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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Why I Can No Longer Endorse Any Of Watchman Nee's Books

More Info Added 12 Nov 2010
This article is written because of  my previous inadvertent endorsement of Watchman Nee. I apologise to all for any angst that may have caused. I usually thoroughly research those I endorse first, but as explained on my post Why I  Previously Endorsed Watchman Nee Inadvertently  I did not think it was necessary with him. Obviously, I now need to check out all those I trusted in my early Christian life before I endorse them. I also want others who are ignorant (like I was) to be aware why we should not trust his teachings. See my report at the bottom of this post as to why we cannot trust Watchman Nee's books.  
This is what I wrote on  Why I  Previously Endorsed Watchman Nee Inadvertently :

"Please note that I have now removed my endorsement of Watchman Nee's book "love not the world". This is not because I am aware of false teaching in that specific book, because I found much of his teaching on this particular subject sound. However, I have since discovered some seriously wrong teachings on many of his other books. It could be that there may be something in that book which may be wrong too (haven't read it for a few years). Therefore, I do not want to be the cause of some young believers reading any of his material and being deceived. 

As a young believer I read parts of "Normal Christian Life" the whole of "Love not the world" and parts of  "sit, walk, stand". At the time I was very much impressed by the last 2 books. I cannot remember everything I read in those books but there were general teachings I found very helpful and insightful and got me into serious Bible study. I always maintain that whatever any man says we should be Bereans and "check the scriptures daily to see whether these things are so".  I assumed that Watchman Nee was a sound teacher as was spoken very well of, at the time (1977 to 1981).   At that time I was not so discerning and a bit too trusting. From my research and help from someone else using this site I have discovered that his main false teaching came in his other books which I had never read. Praise God He kept me from those books.

I have also edited my post Who Runs The World? An Investigation Into The Global Scheme Of Things. Completed Report  found on with the above in mind. Notice it now has the word "revised" in its title."

Anyway, after that introduction, now the purpose of this report as follows:

Why Watchman Nee's teachings Cannot Be Trusted

The following  was written by G. Richard Fisher of  Personal Freedom Outreach and was found on "Apologetics Index" website. From what I can see that website looks sound and the author seems ok. Please note it is not just him saying this. I could have pasted many other similar reports. It is just that I chose this one.

Watching Out For Watchman Nee

"Many Christians uncritically accept the writings of Watchman Nee even though few know anything about his background. Many are impressed by the volume of his work and the dogmatism and feeling of deep spirituality that characterize his writings. His ideas and books still influence charismatics, fundamentalists and people in between.

But one need not be a theologian to discover that his teachings call for scrutiny and caution by Christians. Much can be learned about Nee from a cursory reading of some of his books and the writings of others who were around him. These show that his theology developed through encounters with four different people and it was from these that he "borrowed" ideas extensively. Each new book seemed to develop from "discoveries" received from these teachers.

Nee's basic writings cover over 40 volumes and have been researched by Dana Roberts. His findings are not flattering to Nee and are presented in his book Understanding Watchman Nee. This writer is indebted to Roberts for much of the material in this article.

Nee was born Nee Shi-Tsu in November 1903. His mother, a Methodist mission convert, later changed his name to "Bell ringer," or Watchman, with all the Christian connotations. He claimed conversion to Christianity in April 1920. At a Bible school in Shanghai, he came under the influence of a female teacher, Miss Yu. Under her instruction he seriously sought a "second blessing." He later said he felt he had "recovered" truth for the church and taught four subsequent experiences after conversion.

Miss Yu directed Nee to Miss M.E. Barber, who taught him in the Keswick concept of the filling of the Spirit. In February 1922, Nee claimed, he was "baptized in the Spirit" and put himself under the continuing instruction of Barber. Barber then was responsible for the development of Nee's perfectionistic theology. Barber also convinced Nee of the truth of the "partial rapture" theory assigning carnal believers to a kind of Protestant purgatory. Nee admitted that in his writings on the book of Revelation, he depended on a book from Barber's library by Robert Govett that teaches a partial rapture. Thus we see how he got these new "insights" that became the basis for new books.

Later, Barber allowed Nee to read the works of Jesse Penn Lewis when she thought he was "mature enough," Roberts says. Penn Lewis, a mystic with a Welsh Methodist background, saw many parts to man's inner nature. Her literature, considered "holiness literature," is the main source for Nee's Spiritual Man series, in which he developed a gnostic view of man, Roberts says. Nee also got doses of Catholic mysticism through the writings of Madame Jeanne Guyon, as published in Penn Lewis' magazine.

