Titus 1:9 - Holding to the faithful word, which is according to the teaching of the apostles, that he may be able both to exhort by the healthy teaching and to convict those who oppose.

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Quarantine in the Bible and in Practice

Because many saints are not familiar with the biblical practice of quarantining a divisive member of the church, it is worthwhile to examine the biblical record and the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee to understand some of the key principles involved. These principles include the following:

  1. Divisiveness is a sin against the Body.
  2. Quarantining is the Scriptural response to protect the church from the activities of a divisive member.
  3. Quarantine is exercised in the hope of restoring a divisive member to the fellowship of the Body.
  4. In exercising to quarantine a divisive member, individual churches and believers should respect the feeling of the Body.
  5. Our response to a decision to quarantine certain divisive members should not be influenced by personal affection or loyalty.
  6. To quarantine a divisive member means we refuse to listen to their divisive talk.
  7. If we are one with the Body to quarantine a divisive member, Satan will be crushed under our feet.

If we understand these principles and recognize that it is "normal" for there to be problems in the churches, we will not be discouraged but will be strengthened to pursue Christ in a positive way for the building up of His Body.

Divisiveness Is a Serious Sin against the Body of Christ

Eph. 4:1, 3 - [1] I beseech you therefore, I, the prisoner in the Lord, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called... [3] being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.

Rom. 12:5 - So we who are many are one Body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

1 Cor. 12:12 - For even as the body is one and has many members, yet all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ.

1 Cor. 1:10 - Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion.

1 Cor. 12:25 - That there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same care for one another.

The Lord desires to recover a testimony of the proper oneness of the Body of Christ.

Paul exhorted us to keep the oneness by telling us that we have to walk worthily of our calling (Eph. 4:1). The Lord called us into the fellowship of Christ in His Body. He called us into one Body, so we have to walk according to the oneness of this Body. The highest virtue of our Christian walk is to keep the oneness. In the teaching of the New Testament, the apostles cared for this to the uttermost. The keeping of the oneness is the primary virtue of our Christian walk. ( Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990 , p. 124)

The Lord is burdened to recover the oneness of the Body of Christ, which has been lost among His children. This fellowship should show us that there is no reason for any division in the Body of Christ. The Lord's recovery is firstly for the purpose of testifying that the Body of Christ should be one. The practice of this oneness has been lost throughout the centuries, but we are a relatively small number of saints who wish to satisfy the Lord's heart to recover this oneness. We accept all the believers in Christ, but we must turn away from the divisive, sectarian, ones to preserve us and keep us in the oneness of the Body of Christ. ( Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990 , p. 129)

God hates division because it damages the Body.

The Lord also will not tolerate division. The Lord hates division because it destroys His people as His expression. In the Old Testament the children of Israel were God's people for His corporate expression. In the New Testament the corporate expression of the Lord is the Body of Christ. Whereas heresy insults and damages the person of Christ, division damages the Body of Christ. Division kills the Body of Christ and cuts it into pieces. Because heresy damages the Head and because division kills the Body, the Lord, in both the New Testament and the Old Testament, will never tolerate heresy and division. ( Life-study of Deuteronomy , p. 88)

The longer we go on in our Christian life before the Lord, the more we will realize the reality of the oneness of the Body. Sooner or later, we will see that oneness is a reality. It is a very sobering reality. We must learn to not damage it. It is lawlessness, rebellion, and disobedience for anyone to damage the oneness of the Body. ( The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 50 , pp. 896-897)

Any division annuls the Body. If the Body is annulled, the oneness is killed. Then the recovery is gone.... ( Further Consideration of the Eldership, the Region of Work, and the Care for the Body of Christ , p. 28)

...Nothing is more dreadful than division. Satan knows that even the thought of division is sufficient to undermine our Christian life. It is like a termite that eats away at the very structure of a house. Therefore, even the thought of division must be repudiated. ( The Genuine Ground of Oneness , pp. 41-42)

No reason or excuse justifies division in the Body.

