Speaking to the Entire Body of Christ
One dissenting brother, who is striving by whatever means he can to discredit the brothers ministering as co-workers among the churches, attacks Brother Ron Kangas for a statement he made in the following paragraph from the Wednesday night ministry meeting in the spring 2001 full-time training in Anaheim:
We cannot enjoy Christ as the good land without the Body; we must be one with the Body to fight for the land, to possess the land, and to share our portion of the land (Num. 32:1-32; Josh. 22:1-9). We must be one with the Body—this is the whole church on the earth—to fight for the land, to possess the land, and to share our portion of the land. A particular local church, as a local church, cannot possess the all-inclusive Christ. The fifty-plus churches in Southern California are not sufficient to possess the all-inclusive Christ. We need the whole Body, the entire universal church in oneness. This is a fact. We must learn to have the church life on two levels simultaneously—the level of following the Lord's leading in our locality to take care of the local situation and the level of following the Lord's leading in the Body universally. The seven times a year that we come together are for the universal Body, for the speaking to the entire Body and for the Lord's leading to the whole Body. Any place that devalues these gatherings does so at their spiritual peril and indicates that they do not know the two levels of God's building according to Ephesians 2. They care for their place, but they do not care for the universal church. (Ron Kangas, "Possessing the Good Land," The Ministry Magazine, vol. 7, no. 9, p. 169) [the portion in italics is that cited by the dissenting brother]
According to this dissenter, Brother Ron made a serious mistake by saying that the speaking in the international trainings and conferences is for the entire Body. According to this dissenter's word, speaking to the entire Body is impossible, since the Body of Christ includes all believers without respect to time and space. He then quotes as a proof the following statement from Brother Nee: "... no one could speak at one time to all the children of God throughout the universe. It is only possible to speak at one time to the believers living in one place." He then declares in an indignant tone, "Yet this 'Blended Coworker' claims to do what Brother Nee says is impossible - to speak to the entire universal Body of Christ!" The dissenter does not tell his reader that the context of Brother Nee's speaking was not the releasing of the New Testament ministry, but of a believer telling his local church of "difficulties" he is having with another believer in the same local church:
"And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church" (Matt. 18:17). The word "church" is used here in quite a different sense from the sense in Matthew 16:18. The sphere of the church referred to here is clearly not as wide as the sphere of the Church mentioned in the previous passage. The Church there is a Church that knows nothing of time or place, but the church here is obviously limited both to time and place, for it is one that can hear you speak. The Church mentioned in chapter sixteen includes all the children of God in every locality, while the church mentioned in chapter eighteen includes only the children of God living in one locality; and it is because it is limited to one place that it is possible for you to tell your difficulties to the believers of whom it is composed. Obviously the church here is local, not universal, for no one could speak at one time to all the children of God throughout the universe. It is only possible to speak at one time to the believers living in one place. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 30, pp. 51-52) (The words in italics are those quoted by the dissenting brother.)
God's Speaking Is for the Whole Body
This dissenting brother inexplicably neglects a more applicable word from Brother Nee, in which he explicitly states that God's speaking is "toward the whole Body":
...The Head is one with the members, and the members are one with each other. Paul learned these two lessons from the beginning. He saw the life of the Body from the first day. This is why he was able to drop his self and accept the commission of the work, and why he was later able to commission others in the work. This shows us that God's speaking is not directed toward individuals, but toward the whole Body . (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 57, p. 108) [emphasis added, and so throughout the remainder of this article]
In a similar tone Brother Lee often spoke of the ministry meetings in general and the trainings in particular as points of injection for life and truth to enter the entire Body. His view was that whatever riches of Christ one local church experiences is not just for that church, but for the whole Body, which in practicality means for all of the other local churches.
Suppose the churches in a certain place hold the attitude that, as independent local churches, they want to go on by themselves and have nothing to do with other churches . In the eyes of the Lord, they may become local sects. All the churches should hold to Christ, be fitted together, and grow together into a holy temple in the Lord. When the churches are fitted together, whatever riches are experienced by one church will be spontaneously transfused into all the other churches. For example, a doctor may inject something into a person's arm, but the injected element is soon transfused throughout the person's body. In this way the whole body receives the benefit of the injection. How foolish it would be for certain members of the body to regard the injection as only for themselves! Whatever one church receives is for the whole Body. Therefore, we should not try to confine any experience of Christ to our locality. We should realize that whatever we receive of Christ is to be transfused into the rest of the Body . (Life-study of Ephesians, p. 733)
Both Brother Nee and Brother Lee spoke many times of the entire Body in terms that could only be applied practically to all of the local churches in the one Body of Christ on the earth today. If we follow the dissenter's faulty analysis, we must even reject their speaking and even the language by which the Bible itself speaks of the building up of the universal Body of Christ.
