THE UNIVERSAL BODY OF CHRIST
It is easy to know the church because it is visible. But to know the Body of Christ is not easy. Seventy-four years ago the Lord reached China and raised up Brother Nee. He was saved as a young student. Two years after he was saved, he put out publications to preach the gospel and teach the truth. He expounded the Scriptures in a way that shocked even the top missionaries. Brother Nee first presented us a clear view of God’s salvation. The missionaries brought the gospel to China and preached it. We thank the Lord for that. But God’s full salvation was never made clear as a complete spiritual thing until Brother Nee was raised up.
After presenting a clear view of God’s salvation, Brother Nee went further and presented the church to us. When the missionaries went to China, they did not bring the church to the Chinese people. Instead, they brought their denominations. The Chinese believers honored the denominations because it was through the denominations that they heard the gospel and were saved. They were grateful to the denominations. All of a sudden, to their surprise a young “native boy” put out clear publications telling them what the church is and strongly declaring that all the denominations are divisions of the church, not the church itself. Thus, Brother Nee made the local churches so clear and precious to us who were attracted by the Lord to follow Him according to His holy Scriptures. We treasured the local churches.
Later, Brother Nee brought us further to see Christ as life to us. That was sweet and precious to us. Then in 1939 he began to unveil to us the Body of Christ. We all received his ministry concerning salvation, the local churches, and Christ as life to us; but very few among us received his ministry concerning the Body of Christ. We did not reject it; we simply could not enter into it. In Brother Nee’s speaking to us concerning the Body of Christ, it was as if he were playing the piano to a group of cows. At that time I heard the term the Body of Christ and I came to know the doctrine of the Body of Christ, but I did not see the reality of the Body of Christ. Brother Nee gave message after message from 1939 to 1940, but instead of our seeing the Body of Christ, there arose a great turmoil among us that forced Brother Nee to stop his ministry. By this you can see that to enter into the reality of the Body of Christ is not simple.
This is the reason that, although the recovery has been in the United States for more than thirty-two years, it has been only in these recent years that we have felt the need to enter into the reality of the Body of Christ. This is the purpose of the blending.
(Practical Points Concerning Blending, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)