Monday, February 20, 2012


Watchman Nee was born in China in 1903, was converted to Christianity at the age of eighteen, spent the last twenty years of his life in a Communist prison cell being persecuted for his faith, and authored many books wherein his theology is yet quite worthy, in my opinion, for study. A friend came to me Sunday evening at church with a question about a thought brought forth by the preacher in something he was reading. As best as this old man can recall a day later, Tony was questioning the idea, not of “flesh” being both good and bad, but of a need for us to crucify it regardless. For a few moments there, before the service started, we talked but came to no real conclusion in the matter. Last night and again this morning, then, I’ve been re-visiting the one volume I own of Nee’s writing and find myself trying to recall what it was about his words that caused me to “move on” so long ago. In a second perusal of these first few chapters, he has my mind chewing on a good meal, his reasoning that Jesus “died instead of us for our forgiveness”, but “lives instead of us for our deliverance” closely resembling my own view of the Gospel! Indeed, when he rephrases that in terms of Christ being “a substitute on the Cross who secures our forgiveness and a substitute within who secures our victory”, he has me here, a few decades down the road, wanting to shout unto him “Amen!” When he states that “the Blood deals with what we have done, whereas the Cross deals with what we are” and he separates “sin” into the two aspects of “what I have done” and “what I yet am”, speaking of how “the former touches my conscience, but the latter, my life”, he paints, for me, this walk as I have found it to be. So, while I didn’t have an answer for Tony last night, it occurs to me now that what we were a bit perplexed about could merely be a perspective wherein we fail to recognize that no matter how “saintly” we think ourselves to have become in this, in spite of whatever we accomplish in our ministry, our outreach, our interaction with others, it all still falls short of “holiness”, our vanity always in need of being nailed to the tree.


  1. My favorite song, heard just once, building fence in Nevada, but what an impact....Hush Lady Watchman, don't you cry, you know he'll never die. He'll just walk into the arms of Jesus.
    And tho it hurts to see him go,Lady Watchman don't you know, he was born to be a watchman for the Lord......I wish I knew the rest of the song, but have sung that chorus alot over the years.

  2. Kdip: Sent you an e-mail while back, but am assuming you still are operating out of the library. Just glad that you yet are able to drop by, you visits always a pleasant surprise. I've never heard the song of which you speak, but if the verses are as good as the chorus, I'd like to find it.....jim

    1. Right after I wrote a comment here, I did a google search and to my surprise and delight, there was a youtube of the song, Ballad of Watchman Nee!!!! I had given up searching several years ago. Thank you, Jim! You are a blessing in ways you cant imagine.

  3. I just went back to my e-mail to get a link sent me from an old Navy friend, one meant for you with a you tube connection to the song. Found your comment and had to tell him (with thanks) that you seemed to have already gooten there yourself....jim

  4. Tony said:
    Several years ago the Holy Ghost spoke to a young man we both know (not me) not to worry about doing big thing or many things “for God”; that if in his whole life there was only one thing, if it was God’s thing, that is enough.
    My righteousness is filthy rags. The best I can ever do is worthless.
    I’ve been seeing the cross differently lately. There is much more there than I have ever known and while some small parts of the picture are clear, most of the Artist’s work is still blurry and out of focus to me.

  5. For me, Tony, the Cross represents "finding clarity" as we go, the door, or the veil, before us through which the Holy Ghost takes us if we are willing to kneel before it. We may never see exactly what is "God's thing", but we can know His presence and His voice affirmed in our life, peace in the midst of the darkness. Still enjoying this Watchman Nee. As of yet, though, he has yet to express the reality of the Spirit in his proposed schematics of Romans.....