First let me say that I am all for discernment and both preach and practice it. Even my blog is to be considered a “discernment ministry.” And not only that, I believe that any ministry which fails to equip the saints to be able to discern the difference between truth and error, light and darkness, and good and evil, is not a genuinely biblical ministry but more like a positive only, stand against nothing, sugar-coated lie. With that being said, it is not the perpetuators of the “non-discernment” ministries that I want to address but my concerns with some of the disturbing trends among those of us with discernment ministries. I have several concerns regarding these disturbing trends that all of us (me included) who are earnestly contending for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints need to beware of and avoid. So I ask for prayers for myself and for others that we would be delivered from these unworthy tendencies.
First, what has come to my attention more than ever is the ungodly spirit of competition among many involved in this kind of ministry. It seems to me that the goal is to be the “first” to sound the trumpet against approaching danger possibly so that we can be considered the “greatest in the kingdom of God.” However we are forgetting that the work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another – and that when we hear the sound of the trumpet, we are to rally together in that place (see Nehemiah 4:19-20).
Next, I’m concerned with the tendency to be contentious rather than actually contending for the faith. Contentiousness is driven by the spirit of competition and especially shows up when we are more concerned with revealing our opinions as though they are God’s truth (see Proverbs 18:2, 13) than we are in not being quarrelsome, but being kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, and with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth (see 2 Timothy 2:24-25).
Finally, I’m concerned with the tendency to be duplicitous and hypocritical rather than being fully convinced from careful Bible study, prayer, and research on the various subjects on which we blog. For instance, if I am not fully convinced that someone is a false prophet/teacher and consider him to be a “brother in Christ” then I cannot say about him in one thread that what he teaches is “wicked, strange” and then in another thread sing his praises for what I perceive to be something good without being duplicitous and hypocritical. For one thing if I consider him my “brother in Christ” then I should never in any form or fashion accuse his teachings of being “wicked, strange” because that does not mark children of God but false prophets/teachers. Actually, this becomes a reversal of Matthew 7 and moves out of the realm of genuine discernment concerning false prophets (which we are commanded to do) and into the realm of the type of judgment that the Lord told us not to do in that chapter. This type of action, speaking out against someone we consider to be a “brother in Christ” using words that characterize false prophets/teachers and then singing his praises later because he helps to further our “opinion” on another subject is tantamount to leading a charge into the battlefield as though we are some kind of great soldier for the Lord and then refusing to fight because we “misidentified” the enemy – it is duplicity and hypocrisy.
You may have other concerns about disturbing trends among discernment ministries in the blogosphere but these are the ones that I see at this time and pray that God would deliver us from.