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PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
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 The Fully Soulish Man - Nee

Saints, I found this article by Watchman Nee to be very good. Thought I would share it with you all:

"The Bible has many things to say about a soulish man. What it says often coincides with the human experience.

First Corinthians 2:14 says, "But a [i]soulish[/i] man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he is not able to know them because they are discerned spiritually." The "soulish man" here refers to an unregenerated man. Whatever a soulish man may be, this verse clearly points out to us his deficiency. Although this refers to an unregenerated soulish man, the regenerated soulish believer has the same kind of experience. The soulish man is controlled by the soul and is suppressed in his spirit, just the opposite of the spiritual man. Although such people may be very intelligent and thoughtful and can propose wonderful theories and ideas, they are completely at a loss concerning the things of the Holy Spirit of God. The soulish Christian lacks the spiritual discernment; he is completely ignorant of the Word of God. Even when he knows something, what he knows is but book knowledge, something obtained through his own mental power. He is not able to search all things through the Holy Spirit, nor does he have any power of discernment; he cannot differentiate between right and wrong. [i]His knowledge comes either from his memory of what others have said or from his own conjectures. He is not able to receive direct revelation from the Holy Spirit.[/i]

How different this assessment is from the concept of the world! The world thinks that man's intelligence and intellect are almighty, that every truth in the world can be grasped with the brain. However, according to the record of the Scriptures, these things are vain. It is regrettable that many Christians have tried to seek after the deep things of God recorded in the Bible using the faculties of their mind. They may understand something in their mind, but God says, "A [i]soulish[/i] man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God"!

James 3:15 also speaks of a soulish wisdom. "This wisdom is not that which descends from above, but is earthly, [i]soulish[/i], demonic." This soulish wisdom comes from the soulish believer. It seeks to expound God's truth with the intelligence of the soul. After a believer is regenerated, he will see by his new knowledge his own extreme ignorance concerning the Word of God, the Bible. Yet, most are not willing to wait patiently for God to give to them "a spirit of wisdom and revelation" to guide them into all truths. At such times, believers tend to be hastened by their own foolishness to exercise their own mental power, trying diligently to understand the teachings of God. Even those who have been believers for many years may not be free from this kind of practice. This kind of wisdom is soulish because it is secured through the power of the soul. This soulish wisdom serves mainly as a basis for criticizing and condemning others. Therefore, the apostle said that soulish wisdom causes one's heart to have "bitter jealousy and selfish ambition" (v. 14).

On the contrary, spiritual wisdom is "wisdom from above" and is "first pure, then peaceable, forbearing, compliant, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, without hypocrisy" (v. 17). The wisdom given to us by the Holy Spirit in our spirit is pure in motive; it has no improper design. In practice it is peaceable; there is no rivalry. The nature of this kind of wisdom is forbearing, compliant, and merciful. In content, it is impartial and without hypocrisy. In result, it bears much good fruit. How different is this from the soulish wisdom!

Yet, the disputes causing many denominations and the divisions causing many sects are advanced in the name of "bearing testimony for the truth"! The soulish Christian often exaggerates differences, creating a disparity of opinions, resulting in divisions in the church of God.

Jude testified of the same thing: "These are those who make divisions, [i]soulish,[/i] having no spirit" (v. 19). This word refers to unregenerated people. However, the fact that soulish men cause separations is seen among believers also. The characteristic of a soulish believer is that he is often the instigator of separations and rivalry. We are not saying that everyone has to believe the same thing. But the distinction between a spiritual believer and a soulish one is that while the former realizes his differences with others, he will not separate himself from other children of God just because of these differences. But with the latter, a little incompatibility will cause him to separate himself and to reject others."


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Paul Frederick West

 2008/4/22 22:17Profile
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 Re: The Fully Soulish Man - Nee

Quote:
But the distinction between a spiritual believer and a soulish one is that while the former realizes his differences with others, he will not separate himself from other children of God just because of these differences. But with the latter, a little incompatibility will cause him to separate himself and to reject others.