We all know there is only one church. Throughout history, past and present, there is only one church. Because there is only one Head, there is only one Body. The church is a Body with life; thus, it is not right to divide it for any reason. We must stress this: The church is one because the Body is one. Any excuse to divide the church is a sin. Division is sin, because it is a "division in the body" (1 Cor. 12:25). ( The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 55 , p. 182)

Using teachings such as the teaching concerning the headship of Christ, the teaching concerning all the churches being responsible directly to Christ alone, and the teaching concerning not exalting man, all of which seem very scriptural, as reasons for separation from the saints or for division among the churches also is condemned. As long as anything that is spiritual or scriptural causes separation or division, it is condemned. ( Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (2) , p. 63)

Division is so serious that the Bible considers it as heresy.

Gal. 5:19-20 - [19] And the works of the flesh are manifest, which are such things as fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, divisions, 4sects.

fn. 5:20 4 - The same Greek word as for heresies in 2 Pet. 2:1. Here it refers to schools of opinion (Darby's New Translation), or sects.

2 Pet. 2:1 - But there arose also false prophets among the people, as also among you there will be false teachers, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Division is versus oneness. In order for us to practice the oneness of the Body of Christ, we need to realize that division is heretical, sectarian (Gal. 5:20b-21a). We need to see the real meaning of the word heresy in the Scriptures. Some of us may feel that heresy is anything against the truth revealed in the holy Word. Many Christians teach and practice differently in things such as foot-washing, baptism, and head covering. But the word heresy is used to refer to only two things. First, any teaching that denies the person of Christ in His divinity as God or in His humanity as man is heretical. Christ is the complete God and the perfect man. Second, the word heresy also refers to division. Galatians 5:19-21a says, "And the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, angers, faction, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, carousings...." In Galatians 5:20 the Greek word for "parties," hairesis, is literally heresies, which means schools of opinions (Darby's New Translation), sects. A sect is a party, and a party is a division. Divisions and parties, sects, are works of the flesh, and "those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (v. 21b). Second Peter 2:1 uses the word hairesis in referring to false teachers who bring in destructive heresies, denying the Master who bought them. Titus 3:10 uses the same Greek word for heresy in its adjectival form, hairetikon, in referring to a factious man. This is a heretical, sectarian man who causes divisions by forming parties in the church according to his own opinions.

Denying the person of Christ in His divinity and humanity and division are the only two items that can be considered as heretical. Wrong teachings apart from division and heresy cannot be considered heretical. A wrong teaching, such as baptism by sprinkling instead of immersion, cannot be considered heretical. This is because such wrong teachings do not affect the seven factors of our Christian faith. Some who practice baptism in a different way than immersion still have God as their Father and Jesus Christ as their Lord. They still have the Spirit. They have the same hope and the genuine faith. They also believe that baptism separates people, so they have the significance of the one baptism. The forms that we practice may differ, but the significance remains the same.

Denying the person of Christ and division are the only two items that can be considered as heretical because they are damaging to the uttermost. Denying the person of Christ insults Christ as the Head and denies Him as the Head. Division dismembers the Body of Christ. One heresy damages the Head, and the other heresy damages the Body. These heresies are intolerable in the eyes of God and should be utterly rejected by us. Second John says that if anyone denies the Lord's person in His divinity or humanity, we should not receive him into our home or even greet him (vv. 7, 9-11). If we either receive him into our home or greet him, we share in his evil works. Regarding the divisive ones, Paul strongly charges us to "turn away from them" (Rom. 16:17). ( Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990 , pp. 125-126)

Division is instigated by God's enemy, Satan, to damage the Body.

...According to the Old Testament, the Lord never forgot Dan's apostasy. In the eyes of God it was the worst sin in His economy. Nothing is more damaging than divisiveness. Nothing is more destructive than division among God's people. Divisive worship centers are often related to idols. Because the Devil lurks behind idols, by setting up an idol Dan became a serpent. Whenever you become divisive, no matter how good your reason may be, there will be something behind you-the serpent, the subtle one. The whole history of the church testifies of this and our experience confirms it.... ( Life-study of Genesis , p. 1326)

Exercising Quarantine to Protect the Church from Divisive Members

Rom. 16:17 - Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them.

Titus 3:10-11 - [10] A factious man, after a first and second admonition, refuse, [11] knowing that such a one is perverted and is sinning, though he is condemned by his own self.

Acts 20:28-31a - [28] Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood. [29] I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] And from among you yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverted things to draw away the disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch.

Lev. 13:45-46 - [45] And as for the leper in whom the infection is, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be let loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry, Unclean, unclean! [46] He shall be unclean all the days during which the infection is in him; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Num. 5:2 - Command the children of Israel that they send out of the camp every leper and everyone that has a discharge and everyone who is unclean because of a dead person.