Nee continued to read widely and when Barber exposed him to the writings of John Darby, he found the basis for his ecclesiology, or thoughts on the church. From that point, everything Nee wrote on the church is easily identified with the teachings of the Plymouth Brethren. He rejected clergy as unscriptural.

During this time Nee also professed to be led by inner leadings. He justified this subjective means of revelation by saying that the ways of God are not known by external means but by "internal registrations." Again, he was rejecting external authority.

Nee had his own eclectic system developed when he encountered another woman in 1935. Elizabeth Fischbacker introduced him to Pentecostal theology and speaking in tongues. Nee did not regard tongues as unbiblical but never spoke in tongues himself.

In 1942, Nee took over the running of his brother George's chemical factory. He consigned all the property to the church and sought to have the church members as the factory workers. As a result he contradicted previous positions he had taken regarding disassociation of the church and business. In 1949, Mao-Tse Tung came to power and Communist China was born. Nee, a factory owner, was seen as an imperialist and eventually was jailed. He remained in prison until his death in 1972.

The teachings that developed over Nee's lifetime and out of his encounters with these women and the teachings they directed him to are dangerous to Christians seeking clear guidelines to follow. Space allows a listing of only a few of the problems in Nee's teachings:

1) Nee outlines no method of Bible study and interpretation and appears to deny evangelical hermeneutics. In his book Spiritual Authority, he sets himself and his elders up as the unquestionable authorities. By all appearances, Nee saw himself not as a servant but as a guru

2) One gets the impression from Nee that the Bible was not nearly as important as Christians generally consider it. In his book The Ministry of God's Word, Nee says, "Words alone cannot be considered God's Word." In this book, Nee becomes very philosophical, mystical and incoherent. He says that only as we deliver the Word in terms of the "reality behind it," using what he calls "Holy Spirit memory" and "presenting the pictures as well as speaking the words" will the words be correct; otherwise they are not real.

3) Nee overemphasizes emotions. In The Ministry of God's Word, he claims that the effectiveness of a preacher's delivery is a product of his emotions. If a preacher does not feel emotionally charged in delivery, "the Spirit is stuck" and the "Spirit is inevitably arrested," Nee says. He continues, "The Spirit flows through the channel of emotion." Then he arrives at a strange conclusion: "Nose in the Scripture stands for feeling. Smelling is a most delicate act, man's feeling is most delicate." Therefore, Nee says, a preacher in speaking needs to "mix feelings with the words spoken, else his words are dead. If our feeling lags behind, our words are stripped of the spirit." To say as Nee does, on page 210, that the Holy Spirit only rides on feeling is dangerous.

4) Nee uses terms imprecisely. One example is his writing about a minister's receiving "revelations" in his "Holy Spirit memory" and those revelations being remembered in us by the Holy Spirit. This sort of metaphysical mumbo jumbo is impossible to understand, since there is no direct scriptural reference to a "Holy Spirit memory." 

5) When a Christian begins to see Nee as a guide in determining the value of other Christian writers, or sees Nee's writings as a key to spirituality, that person is headed for trouble. Nee's presuppositions are suspect in light of the Word of God. His books provide grist for cult groups such as The Way, The Alamo Foundation, the Children of God and other groups. The astute believer should watch out for Watchman Nee."

Regarding his book Spiritual Authority he overstates the authority of church leaders and our uncompromising submission to them (even if they are wrong). From this the heavy shepherding idea within charismatic groups emerged.

More Info Added 12 Nov 2010
Here is a testimony of some one with first hand experience:

Nee's Books Are Required Reading to Bring Members Under the Authority of their Pastors

Nee, Watchman (1903-1972) Widely read Christian author with some controversial teachings. Nee required blanket, unquestioning obedience. He also taught that all Christians must have a "Covering" - a person who has delegated authority, must be obeyed unconditionally, and who must be imitated. This "covering" does not stop with matters of faith and doctrine, but also extends to personal and secular matters (such as choice of employment, place to live, whether or not to marry, etc.)

 In addition, Nee taught there should only be one congregation in each city. Whenever Nee's followers moved into a city, they proclaimed themselves as the only church approved by God in that city. These doctrines have been picked up by various abusive churches and cultic movements, such as the International Churches of Christ.

