Forgotten Word Ministries
The Death of Discernment In The Church
|by Mike Gendron
Have you considered the spiritual health of your church in these days of tolerance and compromise? Is the leadership earnestly contending for the faith against the current wave of ecumenism? A. W. Tozer used the illustration of circulating blood to describe the health of a church. "The red corpuscles are like faith - they carry the life giving oxygen to every part of the body. The white cells are like discernment - they pounce upon dead and toxic matter and carry it out to the drain. In a healthy heart there must be provision for keeping dead and poisonous matter out of the life stream."
Using Tozer's analogy, churches that are dead or dying are the churches that no longer have the ability or the desire to discern truth from error. If they cannot identify toxic doctrinal error, the poison can never be removed from the body. And if it is not removed it will continue to circulate, bringing confusion to believers and false hope to "seekers."
The Emerging Church
The emerging church places more importance on mystical and sensual worship experiences that unite rather than essential biblical doctrines that divide. Churches that move from a Word-driven message to an image-driven message only contribute to the "dumbing down" of professing Christians. Few will be able to discern the difference between the true Gospel and a counterfeit gospel. The end result will be unsanctified churches which tolerate, embrace and encourage unbelievers instead of edifying and equipping a new generation of believers.
Emerging But Not Discerning
Evidently Irving Bible Church (IBC) has a few discerning souls who prompted McQuitty to send out this public e-mail. "A few of you have raised concerns, most of which can be boiled down to this question: 'Is IBC becoming Roman Catholic?' To which the answer is, 'No way, Jose."' He wrote: "I understand where the question comes from, though. The introduction at IBC of certain elements such as candles and liturgies and communion wafers and the reference to communion as the "Eucharist", combined with the recent death of Pope John Paul II and the attendant recognition that his life received here, has caused some (particularly those who were raised Catholic and had a less than happy experience) to bristle."
McQuitty sounds like many Catholics who think we left the Roman Catholic Church because we "had a less than happy experience." No, we left when our Sovereign Lord opened our eyes to see the true Gospel as He revealed it in His supremely authoritative Word. As with other born-again former Catholics, we all left because we could no longer stay in a false religion that deceives its people on life's most critical issue - "What must I do to be saved?" We all left in obedience to God's word, to worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24). If we were a member of Irving Bible Church, we would have to leave that church as well because the pastor has demonstrated no discernment and an unwillingness to be corrected by Scripture. A pastor without spiritual discernment cannot protect his congregation from Satan's continuous attacks on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some will say that I am being judgmental and that I have no right to do so. But how can Christians contend earnestly for the faith unless they make judgments on what "the faith" is? How can Christians defend and proclaim the Gospel without discerning what "the Gospel" is? We see a biblical example of one brother judging another when Paul publicly corrected Peter who was not being "straightforward about the truth of the Gospel" (Gal. 2:11-14). A. W. Tozer said: "Among the gifts of the Spirit, scarcely is one of greater practical usefulness than the gift of discernment. This gift should be highly valued and frankly sought as being almost indispensable in these critical times. This gift will enable us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat and to divide the manifestations of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit."
Christians Are Exhorted To Judge
Discernment Is A Discipline
How Are We To Judge?
The Goal of Discernment
The critical issue in the Church today is the purity of the Gospel. That alone is the rudder that must guide the Church through stormy waters that have been stirred up by every wind of doctrine. Take away the ability to discern objective truth and churches turn into cafeterias serving whatever junk food people want instead of the disciplined diet they need for spiritual life and health. Without a steady diet of the whole counsel of God, churches become entertainment centers for goats instead of sanctuaries for the Shepherd's sheep (Mat. 25:32). Unregenerate people, who are never exhorted to examine their faith, will continue attending church to enjoy the music, entertainment and "feel good" messages. Unless these people are confronted with their sin, their need for a Savior and the eternal consequences of a spurious faith, they are destined to hear these terrifying words from Jesus: "'I never knew you; depart from Me" (Mat. 7:23). What are your thoughts on this article?