A Letter to Sister LiHua: I understand The Relationship Between Bible and God
Dear Li Hua,
I am Fang Di. It has been more than half a year since we have seen each other. How are you doing in Canada? I have some good news for you: I’ve accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, and I want to share my experiences of investigating Almighty God’s work with you. Before, I was full of the pastors and elders’ words, believing that belief in God required the Bible, that there was no other words or work of God outside of the Bible, and that leaving the Bible was betraying the Lord. I was bound by these notions, so when the sisters from the Church of Almighty God spread the gospel to me, I refused to listen to their fellowship. Later they mailed me a book of The Word Appears in the Flesh and told me if I read Almighty God’s words more, all my notions and questions would be resolved.
One day, a sudden thought crossed my mind: What is written in this book? What questions can it resolve? Out of curiosity, I read the book and saw the following words: “For many years, people’s traditional means of belief (that of Christianity, one of the world’s three major religions) has been to read the Bible; departure from the Bible is not a belief in the Lord, departure from the Bible is heterodoxy and heresy, and even when people read other books, the foundation of these books must be the explanation of the Bible. Which is to say, if you believe in the Lord, then you must read the Bible, and outside the Bible you must not worship any book that does not involve the Bible. If you do, then you are betraying God” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading the words, I was stunned, because these words revealed my views and attitude toward the Bible so clearly and went straight into my heart. After I believed in the Lord, I had never read any books other than the Bible. For I thought faith was faith in the Bible, that leaving the Bible meant leaving the Lord’s way and betraying the Lord. These words revealed my views about the Bible so accurately that I felt no ordinary people could speak them.
Thus, I eagerly read the book and came across this passage: “From the time when there was the Bible, people’s belief in the Lord has been the belief in the Bible. Instead of saying people believe in the Lord, it is better to say they believe in the Bible; rather than saying they have begun reading the Bible, it is better to say they have begun believing in the Bible; and rather than saying they have returned before the Lord, it would be better to say they have returned before the Bible. In this way, people worship the Bible as if it were God, as if it were their lifeblood, and losing it would be the same as losing their life. People see the Bible as being as high as God, and there are even those who see it as higher than God. If people are without the work of the Holy Spirit, if they cannot feel God, they can carry on living—but as soon as they lose the Bible, or lose the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible, then it is as if they have lost their life. And so, as soon as people believe in the Lord they begin reading the Bible, and memorizing the Bible, and the more of the Bible they are able to memorize, the more this proves that they love the Lord and are of great faith. Those who have read the Bible and can speak of it to others are all good brothers and sisters. For all these years, people’s faith and loyalty to the Lord has been measured according to the extent of their understanding of the Bible” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Having read these words, I could hardly calm myself down, for every sentence was a true portrayal of my attitude toward the Bible. Thinking back on my days following the Lord: I consider studying the Bible and reciting the scriptures inseparable from my life. When contacting with brothers and sisters, I keep famous chapters and sayings from the Bible constantly in my mouth, and moreover, I can expend for the Lord, so brothers and sisters praise me as one who understands the Bible the best and who is loyal to and loves the Lord. I even hold the Bible above my head when I pray, for I think the Bible and the Lord are indivisible. Without the Bible, I don’t know how to believe in the Lord; it has become my whole life, even to the extent that I see it as higher than the Lord. At this thought, I was amazed: Do these words really come from God? Otherwise, who can have such a thorough understanding of mankind and express the words that pierce through people’s hearts? Just like the Bible said: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). “Do these words really come from God?” Carrying this question, I continued to read and came upon these words: “Most people simply do not understand why they should believe in God, nor how to believe in God, and do nothing but search blindly for clues to decipher the chapters of the Bible. People have never pursued the direction of the work of the Holy Spirit; all along, they have done nothing but desperately study and investigate the Bible, and no one has ever found newer work of the Holy Spirit outside of the Bible. No one has ever departed from the Bible, nor have they ever dared to do so” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). These words caused me to sink into contemplation again. I pondered: Is our belief in the Lord according to the Bible wrong? The word and work of the Lord are all within the Bible, which was correct. However, what do the direction of the work of the Holy spirit and the newer work of the Holy Spirit refer to? I remembered that the sisters from the Church of Almighty God told me God has carried out a new stage of work. So I wondered: Is there really a new work of the Lord outside the Bible? Since I couldn’t figure it out, I decided to contact the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God to find the answer.