In his last phase of his ministry, Brother Nee spoke repeatedly of the need for the service of "the entire Body." In context his use of "the entire Body" in these passages applies either to all of the members of a particular local church as a local manifestation of the one Body of Christ or to all of the saints in all of the local churches:
... May we all have a heart to serve two or three hours in the church taking care of God's affairs, serving God, and serving His people so that the entire Body will go forward. Never make the work your own work. We need the entire Body to work there and to learn there. Therefore, we need brothers and sisters to come and be on duty to take care of the affairs. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 51, p. 114)
The Whole Body Serving Being the Greatest Recovery Today
We have to see that if the one-talented ones do not rise up to serve, there is no way for the church to go on. The priesthood is a universal priesthood. This is the greatest recovery of this century. Many people think that the matter of service is the work of a few people, but true service involves the whole Body . As long as this matter is not fully recovered, we have to go on speaking. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 57, p. 114)
May the Lord bless the church in Hong Kong and grant all of us grace to learn submission. May we all learn the spiritual principles so that the entire Body will learn to serve in coordination. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 62, p. 439) 1
If this dissenting brother really believed his own contorted reasoning, he would also condemn Brother Nee. How can "the entire Body" rise up to function, when many have already died? How can "the entire Body" "learn to serve in coordination" if some are living and some are dead? Did Brother Nee really expect that all Christians, including those in Roman Catholicism and the denominations and free groups, would rise up to function? Or was Brother Nee denying that the mystical Body of Christ includes believers in Catholicism and Protestantism? All of these propositions are absurd, yet they are the logical outcome of the dissenting brother's artificial attempt to enforce a definition of "the entire Body" as "all believers regardless of time or space" whenever the term is used.
The last phase of Brother Lee's ministry was highlighted by an emphasis on entering into the reality of the Body of Christ as the goal of the practice of the local churches. In his last public conference, the Chinese-speaking conference in February 1997, he equated the blending of the entire Body of Christ with the mutual fellowship among the churches.
We must have the reality of the fellowship and blending of the Body of Christ. Otherwise, regardless of how much we pursue and how simple and humble we are, sooner or later there will be problems, even divisions, among us. Hence, we must be governed by the vision of the Body and follow in the footsteps of the apostle by bringing all the saints in all the churches into the blending life of the entire Body of Christ . (The Experience of God's Organic Salvation Equaling Reigning in Christ's Life, p. 71)
This matched his speaking in the elders' trainings held in the mid-1980s in which he expressed the need for local churches to consider the effect of receiving a ministry different from "the general ministry" among the churches as a matter that affects the entire Body:
Let me cite another illustration to show that something done by a local church may not merely be a local church matter, but fully related to the entire Body . For a local church to receive a ministry that is different from the general ministry which produces the churches, establishes the churches, and is still edifying the churches affects the entire Body .... (Elders' Training, Book 4: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, p. 32)
When the dissenting brother condemns Ron Kangas, he also condemns Brother Nee and Brother Lee. Based on the context of Brother Lee's speaking above, one would have to say "the entire Body" refers to all of the genuine local churches on the earth today as the practical expressions of the Body of Christ. This is even more evident in the following excerpt:
To make a little difference in your local church from all the other churches is a serious thing. We can see an example of this by looking at our own physical body. If a doctor only cares for the arm of his patient, this care may damage the entire body. A good doctor or a surgeon never does things in this way. Whatever he does, he does it under the full consideration of the entire body. This is a proper doctor. Otherwise, you may think you are healing a person, but after two hours he dies because of your "healing." In like manner, in everything we do we must consider the entire Body . We must also consider what kind of impression we will leave to the Christians for the future . (Elders' Training, Book 4: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, pp. 56-57)
Here Brother Lee begins by speaking about "all the other churches" and concludes by saying we must "consider the entire Body." According to the context, to consider the entire Body is to consider the effect of making "your local church different from all the other churches."
