6 – The Ministry Produced through Revelation and Suffering, Part Two: Suffering (3)

From chapter six of The Ministers in the Lord’s Recovery – Genuine Ministers of the New Covenant

Much like Brother Nee, Brother Lee experienced immense opposition from organized Christianity. Because of his faithfulness to the deeper truths in the Word of God, such as the Triune God and the genuine ground of the church, the oneness of the unique Body of Christ, many actively opposed his ministry, publishing books and articles teeming with baseless accusations and vicious rumors. Responding to the deliberate and malicious misrepresentation of his ministry, Brother Lee stated, “Our unique burden and commission is not to fight against the opposers but to present the divine truths revealed in the Bible to others”26 (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 2:15). He realized that “the opposers’ erroneous accusations against us concerning our belief may serve as the dark background that helps to highlight the divine truths that the Lord has shown us in the Bible.”27 In other words, the relentless opposition to his ministry enabled Brother Lee to continually receive and release fresh revelations from the Word of God concerning the Divine Trinity, the person of Christ, and the church as the Body of Christ and the one new man. Since Brother Lee went to be with the Lord in 1997, the co-workers who have continued his ministry have met similar opposition from Christianity as they continue to faithfully present these truths in spoken messages at conferences and trainings and written articles published in the journal Affirmation and Critique.

Holding to Watchman Nee’s pattern, Brother Lee also suffered from dissension within the local churches. In the 1970s certain divisive persons sparked a turmoil among the churches in the United States that wounded Brother Lee deeply. In a message given in 1978 in the midst of the turmoil, he said, “This message is not the result of Bible study; it is the result of intense suffering. Because of this suffering, I have been greatly exercised before the Lord in an attempt to understand the situation.”28 Gradually, the Lord showed him that the underlying cause of the turmoil was a shortage of God wrought into the instigators (cf. Col. 2:19). Brother Lee realized that although the dissenters claimed to have seen the ground of the church and to care for the Lord’s recovery, they actually damaged the oneness among us because they were not sufficiently filled with the Triune God, who is the unique element of the believers’ oneness (Eph. 4:4-6). Brother Lee also realized that they had not allowed the Triune God to spread into their inward parts and transform them, because they were unwilling to let the cross deal with their natural life (2 Cor. 3:18; Matt. 16:24-25). It was because of this intense suffering that Brother Lee received an invaluable revelation regarding our need for the cross to deal with us thoroughly so that we might be transformed in life and receive the dispensing of God into every part of our being in order to be built together and thus safeguarded from dissension and division.

Another turmoil arose in the 1980s, when certain ambitious brothers attempted to establish their own personal kingdoms by drawing away the saints after themselves and cutting off the churches under their influence from both the ministry and the other local churches (cf. Acts 20:30). Seeing yet again brothers whom he loved and had raised up in the Lord’s recovery turn away from him and ravage the churches brought Brother Lee tremendous suffering. However, through this trial he realized that all the turmoils and all the problems of the church are due to a lack of knowing the Body of Christ, and that the unique scriptural remedy for this illness is to see, know, care for, and honor the Body.29 Brother Lee was also troubled by what he perceived as a deviation from “organic matters into organizational matters” and a departure from “intrinsic things to the outward things.”30 For instance, since the dissenting ones held an organizational—rather than organic—view of the Body of Christ, they erroneously claimed that each local church is an absolutely autonomous body of Christ that is self-governed and separated from the other churches. This unscriptural teaching cuts the local churches into disconnected pieces and thus divides the Body of Christ. Against this backdrop, Brother Lee presented a deeply organic and intrinsic view of the Body of Christ as an organism of the Triune God (Eph. 4:4-6). In light of this revelation, Brother Lee emphasized that the universal church as the Body of Christ is not a lifeless human organization but an organism constituted with the life of the Triune God. Just as it is impossible for any part of our physical body to be autonomous from the rest of the body, so also it is impossible for any local church as part of the mystical Body of Christ to be fully autonomous or independent from other churches. Although each church may be independently responsible for some business affairs or other practical matters, there should be a fellowship, a circulation, of the divine life of the Body flowing among all the churches (1 Cor. 10:16-17; Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:3, 7). Moreover, Brother Lee pointed out that the local churches, though necessary, are not the goal of God’s economy but the procedure to reach that goal, which is the unique Body of Christ (Eph. 1:10, 23; 4:12, 16).31 Under God’s wise sovereignty, as Brother Lee passed through great affliction from the turmoil in the 1980s, his ministry on the Body of Christ was strengthened and developed. Just as the apostle John, while suffering exile on the Island of Patmos, received spiritual visions concerning the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:9; cf. 19:10), so also Brother Lee, in the midst of his sufferings, received fresh visions in the Word of God concerning the organic Body of Christ as the ultimate goal of God’s economy.

Brother Lee was able to minister the reality of the riches of the Triune God because he was willing to suffer for what had been revealed to him. When he released the truths concerning the deification of the believers with the new hymn “What Miracle, What Mystery!” in February 1994, he told the brothers that “the enemy Satan would do things to frustrate me from releasing the high peaks of the divine revelation according to the entire teaching of the New Testament.”32 In a letter written on March 24, 1997, Brother Lee stated:

In October 1995 I discovered a thorn in my body from a messenger of Satan that I might not be lifted up. By the Lord’s rich mercy and sufficient grace, I have lived and ministered to you the deeper truths as His and your slave for over a year….As the Lord provides me the strength and time, I intend to continue to serve and speak in the coming days.33

Brother Lee’s ministry stirred up opposition from the enemy due to its strategic importance in spiritual warfare. Brother Lee stated, “Satan hates the high peak of the divine revelation concerning the ultimate goal of God’s economy,” particularly “this one main point—that God became a man so that man may become God in life and in nature but not in the Godhead to produce the organic Body of Christ for the fulfillment of God’s economy to close this age and to bring Christ back to set up His kingdom.”34 Brother Lee knew that since ministering the high peak truths would provoke Satan to afflict him with a thorn in his flesh, these truths could only be released at a tremendous personal cost. Undeterred by the prospect of suffering, Brother Lee, by the Lord’s abounding grace, was willing to pay the highest price to minister the high peak truths in order to build up the Body for the consummation of the divine economy.

26 CWWL 1980, vol. 2, p. 431

27 CWWL 1980, vol. 2, p. 431

28 Truth Messages, p. 100

29 The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life, pp. 28-30, 35

30 The Mysteries in God’s New Testament Economy, p. 12

31 Practical Points Concerning Blending, p. 22

32 CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 5, p. 525

33 CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 5, p. 525

34 The Crystallization of the Epistle to the Romans Messages 1-17, p. 159

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