Book Review: Love Not The World

“Love Not The World”  Watchman Nee, CLC Pulications (Christian Literature Crusade) 140 pagesNee Love Not 1

  • Critical read
  • Must read
  • Good read
  • Read if you want
  • Read something else

Why is this book a “critical read” book?  John the apostle warned us about our relationship with the world.  “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” (1 John 2:15).  Most people have read or heard this passage before, but I believe few have stopped to consider the implications of what John wrote here.  If we love the world or anything in the world, the love of the Father is not in us.  In the plain sense of this verse loving the world or anything in it is incompatible with a relationship of love with our God and with His love being poured out into us.  And there is no compelling evidence of any other possible interpretation of this passage.


Nee, in his inimitable style of writing (translated from the Chinese by Angus Kinnear), kindly but clearly exposes the failures of our current cultural religion and its practices by making a solid theological case for the literal interpretation of this passage from John.  He exposes the numerous passages dealing with the world and Satan’s control over it.  He makes clear the tactics and objectives of the enemy of our souls in enticing us to give into the world systems and embrace its things as our own.

(Watchman Nee and T. Austin Sparks in China)

The truths in this book have monumental implications for the western institutional church today, which has accommodated and embraced the world and its systems more than at anytime in the history of the church era.  We have loved this world and its things to the exclusion of separated living, holiness and purity, and fixation on our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Following that has come a cascading process of reinterpreting section after section of the scriptures to accommodate our adulterous relationship with the world and its things.

The Point: John writes in 1 John 5:19 that “we are the children of God, but the entire world lies under the power of the evil one.”  Nee makes a strong and biblically solid case for accepting this as fact so that we might live lives separated from the world and eschewing its systems, attractions, and objects.  He exposes our society’s trending away from our God, and the tendency of the institutional church to follow that trend.  He clarifies the importance of living crucified to the world and in light of the world being crucified unto us. He makes the imperative case for our distinctiveness as lights in the world and how that cannot be if we are embracing it.  And he gives practical strategies and habits of mind to lead to living detached from the world and more deeply connected to our God.Nee quote 2

The Impact: This is a powerful little book.  As is the case with much of Nee’s writings, he packs more on a page than many due in a chapter.  On this topic he pulls no punches, challenging us to live as those crucified to the world because the world Is already crucified to us.  A careful, thoughtful reading of this book will yield a solid understanding of the dangers to us in embracing the world and its systems.  I warn you: if you take these truths to heart – and I truly hope you will do so – it will begin a process of upending your relationship with the world and its things.

Quote:  Page 41 (note that the word, “kosmos,” is the Greek word translated as “world” in most New Testament passages where it occurs)  – “That realm, that all-embracing kosmos, has many strange facets.  Sin, of course, has its prior place there, and worldly lusts; but no less part of it are our more estimable human standards and ways of doing things.  The human mind, its culture and its philosophies, all are included, together with all the very best of humanity’s social and political ideologies.  Alongside these, too, we should doubtless p0lace the world’s religions, and among them those speckled birds, worldly Christianity and its “world church.”  Wherever the power of natural man dominates, there you have an element in that system which is under the direct inspiration of Satan.

If that is the world, what then is salvation?  Salvation means that I escape from that.  I go out, I make an exit from that all-embracing kosmos.  I belong no more to Satan’s pattern of things.  I set my heart on that upon which God’s heart is set.”

Powerful statement, that is.  It is indicative of the thinking and the simple yet powerful writing that is common to Watchman Nee’s work.  In our era of world-tempered religiosity, which includes about every stripe of the western church from fundamental to liberal, this book is a critical read.  Please read it, ponder its teachings, meditate on the scriptures and the truths therein, and take it to heart.

Quote picture above via AZ

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