Discernment: “Anything that diverts people’s attention away from the bible is not the work of God. It is the work of the enemy.” [Justin Peters]
The context of that statement was a discussion of the best-selling book by Sarah Young titled Jesus Calling. It is a book where the writer, Ms Young, wrote words that she ascribes to Jesus and pens them in the first person. She said she received incoming messages from an entity she claims is Jesus himself, and was instructed to write these messages down. The messages, predictably, are not the full message of God (being only comforting affirmations and never commands, entreaties, or practical methods of how to live out His precepts). In several cases she misuses scripture, thereby ascribing error to ‘Jesus’.
What Mr Peters was saying in his comment in that context, is that when you pick up a devotional, a curriculum, a teaching, a book, any material of a Christian kind intended to instruct you or edify you, even a novel, keep that axiom in mind. There may not be one smoking gun kind of indicting statement you can put your finger on and say, AHA! This book is bad!, but if you use the filter of this following verse you will gain discernment as you thumb through and get a measure of the book’s overall tone.
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,” (John 15:26).
The Holy Spirit always points to God. If the author was operating in the Holy Spirit, the resulting pages will be drenched with pointing to God. If the author was not operating in the Holy Spirit, the book will be drenched with “me”. With things I can do. Things I can get. My power. Things of man and the flesh.
Speaking of smoking gun kind of statements, they are rare. Satan is more subtle than to come out with something stupid or directly heretical. (Genesis 3:1). But there is sometimes a statement you can point to which alone indicts an author.
I wrote about Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling on September 10, 2012. I’d commented on just such a statement the author of that book had made in her introduction:
“I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more…”
That one IS a heretical statement and gives the reader a good insight into her inner man. I’d said, “Is not the bible sufficient for all revelation from God? It is supposed to be. Faith is believing on His name, not the experiences or revelations we receive from an unknown source.”
Sufficiency is the battle. Many teachings and books these days slyly, craftily, intimate that the bible is not enough, and the implanted desire is that there is more. (Read Genesis 3:5!).
On Brannon Howse’s radio show, World View Weekend, his guest, Discernment Minister Justin Peters said of that very statement from Ms Young, saying “The bible is not enough for people any more… Most Christians do not believe in the sufficiency of God’s word, That’s why they go to Jesus Calling, 90 Minutes in Heaven, Heaven is For Real, …all these books claiming Divine authority, but outside of scripture.”
The Spirit always points to Jesus. Any lesson you are taking from any teacher will do the same, if they are operating in the Spirit!