In this passage Brother Lee also says that in addition to considering the entire Body, we must consider "the Christians for the future." According to the truth that the one universal Body of Christ includes all believers without regard to time and space, are not the Christians in the future also part of "the entire Body"? It is clear in context that what Brother Lee meant by "the entire Body" is all of the local churches on the earth today and that his use of "the entire Body" is not meant in an exclusive way but simply to address those seeking to experience the practicality of the Body life in the local churches.
The expressions used by Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and Ron Kangas are also consistent with the language of the Bible, particularly of the epistles of the apostle Paul.
Eph. 4:11-12 -  And He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers,  For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.
Eph. 4:16 - Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.
Col. 2:19 - And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.
Eph. 2:21-22 -  In whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;  In whom you 2also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.
fn. 2:222 - Also indicates that the building in v. 21 is universal and that the building in this verse is local. Universally, the church is uniquely one and is growing universally; locally, the church in a particular locality also is one, and the local saints are being built together in their particular locality.
In Ephesians 4:16 the apostle Paul wrote that "all the Body" grows out from the Head through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part. This growth is unto the building up of the Body in love. "Every joint of the rich supply" here refers to the gifted members in the Body who have a more substantial function in ministry. In context "every joint of the rich supply" refers to the gifted members (v. 11) who perfect "the saints unto the work of the ministry" (v. 12) so that they can operate in their measure as "each one part" (v. 16) for the building up of the Body. The salient point is this: Although the "joints of the rich supply" and "each one part" exist within the limitations of time and space, their functioning results in "all the Body" building itself up.
Verse 16 indicates that growth is not for individuals, but for the Body. Any growth that is not for the Body is not genuine. The words "each one part" refer to every member of the Body. Every member of the Body of Christ has its own measure, and this measure works for the growth of the Body. The Body causes the growth of itself through the supplying joints and working parts. Both the joints of the supply and every single part with its measure are needed for the church to build itself up. The growth of the Body is the increase of Christ in the church. This results in the Body building itself up.
A. Every Joint of the Supply
In this verse Paul speaks of "every joint of the supply." This refers to the specially gifted persons, such as those mentioned in verse 11. The article before the Greek word rendered "supply" is emphatic. It indicates that the supply should be a particular supply, the supply of Christ. As the leading ones, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers have the supply, the particular supply.... (Life-study of Ephesians, p. 386)
In Ephesians 2:21-22 Paul speaks of both the universal and local aspects of the building up of the church.
As the believers experience the dispensing of the divine Trinity corporately by living in the church, they are built in the church. Referring to Christ, the cornerstone, Paul in Ephesians 2:22 says, "In whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit." The word "you" refers to the local saints. Furthermore, the word "also" indicates that the building in this verse is local. According to the context, the dwelling place of God in 2:22 is local, whereas the holy temple in the preceding verse is universal. In verse 22 Paul is saying that the local saints, the saints in Ephesus, were being built together in Christ into a dwelling place of God. Therefore, in verses 21 and 22 Paul covers both the universal aspect and the local aspect of the church. All the building is growing—this refers to the universal aspect. The believers in a particular locality are being built together—this is the local aspect. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, Messages 157-171, p. 1773)
Verse 22 says, "In Whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit." The word "you" here, which refers to the local saints, indicates that the building in verse 21 is universal and the building in verse 22 is local. In this verse Paul was saying that the local saints, the saints in Ephesus, were being built together in Christ into a dwelling place of God. Therefore, in these verses Paul covered both the universal aspect and the local aspect of the church. All the building is growing—this refers to the universal aspect. The believers in a particular locality are being built together—this is the local aspect.
...Apart from the universal temple, there is not another temple called the local temple. The temple and the dwelling place refer to two aspects of the same thing.... (Life-study of Ephesians, p. 237)
Although God's people are limited in time and space, both their functioning in the building up of the Body of Christ and the building itself are for the building up of a mystical reality that is not limited to time and space. It is for "all the Body" (Eph. 4:16) and "all the building" (Eph. 2:21). Thus, the ministry of the Spirit and the speaking of God through the ministry of the Word is not something that is simply for the direct hearers limited to a particular time and place. Would the dissenters argue that God's speaking in the recovery of the truth of justification in the time of Martin Luther was only for that time and place? How, then, is the recovery of the truths concerning the economy of God to build up the Body of Christ through His divine dispensing to consummate the New Jerusalem any different in principle?
