I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. ~~2 Timothy 4:1-4 (ESV)
Those in discernment ministry love this passage, and quote verses 3-4 frequently. With great enthusiasm, no less. To be sure, the current evangelical climate highlights the widespread embrace of false teachers and practices that deviate drastically from God’s Word. Naturally, we want to know if the popular teachers we read and listen to handle the Bible correctly.
Discernment blogs that name names can be helpful in determining the legitimacy of a false teacher. Yesterday I referred you to two of the most reputable discernment blogs, knowing that each of them provides wonderful resources for vetting celebrity teachers. Clearly, I don’t categorically oppose all discernment blogs.
Several years ago, friends I’d known back in California began practicing “Christian” yoga. One even got certified as a Holy Yoga instructor (Lord, have mercy!) who posted all sorts of yoga related things on Facebook. In order to confront her with the goal of leading her to repentance (which didn’t happen — instead, she broke off contact), I started researching online. As a result, I found the world of discernment blogs.
For quite a while, those blogs taught me the importance of discernment, and identified a number of false teachers that I hadn’t discerned for myself. Of course I was enchanted with being “in the know” about those false teachers.
But some of the bloggers I most respect (particularly Erin Benziger) began thinking about discernment ministry differently. Through their godly example, I began to reevaluate the entire issue of discernment. Slowly I realized that the Lord wanted me to cultivate discernment by studying His Word rather than by saturating myself with discernment blogs.
Look back at 2 Timothy 4:1-4 for a moment and notice Paul’s injunction that Timothy preach the Word because people otherwise follow false teachers who tell them what they want to hear. Paul implies that knowing God’s Word and sound doctrine arms us against false teachers and deception.
That’s why I feel disappointed that most of my readers click on articles mentioning false teachers, but rarely on ones about doctrine and/or Bible Study. Naming names has its place, I admit, but it should really play a minor role in discernment.
I could point out famous teachers who pervert the doctrine of the Trinity, for instance. But if I instead write about the Trinity from a Biblical perspective, you’ll be equipped to recognize false teachers for yourselves. Similarly, I hope our upcoming study of Christ’s resurrection will add to our discernment abilities. Ladies, I want more for you than simple gossip about evangelical personalities. I want the Word of God to direct you back to the Lord Himself.