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?