The second category of Satan’s work is found in the system of the clergy and the laity. Read the history of the church. After Satan began by using so many substitutes to usurp the place of Christ, he invented the clergy-laity system. What was his intention in doing that? It was to kill all the functions of the members of the Body. Originally, all the members without exception were normal, functioning members. But gradually the enemy set up the clergy-laity system to limit the function to just a small number of believers. Since the majority have been put out of function, the Body has been paralyzed.
Oh, the subtlety of the enemy! His first step is to replace the life. He does this with anything other than Christ. His second step is to kill the function. He has done this by installing the clergy-laity system.
Brothers and sisters, we must see the evil strategy of the enemy, Satan, behind these moves. We have taken the clergy-laity system so much for granted. We have been so influenced by our background in Christianity, so steeped in it, that this evil system is in our very bloodstream. There should be no clergy in the church, and neither should there be any laity. We are against the clergy, and we are even more against the laity. Every believer must be a functioning member in the Body. Satan has moved to choke and kill the normal functioning of all the members by the clergy-laity system.
Do you think that Satan is satisfied with these two items? No. He has taken another step by creating all the sects, denominations, and divisions in the Body of Christ. He has not only replaced the life and killed the function of the members, but he has cut the Body into pieces. He has moved to utterly wipe out the expression of Christ. The life has been replaced, the functions have been severely damaged, to say the least, and the whole Body has been divided. This is his master stroke. He is really clever.
I believe that there are at least fifty thousand real Christians in the city of Los Angeles. Suppose that these fifty thousand were not divided but all together as the one church in Los Angeles. What an impact that would be! Just consider it. If there were such a testimony, it would be easy to conquer the whole earth for Christ. Do you see what the enemy has done and how successful he has been? Oh, the ruin, the desolation, he has wrought! It is by these three categories of things that Satan has wrecked the church life.
Where in this country has the church not been damaged by the influence of these three categories? This country is an old Christian nation, founded by its forefathers for the sake of the Christian faith. But, today, where is the real expression of the church? It is almost nonexistent. Regrettably, the church has been dominated by the substitutes of Christ, the clergy-laity system, and the divisions. This is why we stress so much that Christ must be our life, our content, and everything to us. This is why we are always helping and encouraging all the brothers and sisters to realize their responsibility and function together as normal members of the Body. And this is why we pay so much attention to the matter of the ground of unity—it is the only way to deal with the divisions.
We have seen the black side, the chaotic side, the disastrous results of Satan’s work. But praise the Lord, there is another side. God is moving in these days to recover. What is the way of His recovery? I believe many of us would like to be in that way. It is just in these three things: 1) the recovery of Christ as life and everything to us, 2) the recovery of the functions of all the members, and 3) the recovery of the proper unity. Not until these three things are recovered among us will we have a proper and adequate church life. There must be a group of believers who realize and experience Christ as their life and content and will take no substitute. Not one member of this group would be a clergyman or a layman. They are all living, functioning members of Christ. And all of them have abandoned the denominations, sects, and divisions and come to meet on the ground of oneness to practice the proper unity. If there is such a group, there is the Lord’s recovery, there is a real expression of the Body of Christ, and there the enemy and all his work are put to shame.
(Satan's Strategy Against the Church, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)