Article Summary:

An introduction to, including a brief history of, the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee and the local churches.

Living Stream Ministry & The Local Church: Background Information

January 2004

The Local Church is an unincorporated association of Christian congregations. Each of these congregations is also known as the local church in their respective city. Patterned after the New Testament Church, believers meet together in various localities simply as Christians without any denominational affiliation, seeking to give testimony to the unity of the Christian Church.

Living Stream Ministry (LSM) is an Anaheim, CA based, not-for-profit publication and radio broadcast outreach associated with the Local Church. LSM, a member of both the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) and the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA), is dedicated to the publication, production and distribution of Christian literature and programming for edification in the Christian faith.

In addition to the publication of Bibles, tracts, magazines and books based on the writings and sermons of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, two well-known Evangelical Bible teachers/preachers from China, LSM also produces a regular radio broadcast, “Life Study of the Bible”. LSM has been in operation for nearly 30 years.

Brief History

Watchman Nee and Witness Lee

Watchman Nee began ministering and writing in China in the 1920s. His lifelong commitment to Christ and eventual martyrdom in 1972 after more than 20 years in prison inspired the “House Church” movement in China. His complete works have now been translated into English and published by LSM.

Before his imprisonment, Watchman Nee encouraged Witness Lee, his closest co-worker in China, to carry on the ministry in Taiwan. In just five years, the associated churches in Taiwan grew from 350 believers to more than 20,000. In 1962, Witness Lee moved from the Far East to the United States, settling in California. As a result of the publications of Watchman Nee and the written and spoken ministry of Witness Lee, local churches were soon established across the United States. This ministry, published by LSM, has spread throughout the Western hemisphere and in recent years has been translated into a multitude of other languages.

The Local Churches Today

The local churches seek to introduce individuals to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and to disciple them to grow in faith. Today there are nearly 300 local churches across the United States, with a combined membership of almost 25,000.

The Christians in the local churches share common doctrine with all other mainstream, orthodox, evangelical Christians including the belief:

  • That the Holy Bible is the complete divine revelation verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit.
  • That God is the only one Triune God – the Father, the Son and the Spirit, coexisting from eternity to eternity.
  • In the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that eternal salvation comes through grace by faith in Him.

We welcome all true Christians and earnestly seek fellowship with them as brothers and sisters in Christ and as members of the one Body of Christ – the Church.

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