Num. 12:10, 14b - [10] And when the cloud had departed from over the tent; there Miriam was, leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, leprous. [14b] Let her be shut up outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.

The basic principle of quarantine is to protect the Body from contagious diseases. In particular, quarantine is the scriptural remedy to preserve the church from the contagion of division.

There may be some divisive members among us. Paul referred to these ones in Romans 16:17, which says, "Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them." Some make division purposely. We have to turn away from these division-makers. Titus 3:10 says that we must reject the factious, sectarian, members. Some members are very factious, very sectarian, very divisive, and their purpose in contacting others is to cause division. There are some like this today who have the intention of remaining among us to spread their poison. No doubt, they are division-makers, and they are factious, sectarian. Since they are division-makers, we have to turn away from them. Since they are still factious after being admonished again and again, we have to reject them.

This is according to the practice of the quarantining of the lepers in typology (Lev. 13:45-46; Num. 12:10-15). When Moses' sister, Miriam, rebelled, God punished her with leprosy. Then she was quarantined. To be quarantined is to be put aside for the profit of the whole congregation. This is because certain diseases are very contagious. If a person is sick with a highly contagious disease, he is quarantined, separated even from his family members, until he is healed. This is for the protection of the entire family. The Scriptures charge us in the same way. Anyone who is spiritually sick of the disease of division, having become a divisive person, must be quarantined. Division is very contagious, so the church has to learn to quarantine the divisive ones. According to the apostle's teaching, we must either turn ourselves away from them or reject them. This protects the entire church so that the church can remain in a safeguarded situation. ( The Intrinsic View of the Body of Christ , pp. 100-101)

...Because some are sick, full of the germs of division, they need to be quarantined. This is according to Romans 16:17, where Paul charges us to turn away from those who make divisions. If we do not turn away from them, we will be infected with the same disease of division. To turn away from such ones is for our preservation. According to Titus 3:10, a factious, divisive person should be refused, rejected, after a first and second admonition in order to keep the oneness of the Body of Christ. ( The World Situation and the Direction of the Lord's Move , p. 56)

Some say that the apostle's charge to deal with the divisive ones in Romans 16:17 should not be applied to the division-makers in the Lord's recovery today. They say that Romans 16:17 refers to men who do not serve our Lord, but their own stomach, as mentioned in the next verse, and that the division-makers in the Lord's recovery today are not this kind of person. But we need to realize that in Romans 16:17 the apostle condemns the action of making divisions, regardless of what kind of person makes the divisions. A brother may be very right in every regard as a Christian, but if he makes divisions in the church or among the churches, he should be condemned and quarantined as the apostle charged. ( The Ministry of the New Testament and the Teaching and Fellowship of the Apostles , pp. 29-30)

Quarantine Is Exercised in the Hope of Restoration

Num. 12:14b - Let her be shut up outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.

Matt. 18:15-18 - [15] Moreover if your brother sins against you, go, reprove him between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. [16] But if he does not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. [17] And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to hear the church also, let him be to you just like the Gentile and the tax collector. [18] Truly I say to you, Whatever you bind on the earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on the earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

2 Cor. 7:9-10 - [9] Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to 1repentance; for you were made 2sorrowful according to God, that in nothing you might suffer loss from us. [10] For sorrow according to God works repentance unto salvation, which is without regret; but the sorrow of the world works out death.

fn. 7:9 1 - This was the result the apostle sought in writing his first Epistle.

fn. 7:9 2 - The apostle's first Epistle made the Corinthians sorrowful according to God, not sorrowful for anything else. This indicates that they had been brought back, reconciled, to God.

2 Tim. 2:25-26 - [25] In meekness correcting those who oppose, if perhaps God may give them 1repentance unto the full knowledge of the truth, [26] and they may return to soberness out of the 2snare of the devil, having been caught alive by him, unto His will.

fn. 2:25 1 - This indicates that with the opposers of the truth it is the heart and conscience that are in question. The truth is the revelation of the living God and His economy, His heart's desire. To receive the divine revelation, the heart and conscience need to be rightly exercised toward God. The heart should be turned to Him, directed solely to Him, and the conscience must be pure and void of offense before Him. Otherwise, one may be carried away as a captive by the devil and thus fall into his snare (v. 26).

fn. 2:26 2 - This indicates that the opposers of the truth have been captured and kept in a snare by the devil. The enemy of God occupies their reprobate mind with error and shuts God out, just as he did with the Pharisees (John 8:42-45). Such opposers need to turn to God in their heart and have a thorough dealing in their conscience.

