What exactly is discernment? It means “to distinguish, to separate out by diligent search, to examine.”
Search…examine… “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11, emphasis added) The Berean Christians didn’t take Paul’s word for anything. They listened to his teaching and then they went to the scriptures to see if what he taught was true. Because the Bereans checked Paul’s teaching against Scripture, he commended them saying that they were “more noble than those in Thessalonica.”
Christians who are spiritually discerning are able to properly distinguish between true and false teaching. Those with discernment have wisdom. Moreover, in the Bible we’re told that a true believer possesses the mind of Christ. “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16)
According to Bible expositor Matthew Henry:
The apostles were not guided by worldly principles. They had the revelation of these things from the Spirit of God, and the saving impression of them from the same Spirit. These things they declared in plain, simple language, taught by the Holy Spirit, totally different from the affected oratory or enticing words of man’s wisdom. The natural man, the wise man of the world, receives not the things of the Spirit of God. The pride of carnal reasoning is really as much opposed to spirituality, as the basest sensuality. The sanctified mind discerns the real beauties of holiness, but the power of discerning and judging about common and natural things is not lost. But the carnal man is a stranger to the principles, and pleasures, and actings of the Divine life. The spiritual man only, is the person to whom God gives the knowledge of his will. … And the apostles were enabled by his Spirit to make known his mind. In the Holy Scriptures, the mind of Christ, and the mind of God in Christ, are fully made known to us. It is the great privilege of Christians, that they have the mind of Christ revealed to them by his Spirit. They experience his sanctifying power in their hearts, and bring forth good fruits in their lives. (Source – bold added)
Only the spiritual man (regenerate) possesses the knowledge of God’s will….because he has the mind of Christ. Henry calls to our attention that it is through reading the scriptures that the spiritual man receives the knowledge of His will.
Before we move on we must add a word of caution from blogger and author Tim Challies. Speaking on discernment in “How can I increase my spiritual discernment?” he wrote:
Some have mistakenly defined spiritual discernment as a God-given awareness of evil or good spiritual presences—the ability to tell if a demon is in the room. While some people may possess this capability, it is not the biblical meaning of discernment. Spiritual discernment ultimately has to do with wisdom and the ability to distinguish truth from error.
So – how do Christians grow in spiritual discernment? Two ways. By allowing the Holy Spirit to be their guiding light; likewise, thorough carefully studying the Bible.
What should we do to determine if a person’s teaching is unbiblical? We are commanded to test what’s being taught. In fact, Paul urges believers to “test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Likewise, John encourages us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” How does one test a spirit? By reading the scriptures, in context, for that’s where Truth is found. Why is “testing” so important? “For many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) False prophets/teachers distort the truth….which is why the Bible refers to them as false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing. It’s no exaggeration to say that a large number of charlatans knowingly—and without a smidgeon of guilt–lie through their teeth. Admittedly, examining someone’s teaching is no easy task. But nowhere in Scripture are we told that it should be left to “professionals”; it is clearly our responsibility.
We mustn’t ignore the fact that any teaching that fails to line up with what the scriptures say is not from God! And if the Bible’s not the source of his/her teaching, most likely its source is the “spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.” Satan’s not called the father of lies because he’s a truth teller!
Far too many Christians rely on the discernment of other believers, like those of us involved in online discernment ministries. It’s okay to learn from each other (iron sharpens iron) but, again, we must do as the Bereans did – test! Regrettably, when it comes to testing for errors, a growing number of professing Christians deserve a failing grade.
Because so many people spend a huge amount of time on one form of technology or another, it’s easy to see why the views so many evangelicals hold are derived from TV preachers, radio/podcast personalities, best-selling books, popular bloggers and even social media. Many individuals who claim to be evangelicals search religious TV networks such as TBN, Daystar and God TV looking for a spiritual fix. Unbeknownst to them, they’re exposed to rank heresy taught by Word of Faith (WoF) teachers like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Fred Price, Creflo Dollar as well as “life coach” Joel Osteen.
If Christians would take the time to test those mentioned above, they’d discover that their teaching is decidedly unbiblical. The fact of the matter is that WoF is a theological cult. What often happens when this fact is pointed out to those who have bought into the teaching of these wolves is that they become defensive, even enraged, take aim and “shoot the messenger.” Sadly, many professing Christians prefer to hold onto their conspiracy theories, unbiblical philosophies and their distorted view of Scripture than spend time studying the Bible, in context. As the saying goes: Context, context, context! Why? For the reason that taking a verse out of its proper context leads to error. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, all Scripture is “God-breathed” which means that the words on the page are inspired by or come directly from God, not from the writers. We’re commanded to read, study, and understand God’s Word. But first we must pray and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance so that we are able to discern the things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:14) In John 16:13 we learn that the Spirit of truth guides us into all truth.
