All the meetings Christ appointed

1
All the meetings Christ appointed
  And attended here on earth
Were apart from all religion,
  All its rituals, forms, and dearth.
Resurrection, not religion,
  Must be our reality;
Let us meet in resurrection,
  From all dead religion free.
2
When the Lord was resurrected,
  All religious things were through;
Christ is now our living temple,
  Christ is all our offerings too.
With our Lord in resurrection,
  Hallelujah, we’re released!
Pity all the old religion—
  All our meetings are a feast!
3
Yet religion—oh, how subtle—
  In our blood is hiding out;
God must give us revelation,
  All that unseen monster rout.
Lord, we still are too religious—
  Down with our religious soul!
We would all release our spirit,
  Let each meeting reach the goal.
4
In the meetings, in the meetings,
  On the mountain, at the shore,
Jesus, Jesus, living Jesus,
  He is here—what want we more?
Bury all the old religion,
  Even Christianity—
Jesus, Jesus, we have Jesus,
  He is our reality!
1
Roger

Sun City, AZ, United States

Our brother Witness Lee wrote a book titled, "Being Desperate and Living Uniquely for the Gospel"

Because we have so much religion in our blood, the Lord is not able to go on in us.

Some excerpts from his book I have included below.

DROPPING THE OLD WAY

AND TAKING THE NEW WAY

After studying our situation, I began to reconsider the Bible in this matter, and I also began to reconsider the history of the denominations. I became clear that all of Christianity, including us, got off from the Lord's way.

The old way is to always have big meetings, a congregation with a speaker. This produces clergy, a hierarchical class with most of the others not functioning. Taking the way of a big congregation with a speaker produces hierarchy and also produces organization. The organizational way is to have clergy and a congregation and to raise up money to hire trained preachers. People are first brought into this way, and then their function is killed.

Therefore, I had the boldness to tell the church there that the old way should be put aside, and that they should take the new way according to what is in the Bible. At the very beginning of the church life, according to the first record of Christian meetings, the apostles spoke in the temple to a big congregation for the preaching of the truth, yet the believers met "from house to house" (Acts 2:46). In Greek this means that they met according to the houses. Each and every house was a meeting place; the meeting number was according to the houses. After the day of Pentecost when they were baptized, they met according to the homes. They did not have hired speakers, but they had the church life in their homes. They also met in the temple, but this was according to their tradition and habit and not according to God's economy. That was not the church life.

Occasionally, some new ones asked the trainees to bring them to a church meeting. After one or two church meetings, these new ones said they did not want to go to the church meeting again. They liked to enjoy the meeting in the homes. They did not have a taste for the big meetings. But with many of us it is exactly the opposite. We have a taste for the big meetings. When you bring your contacts to a meeting, you may like to have a big hall, a large congregation, and a big, eloquent speaker. All of this is a good facade. We have been meeting in this way in our localities for many years, and what has been the result? We have had hardly any increase, but instead have been maintaining a traditional Christian worship service. People today are quarreling, debating about doctrine and about different practices in Christianity, but I am not burdened merely for the doctrines or for practices. I only care for the New Testament faith, the Christian faith, the New Testament economy. As long as we have this, let us take the new way to have the increase.

Many of us have become drugged with the old way of having big meetings. When we made the change from having the big meetings in the hall to having the small meetings in the homes, many saints were disappointed. But the newly baptized ones like the home meetings. Some brothers in Taipei got addicted to the home meetings, and many trainees got addicted to the baptism in the new way. If they could not get one baptized every evening, they felt they were short. They got addicted to this practice and found that to baptize people in faith is a real joy. These new ones are growing. They have begun to seek after the Lord and to know the truth.

Many of us have become drugged. We are too satisfied with the old way to have a congregation. But I have seen a view that perhaps after five years in Taipei, the church will just be meeting in many homes.

Do you not think we have clergy? Do you not think we have hierarchy? We do not call anyone a pastor, but actually we have "pastors." We have followed Christianity's way unconsciously. We brought people in and we killed their function by our way. We say we do not control, but in many respects we do control. The leading ones need to ask themselves if they are part of the clergy and the hierarchy among us. Let us all drop the old way, "the old coat!" I am not only telling the elders to drop "the old coat." All of the older generation must give up the taste of the old way and take the new taste of the new way. For the Lord's sake, we need to take the new taste.

Are we still happy to remain in this degraded situation? Will we not wake up? We should not talk about others, but consider ourselves and drop our old way. I have no interest to take care of the work in the old way. I realize that the old way is the killing way. Would we be happy to remain in this kind of work? I like to see homes. I like this word "home"—home sweet home. My dream is home meetings. The homes are the basic foundation for the building up of the local churches, not the halls with big congregations. When the saints rise up to go out knocking on doors, they will get addicted to knocking on doors, addicted to baptizing people in bathtubs, and addicted to home meetings and to teaching people in home meetings. They will not care for having big meetings in the meeting hall. They have been meeting in the old way for years and many are bored of the old way of meeting. All the elders need to be door-knocking elders. They need to take the lead to go door-knocking. May the Lord grant us all the mercy to completely drop the old way and to fully pick up the Lord's new way.

I hope you will understand that I am not trying to do anything but put out our brother's ministry, let us all enter into our brother's burden. He told the brother's at his bedside that all that they need is in the books, so let us get into all of his writings.

In this chapter, we want to see something particular concerning the nature of our meetings. In our meetings we should break all formalities and avoid any kind of program. First Corinthians 14:26 and Hebrews 10:25 are "show windows" to show us what the meetings were like in the ancient times when the apostles were still on this earth. Through these show windows, we can see what was happening at that time. Meetings were going on, yet without formalities or programs.

First Corinthians 14:26 says, "What is it then, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." According to this verse, formalities are not needed in the Christian meetings. In Paul's time there were no formalities and no programs in the meetings. When the church comes together, "each one has." Until each one in the meeting presents what he has, no one knows what subject or subjects the meeting will cover or the order in which things will be presented. Surely in such a meeting there can be no regulation, program, or formality. We have to break all the formalities today and avoid any kind of program.

Hebrews 10:25 says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom with some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day drawing near." This verse indicates that programs are not necessary for the Christian meetings. In the Christian meeting, we all have to exhort one another. Surely this kind of meeting is without formality or any kind of program. Our meetings today should be like those in the ancient times.

In the four Gospels, the Lord Jesus had many meetings in His ministry, yet with no formality and no program. Verse four of hymn #1281 in Hymns says, "In the meetings, in the meetings, On the mountain, at the shore." This is a description of the way the Lord Jesus held His meetings. Sometimes He held His meetings on the mountain top, and quite often He held meetings on the seashore, mostly around the Sea of Galilee. We have published a book entitled How to Meet from messages given in the spring of 1969 and 1970. The light concerning many principles of meeting came to us from 1966 to 1972. Hymn #1281 was written according to that light, but in our practice after 1972, it seems that much of this light disappeared from among us. However, in our practice of the church life at this time, the light is returning.