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 Equipping and Training of Watchman Nee


Watchman Nee attended no theological schools or Bible institutes. His wealth of knowledge concerning God's purpose, Christ, the things of the Spirit, and the church was acquired through studying the Bible and reading spiritual books. Watchman Nee became intimately familiar with and greatly enlightened by the Word through diligent study using twenty different methods. In addition, in the early days of his ministry he spent one-third of his income on his personal needs, one-third on helping others, and the remaining third on spiritual books. He acquired a collection of more than 3,000 of the best Christian books, including nearly all the classical Christian writers from the first century on. He had a phenomenal ability to select, comprehend, discern, and memorize relevant material, and he could grasp and retain the main points of a book at a glance. Watchman Nee was thus able to glean all the profitable scriptural points and spiritual principles from throughout church history and synthesize them into his vision and practice of the Christian life and of the church life. Watchman Nee received much enlightenment and help from a number of Christian writers, as follows:

The assurance of salvation
George Cutting, a Brethren writer

Life
John Bunyan's Pilgram's Progress
Madame Guyon's biography
Hudson Taylor's biography
the writings of other mystics

Christ
J.G. Bellett
Charles G. Trumbull
A.B. Simpson
T. Austin Sparks
others

The Spirit
Andrew Murray's The Spirit of Christ

The Three Parts of Man
(body, soul, and spirit)
Jessie Penn-Lewis
Mary C. McDonough

Faith
George Müller's autobiography

Abiding in Christ
Andrew Murray
Hudson Taylor's biography

Christ's death
Jessie Penn-Lewis

Christ's resurrection and His Body
T. Austin Sparks
others

God's plan of redemption
Mary McDonough

The church
John Nelson Darby
other Brethren teachers

Prophecy
Robert Govett
D.M. Panton
G.H. Pember
other Brethren writers

Church history
John Foxe
E.H. Broadbent
others


_________________
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2005/7/30 1:44Profile









 Re: Equipping and Training of Watchman Nee

Thank you for posting this Greg.

So many have said things that aren't right or true about Nee, but he helped me so much, when I first got saved, that I owe him a big hand-shake One Day.

Nee let me in on TAS and Jessie Penn-Lewis, as he mentioned them in his writings somewheres.

The opposers of Nee, call him a "mystic". in a negative sense, but that's not true. He just believed that "He must increase and we must decrease" ... and I guess that teaching isn't as well received as it was back in the old days.

He and TAS & JPL protected me from the "strange" things, that can happen in the Full-Gospel realm.

Anyhow, thanks !

 2005/7/30 2:17
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: Which Lee?

Quote:
So many have said things that aren't right or true about Nee, but he helped me so much, when I first got saved, that I owe him a big hand-shake One Day.



I feel the same way Grannie..."Normal Christian Life", and "Sit Walk Stand" are very helpful books.

The controversy over Nee, as I understand it, is that many books bearing his name were published through an associate of his named Witness Lee who may have have contributed to the content. In short, many of the words attributed to Watchman may not be his, but loosely collected oral teachings that were recollected and written down by Witness Lee. As such they are not authentic Watchman. The problem is that there is no way to distinguish Witness' editorial influence from straight Watchman thinking.

At least this is how I understand the controversy and dubious reputation of many books credited to Watchman. Some of the books I have read of his do indeed feel more mystic and seem to have a different "voice" then NCL. (I noticed this before I heard about Witness Lee...)

Maybe someone else here has a better understanding of this issue.

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/7/30 3:20Profile
Koinonia2
Member



Joined: 2003/8/8
Posts: 118
USA

 Re:

Actually, the Nee titles published by Living Stream Ministry (Witness Lee's publisher) are generally considered very good editions. They can always be compared to the editions published by CFP (Stephen Kaung's publisher), and one will always see that any differences are minor.

The problems people usually have with Nee are related to some of his own teachings - some feel that THE SPIRITUAL MAN can lead to extreme introspection; some feel that SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY (aka AUTHORITY AND SUBMISSION) can lead to control and abuse, etc. None of these stem from differences of translation.

And, I would say that problems people find even with these books are personal - misapprehensions of teaching, or misapplications of practice, not necessarily results of Watchman Nee's theology.

Just my thoughts. :-)


_________________
Daniel

 2005/7/30 9:26Profile
Manfred
Member



Joined: 2005/4/4
Posts: 342
Continental Europe

 Re: Equipping and Training of Watchman Nee

Thank you Greg for your post.

