Watchman Nee: 1903 - 1972


Watchman Nee was born as Nee Shu-tsu in Foochow, China, in 1903, into a third-generation Christian family. His paternal grandfather was the first Congregationalist pastor in northern Fukien province. His father studied in the American Methodist College in Foochow, and his mother was educated in the Chinese Western Girls' School in Shanghai.

Nee excelled at Anglican Trinity College in Foochow. After being saved in 1920, he adopted the English name Watchman Nee and the Chinese name To-sheng, meaning "the sound of a watchman's rattle." Through missionary Margaret E. Barber, he obtained the foundation of his spiritual life. In 1934, Watchman Nee married Charity Chang. They had no children.

Nee's preaching led to a spiritual revival in Foochow in 1923. Thereafter, he faithfully labored to minister the great truths of the Bible. He built a training center and held conferences for the perfecting of seeking believers. He financially supported Christian coworkers and needy saints. By 1949, he had been used in raising up hundreds of local churches-one in every major city of China's thirty-three provinces. Many of his messages have been compiled into book form, yielding a treasury of Christian literature. His writings and hymns continue to minister to Christians today.

His entire Christian life, Nee endured a steady battery of religious and political persecutions, culminating in imprisonment in 1952. Even so, he firmly maintained his overcoming testimony to the end. He died a martyr of Jesus Christ on May 30, 1972. Written just hours before he died, in shaking hand, are his final words:

I die because of my belief in Christ.