Thursday, November 12, 2009

Can You Do This?

9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.--2 Corinthians 10:9-10.

9 comments:

Kristin said...

I've been challenged and encouraged by this insight from Watchman Nee: “God desires to bring us to the point where our natural strength is touched and fundamentally weakened, so that we dare no longer trust ourselves. With an abundance of strength we are useless to God. With no strength at all, we can hold onto Him. And with His strength flowing through us, ‘We are more than conquerors’.”

Doug Groothuis said...

That quote, in iteself, is good and biblical; however, Nee's overall theology is not biblical. He denies the importance of intellectual sanctification, holds to a trichotmous view of the person (not supported biblically; dichotomy makes more sense) and his teachings are often used by authoritative groups to manipulate people.

Soulcraft - East of Eden said...

Regarding Watchmen Nee - Kristin, while Nee's books contribute some benefit to Christian thought and behavior, much more damage has occured to the faith of many. Having worked, for many years with those from religiously abusive churches and having come out of one, I feel his writings have done more to damage the church than perhaps any other writer in the 20th Century.

As Doug points out, Nee's view of the intellect, of santification, of what it means to be made in the image of God and of the nature of spiritual authority are all opposed to Scripture. I can refer you to documentation on this if your interested.

Kristin said...

Thanks for these insights! While I've enjoyed some of Nee's material, I did wonder about his trichotomous view, as expressed in Spiritual Knowledge. I would love to examine more fully his unbiblical theology and the resulting implications of how this theology negatively impacted segments of the church. So, I would definitely appreciate it if you could refer me to some materials that document Nee's errant views.

Soulcraft - East of Eden said...

Kristin - In my opinion, there has not been many well done critiques of Watchman Nee. Regarding his view of spiritual authority, I suggest a book review that I did in the late 80's:

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/dtl/cults/review/authority.htm

For the problems with his trichotmous teaching and anti-intellectualism I suggest the book "Being Human: The Nature of Spiritual Experience" by Ranald Macaulay and Jerram Barrs.

Very few people have been critical of Watchman Nee due to the many lawsuits that have occured with Witness Lee and the Local Church. Witness Lee was a disciple of Nee's and promoted much of what Nee taught. Evidence for these lawsuits are sadly all over the internet.

Abschaum said...

Professor Groothuis:

I do not wish to be contentious, but I believe Nee did teach sanctification of the intellect, albeit you may not agree with his definition of intellectual sanctification. Perhaps you could be more specific about the differences between you.

Further, I am not sure how we can be dogmatic about whether we are dichotomous or trichotomous beings -- Hebrews 4:12 suggests that a division can be made between soul and spirit.

Finally, I think you can hardly hold it against Watchman Nee if his teachings are misused to manipulate others; the same can be said of Christ.

Soulcraft:

I am surprised that Christians would be so timid about debunking Nee, if he were in such need of debunking. I see no such timidity among Christians about debunking Scientology, which is much better funded and seems to hold litigiousness as one of its holy doctrines.

All:

As I understand it, Watchman Nee and his Little Church movement were key players in the early days of the Chinese Underground Church, a movement commended on this blog not too long ago:

http://theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2009/11/from-ny-times.html

From what I have read, Watchman Nee was a zealous Christian who led many people to Christ. He refused to flee China when the Communists took over. He was finally arrested for his faith, and he died in prison.

This is the last thing he wrote before he died:

"Christ is the Son of God Who died for the redemption of sinners and was resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ. Watchman Nee."

I am not suggesting that Nee's teachings are flawless (were Bunyan's?), but let me suggest that we should take a more thoughtful approach to a man who was apparently greatly used of God during a tumultuous and crucial time in Chinese history.

Abschaum said...

Professor Groothuis:

I do not wish to be contentious, but I believe Nee did teach sanctification of the intellect, albeit you may not agree with his definition of intellectual sanctification. Perhaps you could be more specific about the differences between you.

Further, I am not sure how we can be dogmatic about whether we are dichotomous or trichotomous beings -- Hebrews 4:12 suggests that a division can be made between soul and spirit.

Finally, I think you can hardly hold it against Watchman Nee if his teachings are misused to manipulate others; the same can be said of Christ.

Soulcraft:

I am surprised that Christians would be so timid about debunking Nee, if he were in such need of debunking. I see no such timidity among Christians about debunking Scientology, which is much better funded and seems to hold litigiousness as one of its holy doctrines.

All:

As I understand it, Watchman Nee and his Little Church movement were key players in the early days of the Chinese Underground Church, a movement commended on this blog not too long ago:

http://theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2009/11/from-ny-times.html

From what I have read, Watchman Nee was a zealous Christian who led many people to Christ. He refused to flee China when the Communists took over. He was finally arrested for his faith, and he died in prison.

This is the last thing he wrote before he died:

"Christ is the Son of God Who died for the redemption of sinners and was resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ. Watchman Nee."

I am not suggesting that Nee's teachings are flawless (were Bunyan's?), but let me suggest that we should take a more thoughtful approach to a man who was apparently greatly used of God during a tumultuous and crucial time in Chinese history.

Soulcraft - East of Eden said...

Abscham - I have drafted a 1000 word response to your concerns. Unfortunately, on this blog, I am limited to 4096 characters. If you would like to email me at: Pat.Knapp@Comcast.net I would be glad to send this response to you.

Soulcraft - East of Eden said...

For all those, with interest, I would be glad to send out my critiques of Watchman Nee. This includes both a book review for his book, "Spiritual Authority" and a more general paper on the theology of Nee. Any that have interest can email me at Pat.Knapp@Comcast.net