Historical Evaluations of Christian Thought

“...bring out the precious from the worthless”
Jeremiah 15:19

“...bring out the precious from the worthless”
Jeremiah 15:19

Our Commission

The volumes in the Historical Evaluations of Christian Thought series are offered in response to a time of fellowship with Brother Witness Lee in his home in Anaheim, California, on 20 July 1994. During this fellowship he shared with some of us who served with him that Watchman Nee and he long had the intention to carry out two great lines of Christian work: interpreting the Bible as fully as possible and evaluating the history of the church in light of that interpretation. He told us that, for his part, he was preparing at that time to finish what the Lord had given him to do in the first line but that the second line in this work would be left undone. He expressed the hope that we and others with us would pick up the burden for the second line of this work and give our whole lives to carry it out faithfully.

In addition to this time of fellowship in 1994, Brother Lee spoke repeatedly in his ministry concerning the need to critique traditional Christian theology by comparing it with the truths of the Lord’s recovery. The following ministry excerpts should give us some impression of this great need.

The Lord’s burden given to us is that we bear the testimony of His recovery, and one of the main points is to refute and correct the defects and errors of traditional Christian theology. We cannot say that traditional theology is all wrong; in fact, some of it is quite right. Nevertheless, it is incomplete…

We should refute and correct traditional theology, not in minor points but in the fundamental points. We must present the truth concerning the economy of God item by item according to the entire Bible. This is the Lord’s special commission to us. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 2, “The Governing and Controlling Vision in the Bible,” p. 307)

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The embodiment of God is Christ, the realization of Christ is the Spirit, the issue of the Spirit is the Body of Christ, and the consummation of the Body of Christ is the New Jerusalem. These five mysteries cannot be clearly explained by today’s traditional theology in Christianity. What I have fellowshipped with you is very serious, and I hope that we can all see that our commission today is not so simple. The Lord’s burden given to us is that we bear the testimony of His recovery, and one of the main points is to refute and correct the defects and errors of traditional Christian theology. We cannot say that traditional theology is all wrong; in fact, some of it is quite right. Nevertheless, it is incomplete. The Nicene Creed is an excellent creed, and to this day it is still kept by the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches. Yet the Nicene Creed is lacking in that it does not refer to the compound Spirit, nor to the consummated Spirit, the all-inclusive Spirit, or the sevenfold intensified Spirit. It also does not tell us what it means that “the Spirit was not yet” (John 7:39).

Brothers, this is not a small thing; this is a fierce warfare. In his days Martin Luther fought against the Catholic doctrines and brought in the recovery of justification by faith. Today we bear the testimony of the Lord’s recovery against Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Christianity. Judaism is satanic (Rev. 2:9), Catholicism is devilish (vv. 20, 24), Protestantism is lifeless (3:1b), and Christianity is Christless (v. 20). Today all the elders and co-workers need to learn the truths. We should refute and correct traditional theology, not in minor points but in the fundamental points. We must present the truth concerning the economy of God item by item according to the entire Bible. This is the Lord’s special commission to us. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 2, “The Governing and Controlling Vision in the Bible,” p. 307)


For many years I have had the burden to critique Christianity in the United States. The best way to do this is to publish messages with a high standard. We should speak concerning the Divine Trinity and compare our teaching with that of the various theologies. Athanasius, for example, spoke about the Trinity, but he did not cover the compound Spirit, the sevenfold Spirit, Christ becoming the life-giving Spirit, or why before Christ’s glorification the Spirit was not yet (Phil. 1:19; Rev. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:45; John 7:39). Then we can deal with Luther’s teachings on the Trinity. One by one we should compare and point out the shortages. After this, we can cover the all-inclusive Christ and the Christology of the early centuries. This is the way to touch the shortages of Christianity. We must critique in a high way and give people no ground to criticize us. People claim to have systemized Christianity, but they have not systemized it adequately…Ours is the genuine and adequate systematic theology. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 3, “Publishing Messages with a High Standard of the Truth,” p. 45)

