Abusing Discernment (In The Name of Discernment)

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.(Philipians 2:3)

The Church definitely needs to exercise greater discernment, especially in these last days, when so much deception is being unleashed to attack the believing remnant, that Jesus said “…if possible, even the very elect would be deceived”.

Pastors need to be courageous, calling out heretics, and deceivers who turn many away from the once and for all delivered faith. All believers need to make it their business to know and live the gospel, and to familiarize ourselves with the Word to the point where we actually train our senses to discern good from evil, as Hebrews 5 tells us,

For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5;13-14)

But it has occurred to me lately that in some cases, Satan has adopted a “if you can’t beat them, join them…” attitude towards discernment ministry.

I refer to the new “Witch Hunt” school of discernment, in which several prominent people known for previous “discernment ministry”, have devolved to the level of taking personal anger and offense issues and working them out in public, by investigating the past of their perceived personal ‘enemies’ and going over everything they have ever said with a fine tooth comb, gleaning through all of their previous associations, trying to find incriminating evidence as to whether they can be accused of “heresy”.

How does this help the cause of Discernment? It actually hurts it. The Pulpit is powerful, especially when there is a well known, seasoned minister behind it. For anyone minister to bring their own personal animosities into the pulpit and to try and “Take out” a fellow minister on the basis of “guilt by association” , with little or no regard to what that ministry actually teaches day in and day out. This is the work of Satan himself.

Another thing I have observed, is that some people on the hunt for heretics, do not seem total any care to be precise in what they accuse people of saying and doing. In the midst of the “fight” they exaggerate, embellish, and leave off some mitigating factors, stretch the truth about their “adversary”, in order to “win” the devbate.

It is easy to lose sight of what we are ( or should be) striving for in this vital and holy work; the preservation of the doctrine of Christ, not the diminishment or disqualification of personal enemies!

False witness is still a very serious sin, and those who practice it, are doing what the LORD hates. It is in the rush to “take somebody out” especially anyone who is considered a rival, that exaggerated claims are made , and passed on to others, who uncritically pass it on to others also. Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness!

This is how Satan has joined the discernment movement. He latches on to the anger, or ambition of backslidden ministers, who see the pulpit, and precious charge of guarding the flock of God, as an opportunity to take a few rivals down. What an unspeakable perversion of a sorely needed Spiritual gift.

Thank God for all of those who do the hard work of research and wade through the sermons and books of heretics, to show the body of Christ these errors and to lead those willing back into orthodoxy. But when discernment becomes a cover for malice, animosity and even pride and ambition, the whole concept is discredited and heretics actually get a pass!

In one recent case a serious heretic was being confronted, but had the good sense to just stand back and allow one of the leading defenders of the faith who was confronting him , to spew forth his anger and bile. The heretic presented himself so much better than his chief detractor, remaining calm, trying to show himself pacific (up to a point) , that he gained many followers though it all in spite of his open and outrageous claims denying the Father as Creator, and diminishing the blood of Jesus in the Millennium.

How did this blatant heretic get away with it?

His chief detractor was right doctrinally, but so wrong personally, engaging in vicious rhetoric with several people at once, members of his ‘ministry’ created vicious graphics to ridicule his enemies, He called a confessing Christian woman vile names, lashing out right and left and virtually spitting and frothing at the mouth, denouncing anyone who tried to bring moderation as Judas, (All in Public!).

All the heretic had to do was act humble, seem moderate, double down on his false teaching, and let his detractors shoot themselves in the foot. As far as I know, he is more popular than ever and still spouting outrageous claims in the name of the LORD>.

In this way , the cause of true discernment is diminished by fleshly, angry, vicious and self serving “discernment”. Any comments?

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27 Responses to Abusing Discernment (In The Name of Discernment)

  1. I totally agree Brother Bill, that Satan has jumped on the Discernment Bandwagon and had a field day with the specific situation to which you are referring. My very brief contribution to this debate is that Jesus said, “By their fruit you will know them” I think too often with “ Discernment” we brand a brother based on statements taken out of context without spirituality discerning his heart (fruit of the Spirit).

  2. Bruce McIntosh says:

    Definitely agree. The delivery can make or break the message, and if the presentation is damaging then it can cut the ground out from under those who are trying to convey the message in a sane, level-headed, loving manner. Thus, we’re left in an even worse situation than before, which of course fuels the hotheads’ anger and launches us on yet another spin on the merry-go-round. And all the while the World at Large just sits back and laughs at the God being misrepresented so effectively.