I'd like to say something which is just a personal observation.

I have read Watchman Nee for many years. Some of his books, (actually transcribed messages for most of them), are better than others.

But I would like to say that I cannot and would not recommend "The Spiritual Man", nor "Spiritual Authority" to anyone.

Brother Nee himself was reluctant to have "The Spiritual Man" translated into English. It was written when he was very young, and when he was being greatly influenced by Jessie Penn Lewis. As Daniel said, it can lead to introspection, which is never a good thing. The chapter "An Analysis of the Spirit", (i.e. the spirit of man), while acknowledged by many is inadequate.

Having said this, there are many good things in the book, but I would definetly say that it shouldn't be read by the young believer.

I have a big problem with "Spiritual Authority". To me it might be his worst book. I will say why I don't like it in a sentence: it is solely based on the Old Testament. Authority in the New Testament has nothing in common with the one we find in the Old.

Having said this, Watchman Nee remains one of my favourite authors.

Manfred

 2005/7/30 11:32Profile









 Re:

Hia Manfred, I wanted to thank you for posting all of those TAS posts for us. Great !

The first book I read of Nee was in '79, "The Release of the Spirit", about dying to self.
Then read it again about '85 or so, and got even more out of it. Then again a third time, and once again, got even more out of it.

I started collecting his books in '79. In fact, strangely enough, our Romans professor made The Normal Christian Life, mandatory reading.

I think I've read about 30 of his books, though all a while ago.
There were 2 points, that I did not agree with him in.

One was, he had "multiple raptures". Seemed like about 5 or so. I lost count anyhow. And can't remember which book that was in.

Second, was that he said, that if The Lord called him to go to such & such city, and he didn't go, that he'd miss the rapture for that disobedience. I thought that was just a bit rough. Can't remember what book that was in either, but both of these were small books.

But I've been collecting Classics for all these years, and I find at least a few points in each and every Author's teachings, that I don't agree with, but still like their stuff.

I liked Nee's "Latent Power of the Soul". Because, coming to Christ, I found myself with the David Wilkerson crowd, when DW was still in Texas writing articles for Keith Greens newsletter, years before Times Square, which are Pentacostal, and it was good to know some of what was in that book, when in a Pentacostal Church.

But, to tell you the truth ... after all the Nee books I read, I got just the opposite out of them then "introspection", because I remember telling folks, not to get into introspection since I was a babe in Christ, because of Nee's books that I had read. Especially 'Release in the Spirit', where he said, 'we can't kill ourselves', in other words, no flesh or self, can work to put self to death. Only that God does it, mostly by circumstances that show us how much of 'us' is still in us. And other books he had written, made me see that introspection was wrong, and helped me, because I tended to do that, not knowing any better.

I also agree with the points you brought up about, much on the "Authority" side. There's sure an imbalance on that issue in the Churches, that's for sure.

But I'd like to hear where you disregard Jessie Penn-Lewis.

Some say she taught that Christians can be demon "possessed", but I didn't get that from the book. I know she said, oppressed.
I recently read her book a second time. The first time was in about '85 also.
I don't find the introspection in her writings.

What it did help me with, back when I first read it, was the abuses going on in the Full-Gospel realm and about "the dangers of a Passive mind".
I think that is an important teaching, that both she and Nee taught on.

Anyhow, both of them combined, spared me all of the (what we call) hooga-booga extremes in Full-Gospel and other churches.
I also liked that she teaches, that an oppressed person can be set free with just The Lord and themselves, and that proved they don't need these wacky all-nighter "deliverance services". Hoy !

I'd like to hear your feelings about her teachings, because I recently downloaded all of her articles here. I felt that with the deception that's here and increasing in the signs & wonders gang, etc. that her book was very helpful to help folks discern between a true move of God and a counterfeit.

Could you share, where the "introspection" part was ? I haven't read all that I've downloaded yet ... just her book.

Thanks,
Annie





 2005/7/31 3:20
Manfred
Member



Joined: 2005/4/4
Posts: 342
Continental Europe

 Re: Equipping and Training of Watchman Nee

Annie,

Thank you for your post, I'll try to answer your questions.

1) I think that all those who desire to study Romans, should indeed read "The Normal Christian Life"; to me it is WN's best book.

