Oneness, Nature, Life, & Essence of the Local ChurchOneness, Nature, Life, & Essence of the Local Church

Additional Quotes about the Local Church by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee

First Corinthians 1:2 says, “To the church of God which is in Corinth…sanctified in Christ Jesus.” When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, the church there was a mess. According to their condition and situation, they were pitiful. Sin was there (5:1). Confusion and even divisions were there (1:10-13). The heresy of no resurrection was there (15:12). However, in spite of all these evil things, Paul still called them the church. That was the church of God in Corinth..sanctified in Christ Jesus. This is according to their nature. “Of God” denotes their nature, and “in Corinth” denotes the ground. “Sanctified in Christ Jesus” denotes the element of that church. In nature, in element, and in ground, the church in Corinth, regardless how evil and sinful, was still the church.

(Witness Lee, Instruction, 23)

Undoubtedly the church is one. How then can there be many churches? The distinction can only be on the basis of locality. Because we have our physical body, we are naturally limited by geographical boundaries. Any difference because of names, human feelings, or other factors is harmful to the nature of the church. Only the distinction of locality does not touch the nature of the church. In this way, no one can turn away from the general ground of locality. We may be able to do many things, but we are not qualified to establish a church as we like. Once we see that the ground of the church is local, there will be no more reason for the existence of any sects. The matter of locality cuts man’s flesh to the deepest part.
Now let me repeat what I have been saying about the nature of the church. Any reason to divide the church damages the nature of the church; that is, it turns the unity of the church into disunity. Due to the fact that we are in the human body, geography is the only factor that can separate us. Such separation does not threaten the nature of church unity. Therefore, God ordained to have locality as the earthly boundary of the church. God also ordained that in one locality there should be only one church to express the unity of the heavenly church.
We must see the spiritual reason for separating the church by localities.

(Watchman Nee, Further Talks, 47)

[First Corinthians chapter 1] verse 2a says, “To the church of God.” This expression indicates that the church not only is being possessed by God, but that it has God as its nature and essence, which are divine, general, universal, and eternal. Paul does not refer to the church in Corinth as a pitiful church with troublesome Jewish teachers and proud philosophical Greeks. Although others may have looked at the church according to its condition, Paul knew the real nature of the church, so he had the boldness to call it “the church of God.” As the church of God, the church is not only being possessed by God, but has God as its nature and essence, which are divine, general, universal, and eternal. Every element has its nature, and in the nature of the element is its essence. God is the nature and essence of the church.

(Witness Lee, Genuine Church, 7-8)















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