Imagine believers testing the teachings of the apostle Paul! To Bible-believing Christians, the very thought of scrutinizing him seems preposterous! We now understand that several of his letters rightfully belong in the Canon of Scripture. In the early days of his ministry, however, his apostolic authority hadn’t yet been recognized, so Jewish believers had to find a way of authenticating his doctrine.
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. ~~Acts 17:10-12 (ESV)
Discernment bloggers love quoting verse 11. They want us to use the Word of God as a standard for determining whether or not someone is a false teacher. Obviously, I wholeheartedly agree with measuring someone’s ministry against Scripture’s teachings the way those noble Bereans did — that’s one of the main reasons I constantly encourage you to read your Bibles and use sound methods of interpretation.
Being good Bereans also requires that we check the teachings of discernment bloggers against Scripture’s teachings. Just as false teachers seem to substantiate their claims by tacking Bible verses on to each point, often twisting those verses out of context to accommodate their agendas, self-proclaimed “discernment ministries” sometimes mishandle God’s Word for their own purposes.
At times, even legitimate discernment bloggers incorrectly apply Bible verses. I’m by no means advocating that we dismiss a blogger on the basis of an occasional lapse! All of us read the Bible imperfectly at some point, making it necessary to extend grace when a normally reliable blogger blows it.
That said, when a “discernment blogger” exhibits a pattern of playing fast and loose with God’s holy Word, we ought to see some red flags flapping in the breeze. This principle is particularly important when a blogger repeatedly writes posts to discredit a person.
Perhaps the person they write about genuinely is a false teacher. The fact that he or she spreads error doesn’t justify inaccurately quoting Scripture in our effort to call them out. Correctly using God’s Word does the job much more effectively and in ways that honor the Lord.
Additionally, a reputable discernment blogger will periodically invite you to measure both their content and their tone against Scripture. If you challenge them, they’ll consider your perspective and search their Bibles in an attitude of prayer. They may find confirmation of their assertions, but they willingly submit to the possibility of correction.
I am an opinionated old woman. I am also quite imperfect. Over the years, I embraced some false teachings that God, in His mercy, has since exposed as error. So, despite my struggles against my own pride, I know my readers have a responsibility to judge my writings by the standard of God’s Word. I pray that you’ll vet every discernment blogger, and especially me, by imitating those noble Bereans.