Under the leadership of Nee's disciple and co-worker, Witness Lee, his house church movement, the Local Church (known to it's followers as "The Lord's Recovery") later also became controversial. - Articles - Roots of the Modern Discipline Movement Chapter from an online book called "The Discipling Dilemma". In this chapter, Watchman Nee's teachings are shown to be one of the roots of discipling movements such as the cultic International Churches of Christ.

Watching Out For Watchman Nee

December 13, 2000 -
Does anyone have info on Watchman Nee? Our church requires the reading of the Book "Spiritual Authority" by Watchman Nee. Other books by Nee are: "The Normal Christian Life", "Love Not The World," "Changed into His Likeness," "A Table in the Wilderness," "What Shall This Man Do," Victory Press Evangelical Publishers, Nottbridge Drove, Eastbourne, Sussex

Answer: By no means am i endorsing these books. I find this discussion very interesting...that churches are using Nee's book on Spiritual Authority to bring people under the authority of pastors. Nee was anti-establishment and completely rejected the institutional church and its hierarchial structure. I haven't read the book for 30 years but it has to be a missapplication of his original teachings.

There were no formal "pastors" in the "local church" which formed the basis for today's house churches in China. I was in the "local church" movement of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee as a leader and elder for 15 years from 1962 to 1977. I spent two months touring the churches in the Far East in the summer of 1968.

The movement was cultic and exclusive, but criticized traditional Christianity for its structure, hierarchy, programs and lack of a true "body" life and church life. They exercised psychological control through more indirect means. Nee was very much against the "western" missionaries and saw himself as completely divorced from organized Christianity.

Regarding Watchman Nee, there are some very dangerous teachings in his materials. Consider the fruit that many of his disciples committed suicide after his death. I have observed people reading some of his works getting very depressed. One must consider the full counsel of the scriptures. Watchman Nee teaches that there is nothing good in the soul or body, therefore to be spiritual you must deny soul and body.

This causes a splitting in the psuche and is very harmful. Many of the followers got involved in adultery and soulish stuff; but denied it because it was not their spirit that was involved. The full counsel of Scriptures teaches that we are to be sanctified body, soul, and spirit; that we are to be every wit whole. These books have been used a lot by the dangerous Shepherding movement and other psuedo hyper spiritual sort of movements. It leads to legalism and a religious spirit.

You did touch on the 4th book of his I was led to read, "The Latent Power of the Soul" published by CFP. This book addresses the soul in a way that explains much of the strange manifestations of the spirit in the Brownsville Assembly of God, Toronto Airport Church and New Pentecostals, as well as false religions. Having been a subject in a cultic group and experiencing these things this book made a lot of sense, at least to me. I think we have continued this thread enough and can close it, unless others are interested to continue.
[Source of Watchman Nee biography.


John Chingford said...


I have cut your last reply into 2 parts. The first will appear here. The 2nd half appears within the Nephilim post

Expected Imminently said...

I have your email and am in the process of responding.

I wanted to write my own caution about WN but as I was unable to remember what was wrong, and as I had already made mention of other things, decided to leave it alone.

Briefly my reaction is the same as your 'someone'.

John Chingford said...

I have made an addition at the bottom of this article, by adding someone's first hand testimony of being involved in the shepherding movement and how it was influenced by Watchman Nee.

Tom said...


This saddens me because, although I agree that Nee was far from 'perfect' in his theology and his life, I have been really encouraged and blessed by his work.

Put simply, I wouldn't be following Christ any longer had God not led me to Nee's book, 'Sit Walk Stand' when I was a student.

Surely God calls us to read any Christian writer discriminately, without writing them off wholesale. Martin Luther wrote horrible things about the Jews; John Calvin committed unspeakably cruel acts when he watched over Geneva to give just two examples. No man or woman is perfect and you're right that some of Nee's writing on the spiritual life and the church are dodgy.

But has anyone ever written so brilliantly on God's grace (Sit Walk Stand)? Has anyone ever opened up Romans 1-8 so powerfully (Normal Christian Life)? Give the man credit where it's due. He died as a martyr and carried his cross right to the end for his Lord.

Tony Cox said...

Hi Tom

I understand how you feel - my issue is this - if you mix just a dash of poison in with your coffee - then it becomes impossible to drink just the coffee!

I am very familiar with Watchman Nee and some of his writings could be considered brilliant by some - but - is not Satan more brilliant than any man?