Is it really possible for a spiritual believer to be incompatible with another spiritual believer?

 2008/4/22 23:41Profile
HopeinChrist
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 Re:

Quote:
Is it really possible for a spiritual believer to be incompatible with another spiritual believer?



I think that is the whole point of what the article is saying. If the believer is residing/operating in the soulish realm instead of the spiritual, yes. Or at least they perceive it to be. How many times has this been demonstrated right here on this forum? It is very easy to move over into that realm and not even realize it if we are not vigilant and dying daily.

 2008/4/23 7:09Profile
PaulWest
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 Re: The Fully Soulish Man - Nee

Quote:
This soulish wisdom comes from the soulish believer. It seeks to expound God's truth with the intelligence of the soul. After a believer is regenerated, he will see by his new knowledge his own extreme ignorance concerning the Word of God, the Bible. Yet, most are not willing to wait patiently for God to give to them "a spirit of wisdom and revelation" to guide them into all truths. At such times, believers tend to be hastened by their own foolishness to exercise their own mental power, trying diligently to understand the teachings of God.


A major point of growth in the spiritual life of a believer comes when God begins tutoring on the differences between soul and spirit. I think this is one of the most misunderstood, most wisely under-discerned and weakest area for many believers today. I believe that if God would but open our eyes for a moment to differentiate between soul and spirit, much of the popular preaching we listen to, and much of the music we hear foisted off as "Christian" would be instantly rejected as soulical and not spirtual at all. This revelation would, in turn, cause a deepening of our convictions and greater sense of sobriety and prudence for the things we allow past the audio and visual checkpoint-filters of our vessels to infiltrate the heart.

We would also see that many of the discussions we so advidly engage in spring from soulical premises, and we would therefore resolve at once to have no further part in them. We would also be able to discern between soulical wisdom - which is demonic and earthly - and [i]spiritual wisdom[/i], which cometh from above, from God, and is life-imparting. The difference between these two dynamics are as night and day...though without discernment, the rambunctious soul will always eclipse the quieter spirit and the unaware believer will be left in a twilight zone of experiential sensibilities he or she has since come to automatically identify as the "presence of God".

Brethren, this is happening widescale across our churches each week. Because our soulical sensors are so heightened and alive - and the line of demarcation blurred between them and the spirit - we have come to equivocate anything of tangible delight or of personal betterment as being from God. How else could we have come to this, except by neglect of sober discernment between soul and spirit?

[i]"...for the reckoning of God is living, and working, and sharp above every two-edged sword, and piercing into the dividing asunder both of soul and spirit..."[/i] (Hebrews 4:12 Modern Young's Literal Translation).

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2008/4/23 9:25Profile
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 Re:

It has been my experience that those who function in the realm of soul seek to draw others into their "experience" - and if you do not join them, you are labeled as critical and judgmental. Are we not either lovers of self, or lovers of God? Is it possible to be both? How can someone that loves God function amongst those that seek only to gratify self? Especially if participation requires the forsaking of God . . . for in turning to ourselves we turn from Him.

 2008/4/23 12:54Profile
lovejt
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 Re:

Thanks for sharing this article Paul.

It corresponds with Chp 12 of 'Normal Christian Life' called, 'The Cross and the Soul Life' by Watchman which goes into a bit more depth.

I think this bears repeating.

>A major point of growth in the spiritual life ofa believer comes when God begins tutoring on the differences between soul and spirit. I think this is one of the most misunderstood, most wisely under-discerned and weakest area for many believers today.

>Are we not either lovers of self, or lovers of God? Is it possible to be both?

In Normal Christian Life, I believe Nee mentions and expounds about a mixture.