On the one hand, quarantine is exercised to protect the Body from the contagious disease of divisiveness. On the other hand, it is exercised in the hope that the diseased member(s) can be recovered.

Paul instructed us in how to deal with divisions in Romans 16:17: "Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them." Concerning those who make divisions, we have to be watchful, mark them out, and turn away from them. In Titus 3:10 Paul said, "A factious man, after a first and second admonition, refuse." In a family someone may become very ill with a contagious disease. Then the whole family has to quarantine him, to be separated from him. This, however, does not mean to hate him or give him up. But for the sake of the health of the whole family, there is the need of some quarantine so that the family can be preserved and even healed. ( Five Emphases in the Lord's Recovery , p. 15)

In dealing with the divisive ones, we must also take Paul's word in Titus 3:10, "A factious man after the first and second admonition refuse." A factious person is a divisive and sectarian person. According to Paul's word in Romans 16:17 and in Titus 3:10, after the first and second admonitions, we must reject such persons and turn away from them. To do this is to quarantine such persons. To quarantine a person does not mean that we hate that person. If one member in a family became ill with a contagious disease, the rest of the family would need to quarantine him for the safety of the whole family. Otherwise, the entire family would be affected. Likewise, to practice Paul's word in Romans 16:17 and in Titus 3:10 is to quarantine the divisive members in the Body of Christ. This is not my teaching; it is my presentation of the holy Word to you. ( A Brief Presentation of the Lord's Recovery , p. 46)

...To turn away from the divisive ones and those who make causes of falling is to quarantine these divisive ones. When a person in a family is sick with a contagious disease, the members of the family turn away from the infected person so that they will not be contaminated with the same disease. If they do not turn away from the infected member, they may become infected themselves and spread the contagious germs to other members of their family. This does not mean that the members of the family do not love the infected member or have given him up; it simply means that the other members want to prevent the spread of the contagious germs. ( To Be Saved in the Life of Christ as Revealed in Romans , p. 35)

We have studied 1 Corinthians 5:13 particularly. The word translated remove here was taken from the Septuagint (Greek) version of the Old Testament. The removal of the sinful brother in 1 Corinthians 5 was like the putting of a leper outside the camp in the Old Testament (Lev. 13:45-46; Num. 5:2). In Numbers 12 Miriam rebelled against Moses, and she was stricken with leprosy. She was removed from the camp for seven days, until her leprosy was cleared up. This was a form of quarantining. There has been much talk among Christians concerning the matter of excommunication. It is wrong to excommunicate a believer. To excommunicate someone is to give him up; but to remove a person is to quarantine him with the hope that he would become sound. ( Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (2) , p. 73)

I do feel that all the churches must do something to help the saints to know the real situation in the recovery. The saints must be helped to realize that a "contagious disease" is now among us, and, as in the field of medicine, we must quarantine the diseased ones. To quarantine does not mean that we do not love those who are "ill," nor does it mean that we cut them off. It means that we do something to preserve both the contagious ones and the rest of the Body. ( Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (2) , p. 109)

Respecting the Feeling of the Body

Rom. 14:1 - Now him who is weak in faith receive, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his considerations.

Rom. 16:17 - Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them.

When the co-workers taking the lead in the ministry, acting as representatives of the Body and responding to and expressing the feeling of the Body, mark certain ones to be quarantined, all of the churches should honor that quarantine.

When we accept someone at the Lord's table, we have to consider the Body. According to the principle of Romans 14, we accept all of the Lord's children, but according to Romans 16:17 we have to mark those who make divisions and turn away from them. We cannot receive division-makers who have been quarantined by the Body. Furthermore, we have to realize who has the function and qualification as the priest to discern leprosy among the Lord's children. Again this is a matter of practicing the Body life. If a local church receives someone who has offended the Body to the uttermost, that local church is obviously not going along with and not one with the Body. We have to take care of the Body. ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , pp. 30-31)

Turmoil after turmoil has transpired because of our not knowing the Body. The only remedy that can cure us of this kind of illness is the seeing of the Body. When Brother Nee taught about the Body he said that with whatever we do, we have to consider how the churches would feel about it. When we do something, we must not forget that we are members of the Body, and the Body is not only a local church. The local church is not a "local body"; if it is, it becomes a local sect. The Body is the Body of Christ, constituted by the Triune God with all the believers on this earth, with all the local churches.

