Additional Quotes about the Local Church by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee
B. God Desires Those Who Are Part of This Body to Become Churches in the Different Localities
In Gods plan, He desires to have a Body for His Son in the universe. Yet in a practical way, God desires those who are part of this Body to become churches in the different localities. God desires that each one of these churches be a miniature and a representation, in the different localities, of the mystical Body of the Son of God.
Never consider the universal Church to be one kind of church, and the local church to be another kind of church. There is only one Church. Collectively speaking, it is the universal church, and locally speaking, it is the local churches. Strictly speaking, the local churches are the universal Church. The universal Church is simply the sum total of the local churches, and the local churches are simply the local manifestations of the universal Church. Without the local churches, there cannot be the universal Church
Gods plan is to have a Church in the universe as the Body of His Son for His expression. However, to carry out this plan, He has to set up local churches in the different localities. If He does not set up churches in the different localities, Gods universal plan for the church will be only an empty ideal with no way to be carried out. In order to carry out this plan, God has to set up churches in the different localities.
(Witness Lee, Elders Management, 11-12)
It is important that we know the church as the local churches to be the expression of the one church of God (Rev. 1:11; 1 Cor. 10:32). The church has both a universal aspect and a local aspect. In the local aspect the church is expressed in many localities as many local churches. The one universal church expressed in many places on earth becomes the many local churches. The expression of the church in a locality is the local church in that particular locality.
The universal church as the Body of Christ is expressed through the local churches. The local churches, as the expressions of the one Body of Christ, are locally one. Without the local churches there would be no practicality and actuality of the universal church. The universal church is realized in the local churches.
(Witness Lee, Incarnation, 32)
the church is constituted of all those who believe into Christ and who belong to Christ. On the one hand, this church is universal, and on the other hand, it is local. On the universal side, the church is both Gods house and the Body of Christ in the universe. On the local side, the church is the local manifestation of the house of God and the Body of Christ. These local manifestations are the many local churches which together form the one unique church in the universe.
In order to exist among mankind, this church is scattered over all the earth to become the many separate local churches. Each one has its elders for administration and its deacons for service. In business affairs the churches are independent and separate, but in life and nature they are still one universal Body, receiving the same apostles teaching, maintaining the one apostles fellowship, and bearing the one testimony for Christ for the accomplishment of Gods one plan (economy).
Quotes by WITNESS LEE
(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 1, Vol. 1, xxxiv)
The universal church is the totality of all the local churches, even as a body is the totality of all its members. If there are no members, there is no body. The universal church does not exist by itself; it is a composition of all the local churches.
(Witness Lee, Kingdom, 138)
On the one hand, the churches are local separately. On the other hand, all the local churches are still the one Body of Christ which is an organism, not a federation which is an organization. We need to meet as local churches separately according to what the New Testament says, but all the local churches are still the one Body of Christ.
(Witness Lee, Eldership (1), 52)
We have seen that the Body is one. Does this mean that the church in Cleveland is one Body, that the church in New York is another, and that the church in Anaheim is still another? If this were so, then there would be many local bodies. All the local churches are one Body. The church is not only locally one, but also universally one. All the local churches are one Body. We have seen that as long as we are in a division or outside the oneness, we are not in the Body. Now we must see that the Body is one both locally and universally. In the city of Cleveland there is just one Body, and in the entire universe there is still just one Body. If we truly intend to practice the Body life, we need to see that locally we are the Body and that universally we also are the Body.
(Witness Lee, Spirit and the Body, 184-185)
The Bible reveals that the church as the Body of Christ is universally and uniquely one. Because all the members of the Body of Christ exist on earth in different cities, this unique Body of Christ is expressed among people on earth in many citiesone city, one church. The local church in a city is a part of the Body. Therefore, we practice the local churches, and we also practice the universal Body of Christ.
(Witness Lee, LS of Judges, 60)
The last five chapters in Romans begin in chapter twelve with the Body of Christ and conclude in chapter sixteen with the local churches for the fellowship and communication of the Body of Christ. Do not think that the local churches are one distinct side, and the Body of Christ is another distinct side. These two sides are one entity. They refer to the same thing. The Body of Christ is unique in the universe, but it needs an expression on the earth. These expressions on the earth are the local churches. The local churches are the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is the local churches.
(Witness Lee, CS of Romans, 5)
We practice the local churches, and each of the local churches is autonomous in business affairs. But this does not mean that the local churches are divided. In a sense they are local churches, but all the local churches on this globe are just one church.
(Witness Lee, LS of Samuel, 65)
The Body of Christ is uniquely one universally (Eph. 4:4-6). Individually, we are members of the Body of Christ, and all the local churches are parts of this one unique Body of Christ. As those who are in the Body, we need to realize that we are one with all the saints in the entire universe. Ephesians 4:4-6 depicts a oneness that is universal: One Body and one Spirit, as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. In these verses we can see that the Triune God is mingled with the Body. The Body mentioned here is not local; rather, it is universal. This is the universal oneness of the Body of Christ.
(Witness Lee, Brief Presentation, 38)
Today the divisive people will use any excuse to be divisive. Yes, all the local churches are locally independent, yet universally they are one Body. We may say that there are many local churches, but we can never say that there are many bodies. Although there may be a thousand local churches, the Body of Christ universally is still one. Christ does not have more than one Body.
(Witness Lee, LS of Genesis, vol. 2, 456)
We are Gods plants by being grafted into Christ to be made branches of Christ as the great true vine. It is higher to be the branches of the true vine than it is to be an individual tree.
The local churches are not many trees. The churches are actually one tree with millions of branches. This one tree is Christ, the great vine tree, and we are the branches of this tree. We are the members of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15a; Rom. 12:5). All the churches are one Body, one tree.
(Witness Lee, LS of Psalms, 24)
The church in Corinth (v. 2b) was a church in a city, remaining in a definite locality and taking it as its standing, ground, and jurisdiction for its administration in business affairs. As such, it was physical, particular, local, and temporal in time. The church of God to whom Paul wrote was not in the heavens but in Corinth. Corinth was a very sinful, modern Greek city, which was famous for its fornication. However, the church remained in that locality for a local testimony of Christ. A local testimony of Christ is a part of the universal testimony of Christ. The universal testimony is composed of and constituted with the local testimonies.
(Witness Lee, Genuine Church, 8)
© 2001-2002. Living Stream Ministry. All Rights Reserved.