You may be blessed in discerning - but there are many out there who are not - and I feel it is irrrsponsible to steer anyone towards anything that contains anything that is not scripturally sound - regardless of many truths are mixed in with it.

John Chingford said...

Hi Tom

Please refer to my article

where I state (2 paragraphs):

"Therefore, I do not want to be the cause of some young believers reading any of his material and being deceived.

As a young believer I read parts of "Normal Christian Life" the whole of "Love not the world" and parts of "sit, walk, stand". At the time I was very much impressed by the last 2 books. I cannot remember everything I read in those books but there were general teachings I found very helpful and insightful and got me into serious Bible study. I always maintain that whatever any man says we should be Bereans and "check the scriptures daily to see whether these things are so". "

ie, I haven't specifically called him false, neither does his name appear in my "false" list on

Point I am making is that I do not want to endorse any book/books from any author who teaches "some" dangerous or harmful teachings.

I do not want to be instrumental in influencing any of my readers (some being young impressionable believers) to read any material from such authors (which may contain poison amongst the meat).

For example Watchman Nee has some gnostic leanings and is overly analogous in interpreting scriptures, reading too deep into the text teaching which does not actually exist.

Word Faith founders and teachers and other false organisations ALL have this in common (with W Nee) that they drag out of the Bible things which were not intended by the Bible authors.

This blog tries to encourage readers to study THE BIBLE and not imperfect, finite human authors who COULD interpret scriptures incorrectly and have a faulty systematic theology (as does Watchman Nee have)

Tom said...

Hello John and Tony,

Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to reply to my concerns.

I admire the passion you both have for keeping younger believers on track. However, speaking as one such younger believer (I’m 27), I think it far more healthy to encourage people to weigh up truth for themselves, rather than drawing a line in the sand for them and judging Christian teachers to be ‘sound’ or ‘unsound.’ We are instructed to test everything and very much ‘hold onto the good’ whilst rejecting evil (1 Thess 5).

In this way, I actually think it is possible to separate the coffee from the so-called poison. Nee is very strong on God’s grace in Christ and much weaker on the spiritual life. Thus, I would whole-heartedly recommend ‘Sit, Walk Stand’ to a young believer but not ‘The Spiritual Man.’

I consider Nee’s earlier work to be ‘brilliant’ only because it all points to Christ and his glory. I doubt Satan had any hand in anything so Christ-centred. More to the point, I would never describe the devil as ‘brilliant’: he is a pathetic liar who only has the power to corrupt and destroy, never to create.

I agree that Nee can be analogous when interpreting the Scriptures but I would ask why this is such a bad trait. Sometimes a good analogy can open up a difficult biblical truth for the more simple-minded believer. When I was 20 I read Nee for the first time and simultaneously realised that I was saved by grace. Five years of good, solid and sound biblical teaching at my home church had failed to get his important truth across to me, which I think is telling. Instead, I think we in the western church are biased towards a very academic approach to opening the scriptures (hence your complaint that Nee has a faulty systematic theology). Maybe the fact that Nee comes from a completely different culture influences his analogous approach?

Lastly, Jesus Christ gave us one test to discern whether a man or woman was on the right track: fruit. Nee’s ministry was very fruitful indeed. During his last days in prison, his Communist captors decreed that prison guards could only watch over him for a maximum of six hours because he kept on converting them to Christ! I’m not claiming that the man was without fault; I’m asking the honest question ‘does his work glorify God?’ The fruit of his ministry would suggest so: I can testify that 20 year old students are still being inspired to worship Christ through his teaching, 70 years on!

John Chingford said...

Hi Tom

I just noticed that I never published your last comment (until now - see above). Sorry for that oversight.

When we refer to younger believers, we do not mean young in age. We mean recent converts. Converts who are more vulnerable to danger. The bible calls new converts as "babes in Christ". The Bible describes babes as immature regarding the things of God, who need to be nurtured on milk - not meat.

You are absolutely spot on and most appropriate by quoting:
"test everything and very much ‘hold onto the good’ whilst rejecting evil" (1 Thess 5).

Being analogous is dangerous because many have "spiritualised" away from the true meaning of the text. Many texts have literal meanings but are "watered away" by using analogy when they shouldn't.

Jesus spoke parables, giving analogies, but always told us that it was a parable ie not to be taken literally. From my understanding of the Bible, it always tells us when it is a parable or picture or not to be taken literally. This means that if it we are not told otherwise, it should be taken literally.

Regarding fruit. I wrote an article regarding the fruit Jesus was referring to, so will not get into it here.

