Two and a half years ago, in spring of 2014, I wrote about a popular blogger and author named Glennon Doyle Melton. Melton’s blog called Momastery boasted 70,000 views per day, hordes of followers calling themselves ‘Monkees’, and a fan base for her books most bloggers only dream of. Melton’s influence in the mom world and faith world cannot be overestimated. The Houston Chronicle wrote of Melton this past September,
The world can be divided into two groups: those who’ve never heard the name Glennon Doyle Melton, and those who know pretty much everything there is to know about her. … The number of people who know these things about Doyle Melton is not insignificant. She’s a writer whose publicity team estimates that her blog and social media posts reach 7 million readers a week. And that camp is about to get a lot bigger. [with the upcoming release of her new book]
Melton blogged about two subjects, mostly. Herself as a mom, and herself as a Christian. She dispensed Christian advice and spoke of Jesus and faith.
In 2014, after being contacted by a reader wondering about Melton, I did some research. What I found was disheartening. I’d written flatly that Melton was not a Christian, that her lifestyle was a terrible example to Christian wives and moms, and that she was as far from Jesus as the east is from the west. I used scripture and logic and Melton’s own statements to show why. The discernment lesson was to look at the kind of example Christian women should set in their walk, pretty much the opposite of Melton’s. You can read that essay here.
I received a lot of emails and comments calling me a big ole poopy head, and to stop being such a meanie.
One of the deplorable things Melton had written in one of her blogs was in a hypothetical letter she and her then-husband would hypothetically deliver to their son in case their son ever came out as gay:
Chase, we don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin.
Well…today Glennon Doyle Melton came out as as lesbian. She admitted to dating soccer champ Abby Wambach.
Those with discernment could see this coming. Melton was brash, had separated from her husband years ago, (but failed in her “authentic life” initially to tell her ‘Monkees’), she played fast and loose with the Bible, she had a poor hermeneutic, and she violated many scriptures as to the appropriate lifestyle for women. However many of Meltons’ Monkees blindly followed her. Thankfully, there are just as many true Christian women who could not see this coming, but when it was pointed out, were grateful for the information. Those women went off and did their own research, studied, and prayed, and came to their own conclusions.
I’m saddened that Melton has chosen this path, but as the inevitable progression in Romans 1:18-32 shows us, when you abandon Jesus as your cornerstone, you crumble until you’re so blinded that you cannot think straight and are filled with all manner of evil. I pray Melton repents. Jesus is such a gracious Savior, He would accept her plea for forgiveness of this sin.
And now for the discernment lesson. All Christians are responsible for their own growth in discernment. (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Here is a study guide discussing the importance of discernment for every Christian and a practical guide as to developing it. Some people have been given an extra dose of discernment by the Holy Spirit. These people possess the gift of distinguishing of spirits, or discernment, as seen in 1 Corinthians 12:10. The reason the Spirit dispenses this gift and installs Christians possessing it into local churches, is to be an early warning system for the Body. A person with discernment warns and this gives the rest of the Body an opportunity to study and prepare and take action if necessary. Satan’s tentacles embed themselves quickly and deeply, so an early warning system helps keep people alert and on the safe path of righteousness.
There are many reasons a person with the gift of discernment continues to practice it and employ the gift. There are many reasons we do not abandon the gift.
1. To point fingers. Yes, we name names, point fingers, and warn. Is it right to do this? Yes. Most of the epistles were corrective in nature. Every NT book except Philemon contained some kind of rebuttal or warning about false doctrine. The NT writers were concerned with this issue and it hasn’t gone away so we are concerned with this issue as well. It’s not an issue that ‘gets old’. Discernment is not an issue we outgrow. We’re in a battle and we do not lay down our arms until we die or the trumpet calls us home.
As a side note, I’ll relate a little story from my journalism days. I was an investigative reporter for a weekly newspaper. There were no two issues that riled the local people more than taxes and land. I had been following a local story about an important re-zoning issue. It was a series. I’d begun each new report with the same short review each week. I got tired of writing the same review introduction each week, and asked my Journalism mentor if it was really necessary. It seemed that everyone was following the issue. It seemed that surely everyone would be up to speed. He said no, don’t stop writing the intro every week. As a matter of fact, he said, write it as if it’s the first time you ever wrote it. There are always people who come to an issue for the first time.
I’ll follow that up with a real example that happened to me in the discernment realms two weeks ago. I write about the dangers of Beth Moore a lot. I’ve written about her numerous times. I was getting tired of writing about Beth Moore. Surely everyone knows she’s false. Surely everyone is up to speed, I’d begun to think.
Well, someone, somewhere posted a link to an old essay I’d written about Beth Moore. It suddenly was getting a lot of traction. I mean, like thousands of views per day. I received an email from a younger woman. She said thank you for the essay, and she said “this is the first time I’ve ever heard anything bad about Beth Moore.” I wept in gratitude that the Spirit is so faithful. So yes, I point fingers, and I always will.
2. To be an early warning system. We are part of a perfectly knit scheme of Christians each working in tandem through our various gifts for the good of the body to the glory of Jesus. In the employment of the gift of discernment, I warned about Melton two years ago. If a women read that, and did her own personal diligence in studying and asking the Spirit for help in determining truth from error, and decided to reject Melton and not read her blogs or books any more, then that woman has an added two years under her belt of serving the Lord in spirit and in truth. She has avoided the pitfall of false doctrine. She has escaped sin, and following false teachers is sin. Nothing makes me happier than to employ the spiritual gift of discernment in a way the Spirit uses for Jesus’ glory and the edification of a lady out there.
I mention my earlier blog about Melton so that you can see my own track record. Over time, have I been in error? Have I strengthened in the gift of discernment, or have I weakened in it? Have I used scripture to show the issue? Or is it all just my opinion?
So the best things to do, ladies, is first pray and ask the Spirit to increase your own discernment. Read the Bible, which will become your benchmark against which all other things will be tested. Then, find a person or persons who have a solid track record of discernment and read their work. Here is what John MacArthur says he does regarding the gift of discernment:
Those people who come along who can think critically, and analytically, and carefully, and thoughtfully, and even historically, and know where error has come and gone before and who can say, “here’s a proper understanding of it,” they become the watchmen of the church. We put them in seminaries and we send young men to learn from them. Why? So that they can learn to discern by learning how these men discern.
I don’t know what you want to call it. Maybe you feel uncomfortable calling it still the gift of distinguishing of spirits or discerning of spirits, but it is obvious to me that God has set some in the church who are uniquely gifted to be models of discernment that we can follow. I read books. Whenever there are issues that I want to face, there are certain authors that I know about who have written in that area, and I want to know what they say, because they help to give me insight because of the clarity with which they are able to discern certain areas of truth.
Do you have a cadre of trusted authors to whom you turn in researching certain areas? I do. I trust RC Sproul when it comes to the topics of Beauty, Justification, and Holiness. I trust John MacArthur in eschatology and exegeting the NT. I trust Justin Peters for discernment issues, as well as Matt Slick at CARM. I trust Mark Dever for church matters.
I trust them because these men have a proven track record, are consistently biblical, and live a life of holiness aligned with biblical principles and expectations.
Could you see Glennon Doyle Melton’s lesbianism coming? If you could, thank the Holy Spirit. If you couldn’t, thank a discernment blogger, author, person in your church for warning you. It’s a grief that this woman Glennon is so deep into sin that she is with another woman. The Bible is clear-
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature… (Romans 1:26).
As for the rest of us ladies, walking, running, plodding along the path, doing the best we can, Jude 1:24-25 says,
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.