The Spirit and the Body, by Witness Lee

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According to the New Testament there are no high churches or low churches. Instead, all the churches are on the same level. Some who argue that the church in Jerusalem was higher than the others use as proof the fact that a conference was held there. The conference was held in Jerusalem because the apostles who had the ministry to build the churches were there. But this does not mean that the church in Jerusalem was higher than the other churches. There was a difference, but the difference was not with respect to the church, but with respect to the ministry of the apostles. Because the church in Jerusalem was not higher than the other churches, it would have been absolutely wrong for any brother who went out of Jerusalem representing Jerusalem to control other churches. No church should control another church, and no brother should exercise control over the churches.


All the churches need to have fellowship with one another. They should open to one another and receive help from one another. Any church that is not open to all the other churches is not healthy. Suppose the church in Cleveland is not open to the other churches, but is afraid that the other churches might interfere with its affairs. Cleveland then would be on the alert and would be careful not to be touched by the other churches. This attitude is wrong. In a recent meeting with the elders I encouraged them to visit other churches. I strongly told them that when they visit the churches they should not remain on the porch, but get into the inner circle of the church. If the churches do not bring the visiting elders into the inner circle, the elders should go back home.


This means that nothing should be kept secret. In the local churches there should be no secrecy. The shoulder keeps nothing secret from the other members of the body. If the shoulder keeps a secret, there must be a cancer there. Every part of the body must be completely open to all the other parts. Then it will be possible for the blood to circulate freely, and the body will be healthy.

When some hear this, they may say, "If we are so open to the other elders, they will invade us." Whoever holds this concept is himself an invader. This concept must be dropped. No human hand is needed to protect the glory in the temple. It is the Lord who causes the glory to come and to depart.

(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)