Both the ministry and the many churches in the recovery made a decision to quarantine certain divisive ones. Some did not accept this decision and have even joined these divisive ones. They have disregarded the feeling of the Body. How we behave ourselves depends upon the degree of our seeing of the Body. ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , pp. 28-29)

...We must know the Body and trust in the Body. The churches in California wrote an open letter because they felt burdened and were held responsible to let the churches on this globe know the damage certain ones did in California and the loss which they had suffered. In this open letter they said that they had made the decision to quarantine these ones. Should we listen to the churches or take care of our own personal observation of the situation? If we put the notification of so many churches aside and go to investigate the situation for ourselves, this is an offending to the Body. Do we respect the Body or do we respect ourselves?

It is not a matter of whether someone is right or wrong. He might be right, but still he offended the Body.... ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , p. 32)

In The Fermentation of the Present Rebellion, I mentioned only four names of ones who should be quarantined. The churches in California, West Malaysia, and Taiwan also sent out an open letter to quarantine these ones. In this matter we are touching a great truth, the truth of the Body. Do we honor the Body? The churches in California, West Malaysia, and Taiwan are parts of the Body. Should we not honor them and respect their feeling? But some were not clear and strong to keep the truth to maintain the feeling of the Body, which comprises all the churches.

We must be clear and strong in the truth, and we have to practice the truth. We must practice the truth in Romans 16:17 and Titus 3:10. Whatever we do involves the Body, so we have to keep the truth. The only remedy to the situation is for the faithful ones to come back to the truth. We must be the overcomers, the one who overcome all these situations. We must come back to the truth to practice the recovery in the way of the recovery according to the Lord's word, not according to what we think or how we feel. ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , pp. 18-19)

To reject such a quarantine is to isolate oneself from the feeling of the Body and join oneself to the idolatry of division.

When we accept someone at the Lord's table, we have to consider the Body. According to the principle of Romans 14, we accept all of the Lord's children, but according to Romans 16:17 we have to mark those who make division and turn away from them. We cannot receive division-makers who have been quarantined by the Body. Furthermore, we have to realize who has the function and qualification as the priest to discern leprosy among the Lord's children. Again this is a matter of practicing the Body life. If a local church receives someone who has offended the Body to the uttermost, that local church is obviously not going along with and not one with the Body. We have to take care of the Body. ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , pp. 30-31)

I have published a book called The Fermentation of the Present Rebellion, presenting the whole story, fully documented. That book concludes by saying that we need to "reject any kind of division (1 Cor. 1:10), to stand against any wind of teaching and any spreading of spiritual death (Eph. 4:14; 2 Tim. 2:16-17), and to separate ourselves from the contagious ones-exercising to quarantine" (Titus 3:10; Rom. 16:17). Some, however, have not agreed to quarantine these ones and have embraced division. They have been deceived to such an extent that they take the matter of division as an idol. ( Life-study of Judges , p. 40)

Quarantine Must Be Exercised Without Personal Affection or Loyalty

Num. 6:6-7 - [6] All the days that he separates himself to Jehovah he shall not come near a dead person. [7] He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is upon his head.

Lev. 10:6-7 - [6] Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, Do not dishevel the hair of your heads, and do not tear your garments, that you may not die and that He may not be angry with all the assembly. But let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, weep for the burning which Jehovah has kindled. [7] And you shall not go out from the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die; for the anointing oil of Jehovah is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.

Exo. 32:26-28 - [26] Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, Whoever is for Jehovah, come to me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves to him. [27] And he said to them, Thus says Jehovah the God of Israel, Let each man put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each man kill his brother, and each man his companion, and each man his neighbor. [28] And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses, and that day about three thousand men among the people fell.

Deut. 33:8-9 - [8] And concerning Levi he said, May Your Thummim and Urim be with Your faithful man, Whom You tested at Massah, With whom You contended at the waters of Meribah— [9] He who said of his father and mother, I do not regard him; And his brothers he did not acknowledge, And his children he did not recognize; For they have kept Your speaking And have guarded Your covenant.