2) I never gave too much importance to the theories of a few raptures, or to the teaching of "partial rapture(s)". WN got this teaching from a circle of godly men whose names were: Robert Govett, D. M. Panton (Govett's successor at Norwich), G. H. Pember and especially G. H. Lang. I have and appreciate these men's ministry, but I feel that their insistance with their "partial rapture" theory is unacceptable. I think that they considered the rapture as a reward, which it is not.

2) I liked what you said about reading the classics, but not aggreeing with all that they say. This is, I think, putting Paul's words into practice: "Examine everything carefully, hold fast to that which is good."

3) I don't disregard JPL, I disagree with some of the things she taught. She definetely taught that a truly born-from-above believer could be demon-possessed. It is in the unabridged version of the book called "War on the Saints". A book I certainly don't recommend.

4) As to Nee's "introspection", I have read the "Spiritual Man" many years ago, and can't quote off hand. But you should perharps check the following chapters/parts: "The Analysis of the Soul", in volume 2 and 3.

I can't agree either with what he says in his chapter/part called "The Analysis of the Spirit", i.e. man's spirit. For the reason that the spirit cannot be defined in rational terms.

I hope this helps, otherwise revert.

Manfred

 2005/7/31 9:53Profile









 Re:

Great ~ Major helpful, Thank you !

That clears up a lot then.

I had heard that of the unabridged version of JPL's "War on the Saints" ... I have the 1994 and the latest, 2004 and see it was first published in 1916. Ah-ha, dat explains dat.

I know that WN wrote the Spiritual Man after only being saved 5 years. And I read it back when, as I told you ... but I'll dust it off and look up what you've said ... I don't doubt you in the least.

[u]Thank you[/u] for your very succinct answers and your time.

Annie

 2005/7/31 18:12
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

I've thought about it a lot more since I've read Nee, and I used to be pretty convinced that perhaps Witness Lee had tampered greatly with Nee's writings, especially given the cultish nature of "the little flock" as it exists in the states today. However, I think it is much more reasonable to conclude that Watchman Nee's theology grew very much over time, thus, changes of "tone" and the like. This would also explain the many contradictions his writings are riddled with (or at least appear to me as contradictions), especially regarding the gifts of the Spirit and nature of Church government and authority.


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Jimmy H

 2005/7/31 22:47Profile
Manfred
Member



Joined: 2005/4/4
Posts: 342
Continental Europe

 Re: Watchman Nee

Quote:
I've thought about it a lot more since I've read Nee, and I used to be pretty convinced that perhaps Witness Lee had tampered greatly with Nee's writings, especially given the cultish nature of "the little flock" as it exists in the states today. However, I think it is much more reasonable to conclude that Watchman Nee's theology grew very much over time, thus, changes of "tone" and the like. This would also explain the many contradictions his writings are riddled with (or at least appear to me as contradictions), especially regarding the gifts of the Spirit and nature of Church government and authority.



Hello Jimmy,

I would like to respond to your post making some remarks.

1) I don't think that Witness Lee has tampered with Watchman Nee's messages. (Remember that WN wrote only one book, all the other books are transcribed messages.) Let me quote what Daniel said about this in an earlier post:

Quote:
Actually, the Nee titles published by Living Stream Ministry (Witness Lee's publisher) are generally considered very good editions. They can always be compared to the editions published by CFP (Stephen Kaung's publisher), and one will always see that any differences are minor.



I know Daniel well, and I also know that his assessment is trustworthy.

2) There is no "Little Flock" movement as such in the US. Even though WL claims to have carried on from WN, that is not true; WL's movement is radically different from the "Little Flock" in China. WL's movement is called "The Local Church" or "The Lord's Recovery", never it is, or should be, referred to as the "Little Flock". In fact in China today the two movements are very distinct, and those counted among the "Little Flock" won't have anything to do whith the "Local Church", (also called the "Shouters", in that country).

3) Third, you speak of WN's theology growing over time. For some things it should be so. (Of course I don't refer to what we call "the foundamentals of the Christian faith"). When I was a young believer I held things I wouldn't hold today. As we grow in the Lord, we see the things spiritual in a different light; that in fact is the nature of being a disciple compared to just being a believer. A disciple keeps on learning, and will do so until the end, so adjustment to some things will be necessary.

That is why it is often wise to read WN in a chronological order. Some of the dates when these messages were given are stated at the beginning of the books.

Hope this helps,

Manfred

 2005/8/1 5:07Profile





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