"For there is one body even as you are called in one hope of your calling.." This is the truth taught in no uncertain language in the scriptures of God. "So we, who are many, are ONE body in Christ, and severally members one of another." "Speak the truth each one with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." How could any concept be advanced by teachers claiming knowledge of the intimate union between each member and the Head, Jesus; the close spiritual connection between each member and all other members, negating this vital truth?
All saved persons comprise the "body of Christ." Regardless of where they live, where they assemble, or whether they have any personal knowledge of each other, all who are joined in Christ, the head, are joined to each other as members one of another. "Christ who is the Head, from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love" (Eph. 4:15-16).
When brethren seek to divide up the total unity of believers in Christ into independent, autonomous BODIES OF CHRIST there is a disruption of the spiritual union and togetherness which the Lord desired to have obtained among His people. Modern day procedures require that we are "members of the local, independent, autonomous body of Christ." This membership is of man's making and not God's. Man has formed members of Christ's body into local, autonomous, independent, bodies of Christ. Some teachers have even gone so far as to claim that Jesus is the Head of each of these BODIES. This concept necessitates the "body of Christ" to be composed of separate, independent, self-governing (autonomous) bodies. This concept demands the members of that body-unit to be members one of another while de-emphasizing universal membership in the ONE body of Christ. The body of Christ, all persons joined in spiritual union to the Head, may ASSEMBLE at different places and at different times, but their "assembling together" does not mean they are, and therefore constitute, an independent, self-governing, local body of Christ.
There are no FAMILIES of God. There is ONE family of God. God's household is not broken up into independent, self-governing, families. The family is relationship sustained between each brother and sister with all other brethren. This spiritual relationship is perverted when it is organized into distinct, separate, self-governing families. The unit of God's family and the brethren is impaired, if not in many cases destroyed by forming these families within the HOUSEHOLD.
The same thing is true when God's ekklesia is organized into independent, self-governing, local units. There is as much Bible authority to organize THE ONE BODY into independent, autonomous BODY UNITS, and dividing the ONE FAMILY into independent, autonomous, FAMILY UNITS, as there is to organize and form God's ekklesia into such units, CHURCH UNITS, at that.
[One desperate preacher recently proclaimed publicly, "Yes, there were seven churches (meaning local churches, functional units, organized, formal institutions) in Asia. Therefore, there were seven local bodies of Christ in Asia; and seven kingdoms of Christ in Asia. In his view these all mean one and the same thing. Can you believe anyone would make such a claim? I suppose this means that he thinks there were seven families, seven "holy nations," and seven temples in Asia! To justify their idol men will resort to about anything.]
The body, the family, the assembly of Christ (regardless of which metaphor is used) still consists of all the saved. These saved persons may be identified by locality or place of residence, or even location of assembly (coming together) but this does not justify the wrong concept of independent, autonomous, group units. That part of the body of Christ at Ephesus may be identified from that part of the body of Christ at Corinth by virtue of separated localities; but organized group units are not even remotely suggested in the language. The body of Christ at Special City is the body of Christ by virtue of spiritual union with Christ and not by virtue of organization formed by the members. The ekklesia of God at Jerusalem was such by virtue of relationship to God sustained through Christ, and not by virtue of independent, autonomous, organization formed by the spiritual citizenry of the heavenly community. The same was true in every town where believers lived.
The will of Christ flows from the Head down to the heart of each member of the body. No member of the body has authority over any other member. Christ has all authority. Certain members of the body, by reason of age, maturity, and advancement in the faith are taught by the Head to work and exercise themselves among other members in a certain fashion and manner. They are instructed to function as members -- not as the Head. When one member suffers, other members suffer with him; when one rejoices others rejoice with him.
Any effort to organize the entire body of Christ into a functional unit would not only be futile but would also be as unscriptural as organizing parts and portions of the body into INDEPENDENT, SELF-GOVERNING, BODIES OF CHRIST who operate and function without due regard for the interest and welfare of all members. Let us leave Christ's body as he left the body; a union of each member with Jesus, and a union of all members with each other! -- A Servant