Those who have been influenced by Watchman Nee: are they now teaching truth or error? Are their lives based upon the Word Of God or upon "experiences". Are they "sound" followers of Jesus or of self? The answer to those questions may determine if the fruit is actually good or bad.

God bless

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your willingness to say "I was wrong" and give a good insight into why you now no longer can support teachings of Watchman Nee.

I have little time to waste reading things I don't need to be reading. I really want to only FOCUS on God's Word and His Truth and be set firmly in what the Bible says.

Unfortunately I can't get to a good Bible teaching Church these days due to chronice Ilnesses (yes plural as I have a number of them and they keep me bedridden or at home).

So I read my Bible as much as I can and from time to time search the Internet for some Free Books (not having much money to live on as I can't work).

I was recommended Watchmen Nees "Love not the World" as one of his books that was good Bible teaching. However if Watchmen Nee was not a man totally anchored in God's Word I'm going to give it a miss.

I think I will stick with Andrew Murray. So far I have not found any fault with his books or sermons. I am praying for the Lord to lead me to other Preachers who I can learn from they don't need to be from the Old Time Preachers period.

I only have dial up as it is really cheap so I like to get hold of any written sermons but unfortunately most these days only use YouTube or Video styled media.

Never mind Jesus is the author and the finisher of my Faith and God will provide as He always does.

Cheers from Australia
God Bless

John Chingford said...

Thanks for your comments Milly

On this blog we have a number of good contributors who can very much identify with you. If you will please email me privately from your own email address, I will put you in touch (privately) with a missionary sister who I am sure would be happy to fellowship with you (on line) and advise you of reliable teachers.

Harry Ironside seems to be one who has sound biblical teaching.

God bless

BL said...

Hi Milly,

I hope you are checking back as I want to encourage you to check out H.A. Ironside and Clarence Larkin's works that you can find online. Sadly, you will not find their works in a "Christian" bookstore.

Some of the material is public domain and available online. But if you are interested in getting more of their commentaries and books you will need to search online to order them. Lifeline books offers them at a very reasonable price. I have found them a valuable aid in studying the Word.

Please check in from time to time to let us know how you are doing.

BL said...

Tom, I would like to respond to your comments about your objections to those who point out error.

What if we didn't have signs on the road warning us of dangers ahead such as "Bridge Out" , "Icy Road". In the Body of Christ we need each other and when we see a danger it is the responsible and caring thing to do to alert and warn. And we should be grateful for those who take the time and effort to warn others so they won't fall into a trap.

The Body of Christ is not "every man for himself". It is caring about each other and watching each others' back. Actually there is not enough of that going on and sadly when warnings are given out they are largely ignored, and people do that to their peril. We live in perilous times with all sorts of wiles of the devil with wolves masquerading as sheep.

Steen said...

I was brought up in both factions of Plymouth Brethren, first Open Brethren then Exclusive Brethren.

I was withdrawn from for exposing Big Jim as an adulterer, now long deceased.I dared to challenge the World Leader a mere lad, but I had the signed evidence to stand up in any court of law.

I have read some of Watchman's Nees books, and soon realised the spiritual state the man was writing from, but also his frailty of being an identity of distinction.

Pride is the hardous of all, to overcome.Especially the pride of our own convictions being the real truth.

The ultimate test for any truth is the change it brings about in a believer's life. Theology no matter how enlightened, has no value if it does not change a believer's life. The proof of the recipe is in the pudding, only God alone knows the real truth, we can only surmise if we really think about our unlofty nature, our mortality and frailty no matter how dedicated.

Nethertheless we have an "unction" from the Holy Spirit, and therefore the "spiritual know all things" and that need not be written or spoken, but be "groanings that cannot be uttered" it is internal silent dialogue of the inner man that transforms the outer perishing man with a heavenly glow.

We concentrate too much I humbly say on the external of God's Word rather than the Spirit of the Word, looking for authority in the past and "not present truth" hence drinking from waters drawn out of the Living Stream. long ago in man's mere vessel's or books gone stagnant.

John Chingford said...

Hi Steen

Thanks for visiting this blog and contributing to it. Much appreciated!

What you say sounds good (on the face of it) but I am a bit confused to the point you are making. Would you please clarify the OVERALL point you are making - especially regarding the last paragraph?


ColinSaxton said...

