Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Watchman Nee: The Cost of Believing in the Resurrection

Watchman Nee (1903-1972) was born into a Christian family in China. He committed his life to Christ at the age of seventeen. Nee lived a life of radical service and suffering for Jesus. In the early years of his ministry, he spent one-third of his income on personal needs, one-third helping others, and one-third on spiritual books. Nee authored modern-day classics such as The Normal Christian Life and Sit, Walk, Stand.

The post-WWII communist government arrested Nee on false charges in 1952. He embraced his wife for the last time before being carried away to jail. Nee was given a fifteen year sentence, but the government never released him. He died in prison in 1972.

Nee had little contact with the outside world while in prison. Regardless, his ministry still bears fruit to this day. At the time of his arrest, Nee’s ministry had produced approximately four hundred churches in China. Over thirty churches had also been planted in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Many of these churches/ministries have continue to multiply.

According to a family member, a small note was found under Nee’s pillow in prison:

“Christ is the Son of God. He died to atone for men’s sin, and after three days rose again. This is the most important fact in the universe. I die believing in Christ.”

It is easy for most of us to believe in and celebrate Easter–it is simply part of the culture in places like the Philippines and the USA. I wonder how many of us would continue to proclaim His resurrection if the cost were so high.

Visit for more information about his life and ministry.

NOTE: I know there are some concerns with Nee’s theology, which has been criticized for (among other things) being too mystical.  But most of the theological problems in Nee’s ministry/churches were caused by Witness Lee, his disciple. Lee carried on the ministry, but veered away from the truth.


  1. Everyone should read at least one Watchman Nee book.

  2. Which books would you recommend, Jason?

  3. I’ve always looked up to the missionaries behind the rise of Christianity in Asia..

    I can’t help but scorn myself for complaining about petty things..
    God did not literally ask for my life, I was not hanged in the gallows, I was not made to renounce my faith at gunpoint..

    Sorry Lord for my self centeredness and shallowness.

  4. they say the reason behind China’s phenomenal economic growth is the seed Christian marthyrs planted years back..and yes, there are so many strong christians in China who love God to the point of literal, actual death.

Comments are closed.