  3. Lillian Cresswell says:

    Thank you so much Pastor Bill SHALOM . BLESSINGS . To you and yours .Lily

    On Fri, 30 Aug. 2019, 2:32 am Pastor Bill Randles Blog, wrote:

    > billrandles posted: ” Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but > in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than > themselves.(Philipians 2:3) The Church definitely needs to exercise greater > discernment, especially in these last days, when so much deception ” >

  4. William says:

    The “Judas” accusation was so inappropriate, wildly inaccurate, wrong, and must have hurt. Maybe all that is left now is to leave it with God. How would I respond in the face of such an insult? I don’t know. God bless you and your ministry, Pastor Bill.

  5. Darryl says:

    Thanks Bill. This has been a real worry to me for some time. Appreciate your insight bro.

  6. stan says:

    I wonder why they don’t obey the scripture concerning heretics? Titus 3:10-11 is pretty clear

  7. 'grandma' Jeanne says:

    I had wished I knew what he was referring to. I suppose in his discernment, he didn’t want to say much in the way of example.

  8. rlvan says:

    Spot on! There is a lot of arrogance with some of these discernment “ministries”! If they spent as much time actually teaching the Word of God as they do pointing out the faults of others, we probably would not need help with discernment. That entire situation was abysmal. Pastor Bill, I thought you were the only one who showed any real grace. The heretic reminds me of Uriah Heap. The other one is going down a road I’d never have thought and man is that sad. Satan is having his work done for him by people who profess the name of Christ. Please come quickly, Lord Jesus!

  9. Wendy Thome says:

    Sadly, so true. How is The Lord glorified in this? Humility is not an easy attitude for many leaders, forgetting that Our Glorious Lord Jesus set the original example of how a Christian and especially a leader should behave. Exposing heresy is important but drilling down to seek every ‘wrong’ word ever spoken by another diminishes the critic’s own image and message. We are all only men, and only One was infallible.

  10. Severiano von Buchenroder says:

    I agree with rlvan statement: “If they spent as much time actually teaching the Word of God as they do pointing out the faults of others, we probably would not need help with discernment”. These words capture the essence of what I have been thinking about during this entire episode. The Word of God itself is said to discern the thoughts and intentions of one’s heart (Hebrews 4:12) and here we find ministries and/or individuals claiming to have the market cornered on the truth. May the Word itself expose these wolves, both among the heretics as well as among the so-called “heretic hunters” who do not have the mind of Christ regarding the preservation of the Saints which He Himself is able to accomplish

  11. Deemar says:

    It is tempting to get caught up by personalities, whether: gentle or rough, eloquent or struggling with speech. What we all must remember is to allow TRUTH alone to be our Authority and ultimate Guide. The LORD has allowed us mere mortals to participate in the proclamation of His Holy Word, but this is a test – both to the teacher, as well as the listeners. Too many people out there are following after ‘big names’ in the “church”. I have heard some very rough-mannered, lesser-known, speakers teach the solid Truth… which should be received, regardless of the “rough vessel” who is speaking. Same with the other way around – many well-learned and eloquent/charismatic teachers who are spreading heresies with their smooth talk for itching ears. The Word of God must be what we use to discern all teaching. For the most part, this is not happening, thus the deceptions are spreading like wild-fire. And the people love it so.
    And for those who do TRULY desire to continue faithfully teaching – it is imperative that they/we do not give others an excuse to malign us… “personality” is one thing… but living ungodly/sinfully is quite another. Many are ‘falling’ as the tree is being shaken… we must cling to the Vine!

  12. John Dan says:

    So what makes someone a heretic? Does holding any doctrine you disagree with make someone a heretic?

    It seems to me that we should be quick to point out error but perhaps not as quick to condemn everyone we disagree with.

    You have high praise for the Eastern Christians who were killed by ISIS but I suspect their doctrine was farther off than David’s. Were they heretics too? Can a heretic be saved?