All men fail and say wrong things amongst some good things that we *may* say. I wouldn't endorse any teaching but just tell those who seek to walk faithfully to test everything with scripture. If it doesn't line up with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles then reject it.

Its becoming harder and harder in this age to find a church that just stands on the words of the bible. I would go as far to say that just about every instituted church I have ever visited has in some ways got wrong teaching.

We have churches ordaining women against the word of God. We have churches saying that Sunday is the new sabbath against the word of baptisms, sacrament keepers...all of this stuff is against the word of God.

Jesus said, those that believe on me in no way shall I cast out. We need to look past the church building and start looking at the church...the people of God...not one of us can say that he has no we pray for each other and we encourage one another and we rebuke one another from the word of God...

The word of God is final...we must stand on the word of God...especially when the world doesn't like some of its that time we are especially to stand on his word

Burning Lamp said...

Colin is exactly right about testing all by the Word.

However, there ARE certain teachers that discerners should issue alerts about,that are should be avoided ENTIRELY and one of those is Nee. His error is subtle compared to others, but it is just as deadly.

There ARE certain time-tested teachers that one can safely recoommend always with the caveat that to test all by the Word.

Yes, it is VERY hard to find ANY churches in the current apostasy that teach the true Gospel and the Word.

But they ARE out there even though they are few and far between. They will NOT be found on the internet or any so-called "Christian" TV.

They will likely be found in some obscure place as a nondescript person who has never attained a large following and never written a book. They have no axe to grind, no network loyalties.

Anonymous said...

Well I always liked Watchman Nee but the more I read the stuff that seemed so incredible and spiritual, the more confused I got. One word I now think is appropriate is mysticism. All the weird and wonderful spiritual sounding stuff just takes you away from a normal Jesus.

Epaphroditus said...

watchman nee's teachings are all from the bible.All the messages and the information are perfectly located in the bible.Sometimes, it is better to pray for the new believers not to be misinformed instead of criticizing a man of God...JUST pray to GOD He gives u the revelation and insight of the Bible..

John Chingford said...

Hi Epaphroditus

Just because a teacher quotes from the Bible does not make him trustworthy. You only need to see how many false cults and religions use scripture (a twisted interpretation, though) and skilfully use it to make their points. What ALL false teachers do is to collate scripture verses (passages) together, WAY OUT OF CONTEXT, and make a unique doctrine from their collection of verses. What they also do is to deliberately ignore/conveniently overlook the passages which contradict their position. The prosperity teachers are EXPERTS at doing this i.e the Word Of Faith crowd.

Please carefully read these following verses which are a warning regarding the likes of Watchman Nee etc:

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
2 Cor 11:13-15

In these verses, we see that false teachers are "deceitful workers" who will appear as "ministers of righteousness" convincing many people that they are speaking words of truth. TO PROVE IT they will often quote (or even read)from the Bible to display their authority, but as ravenous wolves they have ulterior motives to turn people away from the truth.

DO NOT EVER be taken in by mere men - no matter how holy or righteous they superficially appear to be, but always get into the Word for yourself and do not be persuaded by men like Watchman Nee without first THOROUGHLY investigating what the WHOLE Bible says.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,
The verse you attributed to Watchman Nee on your last blog is out of order. I thought you are not endorsing only Nee's books. It was unfair of you to tag Watchman Nee as a deceitful worker having ulterior motives. His life and work was a testimony of Jesus not loving his soul life even unto death.

You may disagree with his insights and practices but certainly he was not a false teacher of the basic tenets of the christian faith.

Watchman Nee preached the same Christ of the bible, and preached the same gospel, believing in the trinity of God, the incarnation of God, salvation through faith, the ressurection of Christ etc. (By the way, the word trinity of God is not in the bible but was agreed upon in the Nicean council. I would understand Nee coining a term in the bible to illustrate his thoughts andcexperiences. Whethe we agree or not is another issue)

A false prophet or teacher is described in the foregoing verse:

2 Cor 11:4 For if indeed he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached or you received a different spirit, which you have not received or a different gospel....

Hi Tony,

Following your reasonings, you would have judged our Lord Jesus just like the scribes and pharisees of His time when they did not see the Christ in their midst in spite of their knowledge of the scriptures but instead labeled our Lord as the Lord of demons reasoning why He was able to cast demons.

Look at the life and the testimony of the man and the fruit of his works if Watchman Nees works are of the Devil.

