring in different ministries. Such a thing would end the Lord's recovery" (Elders' Training, Book 1: The Ministry of the New Testament, p. 16).
Since we and you brothers are all burdened and are caring for the churches of God in our respective areas, we want to make you aware of several subtle and potentially damaging writings that have been sent out recently on the internet in direct opposition to Brother Lee's teaching and fellowship on one publication in the Lord's ministry. We the undersigned feel that it is incumbent on us as your fellow servants and co-workers in the Lord's recovery to have urgent fellowship with you as contained in this letter. We feel that not to have such fellowship with you would be remiss on our part.
While we were in the stage of fellowship to draft a statement concerning one publication in the Lord's ministry, the feeling of many co-workers over the earth was sought. The fellowship offered by each co-worker before publication of the statement was altogether proper and was received in the Lord. After the various comments and suggestions were considered, the final draft was submitted for publication and then released during the summer training in July 2005 under the title Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery. The published statement contains fellowship regarding the blended co-workers' understanding of the principles and the leading contained in Brother Lee's fellowship and writings on the publication work in the Lord's recovery. The statement also contains Brother Lee's own speaking regarding this matter. However, since the release of the statement, a few brothers have risen up to publicly voice their disagreement with the fellowship of the blended co-workers and of our Brother Lee as contained in the statement.
The purpose of the statement was to hopefully avoid any future division within the Lord's recovery due to differing publication content. For this purpose the blended co-workers released the statement as a follow-up to the small book entitled Remaining in the Unique Ministry of God's Economy under the Proper Leadership in His Move, which was issued in the 2004 winter training. The fellowship by Brother Lee and the blended co-workers in these two publications concerning the peril of different ministries creeping in among us to create divisions and the burden for being restricted in one publication in the ministry is clear and unmistakable. Brother Lee said in 1984 that he was issuing a "weather report" to warn us of the danger of losing the oneness due to different ministries (p. 32), and today we can see the storms of confusion and dissension in those places that have not followed his fellowship.
We regret that some among us feel it necessary to voice their disagreement with the two aforementioned publications publicly over the internet, thus releasing their negative feelings and making them known to anyone within or outside the Lord's recovery, including anyone who is outside the recovery and is already negative toward it, as well as some who are within the recovery and are newly saved, recently recovered, new in the faith, or unfamiliar with the full body of the writings of our Brother Nee and Brother Lee on this matter. For a co-worker to express any disagreement regarding the draft of a certain publication before its dissemination among the saints in the Lord's recovery is altogether proper and may be of the Lord, but for anyone to attack a publication after thorough fellowship among the co-workers and after the publication has been released is surely not in the Lord or of the Lord. The way that some have taken will frustrate, damage, and destroy certain fundamental principles that have been built up in us within the Lord's recovery.
To this date we are aware of four dissenting writings that have been sent out by e-mail and/or have been posted on forums on the internet. The first dissenting writing is an anonymous document entitled "Points to Fellowship regarding pamphlet 'Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery.' " Although the writer or writers are not identified, the place (Toronto) and the date (July 2005) are disclosed in the document. The intention of the writer or writers was to raise negative questionings and considerations in the minds of the readers toward LSM and the blended co-workers in the Lord's recovery. The second writing is an anonymous document entitled "Concerning the LSM Promulgation dated June 30, 2005 'Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery.' " This document has been propagated widely by e-mail in both English and Chinese, and it has been posted on at least two different forums maintained by opposers of the Lord's recovery. These two writings are clearly works of darkness, as proved by the fact that they do not bear the signatures of the writers. The standard exhibited in these two writings is lower than that adhered to by unbelievers. Those who authored these writings and those who recommend them to unsuspecting brothers and sisters are certainly participating in "the unfruitful works of darkness" (Eph. 5:11).
Seizing on Brother Lee's use of the word corporation in relation to LSM, the anonymous document entitled "Concerning the LSM Promulgation..." accuses LSM of setting up an organization to control and unify the churches in the Lord's recovery. This is a gross distortion of the truth. Furthermore, this document first suggests that since Brother Lee has gone to be with the Lord, his ministry is over, and then utilizes Brother Lee's ministry to attack the blended co-workers, LSM, and the principle of one publication work in the Lord's ministry. This is deviousness. In addition, the document avoids the fact that it was the blended co-workers who composed and released Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery and instead claims that LSM promulgated this statement. Hence, the document attributes to LSM a statement composed by the blended co-workers in the Lord's recovery and then accuses LSM of promulgating it to serve its own intentions. This is evil, deceitful, and deceptive.
A third writing that has appeared is a document authored by Nigel Tomes in August 2005 and sent out by email to all the co-workers on August 18. This document is entitled " 'Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery'-Analysis & Response." It was later revised somewhat and re-titled " 'Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery'-Review & Response." Nigel had written to the co-workers earlier, in June 2005, to express his concerns related to the release of the co-workers' statement on one publication. Several of the co-workers responded to him in an attempt to help him realize the benefit to the recovery of releasing such a statement. We regret to say that this was apparently to no avail. Since the time of its initial release, Nigel's dissenting document has been circulated widely.
