This time of year, many bloggers share their most popular posts from the past 12 months. Ever the nonconformist, I’ve decided to celebrate the year’s end by featuring favorite articles of mine that my readers seem to have overlooked. Today I’m posting one I wrote back in May:
When we think of discernment bloggers, we generally think of those who dedicate themselves to ruthlessly exposing false teachers. According to the common caricature, these bloggers are sarcastic, unloving, closed to reason and (above all) self-righteous.
Some of them actually do fit this caricature, I’m grieved to say. Ironically, their eagerness to bring down people that they consider to be false teachers leads them to disreputable sources. I’ve seen self-proclaimed watchmen link to websites that are obviously shoddy just because that website says something unflattering about whatever teacher they hope to discredit.
So yes, some ministries that bill themselves as discerning actually exhibit an enormous lack of discernment.
We can’t allow such ministries to dominate the discernment ministry field. We need responsible discernment bloggers like Leslie A, Elizabeth Prata and Michelle Lesley (among others) to help us navigate through all the conflicting teaching floating around evangelical circles.
None of the ladies I just mentioned shrinks back from naming false teachers. When they see popular teachers gaining followers by twisting Scripture and/or outright violating it, they show no hesitation in calling that teacher out. Of course, they carefully research the teacher to make sure they have good reason to issue warnings. If their research shows good reason to expose someone of habitually propagating error, they courageously blog about that person’s error.
But they balance their posts about false teachers with posts about God’s Word.
Good discernment comes from much more than the ability to identify false teachers. The foundation of discernment begins with properly handling Scripture and applying it responsibly. Therefore, reputable discernment bloggers concentrate most of their energy on leading their readers to the Bible.
In that sense, I can regard myself as a discernment blogger. Though I seldom name names, I frequently implore my readers to study Scripture and learn sound doctrine. Paul’s counsel to Timothy as the young pastor in Ephesus extends to every Christian:
14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ~~2 Timothy 2:14-15 (ESV)
While the job of discernment bloggers certainly includes calling out false teachers, its primary goal is to lead readers into sound doctrine. We seek to equip our readers to discern those things that develop them into mature believers who won’t get led astray by the latest evangelical fad or fashionable teachers who promote unbiblical ideas (Ephesians 4:11-14).
Don’t be fooled into thinking that discernment means nothing but calling out false teachers. The Lord has so much more in store for those who desire true discernment!