    • mellanymckenzie7086 says:

      I don’t know. I have often wondered that myself. B/c the eastern Christians r off on doctrine but they died not denying Christ as much as they understood the word of God. I simply do not understand people’s hearts only God does.
      R we not to bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfilling the law of Christ
      I was wondering if we just all called a fast and to prayer but maybe I am way out of line here.
      I know the LORD has been convicting me of how I speak to my husband and my neighbors.
      And not to defend myself, just to trust and obey Christ.
      He gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud.
      I live in a lot of fear or better said doubt, dread and despair but when I read the word of God everything changes for me.
      R we not supposed to love one another and then other people will know we r Christians and then I think of
      We overcome by the blood of the Lamb;
      The word of our testimony and not loving ourselves unto death.
      I thought for sure we would be raptured by now but maybe Christ Jesus has other plans.
      I know that He is long suffering and patient and I thank God for that b/c I do not know where I would be w/o His grace and mercy.
      Maybe we need people like Barnabas who was the son of encouragement.
      I just don’t know anymore except I pray and ask God to change my heart b/c it is desperately wicked and who can know it
      But God….
      I keep thinking as this thing plays out (not sure who u r talking about and I do not want to know) but it sure would be nice if we started asking one another for forgiveness and LORD Christ Jesus let it start with me
      I am not being pious here or self righteous
      Change me LORD
      thank u
      In Christ

      • Kristian F Ellison says:

        I appreciate your honesty so much. There is so much truth there. You aren’t the only one who wonders about these things. Its a lot of pressure to get it all right. Thank you.

    • Jeanne T. says:

      John, you asked a really important question. There’s a recent film out by Frontier Alliance International (FAI Studios), the third installment of their series “Covenant and Controversy”. The third film in this series is about the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria during WWII. It was news to me when I saw this film that Bulgaria saved EVERY one of its approximately 50,000 Jews (as compared to the 5,000, for example, saved by Denmark).

      There were three “elements”, if you will, factors involved in this story: King Boris himself, the Bishop of Sofia (Orthodox), and Daniel Zion, a rabbi who was a believer in Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel.

      As is pointed out in the film, while the Bulgarian Church had their “doctrine” wrong with respect to the replacement theology it held, ultimately they realized they could not give up their Jews to Hitler. Boris was another story, controversial even today because he “deported” the Jews, yes, but within Bulgaria itself. They lost their properties, they were sent to camps. And Hitler knew that Boris was double dealing with the Nazis. Hitler and Joseph Goebbels called Boris a “fox” and a “dodger”. Boris kept putting off the Nazis about deportation. Boris died in 1943 of an apparent heart attack, but two doctors who attended him believed he was poisoned (he was only 49). I don’t believe Boris ever had any intention of giving up Bulgaria’s Jews. This is all verified in the testimonies at the Nuremberg trials after the war.

      Boris is an example of being “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. We should ponder that verse in light of Boris’ actions.

      After the war, ALL of Bulgaria’s Jews emigrated to Israel and had children. And though the synagogue in Sofia

      So, again, while the Orthodox Church had the wrong theology, they did the right thing in protecting their Jews. We will know in eternity whether the church leaders (and King Boris as well) are in heaven.

      Here’s a short excerpt on Boris from the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg0b4Eoa3Ow

      Here is the full film, Covenant and Controversy Part III: The Great Trouble:

      • rlvan says:

        Jeanne, that is one of the best series I have seen. So glad you posted it! All three parts are free on the website and if anyone has Roku, the are on the Faithlife channel and are marvelous to watch in high definition.

  13. GJ says:

    Ultimately who do we trust… the God of Israel… or man? Who do we give the right hand of fellowship to? Where’s our focus? With Abraham and the “others”, it was the city built by the hand of God… the New Jerusalem… and, their focus was recorded as an example of faith for us during rough times. https://hopeishereblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/right-hand/

  14. Jesus of Nazareth went to the cross like a lamb to slaughter fully entrusting himself to the Father. Oh how I pray to be able to trust God as Jesus did when left feeling so frustrated by heretical ministries that are growing exponentially and leading many astray. I feel sad for those in truth that get knocked out by the enemy. We need the wisdom of Obadiah and the boldness of Elijah to navigate our way through these dark times. Thanks for your blog Pastor Bill

  15. standingfirm says:

    Attack the wrong doctrine, not the person. How simple is this? Paul gave perfect examples of this in the bible. When defending truth it is easy to get in the “flesh” I suppose. This is where we need to be on our knees asking the Lord to guard out heart and keep us humble while pointing out the doctrinal error. To get a nasty hateful countenance is surely not from the Holy Spirit. I can see how easy it would be for Satan to slip in and get the upper hand in a situation like this. Let us all keep in mind that the Lord says to greet every brother with a Holy kiss and esteem others as better then ourselves. The flesh profits nothing and is not pleasing to God.


