VI. ONE CHRIST IN HIS ASCENSION
For the one Body there is also one Christ in His ascension (Acts 2:32-36). Christ became God’s Anointed through His incarnation (Matt. 1:16). After His incarnation there was one man who was anointed by God to carry out God’s eternal economy on this earth. Then, after His resurrection and in His ascension Christ became God’s Anointed in a further and more official way.
After He was incarnated, He grew up until He was thirty years of age, and then He came out to minister. At that time, when He was being baptized, as He stood in the water, the Spirit was poured out upon Him (Matt. 3:16). That was the anointing of Christ after His incarnation for His ministry, mainly on the earth. Later, He died, and in resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit for the purpose of being God’s Anointed. When He ascended to the heavens, according to Acts 2:36, the man Jesus was made both Lord and Christ. This was a more official anointing to Him, making Him God’s Christ, God’s Anointed, to carry out God’s commission, mainly in His heavenly ministry. This is also a crucial base of the one Body of Christ.
VII. ONE BODY OF CHRIST
The one Body comes out of the one God, the one incarnation, the one Christ in His incarnation, the one crucifixion, the one resurrection, and the one Christ in His ascension. If we have seen this, do we dare to divide this Body, to create any division in this Body? Certainly not. Yet today some who were with us have dared to create division. A brother told one dissenting one that we cannot tolerate division. This dissenting one, who had created a division in Anaheim, then said that he would either dissolve that division or remove it out of Anaheim. When I heard this I said to myself, "If you could move that division even to Mars, it would still be a division." Division is division. Eventually, that division was moved out of Anaheim into a nearby city where a church had already been established. This incident shows how much the dissenting ones are in darkness concerning the Body of Christ. To merely know the doctrines in black and white does not mean very much.
In the spring of 1988 some of the dissenting ones began to distribute a book by G. H. Lang entitled The Churches of God. In this book Lang taught that a local church should be autonomous. Based on this book the dissenting ones began to promote the matter of autonomy among the churches. In the summer of 1988 in a conference in the San Francisco Bay Area, I spoke concerning the matter of autonomy. I told the saints that to consider the churches as altogether autonomous is wrong. The church in Ephesus was not independently autonomous. After appointing the elders in Ephesus (Acts 20:17; cf. 14:23), Paul visited the church in Ephesus and remained with the church once for three years (Acts 19; 20:31; 1 Cor. 16:8). Later, he wrote a letter to the church there (Eph. 1:1). On his way to Jerusalem, he sent some to call the elders of the church in Ephesus to come to him (Acts 20:16-17). On that visit Paul said, "You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you all the time...How I did not withhold any of those things that are profitable by not declaring them to you and by not teaching you publicly and from house to house...Therefore watch, remembering that for three years, night and day, I did not cease admonishing each one with tears" (vv. 18, 20, 31). This passage shows that the church in Ephesus was not independently autonomous but remained under the continual care of the apostle Paul and his ministry.
The one Body comes out of one God, one incarnation, one Christ in His incarnation, one crucifixion, one resurrection, and one Christ in His ascension. These six items are the base of the one Body. With these six items as the base, no one has any reason or any standing to make any division in the Body of Christ.
(One Body and One Spirit, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)