Thoughts from the Christian perspective: discernment issues as they relate to the current state of the church and society.
We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
I have a collection of aphorisms, quips, and humorous thought-provokers about discernment issues. I've collected these over a period of many years and I can't remember where I got most of them. I know many were picked up at the various discernment conferences I've attended. One of my favorite teachers with some of this wit is G. Richard Fisher, who has been a pastor at Laurelton Park Baptist Church in Bricktown, NJ since 1968, and is also with Personal Freedom Outreach apologetics ministry. I hope you enjoy these thoughts as much as I, and that you can find use for them sometime!
"Discernment is the immune system of the church; apologetics is the handmaiden of the gospel."
"Wisdom is knowledge applied; the knowledge being from study or experience."
"Tolerance is the virtue of those who don't believe in anything." G.K. Chesterson
"Greeks looked for wisdom, Americans look for compromise."
"True love must discriminate between good and evil."
"The Bible is like a gun; don’t defend it, use it!"
Christians who don’t understand their faith, and who are not discerning, are suffering from some (or all) of the following maladies: "Spiritual AIDS - Acquired Ignorance of Doctrine Syndrome," "Doctrinally impaired," "Biblically challenged," or "Doctrinal anorexia."
"They have been sewing spiritual clothes but they’ve missed several stitches."
"We need to equip our people for living in the world, rather than protect them from living in the world."
"Shepherds are letting the sheep determine their diet." (I believe this came from R.C. Sproul)
"Many Christians are eating junk food theology; some of which can give food poisoning."
"With some teachers there is so much chaff that the wheat is hard to find."
If someone says “you can’t throw out the baby with the bath water,” tell them to save the baby but drain the water.
"Seduction of the mind will result in corruption of the soul."
"When people are starving they will eat anything."
"To get a bone away from a dog, give him a bone with more meat on it." (Helping people leave cults)
"Ear candy gives brain cavities."
Some of Dick Fisher’s quips discussing scripture-twisting: “Hazardous hermeneutics.” “Rorschach Hermeneutics” (you see what you want to see). “Harmeneutics” “Flexodoxy”
Some claim people just need “milk” because they are not ready for the meat of Scripture. The question becomes, what sort of milk are we giving them: skim? 1%? 2%? or sour?
Daffynitions: Cult cocktail - Scripture with a twist. Therapist: Rent a Friend.
One of the things that should be an immediate red flag for any "Christian" movement is when they have to come up with their own Bible to reflect their theology. This is what happens with cults and other groups who have gone aberrational or heretical. Some examples of this are: 1. Mormons and their Joseph Smith Translation (also called the "Inspired Version"). 2. Jehovah's Witnesses and their New World Translation. 3. Seventh-day Aventists and their The Clear Word. 4. The Local Church and their Recovery Version.
So now the Emergent Church has joined the ranks and are now publishing their own “translation” of the Bible called The Voice. If the Emergent Church hasn’t raised red flags with all their aberrations, heresy and apostasy already, then their new “Bible” should do so.
There are many Christians sending/allowing their children to see this movie without hesitation. Christianity Today on their web site movie reviews actually gave this movie what reads to be a very positive review, as if it is all fun and romantic. I e-mailed CT my concerns that they did not recommend against this movie and I was given the usual complaint of being “judgmental” and even that I was making “blanket decisions for everyone.”
My point is this: the Bible says we are to avoid and expose the deeds of darkness, and that we are to avoid sexual immorality. Yet this movie’s theme was sexual tension between the vampire - a demonic being - and the 17-year-old girl, and no one seems to have a problem with the fact that this girl aggressively initiated sexual relations with the vampire and only remained chaste because he pulled away out of fear of hurting her. Somehow this has gotten to be a great teaching for abstinence!
Of course there’s the other problems, such as the girl saying she doesn’t care that he is a killer and dangerous, that she is willing to be eternally damned as a vampire with him, that it’s okay for a man to be stalking you and showing up in your bedroom while you sleep. There were so many bad messages that there is no way I can see any value in this film, regardless of the Christian reviewers who make a big deal of the family unity of the vampires.
Another blogger brought to my attention about how the Christian Stay at Home Moms blog removed all comments that spoke against Twilight because they thought it was a great movie. My suggestion for these CSAHMs is to spend their time delving more into the Scripture rather than promoting the “fruitless deeds of darkness.”
Making ‘blanket decisions for everyone” is not what we do when we warn against things that are spiritually harmful to the flock. We don’t say you “can’t” see this movie, we just tell you the harmful messages it presents and then say that is why you “shouldn’t” see this movie. My authority would be passages such as Proverbs 4:23, Psalm 101:3 and Ephesians 5:11-12.
The Emergent Church leadership are continuing rapidly in their run to apostasy. A case in point is their acceptance of homosexual behavior.
The latest of the “emerging” leaders to whitewash the sin of homosexual behavior is the former national coordinator of Emergent Village, Tony Jones. Tony Jones has decided that “gay persons are fully human persons and should be afforded all of the cultural and ecclesial benefits that I am…I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.” (For an excellent article about this, see http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/mwest/081201)
We previously had Brian McLaren saying, "Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality. We've heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say 'it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.' That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think."
I don’t know what Bible these people are reading, but my Bible says homosexual behavior is a sin before God, so I don’t understand McLaren’s confusion over the issue. Furthermore, to say that people practicing sexual perversions can live “in accord with biblical Christianity” is certainly a far cry from Jesus’ charge to the adulteress to “go and sin no more.”
I have read many articles in which members of the various “Emergent Church” branches go soft on the issue of homosexuality. It seems they want to be politically-correct rather than biblically-correct.
The Emergent Church movement is one that is apostate in many ways, and often heretical. We need to be alert for its intrusions into our local assemblies and identify it for the evil it is.
Comments with links - either with the commenter's name or in the text of the comment - which link to sites with heretical, aberrational, obscene or otherwise improper teaching, will not be published with said links.