Furthermore, the ministry in the Lord's recovery has always taught that the truths we enjoy and the church life we practice are not only for ourselves, but also for all believers and that we must seek to be faithful in handling what the Lord has entrusted to us for the sake of the building up of his entire Body. The argument of the dissenters that the speaking in the international trainings and conferences is only for the attendees of those events is even more absurd when you consider that the speaking is recorded and disseminated throughout the churches around the globe.
Collectively the Local Churches Are the Universal Church
The dissenter's criticism of Brother Ran Kangas comes in an article in which the dissenter attacks another co-worker for equating the universal church as the Body of Christ with the local churches. He claims that "such a divergence from the scriptural truth concerning the Body, as it has been brought to us by Brothers Nee and Lee, may have serious consequences." As we have pointed out in the article "Did Minoru Chen 'Go Beyond What Has Been Written'?" Brother Lee used the terms "the Body" and "the recovery" interchangeably when speaking of the practicality of the Body of Christ realized in all the local churches. He also directly stated many times that the universal church is composed of all of the local churches. For example:
Rom. 16:4 - Who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the 3churches of the Gentiles.
fn. 16:4 3 - The Body of Christ as the universal church is unique (Eph. 1:23; 4:3). When this universal church appears in many localities on earth, it becomes the many churches. Therefore, this verse refers to the churches. The churches exist in various localities that all the saints may live the church life and have the practice of the church in the locality where they are.
Rev. 1:4 - John to the seven churches which are in 2Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.
fn. 1:4 2 - Asia was a province of the ancient Roman Empire, and in that province were the seven cities mentioned in v. 11. The seven churches were in those seven cities, respectively; they were not all in one city. This book does not deal with the one universal church but with the local churches in many cities. First, in Matt. 16:18 the church is revealed as universal, and then in Matt. 18:17 it is revealed as local. In Acts the church was practiced in the way of local churches, such as the church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1), the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17), and the churches in the provinces of Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:41). The Epistles were written to the local churches, except for a few written to individuals. Not one was written to the universal church. Without the local churches, the universal church has no practicality or actuality. The universal church is realized in the local churches. Knowing the church in its universal aspect must be consummated in knowing the church in its local aspect. It is a great advance for us to know and practice the local churches. Concerning the church, the book of Revelation is in the advanced stage. To know this book, we must advance from the understanding of the universal church to the realization and practice of the local churches, because this book is written to the local churches. Only those who are in the local churches are positioned rightly, with the right angle and the proper perspective, to see the visions in this book.
The Triune God is expressed in Christ (John 1:1, 14; 1 Tim. 3:16; Col. 2:9); Christ is realized and experienced as the Spirit (John 14:16-18; 1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17; Rom. 8:9; Phil. 1:19) and is expressed in His Body, the universal church (Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:4); and the universal church is expressed in the local churches. Therefore, to know and experience God, we need to know and experience Christ; to know and experience Christ, we need to participate in the universal church through the Spirit; and to participate in the universal church, we need to participate in the local churches.
