Beloved of the Lord,
Those of you who have become familiar with the form which the
WITNESS AND TESTIMONY has taken until now will see that a change has
taken place in this issue. We have separated the "news" items from
the main part of the paper and are issuing these in a supplement
apart. This needs a little explanation, and we trust that what we
say in this connection will meet with the appreciation of our many
friends. As we may not again cover this ground, it will be best for
us to go back and take things up from early days.
It will be known by many that we were formerly associated with the
"Baptist Denomination." During those years we sought to make the
ministry such as would be spiritually helpful to all who were hungry
for spiritual food. This ministry found its expression in a small
way in what was then the little local church magazine. But through
deep and crisic experiences inwardly and outwardly the Lord led us
more and more to see, not only the truth, but the practical meaning
and implications of the truth of the universality of Christ, and the
heavenly nature and vocation of "the Church, which is His Body."
The main issue of this revelation was that, for us - seeing as we did see -
denominationalism, sectarianism, and all divisions which are of
earth were a contradiction to, and inconsistent with, what we had
been shown. Thus we found that the Lord was leading us out from such
and calling us into the spiritual, universal, heavenly ministry of
His Son in relation to the whole
Body as here on the earth.
In the meantime the little paper had been sought by many beyond the
local and was itself leading out to the universal. Then the crisis
was reached and by a series of movements which bore the marks of the
Lord's sovereign hand and the devil's bitter antagonism we found
ourselves in the place where we now assemble at Honor Oak.
We called it a "Christian Fellowship Centre," purely and only
because we wanted it to be a place in which ALL the children of God
of all connections who needed spiritual food and fellowship might
gather. It never was our thought or desire that this should be a
centre of a new organised movement or a new "sect." To this we most
strongly adhere to this day, and always shall do so. We have many
enemies, mostly amongst the Lord's people, and they seem to think
that to say the opposite of what we have just said will injure us
most. However, we stand there most strongly, and we want to make
clear to our friends just
what the position is.
We feel that the Lord has given us a ministry to all His people, and
that this ministry has something - at least - to do with the
recovering of His full testimony at the end-time. We feel that the
Lord's way is pre-eminently with the assembly as the local
representation and expression of the whole "Body." We cannot and do
not deny that the Lord has blessed and used other means; missions,
societies, etc., and we rejoice in everything which means something
for Him. But we see that the New Testament way was in the assembly -
ordered according to God's pattern - as the training school, testing
ground, and channel or instrument of sending forth to the nations to
gather out of them the "people for His name." This constituting of
such assemblies is the work of the Holy Spirit and not ours.
Therefore no initiative with a scheme is taken by us. Everything
must be marked by that life and spontaneity which characterises the
Holy Spirit's movements.
It is in this way that things have grown with us. The WITNESS AND
TESTIMONY, without any advertisement or propaganda now goes by
demand into almost every nation of the earth with every issue.
Out of it has sprung a considerable and growing literature. From the
local assembly at Honor Oak a number of the tested and proved
children of God have gone to distant and nearer lands, and there are
as many or more awaiting the Lord's moment for going. Then
spontaneously in many places there has arisen a desire and request
for spiritual ministry, and as the Lord has enabled, these have been
and are being met, so that regular gatherings are held in various
parts. All this looks like a movement, and it is, but please do not
put quotation marks over the word or regard it as an organised or man-projected
movement. This it emphatically is not!
Now, inasmuch as we see the Lord's hand in blessing and increasing,
and we have a most sincere desire that the spiritual ministry and
message should be kept free from anything that would or could bear
upon it and give it a weight not its own; that is, that no one
should be influenced by the work rather than the truth, and to keep
us as free from the semblance of advertisement and propaganda as
possible, we are henceforth giving all information about these
things in a separate leaflet. This is only done in prayer interest.
We should like only to send the "supplement" to those who are truly
in prayer-fellowship, but we do not know who they are. Friends who
pass on the WITNESS AND TESTIMONY to new readers are asked to retain
the supplement. We realise that what we have here said needs a good
deal more explanation, but we trust it to the Lord for all
unprejudiced children of His, and for the rest - well - we must just
go on with Him and share His reproach.
We have very, very much to encourage, and perhaps we should take
more comfort from opposition than we sometimes do.
All that we are devoted to is "the testimony of Jesus" which is the
greatness and glory of Christ, the Son of God.
Yours - as here only for Him,
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