LOCAL ADMINISTRATION YET ONE BODY BEARING ONE TESTIMONY
In the United States, the Californians can say that they do not need to keep the laws in New York or Texas, and the people in Illinois can say that they would not keep the laws in California. According to the decision made at the conference in Jerusalem, however, a principle was established that all the churches should keep the same kind of “law” and bear the same kind of testimony. Whether Jewish or Gentile, all the churches are just one Body and all the churches bear one testimony. In their administration the churches might be different from one another in their locality, yet their testimony should still be one because they all are one Body under the one ministry and one move of the Lord. This is my burden in this chapter. I hope this could be impressed into you.
The reason why I am sharing this at this time is because in the Lord’s recovery over the entire earth, there are signs coming out to indicate that there is a certain realization that the churches in different regions under certain kinds of work have the freedom to be different. For instance, the brothers in the Far East may think that the testimony there and the Lord’s move there should be different from the United States. They could take a strong excuse that they are not Americans, but that they are Chinese. They also may feel that they can be different because they were at the initial stage of the Lord’s recovery and the United States came into the Lord’s recovery later. On the other hand, some of the American saints may think that they are Americans and that they could not be the same as the oriental brothers and sisters in the Lord’s move for His testimony. You may have never heard such a word or have said such a word, but such a thing is secretly hidden there and has crept in unconsciously. This is an illustration between the continents, between the eastern hemisphere and the western hemisphere. Also, the African churches may feel that they can never be the same as the American churches, and the South American churches may think that they cannot be the same as the European churches.
The United States is quite large with fifty states and with over eighty churches in the Lord’s recovery. I think many of you have an impression and the tendency to think that the work is divided into regions and that certain regions would not touch other regions. Also, these regions would not be touched by other regions. No one has said this, but the situation already exists in this way. It seems as if every region has its own jurisdiction just like a local church has its own jurisdiction. We must realize that every church should have its own local jurisdiction, but this is only for administration. It is not for the testimony or for the Lord’s move.
An Example of Local Administration
Let me give an example to illustrate what I mean by the legislation or jurisdiction being for administration. The number of meetings which the church in Anaheim should have cannot be decided by the church in New York. Neither can it be decided by the church in Cypress. Although Cypress is so close to Anaheim, this should and can only be decided by the church in Anaheim.
(Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)