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


As quoted earlier from his collected works, Watchman Nee remarks on the indivisible nature of the church in both its universal and local aspects:

In nature the Church is indivisible as God Himself is indivisible. Therefore, the division of the Church into churches is not a division in nature, life, or essence, but only in government, organization, and management. Because the earthly church is composed of a vast number of individuals, a measure of organization is indispensable. It is a physical impossibility for all the people of God, scattered throughout the world, to live and meet in one place; and it is for that reason alone that the Church of God has been divided into churches.
We must realize clearly that the nature of all the local churches is the same throughout the whole earth. It is not that the constituents of one local church are of one kind, and the constituents of another local church are of another kind. In nature there is no difference whatever. The only difference is in the localities that determine their respective boundaries. The Church is indivisible; therefore, in nature the churches are indivisible too. It is only in outward sphere that there is any possibility of dividing them. Physical limitations make geographical divisions inevitable, but the spiritual oneness of believers overcomes all barriers of space.

(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 2, Vol. 30, 81-82)

The nature of a local church is indivisible because its nature is simply the divine nature of God. Witness Lee states:

Concerning the nature of a local church, first we must realize that the church is the church of God (1 Cor. 1:2). A local church must be a church of God, possessing the divine nature of God. The title “the church of God” denotes not only that the church belongs to God, but also that the church must have the nature of God. Second, the churches are the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16b). A local church must be a church of Christ, being in the element of Christ. Every element has a nature, and the nature is the essence of the element. Christ is the element of the church, and God is the nature of the church. God is in Christ; this indicates that the nature is in the element. A local church must possess the divine nature of God and be in the element of Christ.

(Witness Lee, Eldership (2), 123)

Do not say that our name is “the local church.” We do not have a name. The moon, for example, has no name; it is just the moon. We should simply call the moon “moon.” Some people have said that the American moon is brighter than the Chinese moon. But there is no such thing as an American moon or a Chinese moon. The most you can say is the moon in America or the moon in China. It is one moon. There is only the one moon. Likewise, the church is simply the church. The term “local church” is not our name; it is the designation of our nature. We are not the divisive and divided so-called churches; we are the church in a locality. Thus the term “local church” denotes our nature; it is not our name.

(Witness Lee, LS of Genesis, Vol. 2, 457)

In sum, Watchman Nee and Witness Lee together declare that the nature of God is the indivisible, divine essence of both the universal Church and the local church. The local churches are the same throughout the earth, distinguished only by their geographical boundaries.
















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