A Note on Discernment

It is common place for people in the church to complain that those of us who are in the business of apologetics and discernment are only succeeding in making enemies within the Body of Christ and not interested in engaging in reconciliatory dialog.

Across all 27 books of the New Testament the writers either directly engage in or tell stories about people who confronted religions of their day (including their own) to challenge their beliefs and to bring them into a saving knowledge of the Gospel.

Look at Christ’s own interactions with the Pharisees and how he would curse and them publicly for forsaking the work of God for their own contrived rules and power.  Not only did he call them names, but essentially said that their life’s work was in vain because the entirely missed the message of the Old Testament.  Indeed its fulfillment was standing before them and they did not recognize him.  There was never a drove of Pharisees that came to a salvation after these encounters, but was it Christ’s intention to change them or to change us?

Some of these were more gentle and some were quite harsh.  Take, for example, the opening lines of the book of Galatians where Paul openly curses those who would preach a different, therefore false, gospel.  In case you missed it, being cursed is not a very good thing.  Led by the Spirit, we can rightly discern the truth from the lie and therefore avoid being accursed ourselves.

As the old hymn says, we are “prone to wonder” from the truth because of our proximity to sin.  It is easy for us to lose sight of the truth of the gospel as the early churches did.  Discernment is for those who God had called as his sheep, who seek to know more of who God is, and who need the regular herding to stay in the fold.  Discernment is about listening in earnest for the voice of the Shepherd, the one we recognize, and the only one who leads us to life.

Advertisements

About Aaron Gardner

Aaron is a counselor and student of the Bible, passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He lives in central Indiana with his wife, one-year-old son and their two dogs. View all posts by Aaron Gardner

9 responses to “A Note on Discernment

  • souldipper

    Gifts and fruits…discernment amongst them. How do we discern modern day prophets? At times I wonder how Jesus stayed the course of Love in the midst of rigid, inflexible, dogmatic and ritualistic thinking. The freedom that Jesus brought was to take us to a deeper level of awareness of what the prophesies had said and were saying. Our brittleness continues today. There is so much fear around the possibilities of ‘seeing’ differently or ‘updatedly’. FEAR – the antithesis of FAITH, the self-imposed imprisonment.

    Jesus’ words are incredibly rich for whatever level of spiritual maturity we have attained. Those same words resonate differently with more maturity of faith. It is not right or wrong – it is simply different. Discernment is seeing at our level and being able to accept another person’s level.

    The only thing that is black and white is black and white. We have a loving God. Harshness and judgment comes from human beings telling us what God IS.

    Thank you for reminding me… I just happen to have great empathy for what Jesus experienced. One simply has to quietly watch – even from a favourite pew.

  • Sabio Lantz

    Led by the Spirit, we can rightly discern the truth from the lie and therefore avoid being accursed ourselves.
    — Aaron

    Funny, probably all your “false teachers” would support that too. That is the beauty of believing knowledge come from a Ghost speaking in your heart.

  • Aaron

    Sabio:

    Good observation; just the reason that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is so vital. I have had recent conversations with people who tell me that they do not believe that the Bible is literally true and that the reason that they believe is because of some feeling that they got that they know is Jesus… then they further tell me that empirical evidence eliminates faith because faith cannot exist along with hard evidence.

  • Renier

    souldipper: “We have a loving God. Harshness and judgment comes from human beings telling us what God IS.”

    Loving? Let’s assume your god exists. I would make a strong case that it would be preferable that he does not exist, considering all the people who died because of him and all the people who will be eternally tortured because of him. The statement of a “loving” god is clearly false.

    Even when we consider why Jesus supposedly had to come, was to satisfy the “loving” god’s blood lust.

  • Renier

    “then they further tell me that empirical evidence eliminates faith because faith cannot exist along with hard evidence.”

    Faith can exist alongside hard evidence. People can be very irrational.

  • Boz

    Renier, there are two different versions of consistency.

    It is possible for opposing ideas, such as faith and ‘hard-evidence’, to be psychologically consistent. That means that one person’s brain can simultaneously hold the two opposing ideas.

    It is impossible for two opposing ideas, such as faith and ‘hard-evidence’, to be philosophically consistent. That means, it is impossible for the two ideas to both be logically true.

  • Renier

    Boz, I agree. I was just sort of taking a cheap shot… attempt at humor.

  • Boz

    ahh, I get it.

    The joke is funnier when you explain it. (lie)

  • Renier

    Shame on you :-p

%d bloggers like this: