Article Summary:

In this 1977 booklet, Witness Lee directly rebuts the accusation that his teaching is modalistic. He examines key verses such as Isaiah 9:6, 1 Corinthians 15:45, and 2 Corinthians 3:17, showing that some who twist these verses to avoid their obvious meaning end up in the heresy of tritheism. Witness Lee concludes by showing that the biblical revelation of the Triune God is not for doctrinal formulations but for His people to experience of the reality of God.

What a Heresy—Two Divine Fathers, Two Life-Giving Spirits, and Three Gods!

Witness Lee

When it comes to the matter of the Triune God, many Christians only care for their tradition, not for the clear, accurate word of the Bible. In order to preserve their tradition, they twist the words of Scripture and will not return absolutely to the pure word of the Bible. Because of this tradition, a fight is going on. Although we do not like to fight, we cannot avoid it. Therefore, we must point out that many Christians hold a concept, which is certainly heretical, of two divine Fathers, two life-giving Spirits, and some, even of three Gods. It may be that they are not aware of this or that they hold it unconsciously and, thus, they may deny that they hold it. However, the concept held by them actually is heretical because it implies two divine Fathers, two life-giving Spirits, and, in some cases, three Gods.

Actually, there is no doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible. In the Bible, the revelation of the Triune God is related to His relationship with man and to man’s experience of Him. The first verse indicating the Triune God is Genesis 1:26, which says, “Let us make man in our image.” This is not a doctrine; it is a revelation of God’s relationship with man. The first time the three of the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are revealed is in Matthew 28:19. This verse says, “Go ye therefore, and disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Gk.). This also is not a doctrine, but an experience. Many terms have been invented or adopted by theologians relating to the Trinity: person, substance, hypostasis, subsistence, etc. It is better to avoid these terms as much as possible and to simply quote the Bible, for anything we say may be wrongly understood or interpreted. Nevertheless, for the sake of the experience of the Triune God, we cannot keep from telling people that eventually the Triune God today is the all-inclusive, life-giving Spirit. Examine your experience. Although many of the critics are fearful of experience, our burden is that people would experience the Triune God as the all-inclusive, wonderful Spirit who is God Himself—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

The Trinity is not for doctrinal apprehension; it is absolutely for our experience. Before I came to this country, I did not give a clear word saying that the Triune God is for the dispensing of Himself into man. One day, while I was ministering the Triune God to people, I suddenly received the impression that the Triune God is for His dispensation, for the divine dispensing of Himself into man. God’s intention is to work Himself into human beings. For this purpose, God created man with a human spirit. God created man with a mouth and a stomach that he may take in, retain, digest, and assimilate food. Likewise, God created us with a spirit that we may touch Him, contact Him, take Him in, and retain Him. God is Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit (John 4:24). Throughout the years, I have been more and more confirmed that the Triune God is for the dispensing of Himself into man. This is not a matter of doctrine, but of experience.

Everything we preach and teach in this ministry is thoroughly and carefully considered. Years ago, under the leadership of Brother Watchman Nee, we not only studied the Bible, but also church history, biographies, autobiographies, and the writings of the important Christian teachers. After much study and investigation, we were enlightened by the pure Word, and the Lord revealed much concerning Himself as our enjoyment and concerning the church as God’s expression. Before the recovery came to this country, had many of you heard of the human spirit? Had you ever heard that for Christ to be experienced by us as the all-inclusive One, He must be the life-giving Spirit? Had you ever heard that the Triune God is for the dispensing of Himself into us, His chosen people, for our experience? Had you ever heard of the practice of the church life in the localities where we are? Years ago, the Lord enlightened us and revealed these things to us, and we have been practicing them for a long time. Today, we wish to present the truths we have seen to all Christians that they may see them as well. At least, we must clear up the sky for the truth that the Christian public may know where the truth is. Everyone must know the truth concerning the living experience of Christ, the dispensing of the Triune God, and the practice of the proper church life.

After much study, we have been confirmed in believing that, according to the Bible, the Triune God is revealed, not for doctrinal apprehension, but absolutely for our experience. If we try to understand the Triune God as a doctrine and neglect experience, we shall find ourselves in difficulty. When I was young, I was taught about the Trinity according to the Nicene Creed, the creed held both by Catholicism and Protestantism. When I was under the teaching of the Brethren assembly, I was told that we should pray to the Father in the name of the Son through the power of the Spirit. But as I practiced this in my experience, I got into trouble. I asked myself, “To Whom shall I address my prayer—to the Father, to the Son, or to the Spirit?” As I prayed, I had to remind myself, saying, “Don’t make a mistake. You must pray to the Father in the name of the Son through the power of the Spirit.” I took caution to practice in this manner.

When I first stayed with Brother Nee, a Chinese evangelist who belonged to the China Inland Mission was invited to speak to us. Brother Nee told me privately that this brother was supposed to be the most spiritual one among the Chinese preachers in the China Inland Mission. At a certain point in his message, he said, “Don’t think that the Lord Jesus is separate from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit today is simply the Lord Jesus.” After this sentence was uttered, Brother Nee, sitting afar off, loudly said, “Amen!” That surprised me. As Brother Nee and I were taking a walk after the meeting, he said, “Witness, we must believe this and realize that today the Lord Jesus is just the Spirit.” From that time onward, I received the best help to experience Christ as life. In all the years since then, I have entered more and more into the reality of the Triune God.

In doctrine, we may speak of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit as being separate and distinct. But what about our experience? According to our experience, are They three or one? The New Testament reveals that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all in us (Eph. 4:6; 2 Cor. 13:5; John 14:17). Tell me, according to your experience, are there three in you or one? When you exercise your mind to talk about Them, They are three, but when you exercise your spirit to experience Them, They are just one.

Recently, I read the writings of many others who have said affirmatively that the Triune God is not for doctrinal understanding, but for our experience of the reality of our God. If our Savior were not the life-giving Spirit, how could we touch Him? According to fundamental interpretation, we touch Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. But what does this mean? It is meaningless terminology. What does it mean to say that the Son comes to us in the Spirit? The Bible does not say this. Rather, it says “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Christ dwells in us and abides in us directly, not through any power. This is the revelation of the New Testament. But where is the verse saying that Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit? There is no such verse. Neither is it so complicated in our experience. In our experience, the living Christ is in us. As we turn to our experience, we shall see that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one. The all-inclusive Christ, who as the life-giving Spirit indwells our spirit, is everything to us. We must believe the clear Word in a pure way, saying, “Amen,” to whatever the Bible says, and we should take care of our experience. There is no need to interpret. Simply take whatever the Bible says and believe it.

© 1977 Living Stream Ministry. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.

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