The Pen

If You Can’t Do This One Simple Thing, Get Out of Discernment Work

Discernment is the gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10) that allows Christians to distinguish between good and bad teaching and good and bad teachers. It is also a skill that is to be trained, practiced, and developed (Hebrews 5:14). In a day of rampant doctrinal downgrade, this gift – which is given for the edification of local churches (1 Corinthians 14:12) – is in short supply. However, as badly as we need discerning leaders, if they’re not willing to do this one simple thing they should step down from discernment.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (Romans 16:17).

There are two explicit commands for us in Scripture when it comes to false teachers. First, we are to mark them (note that they are teaching contrary to sound doctrine) and secondly, we are to…avoid them.

Again, the Biblical command is (1) mark false teachers and (2) avoid false teachers. Please note that the Scripture says, “Mark them,” σκοπεῖν τοὺς τὰς διχοστασίας.

It is not enough to merely mark false teaching, but you must mark false teachers. This is what, as I pointed out at the time, ultimately neutered John MacArthur’s criticism toward the Social Justice Movement and killed the effectiveness of The Dallas Statement on Social Justice. MacArthur’s characteristic obedience to the Holy Scripture was tainted with a black mark of personal rebellion as he sat with the greatest advocates of the Social Justice Movement on his stage and said, “I will fight heresy, but I will not fight my friends.” Being willing to critique the movement but still snuggle up to the movers is pointless, futile, and feckless.

It is also common today for ostensibly discerning teachers to mark false teachers (so long as they’re not personal friends, as MacArthur is with the Social Justice leaders), but not to avoid them.

The greatest place that we see this willful disobedience to Holy Scripture is in the Christian conference circuit, where evangelical leaders dress up their unhealthy pursuit of stage-time in an ecumenical bow tie. It’s here – on the conference stage – that even discerning leaders throw all holiness to the wind and greedily share the spotlight with notorious false teachers. We saw it at ShepCon, and we’ll see it at the Sing Conference when Dr. MacArthur will (again) join his body with spiritual prostitutes (1 Corinthians 6:15).

It doesn’t seem to matter at all to most evangelical leaders, even those purporting to be discerning, with whom they speak at conferences. They are willing to sell their soul for thirty pieces of silver worth of spotlight.

Repeat after me: Mark…Avoid.

Let’s say it again. Mark…Avoid.

Regarding the Answers in Genesis Women’s Conference (the photo above), it’s like a game of “one of these things doesn’t belong.”

Phil Johnson is good. Amy Spreeman is good. Costi Hinn is good. Ken Ham is good.

And yet, at least two of those four have personally told me how much they dislike Jackie Hill Perry, how much contempt they have for her subversive Same-Sex Attraction sexual ethic (indistinguishable from Sam Allberry, the gay Anglican priest who has taken evangelicalism by storm), and how they are personally repulsed by her. And moreover, they believe her to be dangerous.

And yet…here they are, on the speaking roster with her. In my mind, it’s really unfathomable.

Jackie Hill Perry agreed with a lesbian friend that the Christian church owes an apology to the “queer community” for hurting their feelings for preaching repentance.

Jackie Hill Perry will even speak at anti-Trinitarian Oneness cults. I’d like to see Johnson, Hinn, Spreeman, or Ham defend that.

Jackie Hill Perry is one of the homosexual change-agents used by The Gospel Coalition to subversively change the way evangelicals view homosexuality. Perry is a Critical Race Theorist (which is a political ideology that applies to “sexual minorities” as much as ethnic minorities) who has aligned herself with Allberry’s philosophies on homosexuality. She’s a dangerous, toxic, butch lady-preacher who will preach to men as quickly as she will women.

Jackie Hill Perry’s theology is indistinguishable from that of the controversial Revoice Conference, and she is followed by a legion of still-gay (and still-practicing) LGBTQ fans.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (Romans 16:17).

It’s a simple two-part command. If you’re not willing to do the bare minimum to remain faithful to Jesus in the matter, quit pretending to be a discerner. If you’re not willing to avoid, it does no good to mark. In fact, that you know better kind of makes it worse.

Discernment, without holiness, is treason to Christ.

[Editor’s note: This article was contributed by JD Hall]