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For many years I have had the burden to critique Christianity in the United States. The best way to do this is to publish messages with a high standard. We should speak concerning the Divine Trinity and compare our teaching with that of the various theologies. Athanasius, for example, spoke about the Trinity, but he did not cover the compound Spirit, the sevenfold Spirit, Christ becoming the life-giving Spirit, or why before Christ’s glorification the Spirit was not yet (Phil. 1:19; Rev. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:45; John 7:39). Then we can deal with Luther’s teachings on the Trinity. One by one we should compare and point out the shortages. After this, we can cover the all-inclusive Christ and the Christology of the early centuries. This is the way to touch the shortages of Christianity. We must critique in a high way and give people no ground to criticize us. People claim to have systemized Christianity, but they have not systemized it adequately. In their systematic theology they do not properly consider the Triune God, the compound Spirit typified by the compound ointment in Exodus 30:23-25, or the sevenfold Spirit. Ours is the genuine and adequate systematic theology.

In the same way we should cover the all-inclusive consummated Spirit. From the second century to the present, no theologian has used the phrase the consummated Spirit. This is a new discovery for us. The Holy Spirit, who was the Spirit of God, was consummated through the processes of Christ’s incarnation, human living, crucifixion, and resurrection to be the all-inclusive consummated Spirit of the processed and consummated Triune God. If we publish these things, those who talk about us will realize that they must be careful and not speak lightly. In 1977 we published a challenge to an opposer, asking how he could teach that there are two divine Fathers and two life-giving Spirits. Thus far no one has been able to answer us. After we cover the Divine Trinity and the all-inclusive Spirit, we can also deal with the heresy of three Gods, two divine Fathers, and two life-giving Spirits (see What a Heresy—Two Divine Fathers, Two Life-giving Spirits, and Three Gods!). Almost all of Christianity is involved in this heresy. We also need to touch the heresies of Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, and Russian Orthodoxy.

I gave up my future, and I have been on this line for seventy years, but I never had the opportunity to write in this way. Now if we do not take this opportunity, we are foolish. Although we stand for leaving the denominations, having one church in one city, and having only one ministry, to teach only these things is foolish. We must present our best cargo. I can do only a little more; all of you must do the rest. This is your commission. I have prepared the way, but some must make this their lifelong job. We need to care for distributing the publications of the ministry. We must spread the truth and let the truth do its work. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 3, “Publishing Messages with a High Standard of the Truth,” pp. 45-46)


What we are presenting at this time is the genuine, complete, and top theology. We need to present our study and critique of the major theologies in Christianity. Many in Christianity do not properly believe in regeneration and other basic items of the truth. We need to critique Martin Luther’s theology and even the theology of the Council of Nicaea of A.D. 325, comparing them to the ministered truths in the Lord’s recovery. The way to defeat degraded Christianity is to defeat its distorted, deformed theology. If we do this, the Lord will have a way to spread the genuine theology to produce the overcomers to build up a genuine constitution as His Body today and the New Jerusalem in the future. Otherwise, He will have no way. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 4, “Releasing the Truths That the Lord Has Given His Recovery,” p. 299)

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The eight sections of God’s organic salvation—regeneration, feeding, sanctification, renewing, transformation, building, conformation, and glorification—make us God-men, those who are the same as God in His life, nature, inward thinking, and outward expression, but not in His Godhead (see The Secret of God’s Organic Salvation—“the Spirit Himself with Our Spirit”). The constitution of such regenerated and reconditioned believers is the constitution of the New Jerusalem. What we are presenting at this time is the genuine, complete, and top theology. We need to present our study and critique of the major theologies in Christianity. Many in Christianity do not properly believe in regeneration and other basic items of the truth. We need to critique Martin Luther’s theology and even the theology of the Council of Nicaea of A.D. 325, comparing them to the ministered truths in the Lord’s recovery. The way to defeat degraded Christianity is to defeat its distorted, deformed theology. If we do this, the Lord will have a way to spread the genuine theology to produce the overcomers to build up a genuine constitution as His Body today and the New Jerusalem in the future. Otherwise, He will have no way.

