Witness Lee on the local church: The Testimony of Church History concerning the Ground of the Church
Witness Lee on the local church: Main





Watchman Nee 

Witness Lee 



The Testimony of Church History Concerning
the Ground of the Church

Introduction: The ground of the church is intimately, essentially related to the practical oneness of the believers in a local church. In one of His final prayers on earth, the Lord Jesus expressed to the Father His deep desire “that they [His believers] all may be one…that the world may believe…” (John 17:21). Since that time, the Lord has been operating within His believers as the indwelling Spirit to bring about this glorious condition of visible oneness among His people on the earth, a oneness which has its practical expression in a local church. By the gradual and progressive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, Christians began to see in the Word the way provided and ordained by God to work out this practical oneness on the earth. Two faithful servants of the Lord, in particular, Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, clearly saw this biblical truth in the early twentieth century. With the term “the ground of the church,” Watchman Nee gave expression to the scriptural way of oneness. Following in Watchman Nee’s footsteps, Witness Lee devoted his ministry to the trumpeting of this way, thereby helping believers over the whole earth to enter into this practical testimony of oneness in the local churches.

The ground of the church comprises two essential factors: the unique spiritual oneness of the universal Body of Christ, and the unique practical ground of locality. According to the principle of the oneness of the Body, wherever we are, we should be one with all believers in that place, that is, in the local church in that city. Concerning the ground of locality, the New Testament reveals without exception that there can be only one church in one city, only one local church, which includes all the believers in that city. There can never be more than one church in a locality, as seen in the examples of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1), the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2), and the seven churches in seven cities in Asia (Rev. 1:11). In each of these instances, there was only one local church, never more and never less. The ground of locality spontaneously eliminates division and at the same time preserves the genuine unity of the church.

Many Christians throughout the last 150 years of church history have seen the revelation of the ground of the church in the Word of God and have been faithful to proclaim it to their fellow believers. They have come to realize that the Body of Christ is one and that the local church thus has only one proper ground on which to congregate, the scriptural ground of oneness. Witness Lee and Watchman Nee co-labored to bring this truth of the ground of the church into sharp, vivid focus through their ministry. The purpose of this Website is to unveil this revelation through the writings of these faithful servants of the Lord and thereby inspire many to take this way of practical oneness in order that the Lord’s prayer in John 17 may ultimately be fulfilled.

Provided below are relevant quotations from twenty-two Bible expositors who, over the past century and a half, have seen the ground of the church.