In many Churches and sundry corners of the Evangelical Corporate Machine, it has become very popular [and occasionally profitable] to castigate, abuse, ridicule, and give warnings about “discernment bloggers” involved in Online Discernment Ministries. This is not always done by pastors and popular teachers who broach the issue unsettled and irked after finding themselves to be the targets of these bloggers, but more importantly and more broadly, by the very same laypeople who have egg on their face from not listening the last time they were warned about an important matter.
Here’s an inconvenient truth about discernment bloggers- for the ones who are thoughtful, accountable, well-researched and biblically centered, they’re proven right 99% of the time. They just are. It doesn’t take much to peruse the archives of Fightingforthefaith or Justin Peters Ministries, or Apprising ministries, or Worldview Weekend and to a lesser extent the Pulpit and Pen to see the almost prophetic accuracy in which they’ve successfully called it. It almost always comes to pass. They pick up on and spot the small cracks in the theology as everyone insists there’s nothing there. “Sound and firm as a rock” they say, right before the chasm bursts open and swallows everyone whole.
As a general rule, so-called “discernment bloggers” are about 36-48 months ahead of the curve in calling out danger that the rest of the evangelical Church only figures out after it’s become too late to minimize their losses.
For those who read the blogs and share with your loved ones the things you’re learning and are concerned about, this is why your family members and friends shrug you off and dismiss you as a “nitpicker,” telling you to “stand down” and stop sharing the blogs and Facebook status updates with them . If you’re lucky they might start talking to you again later down the road once it’s generally agreed upon that the man or woman in question was indeed sketchy and it doesn’t cost anything to admit his/her spiritual deviancy and shortcomings, though they’ll likely never apologize for calling you “divisive” and “unloving” the first time around.
That’s because they’ll put the old stuff behind them, but then you’re back at square one with them once you start talking about the “new stuff.” For these discernment ministries doing the work of loving their neighbors, despite a stellar track record, though they may be begrudging acknowledged when they’re proven right on past dangers, they’re still mocked and belittled when they warn about other new imminent dangers to the Church, as if it’s been complete forgotten that they were just proven right. Again. For the tenth time! It’s a vicious circle. It’s not difficult to suppose that much of the angst toward discernment bloggers is due to the fact that the passing of time continually vindicates them, while the one theologically tweaked is continually put to shame.
The same people who said, “You’re just discernment bloggers” about Mark Driscoll’s imminent downfall, or the dangers of the Emergent Church and Rob Bell and his emergent mysterios before they went full-heretic, or a ton of other warnings and cautions that have been brought up and shown to be startlingly accurate in their realization, these people are now still saying “You’re just discernment bloggers” about Russell Moore’s capitulation on important issues, social liberalism and full-blown ecumenism, or “You’re just discernment bloggers” regarding Beth Moore’s mysticism and growing Vision-Spawning Charasmanianical Claptrap . If the “discernment bloggers” keep getting it right on the other stuff that you didn’t see then, perhaps you could give them the benefit of a doubt on the stuff they’re talking about that you may not see now.
Instead of taking potshots at them and the people who learn from them and share their statuses and tweets, they would be better served spending less time rolling their eyes and complaining that discord is being sown and more time trying learning from the Bible that discernment is a spiritual gift for the edification of the Church and not an annoyance for which they and other mainstream evangelicals ought to despise them for.
[Originally posted By Jordan Hall in the Pulpit Bunker. Expanded
slightly by Dustin Germain]