What about believers who claim that they hear directly from God, those who say “God spoke to me”…“God told me” to do ___…”I felt led to___”…I sensed that God wanted me to___” You fill in the blank. “There is no divining of the will of God through feelings or extra-biblical visions or pictures that appear in our minds or voices we hear,” says Mike Ratliff. “God will never violate the truths He has given to us in His Word.”
Televangelists, who pretend to have a direct pipeline to God, prance around in front of the TV camera, claiming to hear a “word from the Lord.” At the risk of sounding divisive, most televangelists teach outright heresy (I can prove it), so why would God speak to them at all? Frauds should not expect to hear from God; they should expect to be rebuked by God.
What are we to do about false teachers? We are to “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:11) To expose means “to reprove with conviction upon the offender,” says Ratliff. So we must point out to the offender their error. And if they do not listen and repent? Then we “prove to the Body of Christ that this is so using the Word of God to show how they are not being obedient to God.” (Source)
The goal for every Christian is to eliminate aberrant and heretical teaching and all that this includes from Christ’s church. The only way for this to happen is for each of us to become a Berean. So with this I mind, those who love the Lord Jesus must “contend [fight in its defense] for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)
I’ll close with a quote from Dr. Albert Mohler:
The tragedy that evangelicals have lost the art of biblical discernment must be traced to a disastrous loss of biblical knowledge. Discernment cannot survive without doctrine.
- Christian Watchbloggers Under Fire by Marsha West
- Developing Biblical Discernment, 1 John 4:1-6 by Don Green
- Discernment Challenge: If you see something, say something!
- Discernment Made Easy: A List of Celebrity Christians Who Declare the Bible Insufficient by Bud Ahlheim
- Discernment Ministries: A Helpful Defense by Gary Gilley
- Peek Inside Online Apologetics and Discernment Central War Room
- Still Be Discerning about Discerners Discerning Discernment Ministries by Michelle Lesley
- The Shack: The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment by Albert Mohler
Copyright by Marsha West, 2017.
This is an awesome article and is a model of instruction of how a believer is to walk and test !!
Well Done and Thank you!!
I appreciate your kind words, Tim.
Great article and insight Marsha.
A humble heart and acquired knowledge through the diligent study of the scriptures is the foundation for discernment. Every heresy finds it’s substance in either ignorance of or the purposeful twisting of the scriptures.
Some have evil designs for their reasons to express heresy. Others simply echo those who have taught them. Most seminaries produce this kind of echo system that perpetuates itself through the instruction that stifles real Biblical discussion (fellowship), between those that have sound theology, but may differ in some ways from what the seminarians have been told is true.
Legalism seems to be the most prevalent. It leads to all manner of heresy as Paul said it would. 1Tim.1:5-7;
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”
This issue was big on Paul’s radar. He knew it would be the most difficult for the truth seeking Christian to overcome. Knowing that it is this system of measuring up to expectations and the consequences of not doing so, that the world in it’s wisdom teaches us from day one.
It being ingrained in us at an early age makes it the most difficult to abandon. But, through true humility and familiarity with the truths in the scriptures, the Holy Spirit enables us to discern the truth from error. Between legalism in it’s many forms, and the truth of the gospel of the grace of God that alone has the power to save us.
God spoke to me and told me to blog on discernment…..Not! Actually, the topic has been on my mind for several months, as I felt we needed to include a White Paper on discernment. So last week I just started typing. Automatic writing? 😉 After reading the end result, my editor (hubby) suggested that I omit the research links (there are quite a few), give it a title, and post it online. I took his suggestion. Last night Amy added a Discernment category to BR’s White Papers. Our WP contains a bit more research info than the article has in it — and a Spurgeon quote.
So, that’s my story and I’m stickin to it. 🙂
But yet you cannot discern the error of Calvinism and these Calvinist preachers you promote.
Please provide a specific error of Calvinism along with an exegetical reply defending your position that relies solely upon the actual text of Scripture for its defense and without appealing to man’s logic.
