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  • Writer's pictureVic Bernales

Biblical Discernment

Information and knowledge of almost anything abound. However, in spite of the availability of information in the worldwide web and the advancement in technology, our generation still suffers from lack of wisdom and discernment.

It has been observed and suggested that the greatest problem in the Christian Church today, even in its evangelical quarter, is the absence of discernment. John MacArthur Jr, for example, noticed this and published his book "Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern" more than twenty-five years ago.

I tend to agree with Dr. MacArthur in his observation in that book. In this day and age when information and knowledge are just at the tip of one's fingertips, we need to be founded on and guided by the holy Scripture in listening to others who propagate or advance a brand or kind of teaching. Not everything we hear or read is sound and faith-strenghtening no matter how many verses of Scripture are put in the mix. Some preachers and teachers are subtle in twisting Scripture.

As someone has pointed out, "Christians accept the wrong thing, are prone to the wrong theology, and are unwise in who they follow and what they listen to."

The 19th century English preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, attested to the rare skill of discernment among Christians when he said that "discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between wrong and right; rather, it is the difference between right and almost right."

With the prevailing pursuit for emotionally- charged and experience-based spirituality among many Christians, it is not surprising that knowledge of Scriptural truth and consistent application of true wisdom are rare commodities in the Christian community.

The widespread disinterest of many in the serious study of Biblical truths (biblical and systematic theology) and their implications in the Christian life and ministry (practical theology) results in immaturity in the faith, which becomes the rule in many churches today rather than the exception.

Maturity, to some degree, is achieved as one perseveres in learning and living the Christian faith through various trials and temptations. And maturity grows in the context of the church, the covenant community, as every member does his part and practices the "one another" virtues (love one another, be kind to one another, forgive each other, etc.) toward and with his brethren.

This is the concern of the preacher-pastor who wrote the letter to the Hebrews telling his readers: "But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil" (Heb. 5:14).

The church of our Lord Jesus Christ and its every member ought to have a firm grasp of the essential evangelical doctrines of the Scripture. These doctrines serve as foundation and framework in growing toward maturity and wisdom which enables believers to distinguish the right and the almost right.


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