Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

Of Discernment

Written By: richardwcraver - Jan• 02•13

Have you ever read or seen something and alarm bells went off in your head that something was wrong? Maybe you couldn’t quite put your finger on it, maybe you knew what it was right away; or maybe you knew what it was and needed to ponder it a bit. What you are experiencing is Discernment. Merriam-Webster defines discernment as “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure : skill in discerning”. However in the biblical sense not addressed by Merriam-Webster, it may more aptly be called Wisdom as in 1st Kings 3 where Solomon asks God to give him discernment to lead God’s people.

I came across the picture below a few days ago and had a discernment moment, I knew what I was seeing was probably part of a church ‘program’, but still incorrect in context and theology. It’s ironic that the places where we expect truth is where we need to use the most discernment.GodIsDoingANewThing-300x255

Scripture came flowing to mind immediately, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NIV, “ … Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?” 1st Corinthians 5:6b NIV which was written concerning false teachings and sinful practices  infiltrating the church. Then as I was standing there listening to the conversation around me, the Spirit quietly nudged me to snap a picture and save the thought for later. And as usually happens, the thought came back to me at  3:30 this morning, so here I am pondering it.

1st John 4 tells us, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” I don’t know the motive of whomever set about to design, print and distribute the refrigerator magnet pictured above, they were obviously ambitious, but I have to question their depth of biblical and theological understanding.

So often ministries, music, church programs and teachings are based on rather flimsy theology. Some are based on some social or community program that is perceived as a ‘good thing’. For example, I recently visited a church that I thought was doctrinally sound. It was the first Sunday in an Advent series about Social Justice. Social Justice?!? Really?!? That’s not the ministry of the church! The church’s mission statement and goal should boil down to:  Praise the Lord, Reach the Lost, Preach the Gospel, Disciple the Believer, Edify the Body.

Social programs will not save a soul from hell. Community outreach without a Gospel message may increase attendance or raise standing in the community, but it will not change lives. Well meaning, but scripturally incorrect programs and classes will not edify the body of Christ.

So I have to repeat the instruction of the writer of 1st John, test the spirits (or doctrines, or motives) to see if they are from God.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

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