  16. April says:

    Many fantastic comments and opinions here with many I tend to agree with. I live in Canada and ALL the churches in my area are Apostate. I use commentaries, interlinear Hebrew/Greek bible, Septuagint, Concordance and extra biblical material such as the Apocrypia, Eusebius, Josephus. I have started studying theology through the website Think on these things and I DO watch and read the items from the Discernment ministry and the one in question, I DO watch and read. To be honest from my situation, I do not want to waste time as I believe time is running out. Therefore, I want the Truth presented however it is delivered, I dont care. I like it Blunt and Direct and then I can go check into what I just heard through the Word of God. I guess my ears are not as sensitive to what doesnt really matter except what God want me to hear? satan is already in the church, of course he is going to try to attack any truth and try to get us Believers all stirred up and fight amongst ourselves….Dont fall for it!!!! As in Revelation 12:9 (deceives the WHOLE world) folks, thats it. May Our Great God Bless all of you, Much Love April

  17. Dragos Bercea says:

    1 Corinthians 13. If you do not have love, you’re nothing! I have made the mistake of rebuking someone harshly without love, and truly GOD has now shown me that it is just wrong and very distasteful. This is not to dismiss the importance of truth and not falling into error, but it must be done with love. Imagine what a non believer would think if they saw a brother/sister harshly rebuking someone without love! They may think “Really ? This is what Christianity is ? … no thank you, I want no part in this … ever”. We’d harshly rebuke someone who is in error but then put on a smile and a nice face when we’re out witnessing to non believers ? It doesn’t seem right. Again, i’ve made this mistake too.

  18. Helen Hichens says:

    Shalom Pastor Bill. We are seeing this kind of behavior not only in leadership, (attacks against one another), but in the body of Christ, in general. While calling out error is a necessity to preserve the true faith, as you have said, the way we go about it is of utmost importance, too. What I see is two sides of the Adversary’s deceit being implemented. They both reflect the world’s view: Bitter accusations & division and a “love” that defers to sin. Both are attempts to “wear out the saints”. (Dan. 7:25). Division is a big tool employed by Satan. We can fall for it or we can ask the LORD for His wisdom & be taught by the Holy Spirit. I choose the latter. May we all be at peace with one another as much as possible. These are most certainly perilous times. GOD bless you.

  19. Mary Mclocke says:

    I started out a while ago, looking for something else on the Internet, and I “fell onto” a Blog where there is a couple years old back and forth between you and another man. The way he spoke at/to you, I personally just cannot say another “brother”. Just wow. I’m the chief of sinners and as far as it is to the moon and back from perfect, but that man in my opinion (and my discernment) abused the daylights out of you. I’m only commenting to tell you that as I care for you as my brother, and I am sorry you had to deal with him, with ALL of them. How he can speak of discernment and have so little, if not none? That just blew me away. Reading some articles there, that entire Blog is a “tear people down” fest, not only where he posted your emails. If and when they disagree with another who is in Christ – it seems to me, seems ANY other in Christ and the names they call others and the just plain evil nastiness is slapped on there on that Blog in type for all to see. I’ll disclose no names for privacy reasons but to let you know that who I mean is initials M.R. and no doubt his being so vicious, you remember, My prayers are with you, I’ve always respected you and your teaching. Oh..and you were right, that DID fall under Matthew 18 indeed. You were 200% more gracious than he, just as our Savior Jesus Christ always gives us HIS grace. Be at peace, brother. I just couldn’t not sit here after reading all that and say nothing, not show you support, not after all I have learned from you. I listen to you on You Tube, I read your Blog, (OH and I saw the morning devotions!) and I have learned much truth, as one who does use my Bible like a Berean.
    I had to add that last sentence as I am SO grieved by the Bible illiteracy out there today, especially at this LATE hour, as it is both horribly maddening and desperately sad. God bless and keep you, Pastor/brother Bill. I also thought that just perhaps you needed to hear a GOOD word today, so please know that you’re appreciated and.I’m truly blessed by your Ministry.

    • billrandles says:

      Thanks Mary, what a breath of fresh air! It had to have been one of the worst periods of my life, that fight was but one of many… We see it now as the Good LORD purifying us by fire and preparing us, but thanks for recognizing this and also for encouraging me, I know who you are talking about. It doesn’t seem too many visit his blog, of which I am kind of “trophy Kill” hanging on his wall. May God forgive Him… Grace and peace, Pas Bill

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