There is a famine in the land: spiritual discernment is lacking in the Christian community. Though there are faithful pastors and Christians who take the word of God seriously, there is an increasing number of Christians who are abandoning the clarity and commands of Scripture and substituting political correctness, feelings, and tolerance for biblical truth and its sometimes difficult revelations. They want to make Christianity more palatable so that the gospel offends no one, but they fail to realize that the gospel that offends no one is not the gospel of the Bible. Though we are not to purposely offend, in the name of truth offenses will come and we are not to shy away from them.
It was Satan in the Garden of Eden who first challenged the word of God when he asked Eve, “Did God really say…?” (Gen. 3:1). With this question, doubt about the word of God (which is really doubt about the integrity of God) led to a lack of spiritual discernment by Eve and then by Adam. The result was The Fall, and the path to all subsequent heresies and apostasies was laid.
In today’s Christianity signs of a spiritual famine are evident. Women pastors and elders are increasingly considered to be acceptable. Like it or not, biblical revelation speaks to the contrary when it says that elder/pastors are to be male (1 Tim. 3:2-4; Titus 1:5-6) and women are not to be in positions of authority over men in the church (1 Tim. 2:12-13; 3:15). On TV, charlatan evangelists routinely talk about sending them “seed money,” or that we are little gods, or that God wants you healthy and wealthy. The Emerging Church movement, though good in some areas, is dangerous in others with its “conversations” and “centering prayers” that often have anti-biblical teachings mixed with eastern mystical practices. Books like “The Shack” with its warm, heart-felt message, teach many unbiblical concepts (i.e., the Father being seen, patripassionism, universalism). It has been accepted and promoted along with its heresies which are excused because “it is fiction.” Since when does fiction make it okay to contradict God’s word?
So, what do we do to develop better spiritual discernment? First and foremost, you must be born again (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17) so that you may have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). Second, you must study the Word of God and believe it. Third, you need to develop a proper biblical theology that includes the sovereignty and holiness of God found in both the person of Christ and in the Bible.
Proper theology is the bedrock of discernment. Biblical theology teaches, whether anyone likes it or not, that men are to be pastors and elders and that they are to be examples of righteousness and strength. Likewise, God nowhere promises us health and wealth. If anything, he tells us that we will be persecuted for righteousness sake (Matt. 5:10-12). And, biblical theology does not permit fiction to be used as an excuse to violate God’s infinite holiness and majesty (1 Cor. 6:4).
So, commit yourself to Christ and his truth. Know God’s word so well that you will clearly recognize the enemies’ lies. “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good,” (1 Thess. 5:21).