Art, there has already been lengthy dialogue on this site about this topic. It’s ironic how Calvinists get so touchy when their theology gets questioned. All the while they claim to be the most discerning yet uphold and follow men and men’s words almost as equal as if they were God’s words. It was a known blogger who wrote on her blog (one whose blogs are reposted here often), after her god-John MacArthur was questioned on his teachings, “The great John MacArthur our good shepherd who would never lead his flock astray…”. Wow talk about exalting men. Have a great day, Art. Good bye.
To Jackie. I have been going to a CC church now for the past 12 years, but I realized about 5 years ago that I was not truly saved. I thought I was, because the pastor said I was, because I said the sinner’s prayer, what a lie out of hell that was. I like to know how many souls there are in hell right now that believed that.
As I concentrated on the teachings of the Apostle Paul on the Doctrines of Grace, I became aware that some teachings in the CC church was un-biblical and many times certain part are left out, because it does not fit their narrative. The Bible does not say that you can pick and choose what to teach. Paul makes it very clear in 2 Tim. 3:16,17. ALL scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, FOR TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, SO THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE ADEQUATE , EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK.
This includes the Doctrines of Grace as the Apostle Paul taught.
Not difficult to understand .
Part of Calvary chapels statement of faith reads,” We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations as such. Only their over emphasis of doctrinal differences that led to division of the body of Christ, we believe that the true basis of Christian fellowship is His Agape love.
First of all CC church is a non-denominational denomination church.
And i say that Doctrines will not devide the Body of Christ, as long it is taught correctly. The reason there is so much bad and un-biblical teachings in the CC church, is because pastors are ill-informed about the Doctrines of Grace, and this spills over into other areas of the CC church, Altar calls, Free Will, participation of the Lord’s Supper, understanding John 3:1-18, the believe that Faith precedes Regenaration, Depravity of man, singing Jesus Culture songs like,” Holy Spirit you are welcome here.”
That’s why this movement is splitting, even their main pastor Greg Laurie is blinded by Satan. Sad.
I believe the basis of true Christian fellowship is His love. We want to be loving, but you want to speak the truth in love. Failure to properly interpret Scripture is not loving. In churches today they say we have to loving, unifying, we should not be divisive, non-confrontational, we want to deal with feelings and emotions, we want the sinner feel better and make them feel at home, maybe some day he/she may walk the altar call.
Jesus was confrontational, the Jews hated Him for that, they wanted to kill Him. Why should it be any different for us?
Ever watch Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusades, sickening. To get the stadiums filled he invites Rock and Roll bands and now even Rap groups to perform to get the people pumped up. What happens to the Holy Spirit.
Do we really believe that those people that came forward are all, or even a fraction are saved.Greg says it is so. That’s why there are so many false conversions. It is not loving to make somebody believe that they are saved and they are really not, only to find out later that they are in hell.
And this goes on in th CC church at a smaller scale.
Take the Rock music out of the church and start to confront the sinner, and tell him the truth, the church attendance will drop significantly, What good does it if we make people believe that they are saved, and really are not and just go about their way thinking they are saved. Or do we tell them the truth and they know that they need Jesus. Let them leave church either way they are lost. We have to confront them, just like Jesus did, that is loving because we don’t want to see them to go to hell.
That’s why I’m against Altar Calls, the way it is done and what is said during or before the call.
I don’t want to be divisive, I just want to speak the truth in love.
You wrote “The reason there is so much bad and un-biblical teachings in the CC church, is because pastors are ill-informed about the Doctrines of Grace, and this spills over into other areas of the CC church, **Altar calls, Free Will, participation of the Lord’s Supper, understanding John 3:1-18, the believe that Faith precedes Regenaration**, Depravity of man, singing Jesus Culture songs like,” Holy Spirit you are welcome here.”
I’m not sure I understand this part of your comment. Could you please elaborate about what you meant about “altar calls, free will, the Lord’s supper, understanding John3:1-18, the belief that faith precedes regeneration”.
Before I can give you an answer to your questions, I have to point out why I come to the conclusion, I have to start with the depravity of man.
As I read in Mark 7:21-23 where Jesus says, man’s heart is evil. And Rom. 6:20 That man is a slave to sin. And is by nature a child of wrath (Eph.2:3).
After all these verses and there are more, my question is ,” How can natural man become right with God?” The answer is, on his own power he can not, his desire to seek God is not there ( Rom. 3:10-12). He can’t understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14
He is spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sin (Eph.2:1).
