When I first became a Christian fifteen years ago, I had little knowledge of the Bible and no discernment at all. If someone mentioned God, then I believed what they said, because I wanted to know all there was to know about God.
This openness led me to follow a church that was sailing into non-Christian waters. There was no kool-aid to poison my body, but there were plenty of lies and half-truths to poison my mind. God, in His mercy, troubled my heart about these lies, but I honestly didn’t understand what the problem was or what to do about it.
Then one day, I was browsing at the local Christian bookstore and came across a book about spiritual abuse. It showed me, chapter by chapter, just what was happening at my church. It gave me the understanding that not all who claim to be Christian actually follow Christ. Eventually, it gave me the impetus to leave that church, unlearn the lies, and start again.
I have continued to read about the various forms of apostasy overtaking our churches. Because of that, more recently I was able to warn a fairly naive church about an unbiblical teaching that was entering their church. No one has thanked me as yet, but I’ve learned that the watchmen’s job doesn’t often come with positive feedback. I get my feedback from the only One who matters.
And I thank Him with a grateful heart for those who are called to stand watch over our churches today, sounding the alarm and exposing the lies.
So I was quite angered when I read a recent post by Tim Challies in which he condemned discernment ministry sites, and claimed that they are “just a spiritualized form of YouTube or any other site that entertains by sharing what is gross and base and negative and that does so for the sake of entertainment.”
Some other statements from his post:
- there is really no value in watching the worst pastors in America preach to the worst churches in America.
- Do I really need to read and to know about the seedy underbelly of the church?
- But if a pastor of a church in Kalamazoo preaches a sermon in which he says something scandalous, it has no effect on my life and, beyond its draw as entertainment, I can think of few good reasons for me to even know about it.
Well, maybe I can open his eyes to a few good reasons:
- Some new Christian like I was could read a post or watch a video and realize that they need to get out of a church that’s traveling a non-biblical road.
- Some more mature Christian, like I am now, could instantly recognize secular humanism being preached as gospel truth, and sound an alarm.
- Above and beyond these practical effects, it obviously never occurred to Challies to pray for the people involved in apostasy.
- Mr. Challies could use some discernment himself (and maybe some compassion?) if he thinks that apostasizing churches have no effect on his life. The entire American church has been infiltrated by satan and his minions, and that doesn’t make him cry out to God? That doesn’t make him weep for his brothers and sisters in Christ who are being deceived?
If not, if he feels it’s better to focus only on good and happy things, then I offer this scripture as a warning to him:
For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:13-14)
Hat tip and a grateful “thank you” to Slice of Laodicea and Herescope and all the other watchmen on the wall, who keep us aware of the “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” [Matthew 7:15]