Watchman Nee and Witness Lee Spotlight in PDF
The backdrop to Watchman Nee’s testimony
Starting in the early 1800s, God put a calling into the hearts of many Western Christians to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to China. Through much sacrifice, these missionaries gave themselves to preach the gospel in a place where it hadn’t gone before. As a result, slowly but surely, people who had previously never heard the name of Jesus were brought to Christ the Savior.
Then in 1900 during the violence and upheaval of the Boxer Rebellion, Chinese believers were persecuted and martyred. Many missionaries were also killed. In the aftermath of such sacrifice and loss, Christians in the West persevered in their burden for China and continued to offer up fervent prayers for its people.
In the 1920s, the Lord answered these prayers and began to call young people to Himself in China. The gospel reached the educated circles, and many college students were brought to Christ. One hundred years of missionary work and sacrifice, followed by years of desperate prayer, had paved the way for the Lord to raise up a whole generation of young Chinese Christians. It was from among that generation that the Lord called Watchman Nee.
Witness Lee’s early life
Witness Lee was born into a Christian family in 1905 in northern China. His mother made a great financial sacrifice for him to attend a Southern Baptist Chinese school and later the Presbyterian English Mission College. However, although he received an excellent education, he was not saved at the time.
After one of Lee’s sisters experienced the salvation of Jesus Christ, she began to pray for her brother and bring him to church meetings in their hometown of Chefoo. In one of these meetings, the gospel preaching of a sister in the Lord touched Lee deeply, and at the age of 19 he received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Previously, Lee held lofty ambitions for his future. But at his salvation, he consecrated himself to serve the Lord for his whole life. From the very beginning of Lee’s Christian life, he loved the Bible and became a serious student of God’s Word. He read and collected Bible expositions and also read other Christian writings.
Lee was particularly helped in matters of the divine life by articles and books by Watchman Nee, and began corresponding with him about the Bible. At the same time, he began to meet with the Brethren Assembly in Chefoo to learn from their extensive expounding of biblical truths; he stayed with them for seven and a half years.