1. God's Move

Local Church Movement, Lord's Recovery Movement, or The Move of God?

The terms “local church movement” and “Lord’s recovery movement” have been used in several places as negative descriptions of the local churches and the Lord’s recovery. The meaning and significance of local churches (or the local church) and the Lord’s recovery have been adequately covered elsewhere. In brief, a local church is the expression of the universal church in a particular locality. In reality, there is only one church and in any place, all the believers in that place are members of the one church. All believers recognize the oneness of the universal church. But in recent history, many denominations, many divisions, have been established. Today many Christians accept divisions as normal. They even treasure the things that make one group different and distinct from another. According to the Bible, from the beginning of the church, there were no such divisions. In fact, the formation of sects and parties was condemned; (1 Corinthians 3:3-5, 11:18). The Bible reveals local churches. Christians meeting in oneness according to geographical location is the recovery of a great truth in the Bible, not a “movement.”

“Through the course of church history certain matters have been lost, misused, or corrupted and … God is restoring them to their original state or condition. Simply put, in the eyes of God, recovery means to bring something back to its original condition. Martin Luther, Count Zinzendorf, John Nelson Darby, Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and the local churches have all been instrumental in this recovery work of God through the centuries” (http://www.lordsrecovery.org/). The truths concerning God, Christ, the Spirit, the church, the Body of Christ, the kingdom of God, and the New Jerusalem all have become lost or distorted through the centuries of church history. The genuine experience of Christ and the practice of the church life have been damaged. Beginning from the time of Martin Luther, the Lord began to recover the truths that were kept in darkness and to bring His people out of dead ritual and back to the genuine experience of Him. This is the Lord’s recovery, not a “movement.”

The addition of the derisive term “movement,” that is, to call this a “local church movement” and “Lord’s recovery movement,” signifies that the accusers consider this to be something not of God but of man. Implicitly, the term “movement” reduces the activities of those gathered under these banners to be, at best, natural and, at worst, fleshy or fleshly, of Satan and not of God. By adding the term “movement” to local churches the accusers imply that these are not the genuine expression of the church, the Body of Christ. They imply that these are even worse than the divisions in Christianity today, that these are exclusive or even cultic. They further deny the Lord’s move in His recovery and imply that it is not the Lord doing something for His purpose according to His heart’s desire but, rather, subtle, selfish men stirring up others to make a show and to make a profit.

Witness Lee had a clear understanding of the difference between a work of the Lord and a “local church movement” or a “Lord’s recovery movement” and he taught accordingly. It is clear in reading his writings that there is no hint of selfish ambition, of something natural, or of something for his own profit. He taught and he worked with a clear view regarding the difference between the Lord’s work and a movement. His understanding and view in this regard is demonstrated in the book:  “Messages in Preparation for The Spread of the Gospel.”


1. God's Move    2. Movement or Life    3. Go Bear Fruit    4. Fresh and Mature    5. Dealing    6. Life Action    Key Verses   

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Local Churches    Local Church    Lord's Recovery    church in Salt Lake City