Discernment Is Essential
by Sandy Simpson, 8/29/10

I want to offer a concrete suggestion on how to stem the tide of leaven coming into the churches.  I do this in light of criticism often leveled at discernment ministries that they are only interested in criticizing.  Though we as believers are to use discernment and be critical of false teaching (Phil.1:9-10, comparing everything to the ultimate authority in the life of the believer, the written Word (Heb. 4:12), you will find that most discernment and apologetics ministries do a very good job of offering both Biblical true teaching and practical suggestions on how to implement it.  What I am going to suggest to you is something some churches are doing but I would like to see every church do ... that is to start a "Berean" class or apologetics class geared especially for church leadership.  I am not talking about focusing on the same stuff that has been done to death such as how to witness to Mormons & JWs, though that is certainly important.  What I am suggesting is for churches to avail themselves of a discernment ministry in their own area and ask them to come in and teach a Bible study in discernment at least monthly, if not weekly, and highlight heretical teahcings that are inside the churches along with those outside in the cults.  Many pastors do not have the time to keep up on the latest things to avoid in Christianity, so it makes sense to ask those who have done the research and know the topic area to come in and (1) teach the basics of discernment and (2) keep the leadership informed so they will be aware of what maybe filteriing into their congregations.  I have seen this implemented in some churches with great benefits.  One of the first benefits is to watch those in the Berean class grow to maturity in Christ.  The idea is ...

"to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." (Eph. 4:12-14)
The Biblical definition of maturity in Christ is to be taught to discern the difference between good and evil.
"But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." (Heb 5:14)
There are so many false teachers, false prophets, false apostles and false "Christs" around today and every Christian has had at least minimal exposure to them.  Yet they are leaven that we are to get them away from the bread of the body of Christ or else become leavened with false teaching.  We are to "purge out the old leaven" of liberalism and sin (1 Cor. 5:7) as well as get rid of the leaven of legalism (Gal. 5:9).  That means we have to keep ourselves informed because we do not want to be unaware of Satan's schemes (2 Cor. 2:11).  Let us never forget the repeated warnings from Jesus Christ to avoid being deceived (Luke 21:8, Mark 8:15, 13:6, 22). Paul commended the Bereans for checking what he was teaching with what is written in the Word (Acts 17:11) daily.  How much more then must we understand what the servants of the enemy are teaching and be ready to demolish arguments and strongholds established by false teaching.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
So I am offering the services or the myriad of good biblical discernment ministries, as listed on my site, to help your church leadership to be armed and dangerous in the war against false teaching.  Let us be good soldiers in Christ, not backing down from a fight, but standing up for the truth in love.
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2Ti 2:3)
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (Eph 4:15)
To speak the truth in love you must know what truth is and how to counter the arguments of the enemy and protect your family and your church.