When there is an outbreak of the infectious disease of divisiveness, we must exercise to quarantine the divisive ones without respect to personal affection or loyalty. This is to care for both the Body and the diseased ones themselves.

To keep the truth, we need to overcome personal affection with the vow of a Nazarite. In Numbers 6:6-7, the Nazarites were charged not to be contaminated by any kind of death, even by the death of their blood relatives. Therefore, we must be careful about anyone who is "dying" or who is spreading death. If we realize that one who is near us is "dying" or is spreading death, we must keep ourselves away. Otherwise, if we remain near such a person, we will be contaminated by the germs of death. This will nullify our vow, and we will have to begin our vow over again (Num. 6:9-12). In some cases, to avoid the contagion of death, we need to overcome our personal affection, especially for those with whom we are well-acquainted. Leviticus 10:6-7, Exodus 32:25-29, and Deuteronomy 33:8-9 all stress the need of the overcoming of our personal affection in the service of our priesthood. Both Exodus 32:25-29 and Deuteronomy 33:8-9 tell us that when the children of Israel worshipped the golden calf, offending the Lord to the uttermost, Moses spoke the word asking all the Levites to kill their relatives and those who were close to them. They obeyed, and as a result they obtained the priesthood. The Urim and Thummim were with them, meaning that they had the revelation; they had the vision of the Lord's oracle because of their faithfulness to God's person. God hates to see His people worship anyone besides Him. So, He demands that His faithful people "kill" all the idol worshippers. One of these worshippers might be our father, and one might be our sister. In order to be faithful to the Lord, we must overcome our personal affection. ( Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (2) , p. 111)

Regardless of how much help we have received from a certain one in the past, if he does something that offends the Body, we must practice the truth.... ( The Problems Causing the Turmoils in the Church Life , p. 32)

We also need to turn away from those who make divisions (Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10; 1 Cor. 1:13). Even if a close relative such as our husband, wife, father, mother, brother, or sister is a division-maker, we must turn away from their division. The same applies to our intimate and close friends. Although it is difficult to turn away from those who are our intimate friends, we must realize that friendship is one thing, and the fellowship in Christ and in His Body is another thing. When Moses' sister, Miriam, became leprous, she was quarantined in Moses' presence (Num. 12).... ( The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way , pp. 17-18)

To care for the Lord's interest we must be faithful to quarantine diseased members in spite of the suffering we must endure out of our affection for them.

Today there is some division in the Lord's recovery. Some of the dear ones who are with us are making divisions. Because of the contagious germs of division within these ones, it is not wise for us to contact them. According to Romans 16:17 and Titus 3:10-11, we must turn away from the divisive ones. This kind of turning away is like the quarantining of a contagiously sick person. Because some of the saints were closely related to the divisive ones, their carrying out of this kind of quarantining is a suffering to them.... Because of their close relationship with the divisive ones in the recovery, some of the saints have said that they cannot quarantine them. However, even though Miriam was Aaron's sister, he still had to quarantine her during the period of her leprosy (Num. 12:10-15). Hence, even to exercise to practice the proper quarantining is a suffering. We suffer because we do not like to see these dissenting ones separated from us. Nevertheless, if we do not quarantine them, we will not be doing the will of God, for we will annul the testimony of the oneness of the Body.

The Christian life is a suffering life because we must do the will of God. On the one hand, to do the will of God concerning our relationship with God is food to us. In John 4:34 the Lord Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work." On the other hand, to do the will of God is a suffering. ( The Christian Life , p. 172)

Quarantining by Turning Away and Refusing to Listen

Rom. 16:17 - Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them.

Titus 3:10-11 - [10] A factious man, after a first and second admonition, refuse, [11] knowing that such a one is perverted and is sinning, though he is condemned by his own self.

Phil. 3:3 - For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.

The proper response to those who have been marked as divisive members is to simply turn away from them and refuse to listen to their divisive talk or read their divisive writings. We should not be overconfident in our ability to resist the germs in their writings.

