The Practical Expression of the Church, by Witness Lee


When we say that this is wrong and that we all must be one, others say that we are narrow and exclusive. But in all these years it has been proved who is narrow and exclusive. The church in the locality is not narrow. It includes all the believers in that locality. The only thing in which you may say that the church on the proper ground is narrow is that it will not take anything divisive. We will accept all kinds of Christians as long as they are saved. We will accept those who are sprinkled as well as those who are immersed. Would those who say that we are narrow receive such?

What does it mean to be narrow and exclusive? Most people simply do not know what they mean when they speak thus. To be narrow means to disregard the proper ground of oneness. If we are on the proper ground, we can never be narrow, for the ground of oneness is common to all the people of the Lord.

Some missionaries in China said to us, “We are all one in the Lord. Let us work together.” But we made the situation very clear to them. We said, “Yes, we are all one in the Lord, and we are all working for Him, but there is a big difference. We are working to build up the local church, but you have been sent by your mission to come here to build up the church of your mission. This is the problem. We appreciate the fact that you have sacrificed to come to this foreign country, but you have come here to build up something other than the local church. You have come to build up the church of your denomination. It is impossible for us to agree with this. As far as gospel preaching and edifying of the saints is concerned, there is not much problem; but in building up the mission and denominational churches, we cannot go along with you. You must recognize that the building up of the mission and denominational churches is wrong. If you would relinquish this, there would be no problem.”

Who is narrow? Some are narrow in their mission work. Some are narrow in their personal work. We, as the local church, are not narrow; we are broad to include all the Lord’s people in our locality.

Why do the missionaries insist upon building up their mission churches in the mission fields? Why do they not give up all divisive ground and come to build the local church? When we say this, they say that we are narrow. But the Lord knows who is narrow, who is sectarian, and who is exclusive. The local church is all-inclusive. It embraces all the believers in a locality. But the problem is that so many are sectarian in their opinions and in their work. So when the local church will not take their sectarian opinions, they say that the local church is narrow.

Brothers and sisters, may the Lord be merciful to us. In such a time of confusion, we must be clear. Praise the Lord! There is no choice. Only the ground which the Lord ordains is the proper ground.

All the brothers and sisters who have been with us in these past years have tasted the real enjoyment of Christ in the church on the proper ground. Those too who have only recently begun to meet with us have sensed the sweet enjoyment there is here in the local church on the ground of oneness. It is here that the Lord has commanded His blessing, even life forever. The oil is on the Head, and the dew is on the mountains of Zion. This is the proper ground, and this is the unique place to enjoy the Lord to the uttermost.

(The Practical Expression of the Church, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)