And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Discernment Part 2

Here is part two of Discernment.

How to Read a Book and Other Needs of Discernment

When we are instructed we should ask ourselves “Is a teaching good, bad, a faithful use of our limited time”? Why are there Christian books that come out annually that become the rage? Pundits and friends alike tell us “you have to read it”, and they are even supported by the secularists. That alone should be caution one according to these verses:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. John 15:18-19

If a nonChristian falls in love with a book that purposes a Christian theme, it is most likely either for money, for a false teaching, or both.

Let us consider what was written by the writer to the Hebrews,
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14

My fear is that too many settle for milk. The church today is at a loss for lack of discernment. We are given over to fads, trends, schemes, marketing, and kitsch. The book of Acts had none of this. So why are we trying to do things with man’s methods? I think the answer lies in the lack of discernment. We fail to pray (Which is a form of seeking discernment) and to wait upon God. Thus I believe than many pastors, professors, and parishioners have settled for whatever means work for Coke a Cola must work for the church. The worlds methods creeping into the worship of God is what plagued the Hebrews of the Old Testament, can we not see it happening to us today?

Renewing your mind in Romans 12 and the text of Philippians 4:8 do not give room for The Shack. These verses were given for our sanctification. They are given for us to look to the glory of God in Spirit and in truth rather than the syncretism we find now.

Here are a few questions we ought to ask ourselves about the things we are taught by pastors, books, TV Preachers (and radio for that matter), teachers, websites, and well meaning persons. And as an aside, what do we discern of the hymns and praise choruses we sing with at church or on the radio?

What is the author saying?
In The Shack, the author is trying to deal with God and grief. In his artistic license is he really portraying God in a way that is in the image of God or in a man made image of God? This is crucial. The 3rd commandment is that we not make any graven image. But the context is that we not make God out to be of our own design and limitations. This robs God of His glory. I believe that this is only part of what William Young has done.

In the authors methods portraying God in Spirit and in truth? (John 4)
Remember, God is jealous for His name. He commands that we fear Him. To play fast and loose with the reverence we ought to have for God is serious ground to tread.

Do not ask “Not what is wrong with it, but does it glorify God”?
Had Eve asked this question, she might not find herself in the trap of sin.

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