He is dead like Lazarus was dead. The only way he came to life again was at the calling of Jesus ,” Lazarus come forth.” John 11:43.
So the answer to this question, ” how can natural man become right with God?” He is unable without the help of God. Only God must predestine (Eph 1:5)
Just like we have nothing to do with our natural birth, we have nothing to do with our spiritual birth (John3:8). And we are born again not by our own will, but God’s will ( John 1:12,13 ) And faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29)
As I study all these verses, I come to the conclusion that it is God that saved me. The natural man does not have the ” free will ” to choose God. 2 Thess. 2:13 God has chosen you for salvation.
Man was born with a ” Will ” man added the word “Free”, but after the fall that will was tainted. His will was to do evil unrighteous things. God gave man plenty opportunity to come to Him , but man was not willing.
Matt. 11:28 Come to Me, all ye that labour and heavy laden and I will give you rest.
John 5:40. And you will not come to Me, that you might have life.
Now after all that, how can many at the CC church teach that faith precedes Regeneration. My question is where does that faith come from? If you say I generated that faith, then my reply will be, that is not a Saving faith, that is the faith that is described in James 2:19. I call that a ,” I believe in Santa Claus faith.”
Saving Faith is a gift from God, to receive that gift is only when you are born again first,
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit lives within you, and He only comes into a repentant heart. After we are born again,then God grants us faith to believe His Son.
That’s why I believe , Regenaration precedes faith.
I have placed your comments in quotes and mine in parentheses.
Sorry about the length.
“Before I can give you an answer to your questions, I have to point out why I come to the conclusion, I have to start with the depravity of man.”
(This is a conclusion the scriptures do not lead us to. Because if man’s nature is depraved how could Paul say the Gentiles were able to do what is written in the law by that nature that you say is depraved? Rom.2:14. He could not.)
“As I read in Mark 7:21-23 where Jesus says, man’s heart is evil.”
(Rom.7 is written to those Jews who believed that they could continue in the law and trust in Jesus at the same time. Rom.7:1-4. Paul calls them that believe this an “adulteress”. Rom.7:3.
We know he is writing to Jews and not Gentiles because he says in vs1 that he is writing to “those who know the law”.)
“And Rom. 6:20 That man is a slave to sin.”
(You should have said CHOOSES to be a slave to sin. Because sin is a choice, not a condition. Rom.6:16- “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” To yield is a choice.)
“And is by nature a child of wrath (Eph.2:3).”
(Because man is natural and not spiritual from birth (1Cor.15:46-48), he chooses to relate to and worship what he is equipped to. What is natural.
And because those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth, he is unable to worship God. John4:24. This is why he is by nature- natural – a child of wrath.)
“After all these verses and there are more, my question is ,” How can natural man become right with God?” The answer is, on his own power he can not, his desire to seek God is not there ( Rom. 3:10-12). He can’t understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14)”
(Agreed. With the exception that every man does have a desire to worship something.)
“He is spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sin (Eph.2:1).”
“He is dead like Lazarus was dead. The only way he came to life again was at the calling of Jesus ,” Lazarus come forth.” John 11:43.
So the answer to this question, ” how can natural man become right with God?” He is unable without the help of God.”
(Dead spiritually. Agreed)
“Only God must predestine (Eph 1:5)”
(All mankind are predestined to become the children of God. 2Peter3:9- “…. NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that ALL should come to repentance.”)
“Just like we have nothing to do with our natural birth, we have nothing to do with our spiritual birth (John3:8). And we are born again not by our own will, but God’s will ( John 1:12,13 ) And faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29)
As I study all these verses, I come to the conclusion that it is God that saved me. The natural man does not have the ” free will ” to choose God. 2 Thess. 2:13 God has chosen you for salvation.”
(Yes it is God who saves us. But, Rom.10:17- “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This is the conclusion to what Jesus taught in Mark 4. He said when the word is sown in a man’s heart, it is up to the man to choose to believe it. Some chose to allow affliction and persecution to offend them. Others allowed satan to steal it away. And still others allowed the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts for other things to choke the word, making it unfruitful. But, there is also the man who hears it and believes it. And as a result bears fruit. All these are the choice of the man to hear. So being born again is a synergistic work. We can not save ourselves, but we have a choice to use the measure of faith God gives to every man (Rom.12:3) to either choose to believe God’s message of salvation, or reject it.)
