Nee was born Ni Shu-tsu November 4, 1903. He was later renamed
Ni Ching-Fu, and finally, after his commitment to Christian
work, Ni To-sheng-that is, Watchman Nee.
Nee became a Christian in China in 1920 at the age of seventeen.
He went to hear an evangelist by the name of Dora Yu, who
asked the people to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour
and Watchman Nee accepted. From that day on, he consecrated
himself completely to Jesus Christ and to the preaching of
the Gospel in China.
Nee attended no theological schools or Bible institutes. His
wealth of knowledge concerning God's purpose, Christ, the
things of the Spirit, and the church was acquired through
studying the Bible and reading spiritual books.
was zealous from the first day of his Christian life until
the last. He drove himself to the point of physical collapse
on several occasions and lived in self-imposed poverty.
Communists came to power in the late 1940's - Nee became a
target because of his growing Christian ministry and belief,
which contradicted that of the Communist Party. Nee had been
warned not to remain in mainland China, but he stayed there
to spread the message of Christianity.
Nee was arrested by the Communists in 1952 for his professed
faith in Christ as well as his leadership among the local
churches. By the time Watchman Nee was arrested, approximately
four hundred local churches had been raised up in China through
his life and ministry. For almost four years Nee’s whereabouts
remained unknown. The Communists tried to break Nee through
brainwashing and promises that if he would lead the faithful
to the Communist-controlled church he would be freed. Nee
refused. In 1956- Watchman Nee was given a hearing in Shanghai
and accused of severe crimes. To each charge he was allowed
to answer only Yes or No. Nee stood silent for all but two:
sabotage and spying. Those he denied.
than four years after his arrest and after a long trial, in
1956 - Watchman Nee was sentenced to fifteen years in prison
with reform by labor. He was, however, never released. During
his confinement, his faith remained unconquerable. He sang
hymns in his cell and preached the gospel to everyone he met.
He remained in prison until his death more than twenty years
words remain an abundant source of spiritual revelation and
supply to Christians throughout the world. His last eight letters
provide a glimpse into his suffering and feeling during his
confinement. While prison censorship did not allow him to mention
the Lord's name in his letters, in his final letter, written
on the day of his death, he alluded to his joy in the Lord:
"In my sickness, I still remain joyful at heart." Watchman Nee
was practicing the word of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4:
"Rejoice in the Lord always." He died in confinement in his
cell on May 30, 1972.
left a piece of paper under his pillow, "Christ is the Son
of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected
after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe.
I die because of my belief in Christ."
was no proper notification of his death and no funeral. He was
cremated on June 1, 1972. His wife had died six months earlier,
it was her eldest sister who was informed of his death and cremation.
She retrieved his ashes, and they were buried with his wife
in his hometown of Kwanchao. In May, 1989, the ashes of Watchman
Nee and his wife were transferred to and buried in "The Christian
Cemetery" in Shiangshan in the city of Soochow of Kiangsu province.
Nee's writings on matters of the individual Christian life have
been a source of inspiration to Christians throughout the world,
including his writings on the local churches. His most popular
work remains The Normal Christian Life. In English there are
approximately fifty-five books of Nee available.
want nothing for myself; I want everything for the Lord." -
Numerous Sources were used for the above including: