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If you really Nee to know Who was Watchman Nee? Discussions regarding the life and times of Watchman Nee, the Little Flock and the beginnings of the Local Church Movement in Mainland China

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Old 09-20-2014, 11:42 AM   #1
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Default Are the local churches wrong ?

I would be interested to hear what everyone thinks regarding whether the idea of the local church was just a wrong interpretation by Nee?

I am not a member of any local churches but have read a lot of Nees writings and found them to be of great help since I was saved.
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Old 09-21-2014, 07:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Are the local churches wrong ?

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I would be interested to hear what everyone thinks regarding whether the idea of the local church was just a wrong interpretation by Nee?

I am not a member of any local churches but have read a lot of Nees writings and found them to be of great help since I was saved.
Hello Guest!

Just a quick reply....

If you look around on this forum you can see what a rat's nest this "idea" became when it was exalted above the rest of God's word by men of ambition and pride who subdued their patrons by fear.

Best not look for an "idea" to follow but a daily rich relationship with your Daddy God.

Rich blessings to you as you abide in His love,

Dancing
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Are the local churches wrong ?

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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I would be interested to hear what everyone thinks regarding whether the idea of the local church was just a wrong interpretation by Nee?

I am not a member of any local churches but have read a lot of Nees writings and found them to be of great help since I was saved.
If you really want to know join a local church and keep your eyes, ears, and mind open. And see how long you stay.
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Are the local churches wrong ?

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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I would be interested to hear what everyone thinks regarding whether the idea of the local church was just a wrong interpretation by Nee?

I am not a member of any local churches but have read a lot of Nees writings and found them to be of great help since I was saved.
Nee's writings before WWII was quite good. However the local churches as we know it became Lee's over emphasis on ground of the church doctrine. Currently ground of the church doctrine has changed to include fellowship through Living Stream Ministry. In reality when a local churches existence is tied to fellowship with Living Stream, these local churches are in fact ministry churches. Not local churches.

Back to Nee, when his ministry resumed in 1948 his vision of the local church changed. Nee's vision became the churches handing everything over to the ministry. Of course a more passive term could be termed cooperating or coordinating with the ministry.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Are the local churches wrong ?

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I would be interested to hear what everyone thinks regarding whether the idea of the local church was just a wrong interpretation by Nee?

I am not a member of any local churches but have read a lot of Nee's writings and found them to be of great help since I was saved.
What do you mean by "helped"? It gave you a good feeling? Did that experience include more than that you liked what you read and perhaps believed you learned something worthwhile? I had a positive experience reading the Normal Christian Life, Sit, Walk, Stand, The Normal Christian Church Life, The Spiritual Man, Spiritual Reality and many more. But have you read Spiritual Authority? I suggest you read that one if you haven't before you decide if the problem is one of interpretation. Spiritual Authority grants absolute power to the delegated authority. That means that the one under authority owes the DA total control over his/her life and any thing less than that is rebellion.

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Man's action should not be governed by the knowledge of good or evil; it should be motivated by a sense of obedience. The principle of good and evil is to live according to what is right or what is wrong.
Nee, Watchman (2009-09-11). Spiritual Authority (p. 21). Christian Fellowship Publishers. Kindle Edition.
In other words don't try to evaluate good or evil based on your own conscience or ethics or morality, just do what the delegated authority says and don't ask questions. Think of how much power that gives to the one you must obey. Think of how much power you give up in terms of personal freedom, your personal values, your right to do what your conscience directs you to do, your human rights and more. Many who have lightly made the decision to go this direction have found that there was much more in the bargain than they anticipated.

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As to earthly authorities, Paul not only exhorts positively towards subjection but also warns negatively against resistance. He who resists the authorities resists God's own command; he who rejects God's delegated authorities rejects God's own authority. Authority, according to the Bible, is characterized by a unique nature: there is no authority except from God. He who resists authority resists God, and those who resist will incur judgment. There is no possibility of rebellion without judgment. The consequence of resisting authority is death. Man has no choice in the matter of authority.
Nee, Watchman (2009-09-11). Spiritual Authority (p. 62). Christian Fellowship Publishers. Kindle Edition.
It's not a matter of deciding issues on a case by case basis based on belief. Reason has been taken off the table. Watchman Nee and then Witness Lee after him claimed to be God's minister of their respective Ages. All the authority of God on earth flowed through them. Our job as Christians was to follow their authority through the lesser ministers who they had appointed. We were expected to do this absolutely and without question. Read the book. Was that the wrong interpretation?

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God sets in the church authorities such as "the elders who rule well" and "those who labor in preaching and teaching." They are the ones whom everyone should obey. The younger ones in age must also learn to be subject to the older ones.
Nee, Watchman (2009-09-11). Spiritual Authority (p. 67). Christian Fellowship Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Don't think of others as equals. There's a hierarchy; find your place in it and obey absolutely your superiors or you are in rebellion. Forget about democracy, human rights, ethics and morality. God Himself is speaking to you through the delegated authority. Listen carefully and obey.