“Man was born with a ” Will ” man added the word “Free”, but after the fall that will was tainted. His will was to do evil unrighteous things. God gave man plenty opportunity to come to Him , but man was not willing.”
(So, Enoch, Abel, Job, David, Jeremiah, Moses, Isaiah, etc…. chose to reject God? That’s not what the record says. And if man’s will is not free then we are robots and not able to choose to love God. He forces it upon us by predestinating us to serve Him. And then forces faith on us so that we must believe Him.
But, the God of the Bible compares our relationship with Him to marriage. In a marriage the husband does not force the wife to love him. That would be impossible because it is her choice. It is truly free will that we use to apply the faith God gives us to trust in Him.)
“Now after all that, how can many at the CC church teach that faith precedes Regeneration?”
(Because the gift of faith to believe is dependent on that person’s choice to accept it. Once that is done the regeneration process continues.)
“My question is where does that faith come from? If you say I generated that faith, then my reply will be, that is not a Saving faith, that is the faith that is described in James 2:19. I call that a ,” I believe in Santa Claus faith.”
(The gift of faith is given to all mankind. Rom.12:3)
“Saving Faith is a gift from God, to receive that gift is only when you are born again first,
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit lives within you, and He only comes into a repentant heart.”
(These two sentences are mutually exclusive. To be born again we must repent and believe first. It takes the faith God gives us to repent and believe. As a result of repenting and believing we are born again. So faith in Jesus results in being born again. Not the other way around.)
“After we are born again,then God grants us faith to believe His Son.
That’s why I believe , Regenaration precedes faith.”
(As I have shown, your belief that faith comes after we repent is exactly backwards.)
I hope this helps.
Now I understand even more why there is so much false teachings at the CC church. You opened my eyes even more.
You used the word synergism, this is the doctrine that the human will cooperates with the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.
Monergism associated with Reformed theology, teaches salvation is the work of God ALONE, when the Holy Spirit regenerates and saves a person He does so independent of any cooperation from a person’s unregenerate human nature.
In other words synergism says God relies on the ,”human will.”
My question is, what happens if the human will, refuse to cooperate.
Monergism says God alone is the one that saves. He does not need any help.
The apostle Paul, persecute and slaughter Christians, that was all that was on his mind, when Paul got up that morning , he had no idea what was going to happen to him on the Damascus road. He heard a voice, Saul, Saul why do you persecute me………Saul asked The Lord ,” Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” The answer The Lord gave him was not, fall on your knees and say the sinners prayer or let Me know fast what your choice is so I can make my decision. God slammed him to the ground, God did not wait for Paul to make a decision (or walk the altar call). Jesus is a powerful Savior. When He saves it is irresistible. When God calls His elect into salvation, they cannot resist. ( Did you ever hear a Christian say, I wish God never saved me).
I strongly believe that God chooses us for salvation, and the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ, and Christ makes it a reality. Here is the Trinity at work. You or I are not there.
I also have a different interpretation of the parable of the sower.
I was not going to respond any further, but it is my responsibility to correct somebody that misinterpret scripture, especially if that was a comment on my comments. Where you are trying to say that I am in error. And also it is not fair to others that read your comments and are misled by them. It is a sin on my part if I just sat idly by and not correct you, other wise it would say that I am in agreement with you, and I am not. It is also a sin on your part if you continue to have those thoughts, after somebody made you aware of it, that those thoughts are erroneous.
Here is another error I like to point out, of the many errors you made in your reply to my comment. I said ,” Only God must predestine. ( Eph. 1:5)
Your reply to that was,” All mankind are predestined to become the children of God.”
That is an erroneous statement. If you read Eph I:5 Having predestined “US” unto the adoption of the children by Jesus Christ Himself , etc,etc,
My question to you, who are the “US”. And the answer you will find in verse Eph1:1 to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the FAITHFUL in CHRIST JESUS.
That’s the answer there, NOT TO ALL MANKIND. It is a particular group of people, the believers. I hope you will readjust your thought, I truly believe it is a sin if you continue thinking that why, after you are made aware of it.
These are Paul words, but inspired by God. You have no right to change the meaning of these words, It is sin.
Then you said ,” Yes it is God who saves us,” Do you really believe that ? Honestly? Any statement you made after the word but, will nullify your previous statement.
You really mean that God does not save us 100%, that we have a part in that, and that is unbiblical.
