Local Aspect

Witness Lee has written much on the matter of the local church and the local churches. Here he gives a clear description of the local church, reminding the reader of its relationship to the universal church, the one church of God.

Witness Lee begins his discussion of the local aspect of the church with a clear, succinct definition:

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.

(Witness Lee, Incarnation, 32)

Lee, further notes:

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)

In relation to the local aspect of the church, Witness Lee says:

In God’s 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....An elder must have this twofold knowledge concerning God’s plan for the church. He must know the universal Church, and he must also know the local church. In other words, he must know the Church in its universal aspect, and he must know the church in its local aspect. 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....God’s 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....The New Testament shows us that the Church appears in the localities. It is in the different localities that God’s plan is realized.

(Witness Lee, Elders' Management, 11-12)

Witness Lee does a marvelous job of drawing a clear distinction between the universal and the local church while underscoring their intrinsic identification. The universal church is expressed through the local churches. It is made very clear in this passage by Witness Lee that the universal church and the local church should not be considered different kinds of churches. There is, Witness Lee declares, only one Church.

Next Page












Main | Universal | Local | Bibliography | Links

© 2001-2002. Living Stream Ministry. All Rights Reserved.