Pointing Fingers, Naming Names And Condemning False Teachers Isn’t All There Is To Discernment

Burning False TeachersYeah, I get it. Evangelicals flock to popular false teachers because few pastors identify these false teachers clearly. Furthermore, the leaders of far too many women’s “Bible” study groups use material from evangelical celebrities who routinely mishandle God’s Word. Certainly, we need to be deeply concerned.

John MacArthur often says that the biggest problem in the church today is the incredible lack of discernment. Even churches with solid pastors who rightly handle the Word of God have people who listen to radio teachers known for compromising truth. Women in doctrinally sound churches persist in claiming that God spoke to them personally.

So I definitely see the need for discernment bloggers. In fact, the Lord used several discernment blogs to correct my theology and draw me into Scripture. I appreciate discernment blogs that emphasize God’s Word and encourage women to study it for themselves. And I especially appreciate those that encourage us to look to Christ.

I don’t, however, appreciate so-called discernment blogs that do little else than write about false teachers and erroneous teachings within evangelicalism. Although those teachers and teachings most assuredly need to be called out, overly focusing on that one area of ministry fails to develop healthy discipleship.

I would even venture to say that discernment bloggers who focus exclusively on calling out the bad guys generally get over-zealous to the point of finding fault with legitimate ministries and teachers over minor issues. Ironically, in their eagerness to protect the church from error, these bloggers actually display their lack of discernment. Ultimately, they send the message that discernment is all about discrediting other Christians.

They forget Paul’s approach to helping Christians deal with false teachers. On a few occasions, Paul did name names and tell us to take note of false teachers. I plan to go over some of the passages in which he does that in future blog posts. But most of the time, he countered false teaching by offering correct doctrine.

Those of you who have followed my Monday Bible Studies on 1 Corinthians 15 have hopefully learned that Paul wrote this magnificent teaching on both Christ’s resurrection and our future resurrection in response to false teachers in Corinth who ridiculed the idea of bodily resurrection. But he barely mentioned them. Instead, he kept the attention on Christ and His promise to believers.

By teaching the truth about resurrection (or any topic, for that matter), Paul equipped us to discern truth from error through giving his readers sound doctrine. Discernment bloggers should follow this example. In order to teach people to be discerning, a reputable discernment blogger has a responsibility to prioritize Bible study and teaching sound doctrine over exposing false teachers. Otherwise,  they fail to make disciples.

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