Watchman Nee – Biographical Material

Watchman Nee (born November 4, 1903, Fuzhou – May 30, 1972) is a Chinese Christian preacher. Chinese name Ni Toshen.

Watchman Nee was born into a Methodist family.

At 17, he experienced a spiritual rebirth and joined the Church of Heavenly Peace in Fuzhou.

At the age of 21, he met the English missionary Margaret Barber, who had a huge influence on the young man. With her help, Nee became acquainted with a large number of Christian authors, while he never received any systematic theological education. For thirty years, beginning in 1922, he traveled extensively in China for missionary purposes. Together with his followers, Nee created a new Christian denomination, which eventually became known as the Local Church. However, in 1952 he was arrested by the Chinese Communists and was held in prison until his death in 1972.

Nee’s work was continued by his student and employee Witness Lee, who first moved to Taiwan and then to the United States.

From the website:

Early ministry

Soon after his salvation, Watchman Nee began to love the Lord, and he had a strong burden to preach the gospel to his classmates and fellow countrymen on right time and at the wrong time.

Through his evangelism, almost all of his classmates were brought to the Lord, revival was brought to his school, which spread among the inhabitants of his hometown in 1923.

Hundreds of people were saved and their lives changed. Watchman Nee did not attend a theological school or Bible institute. What he learned about Christ, about the Spirit, and about the history of the church, he learned mainly through reading the Bible and the books of other spiritual people.

Watchman Nee not only studied the Bible diligently, he also read many spiritual books. He had a wonderful gift for choosing, understanding, distinguishing and memorizing the right material.

He could easily get to the essence of the book, just skimming through it.

Living faith

Due to the fact that Watchman Nee worked very hard, and due to lack of proper care for his health, in 1924 he fell ill with pulmonary tuberculosis. The illness was so serious that rumors spread about his death.

During his illness, he exercised a great deal of trust in God for his existence, and God faithfully cared for him.

By His mercy and grace, God healed Watchman Nee of tuberculosis, but by His omnipotence left him with stenocardia.

He could die at any moment. This naturally led him to trust in the Lord for his life. He lived moment by moment by faith in God, and throughout his life God sustained him with His merciful care and resurrection life until his death.

As a result of such physical difficulties, he experienced and enjoyed God much more than would have been possible if he had not had such an embarrassing and debilitating illness.

The divine healing that Watchman Nee experienced was not just a miraculous act of God; it was an act of resurrection life through grace through the use of living faith in the faithful Word of God to edify and grow life.

It was not just a miracle of divine power – it was completely and utterly related to grace and divine life.

Life and work

Every time Watchman Nee was asked a question, his answer was practical, precise, clear, full of anointing and filled with light. He was direct and open, and very easy to approach.

He was very capable and had a wide heart.

In spiritual matters, he reached the heights and touched the depths. He had a very rich understanding and experience of God’s principle and purpose.

He always left a very pleasant impression, and at the same time, his interlocutor always had a sense of respect for him. His attitude was gentle and meek, and his words were full of anointing.

There was no sense of distance when talking to him, but there was a sense of supply and irrigation. His words and behavior left an unforgettable impression.

Watchman Nee saw that the most important thing in our work is not quantity, but quality. Real work is the outflow of life.


In February 1949, after much prayer and meditation, Watchman Nee made the decision to stay in Shanghai because he had the burden of the churches, fellow workers, and the Lord’s testimony in mainland China.

On the one hand, he fully relied on the sovereignty of the Lord, on the other hand, he was aware of the risk and was ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of the Lord’s testimony.

In the spring of 1952 he was arrested and imprisoned for his faith, and in the summer of 1956, after a lengthy trial, he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. However, he never got out of prison.

During his imprisonment, only his wife was allowed to visit him occasionally. She died on November 7, 1971. The death of his wife greatly saddened Watchman Nee and cut him off from communication with the outside world.

After her death, on May 30, 1972, Watchman Nee also came to the end of his earthly journey and rested with Christ, whom he served at the cost of his life.

He left a note under his pillow, on which a few lines were written in capital letters with a shaking hand:

“Christ is the Son of God, who died for the redemption of sinners and was resurrected three days later. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I am dying because of my faith in Christ. “

Watchman Nee

Other quotes

“It is very important to accept God’s arrangement in your circumstances. This dispensation is the training of the Holy Spirit. To ignore God’s dispensation once is to miss an opportunity to increase our ability. After going through suffering, the believer can never remain the same. ”

“When I started serving the Lord, I was somewhat worried about where I would get my livelihood from. Since I was about to walk in the Lord’s way, I decided to rely only on His support.

In 1921 and 1922, very few preachers in China lived by relying only on the Lord.

However, when I turned to the Lord, He told me: “If you cannot live by faith, you cannot work for Me.” I knew that in order to serve the living God, I needed living work and living faith. God provided for all my needs and never let me down. “

Watchman Nee