(地方教會). A name used by two different Chinese Christian religious movements in the tradition of Watchman Nee (Ni Tuosheng, 倪柝聲, 1903–1972) and based on his idea that there should be only one Christian church active in any given city. Despite Nee’s arrest in 1952, his co-worker Witness Lee (Li Changshou, 李常受, 1905–1997), moved to Taiwan in 1949 and to California in 1962 and reorganized a movement there, introducing several doctrinal innovations. Not all of Nee’s disciples accepted Lee’s new teachings, with the result that there are in fact two different groups using the name “Local Church,” sometimes distinguished in China as the “old Local Church” (Laodifangjiaohui, 老地方教會), who accepts Nee but rejects Lee, and the “new Local Church” (Difangjiaohui, 地方教會), i.e., Lee’s own organization, which is also called “the Assembly” (召會), the term Lee originally used in China while he used “Local Church” in the West. In China, the terms Local Church and Shouters are often used as synonymous. However, due to the persecution and other factors, the movement in China further fragmented into several different branches, and the groups referred to as “Shouters” are not necessarily in communion with others known as “Local Churches” in the West.
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