All the Local Churches Being the One, Unique Universal Church
Just because a group of believers are meeting in your locality, it does not mean that the Body is there. Today on this earth, there are many Christian groups. You may have the thought that your local church has nothing to do with other churches and should not be in any connection with other churches. This thought isolates your local church, making it no longer a part of the Body of Christ. The Body is unique in the whole universe. There may be thousands of local churches, but there is still just one Body. All the local churches are the one, unique universal church, the one Body of Christ. (Further Consideration of the Eldership, the Region of Work, and the Care for the Body of Christ, pp. 14-15)
...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. ... (The Crystallization-study of the Epistle to the Romans, Messages 1-17, p. 5)
All the Local Churches Being the One Unique Body of Christ in the Universe
All the local churches are the one unique Body of Christ in the universe (Eph. 4:4). Every local church is a part of this universal Body, a local expression of this unique Body. This one universal church, the one Body, comprises all the local churches. There may be thousands of local churches, but together they constitute one universal church. The universal church is the unique Body of Christ, and all the local churches are simply the local expressions of this one Body. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, Messages 189-204, p. 2156)
The church of God, as the living Body of Christ, needs the local churches for its existence and function. Without the local churches, the Body of Christ has no way to exist and to carry out its function in practicality. Actually, the local churches are the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is all the local churches . (A Brief Presentation of the Lord's Recovery, p. 30) 2
All the local churches are part of the universal church, not something in addition to it or apart from it. All the local churches added together equal the universal church. This means that apart from the local churches there is no universal church. Hence, the building of the local church is the building of the universal church. All the local churches have just one building. The church in Anaheim does not have one building; the church in Chicago, another; and the church in New York, still another. However, our natural concept of the building is that there is a different building in each locality. In this universe there is just one building with a universal aspect and a local aspect. No matter how many churches there may be on earth, there is still just one building with these two aspects. (Life-study of Ephesians, p. 238)
In this sense, "the Body of Christ" refers to all of the local churches as the representatives of the mystical Body of Christ manifested in localities throughout the earth at the present time. Both the universal Body of Christ and the local churches are inclusive. The universal Body of Christ includes all believers. A local church includes all believers in a locality. Nevertheless, there is the need for some to take a standing to practice both the local church and the universal fellowship of the one Body of Christ. From the beginning of the Lord's recovery among us in the 1920s, a central goal has been to recover the reality and practicality of the Body of Christ according to the biblical pattern of one church in each city with each local church properly related to the other local churches in the fellowship of the one Body.
The Principle of the Remnant
In a conference in Cleveland in 1977, Brother Lee referred to the local churches' return to the ground of oneness to practice the Body life according to the New Testament pattern as "the recovered Body," based on the principle of the remnant:
Deut. 12:5 - But to the place which Jehovah your God will choose out of all your tribes to put His name, to His habitation, shall you seek, and there shall you go.
Ezra 1:2-3 -  Thus says Cyrus the king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth has Jehovah the God of heaven given to me; and He has charged me to build Him 1a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him; and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and let him build the house of Jehovah the God of Israel - He is God - who is in Jerusalem.
fn. 1:2 1 - The particular intention of the recovery of Israel from their captivity was to rebuild the temple as God's house on the earth among His elect and to re-establish the kingdom of God on the earth for the accomplishing of God's eternal economy. Likewise, the particular intention of the Lord's recovery of the church in this age is to have all the saints come together in their localities to be built up together as the house of God in many cities (Eph. 2:22 and notes; Rev. 1:11 and note). Through such a house God will have His kingdom for the carrying out of His economy.
The Body is one. Some Christians may argue with us and say, "You say that the Body is one. But the Body is divided. How can you be the unique Body?" We do not say that we are the unique Body. But we are the recovered Body. At least, we are the recovered part of the Body.
Consider the illustration of the children of Israel in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 12, 14, 15, and 16 the Lord charged them again and again to worship Him at the unique center, which preserved the oneness of God's people. Eventually, many were captured, and some were taken to Syria, others to Egypt, and the rest to Babylon. Thus, they were captured and divided. To be divided means to be captured. Today nearly all Christians have been captured, some to the Presbyterian denomination, some to the Baptist denomination, and a great many to the Catholic Church. When the children of Israel were dispersed and scattered, their oneness was lost. After seventy years, God commanded them to return to Jerusalem. But according to history, only a small remnant returned under the leadership of Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah. They were a group of recovered Israelites. After the return from Babylon, there were four groups: one in Syria, one in Egypt, one in Babylon, and one in the holy land. Apparently, each group was a division. But although the groups in Egypt, Syria, and Babylon were divisions, the group of the recovered ones in Jerusalem was not a division. Yes, they were a group, but they were not a division. Rather, they were the recovered Israel. Likewise, we in the Lord's recovery are the recovered Body . (The Spirit and the Body, pp. 182-183)
Brother Lee goes on to say in this passage that only those who returned to the proper standing could be considered the nation of Israel, even though they were a small minority of all Jews on the earth at that time. In the Bible there is such a principle of the remnant of the Lord's people who return to the proper standing so that God can accomplish His purpose in a particular age. When Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and Ron Kangas use the term "the entire Body" in reference to the churches in the Lord's recovery, it is in this sense.
