The Practical Administration or Government of the Universal Church Is Realized in the Local Churches
Christ declared that He has given His authority to His Body for the carrying out of His will on the earth (Matt. 18:18). Since each of the many local churches represents the universal Body of Christ, anyone desiring to know Gods will and His way needs to live the Body life and remain in the fellowship of the local church under the headship of Christ. This matter was fully appreciated by Watchman Nee:
When Christ was on earth He referred to the church two timesin Matthew 16 and Matthew 18. In the first instance, He referred to the universal church, and in the second instance, He referred to the local church. In speaking of the authority of the local church, He said, If he refuses to hear the church also, let him be to you just like the Gentile and the tax collector (18:17). This verse shows us that the authority of the church is derived from its representation of Christ. Christ has given His authority to the church and authorized the church to execute His will on earth .The local church, being the local expression of the Body of Christ, has the headship of Christ and, therefore, can know the mind of Christ, which is always communicated to His Body. The local church declares the headship of Christ. 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 (v. 18). A person who sees the Body seeks fellowship and accepts the leading of the church .In order to know Gods will and His way, it is not enough for us to read the Bible or pray by ourselves. We have to be in the fellowship of the local church, live the Body life, and follow Gods leading in the Body.
(Watchman Nee, Mystery of Christ, 61-62)
Moreover, Gods practical administration with His authority is carried out through adequate and proper leadership in each local church. Witness Lee remarks:
To meet as a proper local church, we need to have the adequate and proper leadership for the keeping of a good order (1 Cor. 14:40) with the all-inclusive Christ as the center and the processed Triune God as the manifestation (Col. 3:10-11; 1 Tim. 3:15-16). In every church, we should have the proper leadership, and this leadership is the deputy authority, the authority representing God in His administration.
According to the principles ordained in Gods government, deputy authority is everywhere on earth. In a family there are the parents; in a school there are the teachers and the principal; and in a city there are the mayor and the police with the law courts. Without the proper government and the police, a city would not be in the proper order. It would become riotous without any deputy authority.
In the church life, we need to keep a good order by taking, receiving, and accepting the proper leadership.
(Witness Lee, Satanic Chaos, 122)
Both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee agree that the local church is the proper place for believers to contact God's deputy authority on earth. God's administration of the universal church can only be carried out practically through local churches.
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