During the great tribulation, the last three and a half years of the present age, Roman Catholicism will be burned (Rev. 17:3-5, 16). At the consummation of this age, when the Lord Jesus returns, all the tares, the false believers in Christendom, will be bound into bundles to be burned in the lake of fire (Matt. 13:24-25, 30). Moreover, the work of the genuine but defeated believers, who did not build with the Triune God—the Father as the gold, the Son as the silver, and the Spirit as the precious stones—also will be burned (1 Cor. 3:12-13). Only the work and living of the Triune God will remain for eternity. We should include this also in our critique of Christianity.

The work of the ministry in the Lord’s recovery is different from that of traditional Christianity. Brother Watchman Nee began this ministry. He is our model, and we simply follow and imitate him to speak the truth. When China was in danger of being overrun by the Communists, Brother Nee declared that he would send me out of the country, but others would remain to sacrifice themselves. After he said this, we walked together, and I asked, “Why are you sending me away? Am I not worthy to be sacrificed?” He replied, “Yes, we are prepared to sacrifice ourselves, while we look to the Lord that He would save us. However, there is the possibility that one day the enemy will destroy us. If so, you will be out of the country, and we will still have a continuation.” I can never forget this. We are not proud; rather, we desire to be genuinely humble, even to be nothing. Nevertheless, we have no other choice but to release the truths that the Lord has given us. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 4, “Releasing the Truths That the Lord Has Given His Recovery,” pp. 299-300)


One day if those of us in the recovery are faithful to the Lord, the truths, the real theology, in the Lord’s recovery will defeat all the theology in today’s Christianity and expose it to the uttermost. As a little slave of the Lord burdened to speak for Him, I must tell people the truth. I must be honest and faithful to what my Lord has shown me. What we have seen depends upon the foregoing faithful interpreters of the Bible. They have passed on their seeing to us, and this has become our seeing. Thus, the recovery’s theology is the genuine theology of all the foregoing faithful interpreters. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 3, “The Triune God's Revelation and His Move,” p. 140)

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The second thing that Christ will do in His kingdom ministry is to judge, on the throne of His glory, the nations (the living—Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1) who remain at that time: some as goats will be condemned to perish eternally, and some as sheep will be justified to enter into eternal life (Matt. 25:31-46). When Christ comes back, the first good people in His eyes will be His believers. Then He will judge them to discern the overcomers and the defeated ones. Later, He will judge the nations who are left after the war at Armageddon to discern who are the sheep, the good ones, and who are the goats, the bad ones. He will throw the goats into the lake of fire. Then Christ will send the good ones, the sheep, into eternal life, not the life itself but into the blessing of the eternal life, to be the nations who will remain around the New Jerusalem. The nations who remain around the New Jerusalem will be these sheep.

Christianity’s theology teaches differently from this. They teach that the sheep are saved ones and the goats are false ones. One day if those of us in the recovery are faithful to the Lord, the truths, the real theology, in the Lord’s recovery will defeat all the theology in today’s Christianity and expose it to the uttermost. As a little slave of the Lord burdened to speak for Him, I must tell people the truth. I must be honest and faithful to what my Lord has shown me. What we have seen depends upon the foregoing faithful interpreters of the Bible. They have passed on their seeing to us, and this has become our seeing. Thus, the recovery’s theology is the genuine theology of all the foregoing faithful interpreters. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 3, “The Triune God's Revelation and His Move,” pp. 139-140)


I believe that eventually the truths of the Lord’s recovery will conquer the theology of Christianity, and the revelation of the recovery will captivate all the seeking ones to be the overcomers. This will close this age and bring in the kingdom with its kings. We should present on the altar all that we are, all that we have, and all that we can do, praying, “Lord, I offer all to You for You to conquer Christianity by the divine revelations in the recovery.” (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 3, “The Ten Critical ‘Ones’ for the Building Up of the Body of Christ,” p. 206)

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All of us, the co-workers and the elders, need to see the vision of these ten great critical “ones.” Every “one” should be a strong principle that directs, corrects, adjusts, and regulates us for the performing of the proper oneness of the Body of Christ today and the keeping of us on the right track of the Lord’s work, so that we will not be ashamed at the judgment seat of our Lord but rather be rewarded by Him for the participation in His kingship and priesthood in the kingdom.