With regards to submission to authority even if the leaders were wrong is with scriptural basis. The Bible admonished the believers to submit themselves to their Roman rulers. The key is to differentiate the meaning of submission and obedience. Submission is more of the attitude of our hearts and obedience is on carrying out the order. I.e. In the old testament, during the exile of the jews, Daniel was submissive (did not rebel) but disobeyed the decree of the King.

We are in the age of grace and also in the age of mystery... The bible is full of mysteries yet these mysteries were revealed with the coming of Christ. Christ in Himself is a mystery but the church as His body is the mystery of Christ and were expounded by Paul. Were it not for the Apostle Paul, the four synoptic gospels gave only accounts of our Lord Jesus earthly ministry. By Paul's accounts, he expounded on Christ's heavenly ministry and Christ as the Spirit livingin our spirit and expounded on the church as the mystery of Christ. Any writer who delves on the topic of the Spirit and the church would be classified as a mystic. Paul was such a servant of our Lord. Was Paul Dangerous? Yes to the Jews and pagan gentiles but bold, faithful and courageous to us all. Nee on the same track expounded on the Spirit which is dwelling in the spirit of man, shared his personal experiences and insights on the Spirit vs the flesh and is much validated by the experiences of Apostle Paul too.

In Christ,


John Chingford said...

Hi Carson

My last comment was a GENERAL comment about false teachers being deceitful workers. This article has sufficient evidence to show that some of his teachings and the spirit in which he spoke showed signs of "false" about him. Was he a deliberate deceiver? I don't know! But from the evidence it is clear that he showed some worrying signs.

It seems that you have only read my last comment but have NOT read the article or many of the other comments. I strongly urge you to read everything first (which contains the full reasons for my assertions) before dismissing my comment about him being a false teacher.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

I read all the comments posted and though i may have questions on some of his viewpoints and interpretations of the bible especially on matters of the spirit and the church, i still believe that Nee was a faithful servant of the Lord till the end.

On your previous earlier posts, you mentioned that you don't categorize Nee as false but did pin him down on your last.

I searched the net to check how other believers have been inspired by Nee's books and have been made closer to God. I discovered that most reviews of his books were mostly given a 5-star and with very positive reviews on his works.

I checked the scriptures to qualify whether Nee is of the evil one.

Here is the test to check if it is from God aside from 2 Cor 11:4 that i have mentioned in my previous post.

1John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

I agree with you that in this age of confusion where many claims to be a man of God, we should test with the scriptures to check if the doctrines are sound and biblical.

I would however caution myself not to summarily call one man false if by all standards of the christian faith, one is a true believer though he or she may have a different practice or opinion on things outside the basic faith. I am referring to "faith" not to the act of our believing but the kernel of our beliefs - the things we believe in.

For many centuries, christians have been divided on issues of interpretations not on the basic tenets of faith but of trivial outward practices. I.e. baptism by immersion, speaking in tongues, head coverings, etc

Although these things may be scriptural, they are not what make us christians. Nee, on the same note would like us all to recover the practices of the early christians and church. One of which is the one local church for every city ( not one congregation). Although we are all members of the body of Christ which is the Church universally speaking, in practicality, and administration it should be local and would be denomination free if there is only one in every city to maintain the oneness. ( just imagine having two or more Cityhalls with two or more Mayors in a city, it would be a chaos and destroy the one accord). Now, although this is what he teaches and is by all means scriptural, this is a practice to maintain oneness but not a prerequisite of salvation.

I disagree with you also on your comment to take the bible literally except for the parables. Im sure you will agree with me that aside from the parables, there are many figures of speech that were used and cannot be taken literally. I.e. We are the body of Christ. Jesus is the Lamb of God. Circumcise our hearts.

Nee's "reading too deep to the text.... " was also my skeptism before. But looking back, as i consider the epitles of Paul, he wrote also with a lot of mystism. Terms like the New Man, Christ as the head of the Church and we as the members of the body of Christ....Christ as the Highpriest in the order of Melkishedec, warring of flesh and spirit and when he expounded on idols..(. It is not only the physical idols but the idols in our hearts) .... Did Paul see too much into the texts?

In conclusion, i hope you will find in your hearts to receive Nee as one true christian servant of God. Peculiar and Mystical? That is the only caution that i would agree with you all but certainly not a false one.

Your Brother In Christ,


John Chingford said...

Hi Carson

You said:

"I searched the net to check how other believers have been inspired by Nee's books and have been made closer to God. I discovered that most reviews of his books were mostly given a 5-star and with very positive reviews on his works."

