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 http://watchmanforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-i-endorse-watchman-nee-book.html 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 :
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.
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. http://www.gospelcom.net/apologeticsindex/n00.html