Conducting Ourselves as Members of One Body
Understanding that all of the local churches comprise one Body does not deny that all believers in Christ are members of the one mystical Body of Christ, but it does mean that all of the saints and all of the churches in the Lord's recovery should conduct themselves as one Body.
The entire record of the book of Acts also shows us a group of people who always acted as the Body. From the very first chapter neither Peter, John, nor those one hundred twenty acted individually. Rather, all the actions of this group of people were the actions of the one Body. The one hundred twenty prayed together with one accord, and they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, preached the gospel, bore the testimony of Jesus, and always moved and acted as one Body (1:14; 2:1, 4, 14, 46-47). From chapter one to chapter twenty-eight, the actions of this group of people were the actions of one Body. (A General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, Part 1, p. 90)
At least I can testify for myself and for my senior brother, Brother Watchman Nee. We always behaved, acted, and took action in the recovery as one Body. This is why the Lord's recovery could exist on this earth over these past approximately seventy years. We do not have any organization to keep anything, but the recovery is still here. The recovery is still existing and has been kept by the principle of the Body. While I was ministering the word, I often considered Brother Nee. I considered what he spoke; I did not like to speak anything which was contradicting with his ministry. If I had spoken in a contradicting way, where would the recovery be today? We must know the Body. (The Issue of the Dispensing of the Processed Trinity and the Transmitting of the Transcending Christ, p. 91)
The Real Issue
This dissenting brother does not tell his readers that he is associated with a group of workers who conduct their own trainings and conferences at the same times as and in rivalry with the international trainings and conferences in the Lord's recovery. In this way, many of the saints in the churches in which they work are kept from receiving the Lord's speaking in the international gatherings and from blending with other churches and saints. Through this practice the small group of dissenting workers seeks to put their churches in their own pocket. 3 And yet this dissenting brother has the temerity to accuse others of not conducting themselves in a transparent fashion!
Even if we were to adopt the dissenter's premise that speaking to the entire Body of Christ is impossible, the speaking of the Lord through His ministry in the international gatherings of the churches would still be for all of the churches on the earth today, including the church where this dissenting one meets. The dissenter hopes to deter the saints and churches from this fellowship and to undermine the saints' heart for these gatherings by his continual attacks against the co-workers. What a shame that he would try to conceal his real agenda under the cloak of defending the truth! What a loss to those who would listen to his cleverly devised deceits!
This dissenting brother has obviously strayed from the basic understanding of our standing in the Lord's recovery. By arguing that the ministry cannot speak to the entire Body, he negates the intrinsic vision of our standing as the proper expression of the Body. The local churches stand on the ground of the genuine oneness of the Body of Christ. Their declaration is that they are the many practical local manifestations of the one mystical universal Body of Christ. Similarly, the ministry among us is a ministry carried out in the principle of the Body for and to the entire Body of Christ, including all of the local churches. To write that the speaking of the ones ministering among us is only for those physically present to hear them is to expose the writer's own lack or loss of vision.
The dissenter's real agenda is to vindicate the departure of the group of workers with which he is associated from the common fellowship of the co-workers all over the globe. This dissenting one's articles are not, as he pretends, an attempt to defend the truth, but rather part of a concerted effort to discredit the co-workers who seek to be blended, coordinated, and limited in the fellowship of the Body. Discarding the pattern of Brother Nee and Brother Lee who "always behaved, acted, and took action in the recovery as one Body," the dissenting ones are free to do "what is right in their own eyes" (Judges 21:25). They can go their own way without respect to the fellowship of the co-workers or the feeling of the other churches in the Body. This in itself is a great deviation from the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and the New Testament ministry and practice of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee.
1Other examples from Brother Nee's ministry include:
- The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 51, p. 64; and
- The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 62, pp. 258, 270, and 275.
2Other examples include:
- The Elders' Management of the Church, p. 12; and
- The Spirit and the Body, pp. 184-185.
3For Brother Lee's fellowship on this point, see:
- The Spirit and the Body, p. 189;
- The Governing and Controlling Vision in the Bible, p. 30-32;
- Life-study of Song of Songs, p. 59;
- Elders' Training, Book 4: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, pp. 52-53; and
- Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move, p. 89.