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

In the first point, we talked about the universal church. In the second point, we are talking about the local church. An elder must have this twofold knowledge concerning God’s plan for the church. He must know the universal Church, and he must also know the local church. In other words, he must know the Church in its universal aspect, and he must know the church in its local aspect. Never consider the universal Church to be one kind of church, and the local church to be another kind of church. There is only one Church. Collectively speaking, it is the universal church, and locally speaking, it is the local churches. Strictly speaking, the local churches are the universal Church. The universal Church is simply the sum total of the local churches, and the local churches are simply the local manifestations of the universal church.

(Witness Lee, Elders' Management, 11-12)

According to the revelation and pattern of the New Testament, the church is the gathering of the believers in Christ who have been called out from the world by God. Such a gathering is considered, on the one hand, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15) for Him to dwell in and to carry out His will according to His desire and for His pleasure, and, on the other hand, the organic Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23) for Him to have a counterpart in the organic union with Him for His expression. This church is the new man as God’s new creation (Col. 3:10; Gal. 6:15). Such a church, as both the house of God and the Body of Christ, is universally one to appear and be expressed on the earth in many localities as many local churches. The fellowship in life of this church is uniquely one, both universally and locally.

(Witness Lee, Crucial Points, 19)

He saw clearly that the church as the Body of Christ was Christ’s expression with Him as its life and content. He also saw that the church could only be practical with the existence of local churches.

(Witness Lee, Seer of the Divine Revelation, 23)

The Word of God teaches us that the Church is one....The word “church'' means “the called-out ones.'' The term is used twice in the Gospels, once in Matthew 16:18 and once in Matthew 18:17, and we meet it quite frequently in the Acts and the Epistles. In the Gospels the word is used on both occasions by our Lord, but it is employed in a somewhat different sense each time.
“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it'' (Matt. 16:18). What church is this? Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, and our Lord declared that He would build His Church upon this confession--the confession that as to His Person He is the Son of God, and as to His work He is the Christ of God. This Church comprises all the saved, without reference to time or space, that is, all who in the purpose of God are redeemed by virtue of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, and are born again by the operation of His Spirit. This is the Church universal, the Church of God, the Body of Christ.
We have clearly two different aspects of the Church before us--the Church and the churches, the universal Church and the local churches.

(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 2, Vol. 30, 51-52)

The church has both a universal aspect and a local aspect. In the local aspect the church is expressed in many localities as many local churches. The one universal church expressed in many places on earth becomes the many local churches....The universal church is realized in the local churches.

(Witness Lee, Incarnation, 32)

Do not think that the local churches are one distinct side, and the Body of Christ is another distinct side. These two sides are one entity. They refer to the same thing. The Body of Christ is unique in the universe, but it needs an expression on the earth. These expressions on the earth are the local churches. The local churches are the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is the local churches.

(Witness Lee, CS of Romans, 5)

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