And here you try to justify your previous statement, with another false interpretation of a verse Rom. 10:17″ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” This verse does not say that hearing gives you faith. It says that the ” Word of God gives you faith. ie God gives you faith. And That God saves.
It is so sad that this type of teaching goes on in most CC churches. And what is even worst some of these churches have schools where their children are taught these false doctrines, It is sad that many can point out the error that go on in the Catholic Churches ,and rightly so. But they don’t see there own errors.
Jesus calls that hypocrisy in Matthew 7. He says in verse 3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola Gratia, Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.
The most misunderstood verses in churches are ( 2 Peter 3:9 ) (1Tim 2:4) ( Matt. 23:37).
And these are the most used verses that they use, to proof that they are right.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance .
Peter is talking to believers, read verse 1:1 to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours.
There is a big difference when you use the word “ALL” whether it is directed to believers or unbelievers.
1 Tim. 2:3b,4 God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Noticed I added verse 3b, because here again it is directed toward believers.
And verse 4 does not say that, all men will be saved. It reads, ” God DESIRES that all men will be saved. Why don’t they have the desire? The answer is in Rom, 8:7,8 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh can not please God.
Matt. 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
This verse is used by many evangelical churches to proof their ” free will”
Because they say Jesus says they are unwilling, that means the opposite is willing.
Like I said before the natural man is born with a will, but is not free. It is a slave of sin.
The answers to Matt. 23:37 why are they not willing? The answer again is in Rom.8:7,8
Anybody that reads this, don’t take it as an attack. It is not loving to see somebody to continue in error, to continue these false teachings is not loving.
God bless, pray that God will give you wisdom to understand.
@ Jackie. If I failed to mention. I am a believer in the Doctrines of Grace as taught by the Apostle Paul, you call it Calvinism, it sounds like John Calvin was the originator of this doctrine, It’s not so, like I said it was Paul’s teaching and the Reformers made us aware of what Paul taught. It is a biblical teaching.i thank God continually for given me the ability to understand the doctrines of Grace, I still have a lot to learn I don’t understand it all.
And I also thank God for giving us a gifted Bible teacher in John MacArthur.
Jackie I don’t believe he is god, but I believe he is A gift from God.
I continually pray for him and his family and his ministry.
Take time to listen to him, it will be edifying to you.
Marinus, I am a former Calvinist. I know all about “the doctrines of grace”, grew up Presbyterian and then married a Baptist Calvinist. And I have listened to John MacArthur many times. And whatever your point is about CC and alter calls is, I don’t know. But if you are hinting that I am an Arminian you are greatly mistaken. That’s a typical Calvinist come back to anyone who oppresses their theology “you’re an Arminian” etc. The Bible in its context is not hard to figure out. And the fact that you pointed out that you’re still trying figure out “the doctrines of grace” – which Paul DID NOT teach TULIP- shows the error of it. I am not going to sit and debate you. If you cannot discern the errors of it. And the fact that Calvinism is an indoctrination, then I am not sure anyone can make you see. Good luck. And Good bye.
Nothing to be angry about.
Let me know where I am wrong, can you point out some of the errors I made in my comment.
Meant to write oppose not oppress. Typo
Great article indeed! Thanks for posting! In these dark days everyone should be testing everything and questioning every one, the first on the list should be those called teachers or leaders, they’re not beyond the rank and file sheep, the difference is the leader or pastor has made teaching scripture his priority. The sheep are equally responsible to hold the pastor accountable for accuracy and for holding up the name of Jesus Christ.
The sheep set their minds on idle come Sunday, bible read once a year and then they wonder how their cogregations are falling like flies!
I know you already know this, but I wanted to voice it just the same. Those who are called pastor or bishop are sheep just like the rest of us. We have one shepherd, Jesus Christ. They have no more special unction from God to interpret the scriptures than any other christian does. Which is exactly the reason as you stated that we can and should keep them accountable for the teaching they do.
My piece is now a White Paper, Manny. (See my comment to Edwitness) Check it out
Thanks Marsha! Blessings sister!
Yes, it seems the sheep were intimidated long ago, “don’t question God’s anointed”…… This led to the gross ignorance affecting churchianity today. No one dares rock the boat in a congregation for fear of being pressured out. God forbid you call homosexuality a sin in a “modern” congregation, the sheep will tear you to pieces!
The way I remember it Manny, the prosperity teachers were the ones who made that phrase, touch not mine anointed, popular. But, it didn’t take long for the rest of the churches to take it up. It worked so well that the sheeple never even think to question the things their pastor says.
