Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ When Discernment is Deadly

One of Satan’s “schemes” against the church[1] is to let people become dependent on so-called “discernment ministries” for their beliefs about which ministries are good and which are bad, and then subtly introduce deceptively deadly reasoning that causes ungodly divisions. Here is one example:

Premise one: there is such a thing as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Premise two: a wolf in sheep’s clothing will look like a sheep.
Observation: this man looks like a sheep.
Conclusion: He must be a wolf!

There are some ministries out there that are bad, and we do not need an independent “discernment ministry” to reveal this since the plumb-line of Scripture already shows that they have failed the test. I am all for obeying all the commands about having nothing to do with such people and ministries.[2]

However, there are also some ministries out there that are good, but people are rejecting them simply because some discernment ministry told them to. Poisoned teaching cannot be cleansed out of the Church by poisoned discernment.

It is not actually that difficult to know whether we are dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a sheep with a bad reputation (kind of like Paul). Give the person a good hard poke. Wolves and sheep sound quite different from each other when you test them.

Let me put it another way: there are ways of testing people and ministries that are so woven through with truth in love[3], spirit and truth[4], humility and gentleness[5], obedience and faith[6], restoration and gentleness[7],that misunderstandings are treated as misunderstandings (rather than sarky perceptions of wrong-doing), cultural differences are treated as cultural differences (rather than sin), and variations in spiritual gifts are treated as variations in spiritual gifts (rather than objective, concrete, verifiable, deliberate, unrepentant breaking of the commands of God).

There are ways of testing people by the comprehensive gifts and ministries of the church (rather than the narrow, exclusive, judgments of professional nay-sayers), so that every possible means are taken of clarifying what people mean, of understanding what they are really about, of purifying hearts from tradition, culture, prejudice, immaturity and ignorance, so that every opportunity to win each other over has been exercised before slanderous reports are spread[8].

If anyone needs encouragement on the necessity of double-checking facts, read through II Corinthians and list all the things that people were saying about Paul just because some “super apostles” were declaring Paul to be one of those bad-guys we all want to stay away from.

I have seen more conflicts cleared up by people listening to each other and discovering they misunderstood something, than people actually having done the great and terrible wrong someone thought they did. We must be careful to not allow a valid concern to watch out for false teachers[9] turn into a devil-helping deadly discernment that divides disciples. The “whole counsel of God” gives a better way.

          From my heart,


© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Ephesians 4:14; 6:11; II Corinthians 2:11
[2] I Corinthians 5:11; II Thessalonians 3:14; I Timothy 4:7; II Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:10
[3] Ephesians 4:15
[4] John 4:23-24
[5] Ephesians 4:2
[6] Romans 1:5
[7] Galatians 6:1
[8] Romans 3:8
[9] Acts 20:29-30

1 comment:

  1. It's scary how easily Christians walk away from Christians because they don't do this. Thanks for this explanation!