Don’t be afraid to practice discernment

discernment-1

I read an encouraging article the other day from 9Marks. They reviewed a book and labeled it exactly what it is. Heresy. Dangerous. False teaching. They named the teachers name. They didn’t shy away. They called it exactly what it is. I would encourage you to read the article, and I will post a link to it at the bottom. I would also encourage you, if you aren’t familiar with 9Marks, spend some time reading what they have to offer for the Church.

It encouraged me because in this day and age of “be nice to everyone don’t say things that might offend someone”, this large, well known ministry, was willing to make a stand for the furthering of the truth of God’s Word. They didn’t care if it offended someone. They cared only about honoring God and making sure the truth of what He said in His Word was being proclaimed. They weren’t writing from a stance of “we don’t like this person because they drink decaf coffee so we will write an article about them claiming that they are teaching falsehood.” They provided examples from Scripture as to why what this person was saying was in fact false. A shocking thing to do I know…actually open up Scripture and compare what a person is saying about God to what God Himself actually said.

It also encouraged me because sometimes, as I mentioned in my last post, you can sort of feel like you are on a theological island when you go against the “popular” teachers. When you tell your friends “don’t read/listen to that person” and give them reasons as to why. When your goal each day is to please God, but sometimes we error on the side of not offending fellow man (Galatians 1:10).

I think of it like this. Suppose you move to a new town. At some point in this new town, you are going to have to see a doctor. But you don’t have a doctor in this new town. How do you find one? Well for starters, you could ask people on social media if they have any recommendations for a doctor in your new town. Maybe you could even ask your former doctor if they know of anyone in your new area. Or you could approach people at work and ask them for suggestions. Regardless of the avenue you would use to find out about a new doctor, what would be the common thing amongst all of this? You would want to find a good doctor. You would want to find a doctor who is not afraid to speak up when you have a disease, who went to a good school, who has a good reputation in his or her community, and on and on. I am willing to bet, that you would want your friends to be perfectly honest about this doctor they are recommending. You wouldn’t want your friends to hold back on any truths about this doctor. You wouldn’t want to make any compromises when it comes to picking out your new doctor….

Friends, how much more important is it to make sure we know about the teachers of God’s Word we are recommending to one another? How much more discernment must we practice when it comes to someone’s eternal state? I don’t know about you, but if I am going to a doctor, I want someone who knows what they are doing. Someone who doesn’t just make me feel good. Someone who doesn’t paint this picture of everything is going to be just fine and you will be healthy, wealthy, and successful. I want someone to tell me the hard truths. I would want my friends to speak out about concerns they have with this doctor. And this is the same way I approach a teacher of the Bible.

We all need to do our homework. We all need to practice discernment. We can’t just look upon someone who has a big following and immediately classify them as sound. More importantly, we can’t be afraid to have those tough conversations. To name people that are knowingly teaching falsehood. And we can’t get discouraged when it seems like we are the only ones practicing discernment. This is something I have to remind myself of daily.
Don’t believe everything you hear, but do as the Bible says and “test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Stay reforming brothers and sisters.

-Brad
Link to article mentioned in the beginning: https://9marks.org/review/book-review-when-heaven-invades-earth-by-bill-johnson/

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