I was visiting a church once where the pastor came up with some things that I later questioned him about when a person there I knew introduced us. The pastor became angry when I asked where in the scripture was what he said taught. My friend was standing there and was surprised at his pastor’s reaction.
When we spoke later he said that he had never even considered challenging something he said. And asked me why I did. I told him that first of all, he asked. And also that we were to be like the Bereans and not accept everything someone says, not even a pastor, as gospel. Even after that as far as I know he is still at that church. His wife would not allow him to go because she played the piano for worship and likes doing that there.
Churchianity rules in many of the churches today.
That is correct, WOF charlatans made that phrase ubiquitous as the de facto retort to anyone daring to ask questions. Now the NAR uses it since they’re anointing billions of new apostates, I mean apostles! Lol!
Addendum to above: and that attitude has led to many arrogant pastors, how dare a commoner question divine authority!
Thank you very much for addressing the critically important topic of biblical discernment. As believers, without it we are left vulnerable and open to attack.
I thank God for His written Word in the Bible. We have a way of checking everything to see whether or not it matches with His Word. We are not left helpless.
I pray, in these last days, that more who call themselves Christians will diligently search His Word. That we will have a love of His Word above all things in this life. Loving his Word means loving Jesus. He is the Word.
Diligently read the scriptures. Search them day and night, while there is still time. May it be the most important thing we do in our day. We always make time for what is important in our day. May reading His Word be our top priority, each and every day.
Be fully equipped with the Sword of Truth – the Word of God- in order to fight the spiritual deception surrounding us.
Jesus showed us the way. He used the Word of God to counter being tempted in the desert. Three times he said, “It is written…” How awesome is that as an example of how to fight the enemy!
Thank you, once again, for addressing this topic.
Great comment Malinee, very encouraging to be in the word.
Sorry, I meant to say, “Sword of the Spirit” – the Word of God. It is the truth, though. 🙂
Building discernment takes time, it’s like exercising and muscle, doing it regularly you get more.
If you abdicate that responsibility to others you won’t develop it.
Amen Q, being in the word daily, praying and spending time studying does flex the spiritual muscle, so many have the wrong view of discernment, believing it to be some mystical or “clairvoyant” gift, when in reality all Christians walking with their Lord have it, they just have to exercise it!
I thank God for you as we all need to know the truth about what is going on in the churches God is faithful and a just God for all those who believe and trust in him and thank you for your honesty and powerful message I pray that the lord will lead many more to this sight as we know it we are living in the last days may God bless you and all that you do for God love and God bless you
Calvinism is false. God indeed chooses his elect, but absolutely no where in the bible does it say we cannot lose our salvation. Most of the New Testament warns us to hold true to these things for the very reason of our ability to fall away. The bible states God chooses us and has predestined us, but we have the will to CHOOSE to walk away from God. The bible teaches both sides, which is where the arguments sprout from. But Hebrews 3:7-19 makes it very clear we must be careful, because we WILL NOT enter his rest just as the ancient Israelites DID NOT enter the promised land, AFTER being delivered from Egypt and being promised their land of milk and honey. God never changes and never will, if he did not spare the natural branches, why would he spare us? Stop following a mans interpretation of the bible (Calvin) and discern for yourself, with the truth from the Holy Spirit himself, through careful and entire study of the scripture. Praying for all who contend for the faith and those struggling in the web of false instruction. Blessings.
To Sam. John 3:15 ” That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” You can’t loose your salvation, if you are promised eternal life. Eternal is eternal. This is God’s promise.
To Marinus L
Believe is the key word here. Keep reading John in chapter 15 after reading on in Hebrews 4:1-2. The Israelites in the wilderness all “believed” God was real, God was their deliverer from Egypt, he was the God who brought the plagues and did mighty works. But clearly they did not “believe” in the sense that God was the only truth, that he was to be feared and not toyed with. They lacked the faith sufficient to remain faithful and were lead to a spirit of depravity and idolatry in the wilderness of testing, and so they lost their inheritance AFTER believing the word of God who promised it to them. The same John you’re quoting continues to write the words of Christ himself-
John 15:1-6 –
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
In love, truth, and contending prayer.
