TO BEAR A SPECIFIC TESTIMONY OF THE LORD
First, he himself learned to know the Lord in a deep way by experiencing His all-inclusive death and resurrection. Because of his own experience along this line, he was specifically burdened and commissioned by the Lord to bear testimony to this truth. For the discharge of this burden, he released spoken messages and also issued a magazine, called The Present Testimony, in which he published messages on the subjective aspect of the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection, on the principles of life, on the supremacy of Christ, and on God’s eternal purpose. He also held conferences and special meetings through the years to release messages on these deeper themes. In his open letters (chapter twenty-five of this book) he made this more than clear.
TO ESTABLISH LOCAL CHURCHES
Second, Watchman Nee’s ultimate burden was to establish and build up local churches for the satisfaction of God’s desire. This was his ultimate commission from the Lord, based on what he had seen and experienced of the Lord. His vision was that the preaching of the gospel, the edifying of believers, the teaching of biblical truth, and the bearing of a specific testimony of the Lord should be according to God’s economy for the establishment and building up of local churches. These things are not God’s goal; they are only procedures to accomplish God’s goal, which is the establishment and building up of local churches. God desires to have local churches according to His New Testament economy; this is His eternal purpose. This is clearly and emphatically revealed in the New Testament, and this is the central point of the New Testament revelation. Watchman Nee, like the apostle Paul, was fully burdened and commissioned with this revelation. He was very much welcomed by all Christians in preaching the gospel, in edifying believers, in teaching biblical truths, and in bearing the specific testimony of the Lord. However, he was rejected by the majority of Christians in the matter of establishing and building up local churches. Some Christian leaders and teachers not only opposed him but also condemned him in this matter. Even some of his admirers say in their writings that Watchman Nee was wrong in his view of the church. Today, throughout the whole world, nearly all Christian bookstores carry his books, but very few stock his books on the church. This is due to the ignorance prevailing in the Christian world concerning the importance of the church in God’s economy. Watchman Nee suffered a great deal because of his faithfulness to the Lord’s commission concerning the church. He definitely saw a vision and received a commission concerning this matter. Because the vision was so clear and the commission so real, he did not care that he was rejected, opposed, and condemned. He anticipated this response and was determined to pay the price for the commission he received of the Lord. His faithfulness to this commission cost him his life.
(Watchman Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)