Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I am reading Watchman Nee's book Sit, Walk, Stand.

Dean Trune told me that Watchman Nee, after being arrested by the Chinese government, was never allowed to be alone with anyone because he always ended up leading them to Christ. His jailers placed him in solitary confinement. Even then, he kept converting the guards. Eventually they took the extraordinary steps of cutting out his tongue to silence him.

He never wrote a book. Notes taken by those who heard him were eventually published in book form. Sit, Walk, Stand is Nee's look at the book of Ephesians. Ephesians 1-3, he says, are doctrinal in nature, while chapters 4-6 are practical.

Frankly, it is one of those books that I am going to have to re-read. It is too difficult, in parts, for me to get the first time around. One part I do understand, though, is this:
Too many Christians have all the doctrine but live lives that are a contradiction of it. They know all about chapters 1 to 3 of Ephesians, but they do not put chapters 4 to 6 into practice. It were better to have no doctrine than to be a contradiction. Has God commanded something? Then throw yourself back on God for the means to do what he has commanded. May the Lord teach us that the whole principle of the Christian life is that we go beyond what is right to do what is well-pleasing to him.
Wow. I think that describes the church I grew up in. We were more concerned with being right than being well-pleasing. In our movement it was really easier to grow up knowing about Jesus, than it was to grow up knowing Jesus - at least it was for me. I am grateful that we seem to be striking a more balanced chord in recent years. There may be a few that throw out the doctrinal baby with the bath water but, for the most part, we seem to finally be getting that we must obey the scriptures and have a relationship with their Author. At least I hope we are.

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