Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Discernment Ministry?

Today there are many websites claiming to be involved with “discernment ministry”. Their main objective seems to be the exposure of error. Some of these sites offer a valuable resource, informing readers of dangerous teachings and practices that are gaining acceptance in the church.

However some can’t seem to understand the difference between penetrating darkness with light and the mere highlighting of darkness. Those sites seem to be mostly interested in posting criticism and accusation with no balance of encouragement or genuine concern. How often do they pray for those they “expose”? Are they concerned for them or do they merely take delight in writing about dark things?

I recently visited one site and left an encouraging comment for the site owner giving the following advice:
“While it is good to warn about the things that are wrong, be aware that discernment is perhaps more about highlighting what is RIGHT.
It is LIGHT that penetrates the darkness. It is not enough to merely say how dark it is.”

That comment was answered with an accusation that I had “severe NAR* influences in [my] camp”. What was that accusation was based on? The fact that I link to the websites of Andrew Strom and Voice of the Martyrs in the sidebar of this blog (both guilty of false teaching in the view of the “discerning” website owner). However there was no evidence that they had bothered to read further on my blog to see what I personally believed.

When referring to a “discernment ministry”, may I suggest that we assess where their priorities lie? Do they show concern for those in error? What is the standard by which they determine who is in error? Do they go beyond the exposé and ultimately point people to the truth? What is the site's theological bias and how does that affect their understanding of error?

*NAR, New Apostolic Reformation, associated with C Peter Wagner - a group whose teachings, philosophies and practices I categorically reject.


Rick Frueh said...

I believe andrew Strom has some valuable insights. If I limited my approved resources to only those with whom I completely agreed, I would not even link to myself!

Onesimus said...

I agree Rick.
I've known Andrew for several years and there have always been some areas of disagreement, but there are also areas of his ministry that I've found very helpful.

I think if we are genuinely desiring the truth those areas of disagreement can be valuable - they should keep us on our toes and inspire us to always test ourselves to make sure WE are not in error. When we stop being willing to test our own position we are in serious trouble.

The site that led to the writing of this post is one of those that is all too willing to condemn everyone else as heretics, even if lies and exaggeration are needed to strengthen their case.

I suspect no one (other than themselves) would be accepted as non-heretical.