Watchman Nee was born in Swatow, Fukien province, China in 1903 and was converted at the age of 17. From the beginning his consecration to the Lord was without reserve. At age 18 he met Miss M. E. Barber who was a freelance missionary sent by Surrey Chapel, Norwich, a church which owed much to the great Robert Govett. Miss Barber was to have a meaningful influence on Watchman Nee, first by matured spiritual advice and secondly by introducing him to the best Christian literature; lending him Christian classics. Watchman Nee was a serious student of the bible, his wanting to see and do God’s will and desire led him to have a Bible rooted ministry.
Beside the Bible, he read unceasingly, especially the classics by the Christian mystics (he translated madame Guyon’s little book on prayer into Chinese), Andrew Murray, Robert Govett, G. H. Pember, D. M. Panton, G. H. Lang, J. Penn-Lewis and others. He had a large collection of the Brethren writings (J. N. Darby, W. Kelly, C. H. Mackintosh…), he also read Bible expositions, biographies and had an acute knowledge of church history.
He was in close fellowship with Theodore Austin-Sparks and the brothers who were at Honor Oak Christian Fellowship, London. In fact, Watchman Nee considered brother Austin-Sparks as his spiritual mentor, so much was their fellowship rich and fruitful.
Watchman Nee’s ministry lasted for about thirty years. He was the divinely chosen vessel through whom hundreds of churches were raised up and cared for, not only in China but throughout the Far East. His understanding of the Christian life and of the expression of the church was as close to the biblical revelation as could be. One has just to read and study such books as The Normal Christian Life and The Normal Christian Church Life to be convinced.
He was helped in his work by gifted co-workers like Witness Lee, Stephen Kaung, Faithful Luke, Simon Meek, James Chen and others who saw to it that the work was strengthened through rich ministry.
Watchman Nee was finally arrested and imprisoned by the newly-constituted Communist government in 1952. This was an imprisonment from which he was never released for weak and sick he died in a prison work camp in 1972.
His ministry has had a significant impact not only in the Far East but throughout the world. We can still greatly benefit from him today through his many books (which are all nearly transcribed messages) readily available, thanks to some of his co-workers who have made it a point to publish his ministry for the greater benefit of worldwide seeking saints.
Written by Didier Lebeau and placed online by the Neve family. We would like to read your comments : click here