These ten “ones” tell us that if we do not take the Lord’s way for the building up of the Body, we have no way. This means that if we are not in the recovery way, there is no way. In the New Jerusalem there is only one way, one street. The one street makes us one with everyone. I must be faithful to present these ten “ones” to you and to let you know that this is the only way. There is no other way for the building up of the Body of Christ.

I believe that eventually the truths of the Lord’s recovery will conquer the theology of Christianity, and the revelation of the recovery will captivate all the seeking ones to be the overcomers. This will close this age and bring in the kingdom with its kings. We should present on the altar all that we are, all that we have, and all that we can do, praying, “Lord, I offer all to You for You to conquer Christianity by the divine revelations in the recovery.” (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 3, “The Ten Critical ‘Ones’ for the Building Up of the Body of Christ,” p. 206)


Because national defense is absolutely necessary, the Lord’s recovery also needs “weapons.” Brother Nee was saved when he was seventeen. When he was nineteen, he was already learning to “fire cannons” in order to contend for the truth…In the twenty-four issues of The Christian he was firing cannons and putting Christianity in complete disarray. He attacked Christmas, the cleric system, and the denominations. Every cannon that he fired was powerful and precise…

In the Lord’s recovery, how can we not fire any cannons?…

We in the Lord’s recovery are the oracle of Christ; hence, we should fight for the truth. A brother once said, “Brother Lee is an expert in criticizing Christianity.” I do not deny this. In The Basis for the Building Work of God I said, “I would...challenge all of Christianity” (p. 43)…If Christianity is correct, we should follow Christianity; if it is wrong, we should “fire cannons.” (CWWL, 1981, vol. 2, “‘National Defense’ and ‘Public Security’ in the Lord’s Recovery,” pp. 216-217)

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Because national defense is absolutely necessary, the Lord’s recovery also needs “weapons.” Brother Nee was saved when he was seventeen. When he was nineteen, he was already learning to “fire cannons” in order to contend for the truth. He was the “commander in chief” as well as an “army commander,” a “division commander,” a “brigade commander,” a “battalion commander,” a “lieutenant,” and an “ordinary soldier.” In the twenty-four issues of The Christian he was firing cannons and putting Christianity in complete disarray. He attacked Christmas, the cleric system, and the denominations. Every cannon that he fired was powerful and precise.

The weak believers in the Lord’s recovery will not fire cannons. Martin Luther fired cannons. When he stood before the kings and leaders at Worms, he said, “Prove to me by the writings of the prophets and apostles that I am in error.” He was brave. He fired his first cannon at the front door of the cathedral in Wittenberg when he posted the Ninety-five Theses to argue that letters of indulgence had no biblical basis. Each of his ninety-five theses was a cannon that “shot” at the pope, the Holy See, and Roman Catholicism, causing them to moan and groan.

In the Lord’s recovery, how can we not fire any cannons? The three main religions in the world oppose Christ: Judaism opposes Christ, Islam opposes Christ, and even Christianity opposes Christ. These three main religions are related to the Bible, but they have become religions that oppose Christ. This is not to mention other religions.

We in the Lord’s recovery are the oracle of Christ; hence, we should fight for the truth. A brother once said, “Brother Lee is an expert in criticizing Christianity.” I do not deny this. In The Basis for the Building Work of God I said, “I would...challenge all of Christianity” (p. 43). Because of these words, the dissenting ones said that I am too proud. I do not think that I am proud, but I am a person who fights and who fires cannons. This is not a matter of pride. When the enemy comes, we should fight. They said that I am proud because the cannons I fired were too loud. They said that I should be humble and fire the cannons softly. Is this not a joke? How can one be humble in a war? If Christianity is correct, we should follow Christianity; if it is wrong, we should “fire cannons.” We cannot be ambiguous by not distinguishing between black and white, by openly agreeing with Christianity but secretly disagreeing with it, or by making every effort to please it because we do not have the courage to say that Christianity is wrong. (CWWL, 1981, vol. 2, “‘National Defense’ and ‘Public Security’ in the Lord’s Recovery,” pp. 216-217)

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