Jan 24, 2010

Life and organization (by Stephen Kaung)

Concerning the matter of church and service, my feeling is that the biggest problem lies on our paying too much attention on the outward things. Oftentimes we only think of how to make the church go forward, how to make the work more successful, but overlook the fact that these two issues lies on the matter of life, but not just the outward arrangements. The problem of christianity today is on this very point ... .

When our Lord was on the earth, after his resurrection and ascension, and during the beginnings of the church, we did not see any outward arrangements, organization, or planning. The attention was paid on how the life grew and developed naturally. Both aspects were connected with the development of life, not just individually, but also corporately. In other words, this is not a matter of outward organization, but a mater of growing process of inner life.

Oftentimes we say that church is not an organization, but an organism. Yet this does not mean that church does not have any organization. Everything is in chaos and everybody acts according to what he thinks right, just like the siutation in the Book of Judges. Strictly speaking, the organization of our body is more closely knitted together than any outward organization. Yet the difference is that in outward organization, it is organized from without, so it is legalistic, it is letter. The inner organization is the growth and development of life. The organization from within is of life whereas the organization from without is mechanical. This is the difference between the church and the world.

Unfortunately, in these two thousand years of christianity, the development from inner life was degraded into the development from outward organization. Today, what is christianity trying to research? They are trying to find out how to make the church prosperous and multipy, how the work can suit man's needs, how to help people according to their needs. Strictly speaking, this is not the way of the Lord we see from the Bible. The Bible lets us see that everything in the church begins from within and then develops without. If there is nothing within, and we just pay attention on the outward things, thinking on how to make the church go forward, how to make the organization more closely knitted together and more effective. Yes, in this way, it seems to be more effective, but shall these things be approved before the Lord in future? That is a big question. ...

Translator's note:
1. This is a portion of the sharing by Stephen Kaung. He shared this in Chinese with some saints in Hong Kong in December of 2009. The transcription was already published in the "Question and Answer" in the booklet "The Salvation of the Soul".
2. The Chinese version can be seen here.

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