Understanding Watchman Nee: Spirituality, Knowledge, and Formation

Understanding Watchman Nee: Spirituality, Knowledge, and Formation

by Dongsheng John Wu

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610975322
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 04/01/2012
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dongsheng John Wu (PhD Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley) has taught spiritual formation courses at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. He is an ordained pastor in the Free Church tradition.

Table of Contents

Foreword Arthur Holder xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Note on Names and Terms xv

Introduction 1

Nature, Scope, and Thesis

Methodology, Structure, and Significance

Part 1 Background

1 Turbulence and Emergence: The Context and Life of Watchman Nee 13

Nee's Historical Context

Christianity in China and China in Its Modern Age

The Anti-Christian Movement and the Chinese Church's Indigenous Effort

Nee's Life and Work

Family and Schooling

Conversion and Character Formation

Early Work, Sickness, Writing The Spiritual Man, and Healing

The Local Church Movement

Publications, Conferences, and Trainings

Arrest, Imprisonment, and Death

2 Influence and Adaptation: The Theological Sources of Watchman Nee 51

Nee's Sources of Influence

Brethren Theology: Apostolic Ecclesiology and Dispensational Eschatology

Revivalism: Holiness and Keswick Movements

From Revivalism to Mysticism: Jessie Penn-Lewis

Quietist Mysticism: Miguel de Molinos, Jeanne Guyon, and François Fénelon

Nee's Adaptation of Sources

Holiness and Brethren Outlook

Theology of Suffering

Patristic Sources and Allegorical Interpretation of Scripture

A Question about Plagiarism

Part 2 Analysis and Interpretation

3 Revelation and Illumination: The Mystery of Hearing God 83

Nee on Revelation and Illumination

Tripartite Theological Anthropology: Spirit, Soul, Body

Revelation: Key for the Faith Journey

Revelation and Faith: Liberation from the Power of Sin

Denial of Self: Dying to the Natural Life of the Soul

Dividing the Soul from the Spirit: Walking after the Spirit

McIntosh on Divine Illumination

Wisdom and Knowledge: Contemplation and Conceptualization

Illumination and Reason: Uncreated Light and Created Light

Trinitarian Structure of Truth: Reality as Word-Like and Relational

Christological Grounding of Knowing: Participating in the Paschal Mystery

Divine Illumination: Knowing Truth through Loving Communion

Nee and McIntosh in Dialogue

Body, Soul, and Spirit: Scriptural Views

Transrational Knowing: Reformed Theology and Pentecostal Thought

Hearing God and Spiritual Knowledge: Encountering the Living Word

Revelation and Illumination: Gnosticism or Christian Mysticism?

4 Knowledge and Spirituality: The Mind's Role in the Spiritual Journey 138

Nee on Knowledge and Spirituality

Dangers of Independent Pursuit of Knowledge

Need for a Broken Mind

Battlefield of the Mind

Renewal of the Mind (Nous)

The Mind's Role in Receiving Revelation

The Mind Assisting the Spirit

McIntosh on Knowledge and Spirituality

Weakness of the Mind: Susceptibility to Impulses and Biases

Soulish vs. Spiritual: Prideful Self-Conceit vs. the Crucified Christ

Noetic Pathology: Distortion through Fear of Lack

Revelation of the Cross: Infinite Love and Unbounded Abundance

Spirituality and Theology: Two Elements for Encountering the Living God

To Know and to be Known: Loving Surrender to God's Loving and Knowing

Nee and McIntosh in Dialogue

Knowing and Loving: Relative Roles in the Spiritual Journey

The Mind and the Spirit: Anti-Intellectualism or Pastoral Sensitivity?

5 Discernment and Formation: The Transformation of Spiritual Perception 180

Nee on Revelation and Spiritual Formation

Breaking of the Outer Person: The Way of the Cross

Submitting to the Spirit's Discipline: Cooperating with Divine Grace

God's Eternal Purpose: The Church as the Son's Bride of Love

Bread-Breaking: Corporate Communion and Personal Sanctification

Dying to Self-Will: Union with Christ and with Christ's Body

McIntosh on Discernment and Transformation

Transformation in Love: The Great Prerequisite for Discernment of Truth

Loving Communion and Truthful Perception: Biblical Grounding

Participating in the Paschal Mystery: Ascetical Noetic Transformation

The Mind of Christ: Noetic Significance of Relational Love

The Life of the Church: The Communal Structure for Knowing Truth

Fulfilling Destiny: Humanity's Call for Assisting All Things in the Journey of Truth

The Holy Spirit: Divine Love for Transformation

Nee and McIntosh in Dialogue

Submitting to Circumstances: "New Asceticism" of Ordinary Living

Self-Will and Divine Will: Irresolvable Tension or Relational Identity?

The Body of Christ: Communal Practices of Obedience and Love

Conclusion 241

Glossary 249

Bibliography 251

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