The Importance of Discernment
Editors note: The following is posted by guest contributor Shane Peterson.
The state of Christianity nowadays seems to be moving further and further away from the Bible and nearer to the world. Many churches are welcoming and promoting new age mysticism, or the “purpose-driven” model, or even starting to down-right accept sin. We have been seeing an influx of ecumenical religious figures and heretical false teachers, and the mainstream is flooded with heaven tourism, over-the-top charismatic name-it/claim-it preachers, and other compromises in the name of “tolerance”. The list of problems with all of these things is limitless, but the root of the issue is a lack of discernment.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
We are called in the Bible to be discerning. To discern is to judge well, and the standard by which born-again Christians are to judge is the Bible. We can take the Bereans, spoke about in the book of Acts, for instance, and follow their example.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”(Acts 17:11)
If we do not thoroughly study the Bible daily, there is no way to know God’s will and how to live in accordance to it. The only way that God speaks to us is through His word. The Bible is where we get the gospel. The Bible is where we learn everything that we need to know for our walk with Christ. The Bible is where we learn the signs of the end of the age, and what is to come before the triumphant return of Christ our Lord. I must also mention that the Bible is where we would find out that the examples I laid out in my introduction, that we see all over evangelicalism today, are all hogwash.
Perhaps we are coming to the end times. We see in scriptures that unbiblical teaching will become more and more prominent as we approach the end of the age. People will not want to hear sound bible teaching, but instead will only want to hear what makes them feel good, and not convict them of their sin. In fact, a large number of churches nowadays rarely mentions sin, and certainly not repentance.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
The lack of discernment isn’t just a problem with the pastors. They definitely should know better. Shame on them, but let us not forget that it is our duty to test the teachings being fed to us. Take what is being taught, search the scriptures (in context), and if the teaching contradicts scripture, bring it to their attention. Of course, be gentle and graceful about it.
Stay strong in God’s word. Study the scriptures daily and make sure that we are not being swayed by false teaching and bad theology. Remember, that false teachers will often have some truth in their words, but mixed in with the unbiblical. This makes them all the more dangerous.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14)