Discernment Bloggers And Bandwagons

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When inaugurated The Outspoken TULIP almost four years ago, discernment blogging was considered cutting edge. Christian women aspired to identify as discerning, and proof of their abilities depended on their skill at calling out false teachers.

I planned to join their ranks.

Then the discernment blogger I most wanted to emulate repented of discernment blogging. Her reasoning  simultaneously upset me and convicted me, sending me on my own quest to understand how to do discernment ministry in a way that honors the Lord Jesus Christ.

For a couple years, I’ve written several blog posts attempting to teach that Biblical discernment involves a great deal more than naming names. Not a popular position! I suspect this approach to discernment ministry has diminished my status within the discernment blogging community, and I’m quite certain I’d have many more followers had I continued openly critiquing false teachers.

Lately, however, the tide has dramatically turned against even legitimate discernment bloggers. One (a blogger I highly esteem) recently wrote a series of impassioned Tweets begging Christians not to judge all discernment ministries on the basis of “discernment ministries” that revolve around character assassination and guilt by association. Makes me wonder if people have unfairly discredited her work because of the disreputable people who are slandering godly teachers in the name of “discernment.”

The “discernment ministries” that target good teachers have rightly caused Christians to condemn them. In their eagerness to torch the reputations of anyone who even slightly disagrees with them, they’ve brought judgment on themselves. And they deserve that judgment!

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. ~~Luke 6:37-42 (ESV)

Sadly, the current trend of condemning the  truly bad “discernment” bloggers has created fallout that harms legitimate discernment bloggers. The bandwagon that celebrated discernment ministries as recently as a year ago has been replaced by a new bandwagon that vilifies all discernment ministries.

Ironically, both bandwagons carry passengers that don’t have enough discernment to distinguish between legitimate ministries and gossip tabloids.

 

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2 thoughts on “Discernment Bloggers And Bandwagons

  1. Deb
    I wanted to write a bit to you and the other discernment bloggers.
    As a man that takes his Christian Faith seriously I willingly come to your site. I also read Elizabeth Prata, Michelle Lesley and others. I have found you and them gracious, kind, thoughtful and discerning. You have all provided me with needed information about false teachers and false teachings among other thoughtful writings. Thank you.
    Over the years I haved pointed at least fifty women (not that many men) to you and the other bloggers mentioned.
    Of those who have reported back to me they have all stated they found you measured, gracious, kind thoughtful balanced etc. They have also been very appreciative of finding the information about false teachers and false teachings. They were not getting this at their churches. They were essentially told to pick what is good and ignore the rest. The “swallow the whole chicken, spit out the bones” approach.
    They knew there were many things not quite right about the IF Gathering, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shier and others but they couldn’t quite discern what it was. You were a big help in clarifying. As you know we have to able to know the difference between right and what seems right.
    BTW – I do not, nor do any of these women, make discernment, discernment blogs, “finding fault” (scare quotes) with person x, y, z our only concern. It IS one valid consideration and concern among many legitimate aspects of a healthy well balanced Christian walk in this world because it is taught in many New Testament books.
    My experience with those who criticize discernment bloggers is that they do not like discernment. No matter how measured, kind, gracious etc your tone the mere fact that you named a name and pointed out the error then THAT is what bothers them. Your accuracy matters not. It violates some modern, post-modern (whatever era we are currently in ) mores/value.
    You should keep being kind, gracious, measured, balanced, etc . And you should continue to name names and point out their false teachings. Don’t let those who never appreciated discernment to begin with now try to convince you to stop. You are improving the health of the Body of Christ.
    Thank you,
    Aubrey Metcalf

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    • Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I agree that sometimes we must name names. But there really are “discernment ministries” that capitalize on fault finding and character assassination, even slandering godly teachers who have histories of faithfulness to the Gospel. Therefore a lot of the current criticism of discernment ministry truly has merit. Listening to that criticism helps me measure my approach to discernment.

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