Having This Ministry
A Digital Newsletter from Living Stream Ministry

A Brief Report concerning the History of Taiwan Gospel Book Room and Its Current Ministry Publication Endeavors

The beginning of Taiwan Gospel Book Room, in Brother Witness Lee’s own words, is as follows: “After we came to Taiwan, there was a need for the publication work. In 1949…we began to use the name of Taiwan Gospel Book Room for the publication of Crucial Truths in the Holy Scriptures and Hymns…When Brother Nee went to Hong Kong in 1950, he…made arrangements for three bookrooms because there were different political situations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taiwan. Thus, he made arrangements for three branches of the one work” (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1984, vol. 5, pp. 239-241). Since then, Taiwan Gospel Book Room has been serving as the publisher of the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee in Chinese for its distribution in the Chinese-speaking world, while the bookrooms in Shanghai and Hong Kong ceased to function afterwards.

In 1962, Brother Lee began to minister in the United States and brought the publication work of the ministry into the English language, and subsequently into many other languages through translation. “The Anaheim office of Living Stream Ministry in the United States is responsible for English publications, and Taiwan Gospel Book Room is responsible for Chinese publications. The Chinese section in Anaheim mainly does the work of translating messages given in English into Chinese, and it works in coordination with Taiwan Gospel Book Room” (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1984, vol. 5, p. 256). Over the years Taiwan Gospel Book Room has been serving in intimate coordination with Living Stream Ministry to maintain a close match and synchrony between the English and Chinese publications. This is a blended service as envisaged by Brother Lee and carried out under his leadership: “The publication work of this ministry is not a Chinese work alone, nor is it only an English or a Spanish work; these three are part of one entity. I have blended the three offices—the ministry office in Anaheim, the ministry office in Irving, and the Taiwan Gospel Book Room—into one. If they are not blended together, there will be no way for us to go on” (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1984, vol. 5, p. 308).

After Brother Lee went to be with the Lord in 1997, the major endeavor of Taiwan Gospel Book Room has been the completion of The Collected Works of Witness Lee in Chinese according to Brother Lee’s decision: “I decided that after I leave, I do not want the truths that the Lord has shown me to be left in my grave. I want to put out whatever the Lord has shown me…Even if I die, my word in the Lord still speaks. He has provided us with the marvelous environment for the release of His divine revelation” (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1991-1992, vol. 1, pp. 296-297). The Chinese edition of The Collected Works of Witness Lee from 1963 to 1997, a total of 92 volumes, was completed and released within the fifteen-year period of 2006 to 2021. Another 23 volumes, namely, the Collected Works from 1932 to 1956, were released in early 2023. The last batch, consisting of the Collected Works from 1957 to 1962, plus the gleanings and collections of Brother Lee’s letters, Bible notes, and hymns, a total of 23 volumes, is planned to be released in early 2024.

Over the last two decades, Taiwan Gospel Book Room has endeavored to digitize almost all of its publications so that each publication would be available in various electronic formats compatible with a wide range of commonly used devices. This includes a reading App of the published volumes of The Collected Works of Witness Lee, which is now heavily used by the saints.

Concerning the continual and up-to-date speaking of the Lord in His recovery, Brother Lee wrote on March 24, 1997: “The Lord has shown me that He has prepared many brothers who will serve as fellow slaves with me in a blended way. I feel that this is the Lord’s sovereign provision for His Body, and the up-to-date way to fulfill His ministry.” Through the co-working brothers’ blended service in the seven annual “feasts,” the Lord has continued to bless His recovery with His rich and timely speaking for the fulfillment of His heart’s desire. The propagation of such a corporate speaking as a continuation of Brother Lee’s speaking in the New Testament ministry has been and will continue to be the central line of the publication work of Taiwan Gospel Book Room, which includes the release in the Chinese language of the conference and training outlines, message abstracts, and issues of The Holy Word for Morning Revival, corresponding to the speaking of each conference and training.

In addition, Taiwan Gospel Book Room began in the summer of 2016 to put out a periodical entitled Ministry Digest, which serves as a supplementary reader to enrich the saints’ enjoyment and application of the conference and training messages. Each issue of the Ministry Digest is released concurrently with an issue of The Holy Word for Morning Revival and consists of ministry excerpts selected from existing ministry publications in line with the general subject of each respective conference or training. This is an attempt to fulfill Brother Lee’s charge to “cook” the groceries of the ministry materials to feed the saints: “The goal of the message released by this ministry is to produce spiritual groceries and to supply these groceries to the churches…[We should] ‘cook’ these groceries in order to feed the riches of Christ to the saints…so that everyone may be abundantly supplied (1 Tim. 4:6)” (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1983, vol. 1, p. 497).

For the distribution and propagation of the ministry publications, a close coordination has been established and maintained between Taiwan Gospel Book Room and the book service of the churches. Concerning this Brother Lee said, “The book service is a very important service in the churches…We must encourage the saints in the localities where we serve to cultivate the habit of studying the truth…We are urging the believers in the Lord’s recovery to have the books that we have published in their homes, and we are encouraging them to do their best to read these books” (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1984, vol. 5, p. 191). To carry out this burden, the serving ones of Taiwan Gospel Book Room endeavor to have regular fellowship with the book service saints in the churches, conduct book service blending meetings with them, and hold book exhibitions in various localities at various times of the year, for the purpose of dispensing the riches of the ministry embodied in its publications.

The distribution of ministry publications through “standing orders” is a healthy practice from which the saints and the churches have drawn great spiritual benefits. Brother Lee, in his fellowship with the leading brothers and the saints taking care of the book service in the churches, said, “I hope that all the churches in all the localities, which have received the supply in the Lord's word from this ministry, will do their best to help the publication of the ministry in the matter of standing orders…We encourage the brothers and sisters to sign up for standing orders so that we can print books in larger quantities but at a cheaper cost, which benefits everyone. We also want to encourage the brothers and sisters to build up the habit of reading spiritual books after every meal and before going to bed. They will gain a great benefit from reading in this way” (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1984, vol. 5, pp. 189-190). The current subscribers of the Taiwan Gospel Book Room standing orders receive timely supplies of the major publications, including The Holy Word for Morning Revival, Ministry Digest, and new Chinese standalone books, as an all-in-one order. The leading ones of churches in Taiwan, in their support of the ministry, are always conscious not only of whether the number of saints in their localities increases but also of whether there is a corresponding growth in the number of subscribers to the standing orders, realizing that a healthy church life is one in which the word of God grows while the number of believers multiply (cf. Acts 6:7).

Such a pleasant coordination between the ministry and the churches was described by Brother Lee as follows: “There was a pleasant harmony between the ministry and the churches. Through its publication work, the ministry endeavored to supply the word, life, and truth to the churches for their building up, and the churches fully supported the ministry…A healthy situation is that while the ministry is willing to serve spiritual riches to the churches, the churches are willing to support, help, and be one with the ministry” (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1980, vol. 2, pp. 21-22). May the word of the Lord run and be glorified (2 Thes. 3:1) through the churches’ coordination with the publication work of the ministry!