Letters from Norman
Sept. 27, 1981
Among so many loving letters I received is one from one of us with whom I had been very close since she first launched out to Congo, and we have shared mountains of correspondence through the years, so you will understand my writing her in especially endearing terms.
But as she so openly shared with me that It is true that I do not express things in quite the way you Union Life people do, and I do have those reservations about the spiritual wisdom of replacing the CONTAINER aspect Christ living in me with this strong emphasis in the BEING aspect Christ is me, Gods ministry through me is increasingly Gal.2:20, where I remain the CONTAINER as in 2 Cor. 4:7 carrying the light of the world to those in darkness, letting Him shine out of the lampMatt.5:16 and Phil. 2:15.
As she so beautifully and clearly put what I think many Weccers [missionaries with Worldwide Evangelization Crusade WECed] and others also think, I am going to be very bold and send you my answer and explanation (in my execrable typing!), to that part of her letter and mine to hers. I am bold to do this, and believe she wont mind my doing it, because I am so sure she is saying in one sentence what so many are saying, and I am so grateful to her for coming right out with it in a sentence (though I am taking many sentences in answering!); and I also realize that the Lord might give me my glorious calling to Himself any time, so that I want to take any final opportunity of sharing especially with my Weccers what God has made so real from the scriptures and the Spirit, and has really been so much my message since God gave Pauline and me such a part in the rebuilding of our precious WEC.
So this comes with my love and word of explanation.
Sept. 26, 1981
My precious Doris (I cant help still using the loving terms in which you are to me),
It was lovely getting such a letter from you yesterday, and though there are many precious loving letters coming in, some call for an immediate answer.
Yes, thank you for your caring love for both Pauline and me, and sharing our joy for her at home with her Loved One, and I, though of course missing her, rejoicing in the marvel of our 62 years in the Lords calling. In addition to our praise time when putting the body in the ground, and then in our home I was asked to have a memorial time on Sunday afternoon because there were so many younger ones who knew so little of her. So he gave me freedom and I really turned it into showing how step by step the Lord got us first in our whole relationship with Himself (describing the various stages), and then our married life as part of the joyful living sacrifice, and then on to leadings into the total faith life etc. from 1931 onward. They tell me the younger folk listened intently and word came back of some greatly quickened .
You see, you really hit the spot when you say your calling is to emphasize us as containers of Him, rather than the more dangerous emphasis on BEING–Christ is me. How I love you that as a Weccer you put the whole thing in one right nutshell, though I will hasten to say that we dont say Christ is me, though we sometimes may seem to. Of course HE only is our GLORIOUS ETERNAL CHRIST, but we do mean we are Christ in our form. You see, it is actually something we strongly say that we do not remain pots or containers (and they have now asked me to write on that for our Union Life mag!), because we are not pots or containers, but persons. In other words the container reality is the middle section of our famous Gal. 2:20: I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me ; whereas Paul (and we by grace) move right on to the third and last sectionthe life I now live I live Back from pot (container) to person!!
Indeed I have written my last book Yes I Am just to seek to tackle this paradox to its roots, and will hopefully send you a copy when it comes in the spring. You see, our point is that the human self is in one sense forever just the containervessel, branch, temple, slave (Rom. 6:16- 23), body-member; thus we actually have no human nature–merely vast human potential (like a computer). But our nature has always been which Deity expresses himself by us and his nature. From the Fall–the symbol, of course, of eating a fruit (which becomes you within)– the spirit of error began to live his life in us (Eph. 2:1-3the Satan fathers nature); 2 Cor. 4:4; and above all, Jesus own word You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do (John 8:44)not our lusts, but his lusts! And the same in 1 John 3:8-12 heading up in Cain of that wicked one. But Satan has duped us into thinking it is our human selves operating ourselves. His lie of independence.
And then by the precious blood, our outer sins and their consequences are blotted out; and by His body (which was our body wherein this sprit of error operated his nature), God actually MADE HIM SIN for ushow can we take that in, for sin is Satan expressing his satanic selfhood by us as us in our bodies. So His body was made sin. And then by body death out went that sin-spirit in its nature (Rom. 6:10 etc.); and so in our faith union out he went from being the operating god by us; and in the resurrection in came His own Spirit of truth and His nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
So then we first have to see our position as you say, as containers which we are forever, in order, via Rom.7, to be released from the false concept that we ran our own lives by self-effort, and to see that very self-effort was Satan, who is self for self, operating in us (Rom.7.17-20). So as containers we now see we have exchanged inner Gods, (that false phony god of this world, of course, for the Living God); and now are real human persons operating in our full liberated humanity as persons, yet knowing (through that middle term of Gal.2.20) that it is forever really He, not we, and now accept ourselves back as operating persons! Isnt that precisely what Jesus wasa total MAN in total human operation as a conscious self, saying I am, I am, yet then always saying I know and do nothing by Myself, and if you see Me you see the Father; and then 1 John 4.17 for us.
So you see, our struggle is how to put this paradox into words. We are more than containers. We are actually persons in His image, operating as conscious persons (and my Doris has surely been that all these glorious years!), and yet, yet, yet, it is NOT WE, BUT HE. So we struggle to say it as we are Christ in our human forms, with all the risk of being misunderstood as if we are saying we are Christ (which of course is of all things laughable, because when you finally know you were never more than a container with all those Bible symbols of our container-hood, and you have died to any false deceived concept of being something by ourselves, then we know we cannot be Christ or God and if anyone seems to imply they think we say that, they really judge themselves and those who might think it of themselves! Whereas for us it is LAUGHABLY IMPOSSIBLE!)
So I am saying that though your calling has been gloriously to underline the container aspect and have this glorious fruit among these girls (and it is necessary we have a time regarding ourselves as containers), yet in the maturity we see what you so blessedly are, that you ARE Doris spontaneously expressing Christ in your Doris form, even as you (me) did once express Satan. See even what Jesus called his loved Peter in Matt.16.23!
So I say we are actually giving the two sides of that precious Gal.2.20 coin; and you really give and live the final side, only your ministry has been the middle one! But, and I see it as the Lord, I somehow so put that, that my precious WEC has rejected it and me, and really think Ive somehow gone off the deep end doctrinally, whereas I deeply believe we are right on (though sometimes not in our lame expression of it), and I long to get it back over to our Weccers, because I know they labor in struggles with self-life or how to confront and handle Satan in outer life and others (another precious reality as in terms of Jesus word to PilateJohn 19.11); and I cant share with them. They are hidden when challenged with thats another question unfazed except by you in your letter! And of course I see God has used this kind of excommunication from ministry to WEC to open what is already a nation (on a small scale) and to become international (to the whole church) message which we call union life. And nothing different from what I have stood for in WEC these 60 years!!
So thank you for letting me share this and pour out to you just because we have in past days been such total co-sharers.
Jesus said, not you have the light, but you are the light! Glory!
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 20 No 2
- No Independent Self
- The Real Problem: Satans Lie
- Tape Talk
- Editors Note
- Sin Ruled My Life
- Reminiscences of Rees Howells The Village Years, Continued
- For the Shame of Christ
- A Look at a Book
- BIBLE STUDY:The Letterto the Romans
- Yes, I Am
- The Faith Life Has Its Tight Times
- Letters from Norman