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Introduction to The Glorious Church

The book The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee delves into God's perspective on the church as portrayed in the Bible. It uses the types of four women to illustrate the nature, function, and purpose of the church.

Recently, a believer testified that he found himself perusing the Christianity section of a large bookstore filled with numerous shelves of books. He was curious about what he could discover about the church, he spent around 30 minutes examining the titles on display. Surprisingly, not one of the books touched on the church. The shelves were full of helpful literature on prayer, devotion, and guidance for various life situations, etc., but none directly addressed the church itself. Even after looking at a number of books with titles that suggested that they might have something about the church, none ultimately did. There was a book with many common questions about the Bible, which contained a question along the lines of: "How do I know which church I should go to?". Another book, an exposition on the book of Ephesians seemed promising, but disappointingly, it too failed to delve into the subject of the church. Our conclusion is that because this term is so common, the truth concerning the church may often be overlooked.

One significant obstacle to grasping a clear revelation about the church, as depicted in the Bible, lies in our preconceived notions about it. When we hear the word church, do we immediately think of attending a physical building? This common concept associates the church solely with a place we go to. However, the Bible presents a deeper revelation: as redeemed believers in Christ, we are the church. The church transcends mere buildings, locations, activities, or organizations; it emerges from our union with Christ. The material of the church is only Christ. So the church is not merely a composition of believers but Christ in us. Through the resurrection life of Christ, we become the church by receiving this life. As we personally experience and live by this life, we not only glorify God individually but corporately as the church.

In The Glorious Church, Watchman Nee points out that in the Bible the first woman used to illustrate the church is Eve. Just as Adam is a type of Christ, Eve is a type of the church. Eve was formed from a rib that was taken from Adam. For this to happen Adam had to be put to sleep, typifying Christ's death on the cross. The rib that was taken was not broken, typifying the unbreakable, resurrection life of Christ that forms the church. This shows us the nature of the church; it is just Christ in us. Anything that is of ourselves—our natural skill, capabilities, and all our good intentions and doings are not the church. Moreover, the function of the church comes out of the Christ in us. While we are all a work in progress today, we need to see God's eternal view of the church. You can read more about this in the portion below and continue to read in The Glorious Church about three other women who typify the church.

The Glorious Church culminates in a compelling vision of the crucial role of the overcomers within the church. Revelation 2 and 3 issues a call to the overcomers, emphasizing their significance for Christ's return. Their consecration and active participation in fulfilling Genesis 1:26 are essential. As overcomers, they bear the image of God and represent Him not merely as individuals but as one body—the church. Analogous to pillars in a building, stronger individuals are needed to support and uphold the structure. In the church, these individuals are the overcomers. We are privileged to live in this particular era, occupying a position where we can contribute the most to fulfilling God's eternal purpose. However, accomplishing this requires a clear vision of the church.

Book Spotlight - The Glorious Church


We should then ask, "What is the church?" The church is that part which is taken out of Christ. We need to see the two aspects of Adam, and then it will be easy for us to understand. On one hand, Adam stands merely as himself; on the other hand, he is a type. As far as Adam himself is concerned, he was made of clay. All natural men are made of clay. But Adam also typified Christ. The fact that Eve was made from Adam signifies that the church is made from Christ. Eve was made with Adam’s rib. Since Eve came out from Adam, she was still Adam. Then what is the church? The church is another form of Christ, just as Eve was another form of Adam.

The church is just Christ. Oh, many people think that the church is the coming together of the "people" who believe in the Lord and who are saved. No, this is not true! Then who constitutes the church? The church is only that portion which has been taken out of Christ. In other words, it is the man which God has made by using Christ as the material. It is not a man made of clay. The material of the church is Christ. Without Christ, the church has no position, no life, no living, and no existence. The church comes out of Christ.

First Corinthians 10:17 says, "Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body." This verse means that even though we are many, the bread which we break is one; therefore, the Body is also one. The apostle Paul clearly stated that the one loaf represents the Body of Christ, that is, the church as a whole. Though we are many, yet the Body is one. When we remember the Lord, I take a little piece from the loaf, you take a little piece from the loaf, and others do the same. For many centuries throughout the world, all Christians have taken a little portion of this loaf and eaten it! If you could take all the pieces they have eaten and put them together, they would become the whole church. The church is not an individual "I" plus an individual "you." It is not Mr. Smith plus Mr. Jones or even all the Christians in the whole world put together. The church is the Christ in you, the Christ in him, and the Christ in all the Christians around the world throughout all the centuries put together. Our natural man has nothing to do with the church. The only part of us which is related to the church is the portion of the loaf which we have eaten. This is especially shown in the Gospel of John, where it is revealed that all those who believe in the Lord have Christ dwelling in them and are therefore one in the Spirit.

(The Glorious Church, pp. 28-29. Copyright Living Stream Ministry)

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