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Old 05-05-2019, 02:45 PM   #1
Jo S
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ohio
Posts: 379
Default Soul-Life, Kundalini, and Watchman Nee

In another thread here, a forum member used a term in one of his posts that perplexed me. Curiosity set me off to find out what that term meant. The word that he used was "soul-life".

While researching I went down a rabbit hole and landed on a book by Watchman Nee titled, "Latent Power of the Soul" which, correct me if I'm wrong, is where this term originated. I'd like to share some thoughts on what I found.

If you haven't read this book it's basic premise, from my understanding, is that man has a hidden or dormant "force" within their souls (he also says within the flesh). And this force can be reawakened and used by an individual for malevolent purposes. Nee equates "soul life" to "soul force" which essentially is psychic power exercised through thought, will, and emotion.

Now from my own reading of scriptures I have to say the idea of a hidden power lying within all men is something that was never even remotely conveyed to me through the text. What I do read is that all powers exist in the heavenly realms; which is the power of God and also the power of the prince of the air (Satan). Man doesn't have power, per se, but has the free will or choice in which power to put their faith and trust in. Essentially, all power is outside of us but can potentially be carried on through us...to a certain extent.

Basically Nee's biblical argument for this soul force is that because Adam was given the seemingly enormous task of naming all the animals and the duty to tend to all of the Garden of Eden that he must have had some super-human powers. He says:

"There is in Adam an almost unlimited power, a near miraculous ability. This we call soul power."

This power he goes on to say was ultimately suppressed after the fall and is able to be awakened through specific intentionality.

Having been personally influenced earlier on in my walk with Christ through friends that were into new age occultism, the belief here that Nee is trying to convey is eerily similar to what you find in eastern mystic belief systems. It's the belief that a "coiled serpent spirit" lies dormant at the base of every person's spine called Kundalini. And it's a force that can be awakened sometimes randomly, by the laying on of hands, or through certain practices such as chanting, meditation, and asceticism which ultimately leads to spiritual liberation or enlightenment.

Now I do agree with Nee in that there is both a false spiritual experience of enlightenment that can be obtained by man through works, called in eastern mysticism "Nirvana" or "Kundalini awakening". Then there is revelation which comes from God by faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Where I disagree strongly is that the power that leads to the false spiritual liberation is inherently within man and tied to our very souls.

In my view, what this belief can do on the psyche of a person is dangerous.

First, it plants the false belief that there actually is a psychic power or force within man. This in itself can lead to a false identity. Not to mention it also can entice an individual when the person is led to believe there are hidden powers available at their disposal. This opens a door to the enemy and can inflate a person's sense of self.

Second, by Nee associating this latent power to man's soul, Nee's setting up our soul as something that is fallen and evil and should be suppressed at all costs. He says of the soul;

"Let me reiterate the difference between soul and spirit: Adam’s fallen soul belongs to the old creation; but the regenerated spirit is the new creation. "

also,

"We may say that while the Holy Spirit is the power of God, man’s soul appears to be the power of Satan. "

and,

"This is why I state with such emphasis that we must lay down our soul power. All that is of the soul is of no avail. "

Finally,

"It is for this reason that the Lord Jesus often declares how we need to lose our soul life."


Nee further goes on to say that emotions, which are of the soul, are useless. He says of emotions:

"Once I was working in Shantung. A professor there said to his colleague “that these preachers work with emotions.” It so happened that when I preached to the believers that afternoon I told them how undependable and useless was emotion. "

My issue with all this creates a schism in the mind and can cause great confusion and doubt in an individual about who they are and what the purpose of their souls is.

What I read in scripture is that we bless the Lord with our souls (Psalm 103). And I also read that the Lord himself commands us to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

The Lord Jesus often displayed a great deal of emotion. He cried, had compassion, he was brought to anger (flipped over tables) ect. The difference was that his thoughts, emotions, and very soul were all aligned with God. This does not mean we should suppress all of these things but it does mean we should align them and subject them through faith to the Holy Spirit.

From what I gather Nee teaches in this book exactly what gnosticism teaches, that is, everything of man is wicked. This includes man's thoughts, emotions, and his very soul. All is fallen and only the spirit is good (hyper-spirituality).

It's true, we are all inherently fallen but we are also all made in the image of God. Is this a contradiction or do we need to rightly divide truth?

Moving on, gnostics also teach that only when death to self is accomplished can the individual gain life. This is also influenced by eastern mysticism and the opposite of Christianity where dying to one's self, first off, isn't the annihilation of personal identity or sense of self (also called "ego") as Nee states:

"What is the highest attainment in Christianity? That of complete union with God and total loss of self. "

but 'dying to self' as a Christian is a continual submission or humbling one's self to God and is a process that happens only after being born of the Holy Spirit as a part of the individual's sanctification.

My fear is, if someone lets go of their individuality before coming to true knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ that unoccupied space that is created through practices of mysticism will definitely be filled with something but I'm most certain it won't be the Holy Spirit of God. (Matt 12:43) .
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