Over the past nine decades the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee has edified believers in Christ and produced local churches on all six inhabited continents. The ministry of these two servants of God, which is published by Living Stream Ministry (LSM), stands upon the shoulders of the many great Christian teachers of the past to present both the broad span and the spiritual depths of the New Testament truths, particularly from the perspective of the believers knowing and experiencing Christ as their life for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ. The resilience of the churches produced through their ministry is exemplified by the believers in China, who have proven steadfast and have flourished in the face of decades of extreme persecution, as well as by hundreds of local churches in North America that have faithfully persevered and spread despite nearly forty years of intense opposition.(more…)
The faith affirmed by the local churches is the faith common to all believers, namely that:
- The Bible is the Word of God, written under His inspiration word by word (2 Tim. 3:16), and is the complete and only written divine revelation of God to man (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:5-6; Rev. 22:18-19);
- There is one God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4b; Isa. 45:5a), who is triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (Matt. 28:19), co-existing (Matt. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 13:14) and coinhering (John 14:10-11) in three persons, or hypostases, distinct but never separate, from eternity to eternity;
- Christ, the only begotten Son of God (John 1:18; 3:16), even God Himself (John 1:1), became a genuine man through incarnation (John 1:14), having both the divine and human natures (Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 2:5), the two natures being combined in one person and being preserved distinctly without confusion or change and without forming a third nature;
- Christ died for our sins and was raised bodily from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Acts 4:10; Rom. 8:34), has been exalted to the right hand of God as Lord of all (Acts 5:31; 10:36), and will return as the Bridegroom for His bride, the church (John 3:29; Rev. 19:7), and as the King of kings to rule over the nations (Rev. 11:15; 19:16); (more…)
The Lord’s Recovery
The Lord’s Recovery—The Life, Function, and Practical Oneness of the BelieversWe believe that the Lord is moving today to recover the proper testimony of the church in this age based upon the truths revealed in the New Testament. To this end He is working to recover the genuine experience of Christ as life, the function of all the members of His Body, and the practical oneness among the believers.
In The Conclusion of the New Testament Witness Lee provides a helpful explanation of the concept of “recovery”:
When we speak of the recovery of the church, we mean that something was there originally, that it became lost or damaged, and that now there is the need to bring that thing back to its original state. Because the church has become degraded through the many centuries of its history, it needs to be restored according to God’s original intention. Concerning the church, our vision should be governed not by the present situation nor by traditional practice but by God’s original intention and standard as revealed in the Scriptures. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, Messages 221-239, 2447)(more…)
Both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee were raised in Christian homes in the early twentieth century. As young men they began to serve the Lord in the 1920s in their respective hometowns in the south and north of China. Both diligently studied the classic Christian writers, and both had ministries that bore the unmistakable sign of God’s blessing. In 1934 Witness Lee joined Watchman Nee in Shanghai to carry out one work emphasizing the experience of Christ as life and the building up of the church. What followed was a remarkable move of the Holy Spirit. The depths of the truths in the Bible poured forth through their ministry as they labored diligently to bring the believers into a personal and corporate living that matches the New Testament. Their work attracted tens of thousands of followers among native Chinese, most of whom were newly saved.
By the time the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in 1949, several hundred local churches, often called the “Little Flock” by outsiders, had been raised up throughout the country. The local churches were able not only to survive persecution but also to thrive and flourish under it, because they strongly emphasized the need of every member to have a daily time with the Lord in His Word, to learn to serve Him in the gospel, and to have regular fellowship with other believers, including meeting from house to house (Acts 2:46). This pattern affected much of the “underground church” in China. Today it is estimated that there are between eighty and one hundred million believers there. Many of them offer much credit and gratitude to Watchman Nee for the survival of the church in China.(more…)