REGARDING THE ONE BODY—TAKING CARE OF THE LORD’S TESTIMONY
Remember that you are not the only local church on this earth. The distance between the churches means nothing, especially due to the fact that we are living in an age of modern means of communication. Any church on the earth can be reached in a matter of seconds by means of a telephone call. Whatever you do in your locality is a part of the Lord’s recovery. We must take care of the churches, the Body. We must ask ourselves, “Could the Body take this? Could the Body say Amen to us?”
In practice there were regions during Paul’s and Peter’s time. However, we must realize that it would have been wrong for the brothers in Judea to say that they were in one region and that Paul who was with the Gentile churches in another region should not bother them. It is wrong to have the attitude that the churches in another region have nothing to do with us. Whether we are in Jerusalem, Rome, Corinth, or Antioch, all the churches are one Body bearing one testimony.
Some of you may feel that through my fellowship I am now trying to carry out Catholicism and that this is the “Catholic Church.” Actually, the word “catholic” is a good word, but it has been spoiled, damaged, contaminated, corrupted, and ruined by the so-called Roman Catholic Church. All the churches should be catholic. We should be under one catholic move, bearing one catholic testimony. We should be this way because this is one Body. We should not consider that just because we brothers are working in a certain region covering a few states that this is our region. Thank the Lord that you began the work there. Peter also began the work in Judea, but if he thought that was his region and not Paul’s region, that would be wrong. Thank the Lord that He used you to begin the work in that state or in those two states. Thank the Lord that He used me to begin the work in California. However, if I consider that California is my region and not your region this is wrong. We cannot do this.
I believe that Peter never thought this way and Paul never had this concept. When Paul encountered the problem from the Judaizers, he immediately went to Jerusalem. He did not say, “Forget about Jerusalem. That is not my region and the brothers from that region should not come here any more. If they come, we will shut them out and exclude them. They are the Judaizers.” This is not the way Paul took. He rather went to Jerusalem. He did not tell Peter to come to Antioch to solve the problem since Jerusalem was the source of the trouble. It seems that he had the right to do this, but instead he went to Jerusalem humbly. He went neither to fight nor to argue.
The record in Acts 15 shows us the sweet spirit of the Apostle Paul during the conference held there. Mostly he did not say much. After Peter said something, Paul testified to the dear saints in Jerusalem, telling them what the Lord had been doing through his ministry (vv. 7-12). Then James said something to conclude the conference (vv. 13-21). Actually, I do not believe that the conclusion was satisfactory to Paul. Paul, however, took this decision. This is a good example for us to follow because Paul regarded the fact that the Lord had only one Body. Whatever they were doing there was only under one move to carry out one ministry to produce the one Body that bears one unique testimony.
I do not care what kind of burden you pick up to do in your locality. I am not concerned with whether what you are doing is right or wrong. My concern is that your kind of doing might be divisive. You may have the right to do things, but the Body would not swallow them. Rather, the Body would either spit out or vomit what you do. Then you will suffer. This is quite serious. We must realize that we are not doing a piece of Christian work. We are burdened to carry out the Lord’s recovery for His unique Body to bear His unique testimony.
Whatever you do, please consider the situation in this way. What you do might be better than all the others’ doings. Even so, you must consider how this would affect the Body. Would this be taken by the Body? We are not a political party nor are we anything earthly. We have no arms and we do not need to fight, but the Spirit of the Lord in His Body means a lot. Do not forget the example which I related to you in this chapter. The fruit was swallowed by the doers. We must regard the Body, honor the Body, and take care of the Lord’s unique testimony.
(Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)