In mid-August a fourth writing was put out on the internet, again by an anonymous writer or writers. This writing, entitled "Historical Events of Recent Issues among the Churches," was posted on at least two opposing internet forums. These forums have been putting out ongoing attacks on the Lord's recovery for some time now. The difference this time is that they are using information gained from some within the Lord's recovery. Thus, the opposers from outside the recovery are now using information from dissenting ones within the recovery to attack the recovery. What an unbelievably unholy marriage alliance between these two parties! All the aforementioned writings contain similar accusations and expressions and bear the same flavor.
The writings of the dissenting ones are surely a direct attack on Brother Lee's ministry and his Living Stream Ministry office, which has the commission to propagate the ministry of Brother Nee and Brother Lee. These writings are also an attack on the blended co-workers in the Lord's recovery and their service as well as the ministry of the age and the principle of one publication in the Lord's ministry as practiced by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Although it seems by the multiplicity of the dissenting writings that many have come to the same conclusion, in reality these writings represent only a few voices that are shouting loudly. Nonetheless, they have the potential of damaging many dear saints within the Lord's recovery.
Because these writings are works of darkness that spread spiritual death, we are burdened to issue this word of warning in love, cautioning those in the Lord's recovery not to touch "what is unclean" (in this case, the dissenting writings), lest they be deadened and defiled by it. According to the Bible, death is even more defiling and abominable than sin (Lev. 11:31; Num. 6:6). Because in the sight of God the most hateful thing is death, the children of God must not allow themselves to be contaminated by contacting, or receiving, anything of spiritual death. "There is no excuse for being defiled by death.... Once you have been contaminated by death, you need to deal with that contamination and have a new start. Otherwise, you will be killed, and eventually the entire church, seemingly without explanation, will be brought into a deadened situation" (Life-study of Numbers, p. 71). The actual source of the dissenting writings is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the issue of eating the fruit of this tree is death. The fact that these writings convey spiritual death proves that they are not worthy of the Lord's recovery and should be rejected by all the co-workers, elders, and faithful saints. The secret of discernment here, as always, is to discern not according to good and evil, right and wrong, but according to life and death. "We must learn to discern, to differentiate, matters by life and death.... Keep in mind this principle of discerning according to life and death" (Life-study of 2 Corinthians, p. 470).
Anyone who reads these negative writings with genuine spiritual discernment will realize that they sow discord among the believers and exhibit ignorance of and disregard for the organic Body of Christ. Those who are propagating these writings, being in darkness, are ignorant of the Body and are causing damage to the Body. We surely need to build up the wall to protect the church in these days from the destroyers of God's building. We are burdened to pass on the help that Brother Lee gave the saints to stay away from anyone or anything that would cause them to suffer spiritual death and to lose their fresh love for the Lord and their pure enjoyment of Christ brought to them through the ministry of the age (Num. 6:9; 2 Cor. 11:2-3; see The Principle of the Nazarite, pp. 15-18).
Those who are new in the Lord among us in life and who do not have the full knowledge of the truth may be easily deceived or led astray. Brother Lee shared that while the young ones are growing in life, they should hide under the shelter provided by their parents in the Lord and not take in anything that carries them away from Christ and the genuine church life (Life-study of Ephesians, pp. 375-378). We pray that this fellowship will help us to provide those under our care with the best shelter from everything of the evil one, that they may be preserved in the enjoyment of Christ and kept in the oneness of the Spirit for the building up of the Body of Christ.
We are sending this letter to you so that you may use it according to your discernment in the Lord as your wisdom to inoculate or to heal anyone or any church in your area who could be negatively affected by the dissenting writings that are spreading among us. We would like to encourage you to pass on our fellowship in this letter to all the responsible brothers in your area, so that they may in turn inoculate the saints. Recently, in a certain area of the United States one of our co-workers gathered a group of responsible brothers together and read with them the booklet Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery. Prior to this, on a Lord's Day morning the elders in a particular church in that area stood before the saints and read the booklet to the saints, who followed along in their own copies. The elders told the saints that by their reading the booklet to them, they were affirming the speaking of the blended co-workers and the excerpts from Brother Lee's ministry and were making them their own speaking. Furthermore, as shepherds of God's flock, they assured the saints of their intent to render the proper care to the church with regard to publications and to guard the flock from things that would cause damage. We offer this testimony to you as a positive example of the function of the co-workers and the elders and responsible brothers in watching over the churches, as Paul charged the elders of the church in Ephesus to do in Acts 20:27-31.
"The God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes. 5:23).
We stand with you all as God's fellow workers (1 Cor. 3:9),
The co-workers in Southern California
1For more on the subject of the elders' role in protecting the church from different teachings, see The Elders' Responsibility to Protect the Flock" in the article "Is 'One Publication' Scriptural?" on this site.]