Later, I had contact with them over Skype and a sister fellowshiped with me, saying, “The Lord: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come’ (John 16:12-13). The Spirit of truth undoubtedly refers to God Himself. We can know from these words that there were many things and words that the Lord Jesus didn’t say in the Age of Grace and they were not recorded in the Bible either. For at that time, men had just been led out of the law by the Lord Jesus and their statures were too small to understand the higher truth. Therefore, God will come again in the last days to express the higher truth to supply people and carry out new work to lead them. Then, how can we say that there is no word and work of God outside of the Bible? Isn’t this the conception and imagination of man? As we all know, God is the Creator and the source of life for all things; His wisdom and omnipotence can’t be fathomed by any created being; His richness is inexhaustible in supply and is always available for use. God’s disposition and what He has and is revealed in every stage of His work is only a part of His disposition. What man saw and understood at the time was only the tip of the iceberg, just a drop in the barrel. So aren’t the things recorded in the Bible more limited? If we only come to know God from the records of the Bible or have gained a superficial knowledge of God’s work and His disposition by experiencing two stage of His work, can we have a complete understanding of God? Can we say that we have obtained truth and salvation? Can we draw the conclusion that God’s management plan has concluded in its entirety? In fact, the view that there is no work and word of God outside the Bible is merely man’s conception and imagination and it is not in accordance with the facts. Just as Almighty God says: ‘The work of God in each age has clear boundaries; He does only the work of the current age, and never carries out the next stage of work in advance. Only thus can His representative work of each age be brought to the fore. Jesus spoke only of the signs of the last days, of how to be patient and how to be saved, of how to repent and confess, and of how to bear the cross and endure suffering; never did He speak of how man in the last days should achieve entry, nor of how he should seek to satisfy God’s will. As such, is it not ridiculous to search the Bible for God’s work of the last days? What can you see by merely clutching the Bible? Be it an expositor of the Bible or a preacher, who could have seen the work of today in advance?’ (“How Can Man Who Has Delimited God in His Notions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From these words, we know that God never clings to the old ways or does the work of the next age ahead of time. Rather, He works in steps and according to His plan and never interrupts His own work. Just like it was in the Age of Law, Jehovah God only decreed laws for men to abide and led them in their lives on earth, making them know what sin was, and He never told them His work in the Age of Grace. So the Old Testament only predicted the Lord Jesus would come and didn’t record His work in the Age of Grace. Only after the Lord Jesus came and carried out the work in the Age of Grace did people compile His work and words into the New Testament. It is the same regarding God’s work in the last days. The Lord Jesus merely predicted His work in the last days but He had not done it, so God’s work in the last days could not possibly have been recorded in the Bible.
Through reading God’s word and listening to the fellowship of the sister, I came to understand: The Bible merely testifies of God and records the work He has done in the past. If we blindly believe in God according to the Bible without understanding it, we will define God’s work with our conceptions and imaginations. God asks us to honor Him as great, but I see the Bible as higher than God, and even use the Bible to measure God and define His work. I am really disobedient to God! At that moment, I was both afraid and surprised. I was afraid that I would resist God because of my conception, while I was surprised because these words sounded like the voice of God and there was truth in them. I decided to listen to their fellowships carefully. Afterward, we read Almighty God’s word: “Since there is a higher way, why study that low, outdated way? Since there are newer utterances, and newer work, why live amid old historical records? The new utterances can provide for you, which proves that this is the new work; the old records cannot sate you, or satisfy your current needs, which proves that they are history, and not the work of the here and now. The highest way is the newest work, and with the new work, no matter how high the way of the past, it is still the history of people’s reflections, and no matter its value as reference, it is still the old way. Even though it is recorded in the ‘holy book,’ the old way is history; even though there is no record of it in the ‘holy book,’ the new way is of the here and now. This way can save you, and this way can change you, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s words are so clear and transparent. I came to know that God has done a new work and expressed new words. Only when we accept the new work and word of God, can we receive the work of the Holy Spirit and attain the supply of the truth. It is just like in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus led men out of the law, gave them mercy and lovingkindness, and had them obey the new commandments. All those who followed the Lord’s new work had the work of the Holy Spirit. By reading Almighty God’s word, I felt I had more spiritual knowledge which I had never understood when reading the Bible.
Since then, I decided to make a good investigation of Almighty God’s work. Afterward I looked at their videos and movies on the Church of Almighty God’s website and attended their meetings, which made me have a new understanding of the Church of Almighty God and the work of Almighty God. I felt that the Church of Almighty God had the Holy Spirit’s work and that there was truth in Almighty God’s words, so I confirmed that Almighty God is indeed the returned Lord Jesus and gladly accepted His work of the last days.
Now the kingdom gospel of Almighty God is expanding to every country and in every direction. I hope you can seek and investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days so as to follow God’s footsteps soon.