The Boring Way To Develop Discernment

Stained Glass WindowDuring October 2017, you couldn’t go online without seeing multiple blog posts about the Protestant Reformation. Actually, some of us started writing about it much earlier, hoping to build excitement (or at least interest) among evangelicals. We did so primarily because most professing evangelicals fail to appreciate — or even understand — the differences between Protestant theology and Roman Catholicism.

Many evangelicals simply don’t care. They prefer to minimize the importance of doctrine in favor of finding common ground with Catholics.

Even deeper, many evangelicals follow the wider culture’s general disdain for history. Having suffered through a Medieval History class in college with a professor who spoke in a monotone, I do see why people believe history is boring. His class bored me, and I marveled at the history majors who constantly raved about that professor. I suspect many people assume history is boring because they’ve also endured history teachers like that.

The predominate boredom with history frustrated me as I blogged about the Protestant Reformation week after week. By October 31st, I found myself feeling relieved that the 500th anniversary had passed. I looked forward to writing on more popular topics that might attract more readers.

I  wonder if other bloggers felt the same relief. It wouldn’t surprise me.

But I think folding up the Reformation and packing it away until next October 31st might do a great disservice to the body of Christ. Instead of bowing to the prevailing indifference to church history, we need to encourage our fellow evangelicals to understand why the 16th Century Reformers (not to mention Reformers before them) risked their lives to draw people back to God’s Word.

Professing Christians have once again moved away from the Word of God. That’s why they gravitate to popular teachers like Beth Moore and Joel Osteen. Interestingly, people who consider themselves to be discerning gravitate to blogs that expose these false teachers. And, in moments of weakness, I find myself writing articles that allow me to plunk Beth Moore’s name in the title, knowing that doing so will attract readers.

I wish that those who so eagerly seek to be discerning realized that the Protestant Reformation was the greatest example of discernment in Christian history. If anyone really wants to learn principles of discernment, the Reformation definitely offers the quintessential starting place. Why? Precisely because each and every one of the Reformers went back to Scripture. Many suffered martyrdom for their insistence on the authority and sufficiency of the Bible.

The hoopla over the 500th anniversary of the Reformation has given way to blog posts about celebrity sex scandals, Thanksgiving and now Christmas. The pressure to convince postmodern evangelicals that the actions of a German monk in 1517 have any serious meaning as we approach 2018 has subsided, liberating us to blog about subjects that readers crave.

Except we need, more than ever, to remember the Reformation, with its passion to bring God’s people back to His Word. Maybe I won’t blog about the Reformation every week, but I will most assuredly keep it before you, praying that you’ll understand its relationship to Biblical discernment. Hopefully you’ll begin to see how the Reformers teach us to evaluate popular teachers against God’s Word.

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2 thoughts on “The Boring Way To Develop Discernment”

  1. I agree–I was so disheartened by the lack of interest in my posts on the Reformation. And, like you, any slight interest I might have had in history as a young person was completely dowsed by an extremely boring college professor. It wasn’t until I started homeschooling my kids and teaching history that I fell in love with it. I just wish I could somehow get people to see its importance and just how much we can learn from studying the past. But, alas, the interest in posts on false teachers or current events far surpasses interest in what has been. So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. God used a relatively small amount of people to start the Reformation, just as Jesus used a small group of men to build the Church. You don’t know who is going to be edified by the words you write. And you don’t know how that edification will play out in their lives, in the Church and even in the world. Just keep writing for the glory of God.

    The success of your ministry isn’t based on how people respond to your posts. It’s based on your faithfulness to your ministry and your loving obedience to the One who gave you the gifts and knowledge that you are using.

    And for the record…I might not respond with anything more than a “like,” but I appreciate and am edified by all of your posts.

    Liked by 2 people

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