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james

 2008/4/23 13:46Profile
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 Re:

Quote:

A major point of growth in the spiritual life of a believer comes when God begins tutoring on the differences between soul and spirit. I think this is one of the most misunderstood, most wisely under-discerned and weakest area for many believers today



Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing [b]even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit[/b], and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


I cant remember where I read it, but maybe someone that has knowledge about medical things can testify if this is true, but I read that the major bones in our body, that in the middle so to speak we have what is called marrow. And there is a very thin layer that separates the marrow from the bone. It is actually so thin, that it is hard to tell the difference from where the bone ends and the marrow starts. And so it is sometimes with our soul and spirit.

And here is where we need the sword, the word of God to discern and separate. Was this "prophet" speaking a word from God, or was it just something that he came up with in his own self?

There can be a thin line, so thin its hard to tell the difference.

One of the reasons why we need to know the Word Of God.

God bless you all

Christian


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CHRISTIAN

 2008/4/23 14:22Profile
Christisking
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 Re:

Excellent article Paul – I have also been reading quite a bit of Watchman Nee over the past few weeks. “Not I but Christ” and “Whom Shall I Send” are both excellent books.

Quote:
Yet, the disputes causing many denominations and the divisions causing many sects are advanced in the name of "bearing testimony for the truth"! The soulish Christian often exaggerates differences, creating a disparity of opinions, resulting in divisions in the church of God.

Jude testified of the same thing: "These are those who make divisions, soulish, having no spirit" (v. 19). This word refers to unregenerated people. However, the fact that soulish men cause separations is seen among believers also. The characteristic of a soulish believer is that he is often the instigator of separations and rivalry. We are not saying that everyone has to believe the same thing. But the distinction between a spiritual believer and a soulish one is that while the former realizes his differences with others, he will not separate himself from other children of God just because of these differences. But with the latter, a little incompatibility will cause him to separate himself and to reject others."



This is much of what the Lord had laid on my heart and I was trying to get across when I wrote the [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=22899&forum=34&post_id=&refresh=Go]"Open Public Confession"[/url] article.

I still think the main thing is what our reaction is to others with differences – is our reaction to separate from them, cut them off and reject them, or is it to bear with them, pray for them and love them with the love of Christ? Our reaction as Watchman Nee has clearly stated is where we can see the difference between the spiritual and the soulish believers. This is not a license to throw discernment out the window in the guise of spirituality, but rather again goes to the reaction of what we have discerned. For me personally I have in the past and still do to an extent discern correctly but respond soulishly in the way of railing against, cutting off, rejecting, etc. – how many time do we see this very thing played out on these forums. It is only by the grace and Spirit of God that we are able to grow and mature to a point that our discernment and reaction to our discernment both line up and are spiritual instead of soulish. I would in no way say I have reached the fullness of this but by the grace of God I am growing and maturing in such areas in my life. The spiritual reaction to correct discernment would be to pray, love, bear with, help, teach, etc. in contrast to the soulish reaction.

So how do we react to other believers that we may correctly discern are soulish and/or have differences with us, yet are true believers as the article addresses? For example, how do we react to true believers who love the Lord yet are soulish in much of the preaching they listen to or music the deem as Christian having very little teaching or knowledge of the Spiritual life and spirituality? Or true believers who don’t have what we deem to be the correct doctrine or theology, or have are not at our same maturity level or level of wisdom and knowledge? Do we react to them soulishly and immaturely? It has been in my case to react soulishly to those who I have correctly discerned as soulish, thus playing the hypocrite. May God in His grace and mercy help me to react to those correctly discerned as soulish in a spiritual manner. May God help me to love and teach and help and pray for those who are believers yet who are soulish and not react to them hypocritically in a soulish way, but act out of love and concern of the Spirit.

God bless,

Patrick Ersig
www.revivalarmy.com


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Patrick Ersig

 2008/4/23 16:11Profile
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 Re:

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

- 2 Timothy 3:3-5 (KJV)

 2008/4/23 19:19Profile
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 Re:

Yet, the disputes causing many denominations and the divisions causing many sects are advanced in the name of "bearing testimony for the truth"! The soulish Christian often [b]exaggerates differences, creating a disparity of opinions, resulting in divisions in the church of God.[/b]

--

Amen.


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