Brother Miao made the best remark of his life when he said, "The ears are a trash can. No one throws good things like gold, silver, flour, or rice into a trash can." If anyone comes to you with gossip, you should say, "Sorry, my ears are not trash cans." They will have no choice but to take their trash elsewhere. Those who cause divisions should be marked out, and no one should have any communication with them. We should maintain our purity in our fellowship. If any word is to go out, we must first examine it and see if there is any element of rebellion or gossip in it. Much so-called fellowship among believers is actually gossip. We must quarantine all rebellions. Titus 3 says that we should refuse a factious man after a first and second admonition (v. 10). This refusal does not mean an open excommunication. It is a measure that aims at preserving the purity of fellowship. Many times measures taken among the brothers and sisters have nothing to do with love; they are a matter of dealing with infection. If a man speaks in a rebellious way, the best way to love him is to separate him from others. This is the greatest love one can give to him, because this will bring him profit and save others. Quarantine is exercised under the principle that it is an effort of recovery for the quarantined and a measure of prevention against infection for others. ( The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 59 , p. 242)

To avoid further damage by the present turmoil, we need to practice a strict quarantine over this contagious disease. Whenever any of the dissenting ones attempts to contact you, no matter in what way and in what polite or "spiritual" manner, you should keep the apostle's teaching in Romans 16:17 and Titus 3:10 to turn away from him and reject him. Do not try to exhort or argue with such people or to find out what and how they really are. If you say anything to them, you will "swallow their bait" and they will "hook" you. You are a gentleman, a sincere, honest Christian, and a humble follower of the Lord, but they are under the deceiving of the devil and unavoidably bear some of his poison. It is impossible to talk or argue with them without being contaminated by their poison. Instead of spending the time to meet with this kind of dissenting ones, we had better save our time to pray and get into the Word so that we may have some riches of Christ to minister to the saints. ( The Ministry of the New Testament and the Teaching and Fellowship of the Apostles , p. 32)

This turning away is to exercise to quarantine the divisive, sectarian ones in order to protect the saints from being contaminated. The divisive ones are very contagious. Anyone who contacts them will be "infected." This would not be good for them or for others. Thus, today we should carry out what is termed in medicine a quarantine. To quarantine a person does not mean that we do not love him. On the contrary, it means that we love both him and many others. If one member of a family contracts a contagious disease, the whole family may need to quarantine him. This is for the benefit of all the members of the family. To cut people off, to excommunicate people, was the practice of the Brethren. From the beginning of the Lord's recovery we realized that was wrong. However, to quarantine those who are sick with a contagious spiritual disease certainly is scriptural. ( The Intrinsic Problem in the Lord's Recovery Today and its Scriptural Remedy, p. 45)

The Proper Exercise of Quarantine Crushes Satan Under Our Feet

Rom. 16:17, 20 - [17] Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them. [20] Now the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

According to Paul's word at the end of Romans 16, the proper exercise of quarantine to deal with divisive ones issues in the crushing of Satan under the feet of the local churches.

...In [Romans] 16:17 Paul does not say, "These divisive ones are brothers. We need to receive them and love them." No, he tells us to keep a watchful eye on them and to turn away from them. To turn away from those who make divisions and causes of falling is to quarantine them.

In Romans 16:20a Paul says, "Now the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." It is significant that this word comes after the word concerning the strict dealing with the divisive ones. If we do not have any discernment but instead love blindly, and if we do not quarantine those who make divisions and causes of falling, Satan will be above us, not under us. But if we quarantine the divisive ones, Satan will be crushed under our feet. ( Life-study of Deuteronomy , pp. 83-84)

Not Being Discouraged But Pursuing Christ for the Building Up of His Body

1 Cor. 11:19 - For there must even be parties among you, that those who are approved may become manifest among you.

Eph. 4:2-3 - [2] With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love, [3] Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.

Matt. 8:26 - And He said to them, Why are you cowardly, you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Eph. 4:14 - That we may be no longer little children tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching in the sleight of men, in craftiness with a view to a system of error,

John 2:19 - Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

2 Cor. 1:9 - Indeed we ourselves had the response of death in ourselves, that we should not base our confidence on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

Although we may be saddened or shaken by the present situation of division caused by some, we should not be disappointed that there are storms in the church life. Even in Paul's time there were such problems among the churches. Instead of being discouraged, we should exercise to be aggressive and diligent to pursue Christ and the building up of the Body of Christ in the face of the winds and the waves.

