In my eight years of editing a church newsletter, I quickly learned that I couldn’t please everyone. My writers wanted me to publish their pieces exactly as God “told” them to write them (leaving me puzzled by God’s many grammatical errors). My assistant editor regularly pleaded with me to edit more strictly than I did. My distribution manager once refused to bring the tomes to church because he disagreed with the theological content of the lead article. The pastors subsequently decided I needed a content manager, and appointed the very man who had written the controversial article.
Usually, someone was unhappy with how I did my job.
Over 30 years later, here I sit struggling with my blog, which I guess can be categorized as a discernment blog. I’ve vacillated quite publicly in these posts on whenever or not I want such a designation. And, finally yielding to the reality that, for better or for worse, this is a discernment blog of sorts, I continue feeling pressure regarding how I do discernment.
I tell you, ladies, it’s a whole lot more fun blogging about solitaire.
And there are even days (few and far between, thankfully) when I’d much rather play solitaire than feel guilty either for calling out false teachers or for not calling out false teachers. Believe me, I’m painfully aware that The Open Letter To Beth Moore cost me the respect of someone I greatly admire, while a post emphasizing doctrine over exposing false teachers generated harsh criticism.
I walk a thin line, but I believe I walk it in excellent company. As you’ll recall, the apostle Paul had difficulty pleasing people in his ministry. Thankfully, he concluded that faithfulness to the Lord was infinitely more important than catering to the demands of his audience.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. ~~Galatians 1:10 (ESV)
Some people firmly believe that the main thrust of discernment ministry must be unmasking false teachers. They correctly assert that even the most Biblically sound pastors fail to name names from the pulpit. And I don’t disagree with their point that many women in the pews simply won’t connect the dots — surely their favorite Christian celebrity (usually Beth Moore) doesn’t commit what error the pastor addresses in his sermon! Except that’s exactly who the pastor had in mind.
So discernment blogs can supplement the gap in the pastor’s ministry.
On the other hand, blogs that concentrate solely on naming names almost always degenerate into sleazy Christian tabloids. Yes, they warn the flock, but they seldom teach their readers how to study the Bible for themselves. They don’t ground women in the type of sound doctrine that would equip them to reject teachers like Beth Moore.
I try to strike a healthy balance, although I definitely emphasize doctrine over calling out false teachers. Inevitability, people on both ends of the spectrum find my approach unsatisfactory. Since I want to be teachable, of course I struggle with the competing pressures I feel.
But in the end, I can only do what I believe pleases the Lord.
7 thoughts on “Ongoing Struggles Over Discernment Blogs”
Sister, do you think some of this is that there are many who feel the need to be heard anytime they are upset? I mean to say, is it possible that the heart of the complainers desires more to be heard than they desire for correcting someone in genuine sin? If that is the case, how do we handle those who will complain regardless of what is said or done, with love?
Interesting question. I just got home from being in Boston all day, so I can’t even begin to answer right now, but it might make a good article.
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DebbieLynne, I agree with Mr. Peters in saying that I believe you strike a good balance in your posts. I am extremely grateful for the work you do to both warn and equip the Body of Christ. ☺️
Thank you for sharing your struggle. I can’t imagine the spiritual resources it takes to maintain a blog like yours. I like the balance you achieve and am much more interested in the doctrine posts than the ones about false teachers. You are humble and faithful. That’s an example we all can follow.
You probably overestimate my humility. But thank you.
“The pastors subsequently decided I needed a content manager, and appointed the very man who had written the controversial article.” This cracked me up. Nice article.
Everyone involved with the situation (except the distribution guy) thought it was deliciously hilarious. We laughed about it for weeks!