Further Talks on the Church Lifeby Watchman Nee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
This publication is a collection of some further talks on the church life given by Brother Watchman Nee within the period of 1948 through 1951. These talks were given more than ten years after the publication of the messages contained in the book entitled Concerning Our Missions (the present title is The Normal Christian Church Life). The talk on the unity of the church, printed as chapter four of this book, was given in the year 1951, a short time before his imprisonment, which began in the early part of 1952.
In one of these talks Brother Nee emphasized that the light concerning the church—which the Lord gave him before the year 1937 and which was made known to all his co-workers in 1937 and published in the book Concerning Our Missions—cannot be clearer, even after more than ten years’ experience and test. In another talk he declared clearly and definitely that he believes all the more in what he had seen before. So these talks are not only an adequate proof that up to the latest part of his ministry Brother Nee still held the same viewpoint as he always did throughout all the time of his ministry concerning the church life, but are also a strong confirmation to the light concerning the practical side of the church life which he received from the Lord and ministered to His Body prior to quite a long time of testing.
Brother Nee’s ministry has always been of two sides—the spiritual side and the practical side. Through the publication of some of his books which have been translated into the English language, the spiritual side of his ministry has been made somewhat known and has become a great help to the Lord’s people in the English-speaking world. As the Lord’s present move in His recovery has spread to the Western World and is prevailingly spreading more and more, we who are some of Brother Nee’s co-workers have been deeply burdened to publish several of his books on the practical side of his ministry which can help those who have already been helped by his ministry on the spiritual side to have a full scope and balanced view of the whole ministry committed to him by the Lord for His Body. We fully believe that in the present situation, in which there is much confusion and a number of frustrations and distractions, this will meet the urgent need of so many seeking ones among God’s children.
The talk in chapter one on the matter of the church ground is a real remedy to today‘s perplexity. It affirms that the ground of the church is of two basic things—the authority of the Spirit and the boundary of locality. There is considerable emphasis today on the authority of the Spirit, but almost a complete neglect of the boundary of locality. The matter of locality is even purposely opposed by some and despitefully treated. But it is a test to the proper realization of the practice of the church life.
While the talk in chapter two clarifies the definition of the church in a house (home) and confirms the principle of one locality with only one church, the talk in chapter three shows that a genuine church in any locality must be inclusive. It must have a capacity to include and contain all types of real Christians and all the positive things of the Scriptures; otherwise, it loses the church ground.
The talk in chapter four is very revealing! It points out to us that the genuine unity of the church is the unity of the whole Body of Christ expressed in genuine local churches. All other kinds of unities are unities of divisions.
In summary, the first four chapters tell us clearly, emphatically, and frankly that the denominations are wrong and the churches are local. Any denomination, any sect, any division, is condemned before God. There is no excuse in any case. A church must be local, standing upon the ground of unity, ready to receive all God’s children and willing to include all scriptural things.
These talks are the faithful words of one who “kept back nothing that was profitable unto the church” and never “sought to please men.” The oppositions he encountered and the persecutions he suffered were mostly due to his faithfulness in his ministry on the practical side of the church life. If he would not “keep back” anything, how can we, his co-workers standing with him in the Lord’s interest, keep back anything and not be faithful to the Lord’s commission as he has been all the time?
The Lord is sovereign and victorious! He has vindicated His way in the past in the face of the subtle one’s opposition and attack. May He increase His vindication continually by bestowing His abundant blessing upon the way ordained by Him for His church and taken by His faithful ones in these last days! He is gracious, trustworthy, and able! He will accomplish what He has spoken. But “he that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith.” “Wisdom is justified by her children.”
These messages were originally published in the Chinese language in the spoken form in which they were given. The present English translation, especially the first four chapters, is rendered as literally as possible in order to present most accurately to the readers the author’s genuine thought. Attention therefore in translation has been given mostly to the meaning rather than to the language.
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