...As long as there is a storm with winds and waves, we have to be long-suffering. We also need to be diligent. We should not be discouraged. To be diligent is to be aggressive. On the one hand, we need to be lowly, meek, and long-suffering, bearing with one another in love. On the other hand, while the winds and waves are here, we have to be aggressive and diligent. We should not be disappointed to the extent that we would forget about the church life. During the storm, we can go out to visit people for the preaching of the gospel. While the waves are making trouble, we can make some profit for the Lord's interest. We can set up home meetings to nourish the newly born babes. We should not be disappointed or frustrated. Although we might experience the winds and the waves, the Lord is in our "boat," which means that He is in the church life. We have to go on aggressively to do a positive work to save sinners, to take care of the young ones in their homes, to have small group meetings, and to perfect the seeking ones. Eventually, all the winds and the waves will be rebuked by the Lord. Regardless of how strong the storm is, eventually the church comes out with a profit and is built up in resurrection. ( The Practical and Organic Building Up of the Church, p. 24)

As we are in the church life as the process of Christ's coming, we should not be troubled by any kind of chaos. We should not be bothered or disappointed by chaos, because chaos actually helps us. Every kind of chaos is a help to God's chosen people and to Christ's Body, the organism of the Triune God. ( The Satanic Chaos in the Old Creation and the Divine Economy for the New Creation , p. 60)

Actually, according to the record of the Bible, both the satanic chaos generally and the emergence of parties in the church specifically are needed to manifest the approvedness of the Lord's overcomers.

First Corinthians 11:19 indicates that there must be parties among the believers, that those who are approved may become manifest among them. Division annuls the oneness, and there should be no division in the Body. But when there are parties in the church, which are real divisions, these parties manifest the experienced ones and the approved ones. Parties, or sects, are useful to manifest the approved ones, who are not sectarian. ( Five Emphases in the Lord's Recovery , p. 15)

The overcomers are those who suffer the chaos, but they are not disappointed or discouraged. Instead, they are strengthened and enabled to stand for and live out the divine economy.... All of us have to conquer this destructive chaos. If we are enabled by the Lord to conquer all the destructive chaos, we will triumphantly enter into the kingdom. We will be those who triumph in the unique constructive economy.

Romans 16:17 says that we need to mark those who make divisions and turn away from them. To turn away from those who make divisions is to conquer the destructive chaos. This preserves the oneness of the Body of Christ that we may have a normal church life. Those who make divisions like to contact the saints, and this contact causes the saints to be stumbled and leave the church life. If we open to these ones to listen to their divisive talk, we might be poisoned. This poison will cause us to doubt about the recovery and will weaken our morale for the recovery. We will be cold about attending the church meetings and about reading the Recovery Version with the Life-study Messages. If we contact and open to these dissenting ones, we will be cooled down. At the very least, they will make us lukewarm. In the Life-study of Second Timothy, we pointed out that the subject of this book is the inoculation against the decline of the church. We need such an inoculation to preserve us against the germs of the satanic chaos of rebellion and division.

II. TO CONQUER ALL THE SATANIC CHAOS
AND CARRY OUT THE UNIQUE DIVINE ECONOMY
A. By the Processed and Consummated
Triune God as the All-sufficient Grace

We have to conquer the satanic chaos by the processed and consummated Triune God as the all-sufficient grace (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 12:9; 2 Tim. 4:22). In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul said that the grace of the Lord was with him; in Galatians 6:18 he said that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with our spirit; and in 2 Timothy 4:22 he said that the Lord is with our spirit. The Lord as the all-sufficient grace is with our spirit, and we can conquer all the satanic chaos and carry out the unique divine economy by Him as our all-sufficient grace.

B. According to the Truth, of Which the Church,
the Manifestation of God in the Flesh,
Is the Pillar and Base

We can conquer all the satanic chaos and carry out the divine economy according to the truth, of which the church, the manifestation of God in the flesh, is the pillar and base (1 Tim. 3:15-16). The rebellious ones cannot shake the church in the Lord's recovery, because the church is the pillar and base of the truth. The pillar supports the building, and the base holds the pillar. The church is the pillar supporting the truth, and the base holding the truth. Because the church is the pillar and base of the truth, we need to be those who teach the truth. Our teaching of the truth will enlighten the darkened people, inoculate against the poison, swallow up the death, and bring the distracted back to the proper track. ( The Satanic Chaos in the Old Creation and the Divine Economy for the New Creation , pp. 75-77)

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