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...please notice here; he who walks after reason and sight goes the way of reason; only he who obeys authority enters Canaan by faith. None who follow reason can walk the spiritual pathway, because it is beyond and above human reasoning. The faithful alone may enjoy spiritual abundance, those who by faith accept the pillar of cloud and of fire and the leadership of God's delegated authority such as that represented by Moses.
Nee, Watchman (2009-09-11). Spiritual Authority (pp. 37-38). Christian Fellowship Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Thinking reasonably about what the authority is commanding you is forbidden. Your education and values are worthless to you now. Anything less than total obedience is unacceptable.

I won't even bother to quote the examples of the horrible things that God has in store for those who disobey. [Unless you ask.] My point is, if you haven't read this book, and you are trying to evaluate the role of Watchman Nee, I would recommend it before you make up your mind. Then you can decide if my interpretation is right. If you think Spiritual Authority is helpful after you read it, perhaps the Local Churches are the place for you.
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Are the local churches wrong ?

I would suggest that upon further analysis, even some of Nee's earlier writings are as suspect as his later ones. The fact that so many of the groups that spawned off of his teachings either cannot outlive their direct leader (for example, Steven Kwang (probably spelled that wrong)) or they have become highly exclusivist and more sectarian than any of the groups they claimed to be improving upon.

Nee's teachings on the church were subjective, at best. He was probably under some influence to come up with a truly indigenous Chinese Christian group that did not answer to anyone outside the country's borders. And his history indicates that he went from new Christian to prolific writer between late high school and mid-college. Where is the maturity and wisdom? Yet he was being followed before he was hardly out of school.

But these are potentially ad hominem complaints. Take a closer look at so much of what he wrote and see how much is not actually from the scripture, but from the layering of external examples over scripture. Of assuming that something should be true and declaring that it therefore is. The ground of the church, if it exists, is the most deeply buried "truth" to have taken almost 2,000 years to be discovered. Note that virtually all real truth in scripture is not new. Finding it for myself and applying it is new to me. But when you ask around, it has always been there and been true. When someone suddenly finds "truth" that no one has seen before (as Nee declared to be true in his first real book, The Spiritual Man) be suspicious.

I am not saying that God cannot speak to man in this way in this time. But it is fairly likely that he generally does not. That the truth we need to know has always been there. It has not been hiding for 19 centuries to be "recovered" by anyone.

Beyond that, are the local churches wrong? That is a contentious subject. Many of us even have different thoughts on different days. It is possible that in another generation or two, the so-called local churches will just be another small sect like the Nazarenes, Mennonites, or the followers of Herbert W. Armstrong. Marginal with a side of questionable theology.
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Old 09-23-2014, 02:15 AM   #7
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Marginal with a side of questionable theology.
I like this quote, OBW.
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Old 09-23-2014, 06:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Are the local churches wrong ?

I think the original poster was asking about the idea of the "the local church" itself. That is, is Nee's idea of the ground of the church "wrong?"

The best answer is that there is nothing wrong with viewing the church from the perspective of the city it is in, because the Bible does that. You can view the church from any perspective--home, local, regional, global. All these views are biblical, which implies that other views are fine as well. The problem comes in when you start to insist that a church must be politically organized from a specific viewpoint. The Bible defines the church from several perspectives. Nee's error was to insist that the city boundaries were the only valid political boundaries of one congregation.

I believe he had a sincere desire to fathom the Bible's definition of what a practical church was. The problem is he committed the mistake of making his wishes his thoughts--the definition he longed for isn't there. Still the idea of locality was too enticing for him to abandon. But the fruit of this doctrine has been exclusivity and division. It produced a mindset which presumed to declare what were true churches and what weren't. Now, offshoots of Nee's movement can't even agree among themselves what are real churches and what aren't. For the LSM faction, it's any church that does whatever they say. Big surprise there.

But given man's nature, do you really think God would want us to go around passing judgment on which groups of Christians were real churches and which aren't? Talk about a catalyst for strife! No, in fact God gave us no such tool. He simply said wherever you gather in my name, there I am. He never added But there this other thing that is even better than me being there among you! It's called "the church" and to be one you have to A...B...C... etc.

Uh-uh.
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Old 09-23-2014, 06:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Are the local churches wrong ?

As for Nee "helping" you. I would compare him somewhat to Oswald Chambers. Chambers level of devotion inspires many. But as a Bible interpreter I've found him to be very questionable. Although I admire his devotion, I don't consider him a good teacher. I think of Nee in the same way. I can't recommend him or Lee. Too much chaff mixed in with the wheat.
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