Believe is the key word. Pisteuōto- think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in. This need happen once and for all time for a person to pass from death to life (John 3:18; 5:24; 6:47). Jesus told the woman at the well (John 4:14) that the living water He gives is an eternal thirst quencher. The woman understood and wanted that eternal thirst quencher so she would not need to draw again (4:15). John 4:39- And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”—Now did those Samaritans receive eternal life by believing? Or did they have to bear fruit in addition to believing? Sounds like you have added works to justification.
About John 15: The Greek word is airei from airō (lift up), not from aireō (cut off). This word is used in John eight times (5:8-12, 8:59, 10:18, and 15:2) Seven of the 8 times translators translated the word as lift up, pick up or take up. And lift up is what vinedressers do to pre-productive branches (the disciples were pre-productive branches). Fruit bearing branches are pruned (cleaned) to bear more fruit. Branches which do not remain on the vine can bear no fruit. Fruit does not justify. We are saved by grace through faith, not our faithfulness.
The Israelites who were brought out of Egypt did not lack saving faith they lacked faithfulness and for this they, as you correctly say, “lost their inheritance”. They did not lose everlasting life. Salvation in the Book of Hebrews is in the context of Kingdom inheritance, rewards; it is not in the context of heaven or hell.
For a new creature in Christ (one passed from a judicial relationship with God to a familial one by faith) to become the old creature again God would have to un-justify (Rom 3:28), un-adopt (Rom 8:15;23), un-redeem (1Pet 1:18), un-reconcile (2Cor 5;18), un-forgive (Col 3:13), un-sanctify (Heb 10:10-14), un-regenerate (Titus 3:5), unseal (2Cor 1:20-22, Eph 1:13-14; 4:30), un-crucify (Rom 6:6) take everlasting life away from them and place them back under judgment (John5:24). We didn’t place ourselves in Christ by what we did we cannot place ourselves back in Adam by what we do. So yes, it is impossible to sin the sin of Adam which brought death. Those who are dead have never been made alive. Those who are made alive will never die (John 11:26).
2 Timothy 2:11-13 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.—
Sam have you been crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6 Gal 2:20 Col 2:20). Then I offer 2 Timothy 2:11-13 again.
“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”
Notice that life is guaranteed to those who have died with Christ even if we are faithless. But faithlessness and failure to endure for Him does cost us; He will deny us to reign with Him.
To Sam. Yes, the keywords is True Faith. The Israelites lacked the true faith.
Heb.4:2b ” The word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”
They had a faith what James is talking about in James 2:19 You believe that God is one, you do well, the demons also believe, and shudder.
And the demons knew who Jesus was in Luke 8:28b “what business do we have with each other, Jesus, the Son of the Most High God? I beg You do not torment me.”
Their are two types of faith, the faith that does not save, And there is the true saving faith, that does save.
True saving faith is a gift from God Eph. 2:8,9
I believe what James says in James 1:17. EVERY GOOD THING given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Light, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
This means the ability to Repent, to believe the Bible is from God, and Saving faith and Salvation is from God.
And if you are a true believer, Jesus will keep you from perishing. This is what Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:12 ” While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me, and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the scripture would be fulfilled.
So Sam Jesus will keep you from perishing if you are His.
This does not give us a lisence to sin. No. What this does is even love Him more.
Grace is indeed the only saving factor, I’m not saying works saves you, grace is sufficient for you’re forgiveness. I am speaking of repentance and remaining in it. So easily we are led astray and especially in the modern day the churches drown it’s congregation in grace to a point that God is no longer a just God but a pushover. James makes it clear that works are not our saving factor, but they are the proof of the Holy Spirit in us. The very image of the new creation Christ has made out of us. If you do not bear fruit of the spirit, what proof is there that you’ve ever allowed the spirit to be planted in you at all? Hebrews 100% is about remaining in the faith and staying true to the lord, the exodus reference is absolutely comparing life and death/ heaven and hell, explaining we can lose our sight of God if we chase after golden calf (pleasures and self indulgence) in the wilderness God leads us through on our way to the final resting place. If God just plopped eternal splendor into our laps without the testing of the wilderness why in the world do we need the Holy Spirit to help us? Also the vines are picked up (or lifted up) and thrown into the fire… So what fire do you say that is? Refining? Because you can’t retrieve pre productive vines out of a furnace. Jesus is saying they are done, finished. They’re good for nothing if at the end of the season they bear no fruit.
Ah, the power of man to make God a pushover. If you believe that happens then there’s not much I can do for you. But it fits nicely with you view that man can keep himself saved.