[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 118 (Friday, July 31, 2009)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2110]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                       HON. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH

                             of new jersey

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, July 30, 2009

  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge 
the immense spiritual achievement of Watchman Nee, a great pioneer of 
Christianity in China.
  Christianity Today magazine recently honored Watchman Nee as one of 
the 100 most influential Christians of the twentieth century. Watchman 
Nee died over thirty years ago but his life and work continue to 
influence millions of Protestant Christians in China. Today more than 
three thousand churches outside of China, including several hundred in 
the United States, look to him as one of their religious and 
theological leaders.
  Watchman Nee was an astonishingly devoted and energetic man, which I 
think can be seen from a capsule summary of his life. He became a 
Christian in 1922. In the 1930s, he traveled to Europe and North 
America, where he delivered sermons and speeches. Later his sermons 
were collected and published as books. By the late 1940s, Nee had 
become the most influential Chinese Christian writer, evangelist, and 
church builder. In 1952, the Chinese government imprisoned Nee and many 
other Christian leaders for their faith. Nee was never released, though 
during the 1960s and 1970s several of his books continued to grow in 
influence and popularity, particularly in the United States, and his 
best-known book, The Normal Christian Life, sold over one million 
copies world-wide and became a twentieth-century Christian classic. In 
1972 he died at the age of 71 in a labor farm; his few surviving 
letters confirm that he remained faithful to God until the end.
  Madam Speaker, it is estimated that China has more than one hundred 
million Christians, and millions of them consider themselves the 
spiritual heirs of Watchman Nee. Millions more are rightly proud of the 
contribution Watchman Nee made to global Christianity--he was the first 
Chinese Christian to exercise an influence on Western Christians--and 
indeed of his contribution to world spiritual culture. It is sad that 
the works of Watchman Nee are officially banned in China--even as they 
are being discovered afresh by a new generation of Western Christians. 
It is my hope that Watchman Nee's collected works can be freely 
published and distributed within China.
  After Watchman Nee's death, when his niece came to collect his few 
possessions, she was given a scrap of paper that a guard had found by 
his bed. What was written on that scrap may serve as Watchman Nee's 
testament: ``Christ is the Son of God Who died for the redemption of 
sinners and was resurrected after three days. This is the greatest 
truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ. Watchman