The Need for Discernment

We live in a world saturated with messages contrary to Scripture. Some of them are easy to detect. Others are more subtle. So subtle, in fact, that they creep unnoticed into our thoughts and into our churches. Some recent examples include…

  • The New Age spiritualism of Oprah Winfrey being adopted into the theology of many of her fans who claim to be Christians.
  • The Popularity of books like, “The Shack,” and “Heaven is for Real.”

The need for Christians to be biblically discerning is great.

You may be thinking, “Wait! What’s wrong with those things?”

  1. Well, “The Shack” contains things that are just out-and-out heresy.
  2. Oprah began passing herself off as an authority on spiritual matters (see here, here, and here) — so much so that one major news publisher wrote an article about her influence in American culture entitled, “The Divine Miss Winfrey.”
  3. Now, there are plans in the works to make a movie about “The Shack” starring Oprah. Separately these two have had unbelievable (and harmful) influence in the church. I suspect when they are combined in a movie they will be embraced anew. I anticipate churches organizing trips to the theater to see “The Shack” and then incorporating the heresies portrayed on screen into their beliefs.
  4. “Heaven is for Real,” has been embraced by Christians because, they say, it is finally proof positive that heaven exists. And, it has already been made into a movie.

What we forget is we don’t need any further proof of the truth of Scripture. We have the very Word of God. We have the testimony of the Holy Spirit. We have the counsel of mature believers. We have prayer. And, according to Jesus, this is more than enough…

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” — Luke 16:19-31

We have more than the rich man in this passage. We have the knowledge that the law and the prophets were both pointing to Christ. We have the record of what Christ did. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit. We don’t need other proof and we don’t need the affirmation of the world. But don’t take my word for it, listen to David Platt break this down…

Brothers and sisters we need solid biblical discernment.

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

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