The land reform and agricultural collectivizationprovoked anger and indignation in the Little Flock circle. JinTaiqing of the Anyang Assembly in Hunan province and Li Shiling of the ShijiazhuangAssembly in Hubei province urged followers to boycott the collectivization campaign. They told people to hoard grain in order to prevent the fulfillment of the statequota of grain production.
The large-scale campaigns against reactionariesand class enemies purged Chinese church leaders who had worked with foreign missionaries. He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and died in a laborcamp in The first strategy was to consolidate the internal unity of the LittleFlock congregations by expelling the progovernment members. The second strategy was to challenge the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. They all refused to attendreligious services and political meetings held by the Three-Self Patriotic leaders. The third strategy was to proselytize and recruit members from all social sectorsacross the country.
The Little Flock leaders called on these urban professionalsto evangelize among their friends and colleagues. Equally important was the strategy to educate the younger Little Flock membersand to organize them into youth groups in support of each other. The Changchun Assemblyconverted as many as a hundred students during the Lunar Year evangelization campaignin The final strategy was to establish new strongholds in areas with relativelyweak Communist control.
A similar examplecan be found in Jiangsu province where the Wujiang Assembly successfully establisheda Christian stronghold in the interior. Thesetwo Little Flock outposts were deeply rooted in the longstanding village networksin southeastern China. The Little Flock members in Gansu provincefollowed the seasonal merchant networks migrating to Tibet. It was not until the opening of China to the outside worldin that the Little Flock had begun to resume their activities in public.
The Little FlockMovement exhibits a noncompromising religious group with some strength and adaptablestrategies for survival. This development made the Little Flock congregations lessvulnerable to state persecution and allowed them to respond flexibly to changesin China. The proliferation of the Little Flock congregations and their religious activismrevealed the failure of the Maoist state to exercise absolute control in the religioussphere.
The Little Flock leaders were reluctant to accept the subservient role thatthe Three-Self Patriotic Movement had assigned them. They used their limited resourcesto organize religious activities to cater to their needs in a socialist state. That they saw their sufferings asa test of their faith demonstrates their remarkable courage and theological insight. In the book of Genesis we find in Eden no hint of technology, no mention of mechanical instruments. After the Fall, however, we read that among the sons of Cain there was a forger of cutting instruments of brass and iron.
A few centuries ago it might have seemed fanciful to discern the spirit of antichrist in iron tools, even though for long the sword has been in open competition with the ploughshare. But today, in the hands of man, metals have been turned to sinister and deadly uses, and as the end approaches the widespread abuse of technology and engineering will become even more apparent. The same thing applies to music and the arts. For the pipe and the harp seem also to have originated with the family of Cain, and today in unconsecrated hands their God-defying nature becomes increasingly clear.
In many parts of the world it has long been easy to trace an intimate relationship between idolatry and the arts of painting, sculpture, and music. No doubt the day is coming when the nature of antichrist will be disclosed more openly than ever through song and dance and the visual and dramatic arts.
- Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2), Vol. 21-46;
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As for commerce, its connections are perhaps even more suspect. Satan was the first merchant, trading ideas with Eve for his own advantage, and in the figurative language of Ezekiel 28, which seems to reveal something of his original character, we read: "By thy traffic thou has increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up" verse 5. Perhaps this does not have to be argued, for most of us will readily admit from experience the Satanic origin and nature of commerce.
We shall say more of this later. But what of education? Surely, we protest, that must be harmless. Anyway, our children have to be taught.
Excerpts from the Ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee
But education, no less than commerce or technology, is one of the things of the world. It has its roots in the tree of knowledge. How earnestly, as Christians, we seek to protect our children from the world's more obvious snares. And yet it is quite true that we have to provide education for them.
How are we going to solve the problem of letting them touch what is essentially a thing of the world, and at the same time guarding them from the great world system and its perils? And what of science?
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It, too, is one of the units that constitute the cosmos. It, too, is knowledge. When we venture into the further reaches of science, and begin to speculate on the nature of the physical world - and of man - the question immediately arises: Up to what point is the pursuit of scientific research and discovery legitimate?
Where is the line of demarcation between what is helpful and what is hurtful in the realm of knowledge? How can we pursue after knowledge and yet avoid being caught in Satan's meshes? These, then, are the matters at which we must look. Oh, I know I shall appear to some to be overstating things, but this is necessary in order to drive home my point. For "if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" 1 John Ultimately, when we touch the things of the world, the question we must ask ourselves always is: "How is this thing affecting my relationship with the Father?
The time has passed when we need to go out into the world in order to make contact with it. Today the world comes and searches us out. There is a force abroad now which is captivating men. Have you ever felt the power of the world as much as today?
Have you ever heard so much talk about money? Have you ever thought so much about food and clothing? Wherever you go, even among Christians, the things of the world are the topics of conversation. The world has advanced to the very door of the Church and is seeking to draw even the saints of God into its grasp. Never in this sphere of things have we needed to know the power of the Cross of Christ to deliver us as we do at the present time. Formerly we spoke much of sin and of the natural life. We could readily see the spiritual issues there, but we little realized then what equally great spiritual issues are at stake when we touch the world.
There is a spiritual force behind this world scene which, by means of "the things that are in the world," is seeking to enmesh men in its system. GAR, Jan 22, He had such a deep fellowship with the Lord. Thank the Lord, there were over eighty members in his household. All of them were saved. Every one of his sons, daughters-in-law, grandsons, granddaughters, nephews, nieces, great-grandchildren, old or young, male or female, were saved.
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George Cutting himself believed in the word: 'Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household'. During his visit to America Mr. Nee similarly compromised the fellowship by breaking bread with some who were identified with certain sectarian bodies. As a consequence letters passed between the brethren in New York and those in Shanghai, on the one hand, and between the brethren in London and those in Shanghai, on the other, seeking to enlighten the Shanghai brethren as to the principles of Christian fellowship and to help them to judge the actions of Mr.
Nee above referred to. Occasion was also taken to call attention to the fact that Mr. Nee held unsound views as to the rapture of the saints, and also regarded the symbolical teaching of the book of Revelation as literal. The serious character of certain teaching which emanated from the Honor Oak Christian Fellowship Centre was also pointed out. The correspondence continued over a protracted period, considerable time elapsing between the date of each letter to China and its reply.