Discernment Ministry Does More Than Expose False Teachers

Biblical UnityOur Monday Bible Studies in Titus may be suspended for the summer, but I’m still thinking quite a lot about Paul’s charge to Titus regarding the responsibilities of older women.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. ~~Titus 2:3-5 (ESV)

As a blogger, I am in an unofficial teaching position, hopefully teaching younger women how to honor the Lord. Thus far, I’ve written little about marriage and even less about raising children, mostly because I married late in life and consequently missed out on motherhood. But I certainly can teach what is good in terms of Christian doctrine and discernment.

Without rehashing specifics, recent arguments among well-known figures in discernment ministry cause me to wonder if I should focus my teaching more on discerning how to exhibit a character that reflects the Lord Jesus Christ and less on calling out false teachers. To be sure, those false teachers need to be identified, especially because women tend to gravitate to ones that use humor, psychology and emotional mysticism to lure us into doctrinal error. But, as I’ve said many times, blogs like mine can easily degenerate into tabloid gossip mills.

Blogging as a Christian places me under an obligation to keep my doctrine pure. An elder from my church monitors The Outspoken TULIP for that very reason, as does my husband. But right doctrine is only half the battle, dear sisters in Christ. Remember that the Pharisees in Jesus’ day had right doctrine. But they used their right doctrine to cover up their sinful lifestyles.

If, in exposing false teachers, I use this blog to generate gossip, I stand guilty of dishonoring the Lord I claim to represent. On one level, I teach younger women to cultivate discernment regarding popular teachers and trends within the evangelical community (which is sometimes necessary), but on a deeper level I teach by example that discernment depends on gossiping about others.

Recent events in the evangelical world have caused me to consider the type of character I want to model as I emblazon words on the internet. Do I demonstrate godly attitudes even when I warn my readers against false teachers? Do I encourage my readers to pray for people who fall victim to doctrinal error, and do I point them back to the Word of God? Or do I act like a talebearer who enjoys the sport of character assassination?

Older women, Paul says, must teach what is good. Teaching what is good, in turn, necessitates living in conformity to sound doctrine. The current nastiness in the name of discernment, by God’s grace, admonishes me to be careful as I write my blog posts, knowing that the example I set can either encourage sinful attitudes or lead ladies to honor the Lord.


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4 thoughts on “Discernment Ministry Does More Than Expose False Teachers

  1. Hello Debbie Lynne, Thanks for that. I don’t know if you saw my recent F B post? Possibly not. What I put up was a quote from last weeks sermon where our pastor was speaking on the 8th amendment here in Ireland which relates to abortion issues and which will shortly be re-entering the political arena again. Without telling us how we ought/ ought not to think about abortion ,he did exhort us to “In any defending of Gods grace, to be certain that we do so with much grace” And like you I do think as mature Christian bloggers we have a responsibility not to “preach at” but rather to “share with grace” even as we ourselves know His grace on a daily basis.


  2. I was just thinking about this very thing as I listened to a fairly popular “discernment” guy vigorously defend himself (by saying negative things about the person who had cast doubt on his character) on his podcast yesterday. He totally discredited himself and, I believe, gave credence to people’s fears of “harsh and ugly discerners”. *sigh* If we can’t maintain our Christian character and let God defend us when we are attacked, then we’d better get out of the discernment business! Just sayin’!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Debbielynne, I admire your godly example as an older sister in the faith. I totally agree with you on discernment and both of your posts addressing this recently. Keep up the great work of being an example for us younger women in the faith! 🙂


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