The History of the Church and the Local Churches, by Witness Lee


Preaching the Gospel to His Classmates

Now that we have seen the revelations the Lord has given us and the practice of the church life from our history, we want to see the work of Brother Nee. Immediately after being saved in 1920, Brother Nee began to work for the Lord. He was still a student in high school. After he was saved, he started to preach the gospel to his classmates. He told me personally that he fasted and prayed every Saturday in preparation for preaching the gospel to his classmates the next day. His school had less than one hundred fifty students. Within about one year, nearly all the students in the school were saved. Through his preaching there was a real revival in that school. By that time on the campus, one could see students sitting and reading the Bible under the trees and others studying the Bible and praying together on the lawn.

Early Publications

In 1922 the church life began in Brother Nee’s hometown. In 1923 he published his first magazine called The Present Testimony. I read this early in 1925, and it was very hard for me to understand because it was so deep. I received a copy of this publication from my second sister, who was studying at a women’s seminary in Nanking. She received one copy of Brother Nee’s writings and brought it home in the summer. The Present Testimony contained articles concerning the principles of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.

In 1924 Brother Nee was excommunicated from the meeting in his hometown. He moved to Pagoda, and in 1925 he began to publish his second magazine called The Christian. This was a monthly publication, usually of about sixty or seventy pages. In that paper Brother Nee expounded the first three chapters of Revelation, and he spent much time on the seven epistles to the seven churches in chapters two and three. Through those messages on the seven epistles, the fallen situation of Christianity was exposed, and the proper church life was revealed. Many young people throughout China read those messages, and their eyes were opened. I was one of those young people. Through those messages I saw the evils of denominationalism, and I also saw a vision of the church. This magazine had a total of twenty-four issues. Those who read these issues in a proper way received revelation and inspiration. It was amazing how Brother Nee could expound the Scriptures in such a marvelous way at the age of twenty-two. In this magazine he also expounded the first two chapters of Genesis. He applied all the days of God’s creation to Christ. He shared that the land which appeared on the third day out of the waters was a picture of Christ coming out of death. Christ was the good land resurrected on the third day to produce all kinds of life.

(The History of the Church and the Local Churches, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)