With due respect, that is NOT the way to research Nee! Of course, if you use search words such as "Nee inspiration" you will obviously get a biased list of favorable websites. If you want to investigate FAIRLY on Nee, then you need to use a variety of searches using different key words, such as "Watchman Nee truth or error".

If you do "positive" searches on Nee then obviously you will see biased opinions. But remember:

Jesus said "wide is the way that leads to destruction and many are on that road". False teachers/prophets will inevitably have a massive following because they are on the wide road to destruction. "Narrow is the way that leads to life and few find it".

The point is that even if many were inspired by Nee that is NO PROOF that he was a true teacher. The evidence presented on this blog AND MANY OTHER BLOGS is that Nee WAS FALSE.

Anonymous said...

I dont get it. In this article I found only "perceptions" of Nee's false teachings but no real argumebts at all... What exactly is his false teaching? Could anyone please reply to this only? Adrian

John Chingford said...

Here are just 4 (to go on with) of his false teachings:

Nee adopted "perfectionistic theology".

Nee taught the work based "partial rapture" theory (ie only for worthy believers) assigning carnal believers to a kind of Protestant purgatory.

Nee adopted the teaching of gnostic and Catholic mystic leaders, seeing many parts to man's inner nature.

Nee professed to be led by inner leadings. He justified this subjective means of revelation by saying that the ways of God are not known by external means but by "internal registrations."

As I understand it (please correct me if I am wrong) he effectively taught that individuals need to be accountable to mere men through surrendering their wills the guidance (or mentoring) of the elders, rather than in their guidance coming from the Holy Spirit.

It is enough to know that he was strongly influenced by the teachings of gnosticism. Gnosticism has an occultic background with its teachings/practices first originating out of old Babylonic religion. Anyone following gnosticism has been effectively corrupted by occultism.

Please do a search on the word "gnosticism". The search should convince you that W Nee is dangerous based upon that position, alone.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Watchman Nee's view on the partial rapture.

Only those believers who genuinely love the Lord and live 100% for Him will be raptured before the 7 year tribulation period.

Those carnal believers whose lives are no different from those of the unbelievers will definitely be left behind.

Pretribulation rapture anonymous.

Anonymous said...

John Chingford, I saw your list of false teachers and my goodness that list leaves almost none out. Well, without taking sides I come to one section of the Bible - James 3:1-2. John I don't know if you have written any books - therein you yourself would be exposed on some aspects of the christian doctrine. Criticizing one's works is quite an easy task until you write you own and let others critique it. So just be careful who you tag 'false'.

Much as we need the warning signs I don't think we were called to seek out and identify false teachers as our life's purpose. We need to pursue and grow in Christ together building up the Body of Christ which will be His Bride. (Please don't address this latter part as it is more tempting).


John Chingford said...

I am getting alot of comments from Anonymous's. I do not know if they are the same person or different ones. It would be nice if you would identify yourself with a unique anonymous name by typing using "name" rather than clicking on the "anonymous" button.

Most of these are from those who are strong defenders of Watchman Nee.

Rather than repeating what I have already shown as to the reasons why Nee's teachings are dangerous, I will just focus in replying to other questions - possibly not already covered:

Anonymous 1:
Regarding Nee's partial rapture; can you not see how that is a "work based" theology? Basically, if you are not living a worthy enough life then you will face the tribulation. How can ANYBODY know whether they qualify as worthy enough? The result is that you will inevitably feel the need to EARN it by self effort.

We are saved AND WILL BE RAPTURED by GRACE alone through faith.

Anonymous 2:
This blog is not seeking to criticise any person's specific isolated teaching. Of course, none of us have our theology 100% correct. It is not isolated areas of teaching but an overall systematic theology I object to - especially if it decimates the whole overall overview of God's Word and specifically if that teacher is lnked to ecumenism, new age or any other cult or occultic practices or supports such a group.

Nee's teachings and allegiances have shown that he is linked in such ways.

You are probably correct that it should not be a person's life calling to expose false teachers. I never stated that this was mine. If you check up my label on "biblical truth" you will see that I try to keep to a good balance of encouraging us all to look at ALL aspects of the Christial life and not just focus on one area.

However, IT IS the calling of EVERY believer to follow the instructions of the WHOLE BIBLE in CONTEXT. This INCLUDES exposing false teaching, false teachers, heresy etc. To show this in more detail, please read my article

which will be a better place to see my response to your criticism.