Is discernment ministry essentially baptized celebrity gossip? When the Bible commands us to be discerning, does it mean we should actively hunt down problems with the intention of making public pronouncements against them, thereby showing people how accomplished we are at distinguishing truth from error?
I have a feeling that some who put out the Discernment Ministry shingle do so from an attitude of pride. I did. Somehow I doubt that I’m the only one guilty of this sin. Having knowledge that So-and-so is a false teacher and such-and-such is an unbiblical practice can give a girl a huge shot of self-esteem!
But Biblical discernment (or wisdom) shouldn’t become a way of promoting ourselves. When discernment degenerates into exposing false teachers for the sake of building up our reputations, something is dreadfully wrong.
Let’s look at a passage from James that might challenge our ideas of discernment.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ~~James 3:13-18 (ESV)
To be clear, I’m not advocating silence when error crosses the church threshold. Responsible Christians have a duty to warn against threats to sound doctrine. But I fear that we can get so enamored with being in the know that we actually ignore routine Bible study.
Ladies, it disturbs me that my articles on yoga, the Social Justice Movement and Beth Moore get astronomically more attention than my Monday Bible Studies. Studying the Bible may not excite us as much as calling out false teachers, but without it we develop a warped concept of discernment.
I think we forget that true discernment comes by careful study of God’s Word. Simply put, if you want to be a discerning woman, you’ll need to do the unglamorous work of digging into Scripture and understanding its great doctrines. The better you know Scripture, the more easily you’ll discern false teaching.