Definition of False Teacher: One who presumes to teach in the Name of the Lord when God has not sent him.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

False Teachers – Watchman Nee & Smith Wigglesworth


Playing God Instead of Trusting Him

Here are two spiritual giants of human willpower, attempting to be Christian by great works and sacrifices that come to naught.

Mike wrote to us:

I just read your take on Andrew Wommack you sent to that lady. Here are my thoughts after walking with Jesus for 40 years. I have listened to Andrew a few times and do believe he is saved but like you, I also believe he has bought the common heresy these days of the “Word of Faith” group. It is really appealing to the flesh, like it was to Adam that he could have God’s benefits but be “independent” at the same time. It didn’t work then and won’t work now.

God is sovereign but He has chosen to pass on His authority to His “believing” children. Adam ruled the planet (under God) until he sold out to Satan. I do believe that “In Christ” we do the same because we have been restored to the place Adam was with God before the fall. “Now we are the Son’s of God” 1John However all this authority is passed on to us on a moment by moment revelation of God’s will in our spirit. (a continual unveiling of Jesus). Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father do”. He humbled Himself to be dependent on His Father’s Sovereignty

I am in agreement with Smith Wigglesworth and Watchman Nee on most things and that is the way they operated. Wigglesworth would always pray and ask the Father what he should do in all circumstances and when God would show him Smith would make it happen in “Jesus name”. Nee taught that we have to be ever sensitive to the “revealing” of the Spirit’s will in our spirit and move from that.

Mark 11:23-24 are scriptures that the “name in and claim it” bunch hang their hats on however they have it wrong. Jesus was teaching His disciples how Faith operates and also how to get the faith to operate with. He says we must receive God’s will by prayer first then when we have peace regarding our requests then we can speak to the situation and will have to obey. God remains sovereign because we first find out what He wants then we have the authority to do it.

The Bible can be a very dangerous book. We have the ability in our own will to read something and then try to make it happen when it first has to be revealed in our spirits before it is from God. We seek and wait on Him to reveal His will regarding things and then with His power bring it to pass. “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”

Basically, Jesus told Peter that when He told him about the keys to the kingdom. Because Peter had “seen” Jesus by revelation from God he now “saw” the Father and as a result KNEW HIS will and with that knowledge he could bring Heaven to Earth.

Enjoyed reading your info,


“The remarkable position of every soul is to be so inhabited by Jesus as to become a living personality of God’s ideal Son.”

Smith Wigglesworth

Our reply:

Hi Mike,

Many years ago, I, Victor, came across Watchman Nee‘s many books and thought, “This man seems to be a deep Christian and has so much to say. It seems he has a powerful relationship with the Lord and has analyzed the spiritual man and his development – but is he right?”

As a new believer, I knew a medical doctor, Lorne Rabuka, who proudly professed faith in Christ and was the adult Sunday school teacher at a Missionary Alliance church I was attending. He was quite taken up with Nee’s concepts. I was impressed with Lorne, but wasn’t the least attracted to Nee’s doctrine.

Lorne didn’t have the Spirit of God and wasn’t prepared to obey Him in order to receive. How, therefore, could he so enjoy Nee’s teachings unless they were intellectual and appealing to the flesh? The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge to make a man wise?

“…that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination to God” (Luke 16:15).

“Do not be turned away by different strange teachings, because it is good for your hearts to be made strong by grace, and not by meats, which were of no profit to those who took so much trouble over them” (Hebrews 13:9 BBE).

Nearly two years later, my wife and I received the Spirit (read The Baptism in the Holy Spirit). As a result, there was no longer any fellowship with Lorne or those at the Alliance Church, who opposed the Spirit and gifts. By His Spirit, the Lord was giving us to better know the difference between good and evil, truth and error.

We then came together with a friend who had most of Nee’s books and was also quite taken with Nee. He reveled in knowledge descriptive of the spiritual realm. However, I still wasn’t attracted to Nee, nor was my wife. Seeking after the Lord, as we did concerning many preachers, movements, and matters, He revealed to me that Watchman Nee was not of Him.

Watchman Nee was an intellectual spiritual exhibitionist, a showoff, and worse, he was full of self-righteousness and reveling in it, in effect, a sorcerer in the Name of the Lord, using truths and feigning holiness. Nee was a self-made hero, a modern-day Baal.

Your statement of him, if true, bears witness to what I say:

Nee taught that we have to be ever sensitive to the ‘revealing’ of the Spirit’s will in our spirit and move from that.

That is an expression of pure abominable self-righteousness. “See how sensitive I am to the Spirit,” he proclaims. The man was a peacock in perpetual fanning. And saints know they’re looking at the backside.

Yes, Nee suffered great persecution; he was imprisoned; I understand he even had his tongue cut out by the authorities because he refused to stop “witnessing” and “preaching the Gospel,” but not because he was a true witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He bore witness by his own will and in his own power. He wasn’t working with Jesus as Jesus worked with the Father.

Of such the Lord said:

Matthew 7:21-23 LITV
(21) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but the ones who do the will of My Father in Heaven.
(22) Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out demons, and in Your Name do many works of power?’
(23) And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, those working lawlessness!’”

Mike, the Kingdom of Heaven isn’t about doctrine, intellectual theory, or carnal knowledge of Scripture, but about a relationship with the Lord; it’s about obeying, loving and knowing Him, and He knowing the one who believes. That is the true faith.

The question now is, “Why are YOU deceived or impressed by Watchman Nee?”

Now consider Smith Wigglesworth.

You say, “Wigglesworth would always pray and ask the Father what he should do in all circumstances and when God would show him Smith would make it happen in ‘Jesus name’.

