Additional Quotes about the Local Church by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee
Illustrations of the Ground of the Local Church
We treasure very much the words in Romans 12 which say, We who are many are one Body. We includes all the believers. There is only one bread. Therefore, do not think that we have one bread in Wen-teh Lane and another bread in Gordon Lane, and yet another in Peking or Changchun. Materially speaking, in the whole world there can be hundreds and thousands of loaves, but before God there is only one bread, spiritually speaking. However, we cannot participate in only one bread, because we are limited in our flesh by time and space. If it were possible, all the believers in the world would break only one bread. Although brothers can break bread in Changchun, Peking, Hangchow, or Nan- shu-chow, there is only one bread before God. The one bread that we touch on the Lords Day evening in Shanghai is the same bread that Brother Luan touched in Hangchow and that Brother Hwang touched in Nan-shu-chow. The bread that is broken in every place and the Body of Christ that it represents is the same bread and same Body of Christ in every place. God has only one church in the world. This one church is scattered in all the cities and villages. These scattered churches in the cities and villages are called the churches in those cities or the churches in those villages. For convenience sake, we call the churches in all the cities and villages the churches of God. Actually, the churches of God are just the church of God. The Lord charges us to break the bread every Lords Day in order to remind us that the churches in the various localities are not independent churches but are joined as one church. This is why we have the symbol of the one bread. The one bread reminds us that although there are many believers in all places and at all times, and although there are many local churches, we are still one bread.
I do not like to use political figures for illustration, because the subject of politics is too fashionable. But I have to use one today. The Nationalist Party of China respects Mr. Sun Yat-sen to the utmost. All government offices have the picture of Mr. Sun. There may be thousands and tens of thousands of pictures of Mr. Sun, but the person they represent is the same. In the same way, we may be breaking thousands of loaves of bread, but the Body of Christ, which these loaves represent, is just one, and the Lord, whom these loaves represent, is just one. Therefore, the miniature churches in all the places are representations of the whole Body of Christ.
(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 2, Vol. 22, 56-57)
According to the New Testament, there should be only one church for one city and one city with only one church (Acts 8:1; 13:1; Rev. 1:11).
The Lord has opened our eyes, and we have seen the principle of oneness: one Head, one Body; one husband, one wife; one Christ, one church. Wherever we go, wherever we are, there is only one church. In a small village, there is one church; in the biggest city, there is also one church. When we get into the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth, there is still one church! There will be no more confusion, no more division.
(Witness Lee, Living and Practical, 53-54)
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. Do not consider the local church as a name. The most we can say is the church in a certain locality, such as the church in Los Angeles, the church in Anaheim, etc.
(Witness Lee, LS of Genesis, 457)
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