The Intrinsic and Organic Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ – Week 4
The Intrinsic Fellowship of the Churches for Their Organic Relationship
1 Cor. 12:28
28 And God has placed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then works of power, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
22 And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
23 Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.
1 Cor. 12:11, 18
11 But the one and the same Spirit operates all these things, distributing to each one respectively even as He purposes.
18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, even as He willed.
Eph. 4:17, 29, 32
17 This therefore I say and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk in the vanity of their mind,
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, according to the need, that it may give grace to those who hear.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ also forgave you.
31 So then the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it was multiplied.
The organic relationship of the churches is the unique relationship of the unique church—the universal church composed of all the local churches (1 Cor. 12: 28). Today in the Lord’s recovery there are… many local churches, but there is only one unique, universal, and intrinsic fellowship, which is for the organic relationship of the churches.
The elders of each of the local churches should consider what kind of relationship they have with the other churches. Is their relationship limited to the brothers in their locality, or are they in fellowship with all the churches in the Lord’s recovery?… Two churches may be very close to one another geographically yet… may not want to let each other know about their affairs…. The relationship of every church should be the unique, universal fellowship of the divine life. In this fellowship the churches should not have anything private, except certain cases of individuals involving confidential and personal matters. (CWWL, 1989, vol. 4, “The Organic Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ to Be the Organism of the Processed and Dispensing Triune God,” pp. 314-315)
All the local churches are one church…. Their relationship is not organizational. The relationship of the churches must be organic according to the divine life and based on the organic fellowship of the divine life. If we keep this view, we will be saved from many problems.
When the first group of apostles was on the earth, the churches were organically one. After a time, however, the churches began to degrade and became divided…. In the proper sense all the churches should be “catholic”; they should be universally one. The word catholic, however, has been spoiled. The Catholic Church has created a great hierarchy,…[ which] annuls the headship of Christ. We should hate such a hierarchical practice.
When the Brethren were raised up, they strongly attacked the hierarchical practice of Catholicism. Eventually, however, the Brethren became divided over their doctrinal teachings…. One teacher, G. H. Lang, in reacting against Darby, taught that every local assembly should be autonomous. This teaching of autonomy ruined the Brethren, causing division after division.
We should care only to practice the Body life of the church as the organism of the Triune God. In the Lord’s recovery we do not practice autonomy or federation. We only have a practice based upon the unique and universal fellowship in the Body of Christ. The church in one locality should not have the attitude that they have nothing to do with the church in another locality…. The churches should not practice having a separate, autonomous relationship among them. It is also wrong for the churches to practice a federated relationship. We should practice the unique relationship based upon the unique and universal fellowship of the Body of Christ. The organic relationship of the churches is based on the unique and universal fellowship among all the members of the organic Body of Christ (cf. Phil. 2: 1).
This organic relationship is practiced uniquely and universally among all the local churches as the unique, organic Body of Christ—the unique church in the universe. (CWWL, 1989, vol. 4, “The Organic Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ to Be the Organism of the Processed and Dispensing Triune God,” pp. 317-318)
Further Reading: CWWL, 1984, vol. 2, “Elders’ Training, Book 4: Other Crucial Matters concerning the Practice of the Lord’s Recovery,” ch. 4
Corporate Reading of “Truth Messages” Chapter 6 – Sections: Sanctification By The Word And The Spirit; Learning To Deal With Our Opinions
© Living Stream Ministry, 2016, used by permission