Wigglesworth seems like a close cousin (if not brother) to Nee, as one presuming and boasting to be an expert “Spirit Senser.” He may not have verbalized the same way as Nee, but his actions speak the same language. He is also similar to the “Word of Faith” preacher you mention, Andrew Wommack. Wigglesworth is another “name it and claim it” advocate, not being as God’s son God’s way, but as God his own way, punching and kicking people to cast out devils and forcing his will “in the Name of the Lord.”

Isn’t independence of God what the serpent offered Eve and the kings of Babylon and Tyre coveted (Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28)? Isn’t there a subtle difference between the true and the false? Perhaps you can more explicitly point out the difference to us.

Yes, there are many occasions when the spiritual pilgrim in Christ seeks God for answers. However, what you express here concerning Nee and Wigglesworth seems to be something akin to man being the initiator and even “initiating God” for his own will and pleasure. This would then be presumption, not faith. It would be playing God, not trusting Him – trusting in oneself to do the will of God when it is supposed to be God causing us to will and to do. Such is anti-Christ.

Were there signs and wonders? So it’s reported with Wigglesworth. So what? American Indians were healed by unbelieving Spanish explorers because of soulish faith.

Mike, if it were possible to deceive the elect, the serpent would do it. He is subtle. There’s only one thing he won’t or can’t imitate, and that’s the cross. He won’t sacrifice himself for this world; otherwise this world is no longer of any value to him.

You write of the Lord Jesus Christ, “He says we must receive God’s will by prayer first then when we have peace regarding our requests then we can speak to the situation and will have to obey.

Yes, Jesus spoke of seeking and asking, but I don’t find doctrine anywhere in the Bible quite as you seem to suggest, in terms of always having to ask specifically about matters (perhaps it’s a choice of words). We can see several examples of where men were given to know God’s will without, or other than by, prayer. You’re right that we need to hear His voice and be obedient, but a time comes when we hear His voice without striving in asking. It is a matter of nature, faith being the key. When we believe, we’re free and know what’s required of us, delighting to do His will.

The Bible can be a very dangerous book. We have the ability in our own will to read something and then try to make it happen when it first has to be revealed in our spirits before it is from God.

I hear you. We’re so inclined to carnal interpretations, but by God’s grace. Trying to fulfill the letter as we understand it intellectually is folly. Sons of God will be led of the Spirit. And Peter spoke of how many didn’t understand Paul’s letters and wrested his teachings to their destruction.

You quote Wigglesworth, “‘The remarkable position of every soul is to be so inhabited by Jesus as to become a living personality of God’s ideal Son.’

If Smith was speaking of God doing the work (we’re His workmanship), true. The saints have a glorious privilege and calling, no question. However, if Smith speaks of our trying to be spiritual as Nee worked at being spiritual in his own right, then again, we have the anti-Christ spirit substituting for God’s work and, in effect, stealing His glory.

I’m not sure which he meant to be communicating in that statement. Do you know, Mike? Nevertheless we do see his fruits, which speak loudest.

Our lot as saints is a battle between spirit and flesh, light and darkness, truth and error, faith and unbelief, and good and evil.

Victor Hafichuk

Another person asked us about Nee:

I have looked @ your site, it is indeed very sound and revealing i hope that belivers will take time out to find facts from fiction.

But what do you make of watchman nee!?

Paul replied:

Hi Patrick,

It’s been over 30 years since I’ve red Watchman Nee. Here’s what I can tell you about him from what I recall and glancing at a website today about his life’s work (not that I could judge these things when I was a new believer, but I tell you what I see now): The Kingdom of God isn’t found in the meat and drink of men’s doctrines.

“Do not be carried about with different and strange doctrines, for it is good for the heart to be established with grace, not with foods, in which those who have walked in them were not helped” (Hebrews 13:9 MKJV).

“For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17 KJV).

Nee spoke some truth, but he operated from his carnal intellect and human will. That’s why his teachings are dead rather than life-giving. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Corinthians 8:1 MKJV).

What’s the difference between our doctrinal teachings and others’ like Nee? Besides some specifics (not negligible ones, either) we call for repentance and the taking up of the cross by faith, according to God’s definition of those things. Only He can show a person this difference.

Here’s an example exposing Nee in the unrepentance of his uncrucified life. The following was sent to us by someone quoting Nee from his book, Spiritual Reality or Obsession, impressed by his spirituality:

If we refuse to accept the discipline of the Holy Spirit, we deny to HIM the opportunity to lead us into spiritual reality.

We need once again to consecrate ourselves more completely and more thoroughly so as to give the Spirit of the LORD a chance to perfect HIS work and to guide us into spiritual reality.

Are we the ones giving God a chance, or is He the One perfecting whom He chooses? Hands down, it’s the latter.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you may ask the Father in My Name He may give to you” (John 15:16 EMTV).

Spiritual reality is trueness. It is the truth which sets us free. Oftentimes a Christian fails to touch trueness and falls into falsehood instead. He is deceived and bound by falsehood. He does not clearly see the true character of a thing; yet he considers himself clear. What he thinks and does is wrong, but reckons himself to be most right. Such a condition we call ‘obsession.’

Nee was describing himself. He was obsessed with his own righteousness and religiosity. He dwelt in the philosophy of his mind and drove himself to live accordingly by his willpower. It was his work. But those who believe the Lord Jesus Christ dwell in Him, and He in them does the work. They don’t try to carry the impossible weight of being their own saviors, which is what Nee was truly preaching and doing.

It comes down to this, Patrick, the simplicity that is in Christ:

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him’” (John 14:23 MKJV).

Here are two writings that teach the ways of God we have learned through the obedience of His faith, which can also help you see the falsehood in men’s teachings (particularly if you take up the cross to follow Christ):

Diabolical Doctrines
The True Marks of a Cult


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Provide your email if you would like to receive periodic correspondence from us.

You can leave a comment herex