I. The Nature, Ground, and Condition of a Local Church
The term local church comes from Acts 13:1, which says, Now there were in Antioch, in the local church, prophets and teachers . But what is a local church? How does the Bible define it? Based upon his study of the New Testament, Witness Lee explains in this chapter that a local church is characterized by what he refers to as a nature, a ground, and a condition.
A. The Nature
1. The Church of GodPossessing the Divine Nature of God
The nature of a local church is actually the divine nature of God. Witness Lee states,
Concerning the nature of a local church, first we must realize that the church is the church of God (1 Cor. 1:2). A local church must be a church of God, possessing the divine nature of God. The title "the church of God" denotes not only that the church belongs to God, but also that the church must have the nature of God (128).
2. The Churches of ChristBeing in the Element of Christ
Witness Lee further explains that, in addition to possessing the divine nature, the local churches are also in the element of Christ:
Second, the churches are the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16b). A local church must be a church of Christ, being in the element of Christ. Every element has a nature, and the nature is the essence of the element. Christ is the element of the church, and God is the nature of the church. God is in Christ; this indicates that the nature is in the element. A local church must possess the divine nature of God and be in the element of Christ (128).
In sum, Witness Lee teaches that the local churches are of God—that is, having the divine nature of God, and of Christ—that is, existing in the element of Christ.
Copyright © 2001. Living Stream Ministry. All Rights Reserved.