INVISIBLE AND VISIBLE CHURCH: NO
Hi saints, I’m sure you might have encountered this insight before, however as it had a fresh impact on my life I thought it could be wise to pass it on to many as it may help someone elsewhere. It is an excerpt from FURTHER TALKS ON THE CHURCH LIFE by Watchman Nee our late brother from China, Much love as you go through it….Joshua
THE ISSUE OF THE VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE CHURCH
In many countries around the world there’s a problem that has risen from trying to understand the church from Nationality point of view. Since both the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant church were state churches, they naturally produced many unsaved people.
A person cannot be saved by birth. If one can be saved by birth all we have to do is to make Christianity a state religion and all people in their Local natives will be saved and be declared Christians. With this in mind, becoming a Christian by regeneration would be considered irrelevant. However this is very impossible. To be born is one thing but to be born again is quite a different issue altogether. What has happened in many countries where they have a state (or culturally and socially acceptable) church like in Rome, is that the church is full of unsaved people. Thank God there are still a number of Good people in these state or socially acceptable popular cultural churches. But these unsaved people, no matter what kind of education and environment you may attribute to them, are still unsaved. Thus it would be deceiving them to allow them to consider themselves a part of His church and be comfortable, so that they will not seek conversion.
The question here is whether it is right to call these state churches “churches” or not. Now if these could be called churches, how do they accommodate such a large number of unsaved people in them? Surely this is quite strange. It cannot be truly the Body of Christ, the church, if unsaved people are considered “members” at random, simply because they are present at a meeting or such. In these “churches” there’s a number of unsaved people. How could this be? Consequently, a certain kind of doctrine emerged, that is, the church is of two kinds—one visible and the other invisible, the church with form and the church without form. The church mentioned in the scriptures is invisible and spiritual but the church we have now is visible and with form. In the visible church there are false Christians, in the spiritual church all are real.
Brothers, we must know that all the doctrines have an origin. The doctrine of the spiritual church, of the invisible and visible church was brought in just as mentioned. Since man brought in so many false Christians, the visible church of course is not dependable. Since the state church has captured all the people in one net, there are both good and bad fish mixed up. This is very wrong. The church is the body of Christ and Jesus is the Head. That means only saved believers can be the church. But since the state churches are filled with unsaved people they come up with the doctrine that the church is of two kinds, visible and invisible. The visible one is unreliable and the invisible one is real. This is a produced kind of doctrine.
They quote passages like …After the Lord sowed the seed, satan sowed tares. Today we should not remove the tares, let both grow together. (see Matthew 13:24,30)
They say that the invisible ones are those who are born again, among whom not one is false. Among the visible ones are tares which must not be removed. Many brothers and sisters reading this passage think they are right, that there is such a distinction as the visible and the invisible churches. However, those who made this doctrine made the church to include too many unsaved people. What the Lord Jesus meant in that passage was about growing together in the world (Matt.13:38) and not in the church. Since these state churches have expanded the church to be the whole world, many more tares grow than real wheat.
They try to explain that the church in the scriptures is both visible and invisible, with form and without form. But the church in the bible concerns only the regenerated, spiritual persons. This matter is very important because it is a basic problem. Today if you could meet someone and ask him how many people in his denomination are unsaved, he could tell you that maybe more than half of the entire flock are but fake believers. This is sad and it must definitely have a remedy. We are together supposed to seek JESUS life and His ways of building the CHURCH…………….