Watchman Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, by Witness Lee


In this same year (1921) I went to the Bible regarding a number of questions. I said to myself, "There are so many nominal Christians in the present day church, yet the Bible says that only the saved ones are in the church. There are so many denominations today, yet there is no Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, or any other denomination in the Bible. Why then am I a member of the Methodist Church? Since God’s Word is not saying it, why am I doing it?" The Methodist bishop was a good friend of our family. Being a personal friend of the bishop was one thing, but the fact that denominations are unscriptural was another thing. I saw that the system of pastors was not scriptural and that meetings should be practiced according to scriptural principles. In the beginning the light I had on these matters was small. I was like the blind man in Mark 8 who, although he could see men, could only see them as trees walking. I had seen a little, but I did not see clearly.

One afternoon in the first half of 1922, I was much troubled concerning the matter of the breaking of bread. I had seen from the Bible that believers should often come together to break bread in remembrance of the Lord. For this reason I said to myself, "Why is it that in the church today the breaking of bread is held only four times a year?" Besides, among the ones who came to break bread, some were regular movie-goers, some were habitual mahjong players, some even questioned whether or not the Lord Jesus could be considered a good man, and some were evidently not even children of God. When I saw such people going to receive Holy Communion, I began to consider whether or not I could go. No! I could not go. Following my salvation, up to 1922, I had never been to receive the so-called Holy Communion. For many days I searched the Bible concerning this matter of breaking bread. Was a pastor required to preside over it? Was it true that only those who had received ordination could break it, while those who had not received ordination could not? I spent much time studying but found nothing like this in the Scriptures. This matter of a pastor presiding over the breaking of bread was not in the Bible. At this point I was very troubled. Though I wished so and though the Bible said that we should often break bread in remembrance of the Lord, I had no such place to break bread.

One Thursday afternoon following the Bible study, I sought out my friend, Leland Wang, for a little talk. I shared my feeling that according to the Bible we should break bread often in remembrance of the Lord, but that I had not done it once since being saved. I also mentioned that there were some in the denominations who were clearly not the children of God and with whom I could not break bread, and that there was the further problem that according to them no one could break bread except the pastor. I told him, "Neither you nor I are pastors; so even if we gathered all the true believers together, we would be considered unqualified to break bread. Isn’t this puzzling?" Brother Wang took my hands and said, "God has been leading me exactly the same way. Last night I could not sleep, but was continually praying and searching concerning this very matter of whether or not believers should break bread, and whether or not it is necessary for a pastor to preside over it. I realized from my prayer and searching that in no place does it say that only ordained pastors can break bread." When I heard this, I thanked the Lord because He had been leading us in the same way. Since we had clearly seen the principles of meeting in the Bible, I said, "No day is better to begin than today; let us begin breaking bread on the coming Lord’s Day."

Since we were settled on the time to begin, we began to discuss the place. Our house was larger, but I had not told my mother how I felt about this matter, lest she think that we young people were rebelling. Leland Wang was living in a house borrowed from a girls’ school and was moving soon, so he felt it would not be too convenient. I said, "It does not matter; let us meet at your place." After we had made that decision, I was exceedingly happy on Friday and Saturday, for I was anticipating the happy day which was soon coming. When the evening of the Lord’s Day came, I informed my mother that I was going to Leland Wang’s home. She asked, "What for?" I replied, "To take care of something very important." That night three of us (Leland Wang, his wife, and I) met in his little house to break bread and drink the cup together. As long as I live, and even into eternity, I will remember that experience. I was never so close to the heavens as on that night! That night the heavens came near to the earth! All three of us could not help but weep! On that day we knew what it meant to break bread in remembrance of the Lord. As a young boy, after being sprinkled, I had partaken of the Holy Communion. My response at that time was, "The bread is rather sour and the grape juice is rather sweet." I understood nothing regarding the significance of breaking bread; I only realized that the bread was sour and the juice was sweet. But when the three of us broke bread that night in Leland Wang’s home, I knew that this was a most precious matter to God. On that first occasion we learned what it meant to worship and remember the Lord. We could do nothing but give praise and thanks to Him.

After the first meeting we asked ourselves, What about the next meeting? Some denominations observed the breaking of bread every three months, but what about us? The Bible tells us to remember the Lord often. We felt from reading Acts 2, that at that time the breaking of bread was probably a daily matter. Acts 20:7 says, "And on the first day of the week, when we gathered together to break bread." This is very clear. On the basis of the word, therefore, we decided to observe the breaking of bread every Lord’s Day. From that time on, except when I was ill, traveling on the road, or prevented by some unexpected event, I always broke bread every Lord’s Day. Shortly afterward, my mother discovered what we were doing. She did not object; she only commented that we were too bold. Several months later, she also joined us in breaking bread.

Gradually the way the Lord was taking us began to have its outside effects. There was talk that several members of the Nee family were baptized by immersion. The district superintendent of the Methodist Church came to inquire of us concerning this matter. I said, "The only question is whether or not baptism by immersion is scriptural. If it is not scriptural, I am willing to stand before the congregation and confess my error; if it is scriptural, then I must obey." He only said, "Yes, it is scriptural, but you should not be so legal." If there was no need to be legal in one matter, there was no need to be legal in any matter. It surprised me to find that while the Methodists had originally been our good friends, now because of baptism by immersion, they turned quite cold toward us. From that day on I realized what it means to obey the Lord and that there is a price to do it. I also realized that people do not ordinarily consider baptism important; however, after one is baptized in a different way, they do consider it important.

(Watchman Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)