Posted in discernment, theology

Solomon asked for discernment and the LORD was greatly pleased

By Elizabeth Prata*

Everyone knows Solomon asked God for wisdom. However people forget that he actually asked God for two things. The second thing was discernment. Here is the verse:

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people? (1 Kings 3:9)

So Solomon asked for an understanding mind to govern and discernment to distinguish between good and evil, or right and wrong as some translations go.

Solomon’s request was not only spiritual, for he already had a measure of discernment given his relationship with God and having learned from David, his father. But Solomon’s request also related to civil and governing capacities. A total package- he was to be able to judge people rightly in matters, to solve controversies, and to be fair to one and all.

Solomon didn’t consider himself and ask for a long life or wealth or health. He asked God for the tools to help him help God’s people.

The LORD was greatly pleased with Solomon’s request.

wisdom verse 1

James says that if anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God and He will give it without reproach. (James 1:5). God was pleased with Solomon’s request, because at root, it honored God and served His people. The Spirit breathed inspiration to James that anyone could and should ask for wisdom. The Lord is not stingy with handing out wisdom or discernment. If you do not have the particular gift from the Spirit of discernment, you can simply ask for more discernment/wisdom in your daily life, and He will increase you. The intent is, you’ll use it for God’s glory and to help His people.

There is a flip side to this also. Solomon dissipated. When it was time for Solomon to build the Temple, the LORD had told Solomon in 1 Kings 6:12 that IF Solomon “will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father.”

The glory that was Israel’s military might, wealth, protection, and increase were onerously placed on Solomon’s shoulders. As Matthew Henry said, “None employ themselves for God, without having his eye upon them. But God plainly let Solomon know that all the charge for building this temple, would neither excuse from obedience to the law of God, nor shelter from his judgments, in case of disobedience.”

Luke 12:48b says, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required,”

Gill’s Exposition says, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall, much be required: the more knowledge a man has, the more practice is expected from him; and the greater his gifts are, the more useful he ought to be, and diligent in the improvement of them”

The LORD reiterated the condition when Solomon prayed the dedication prayer at the newly built temple.

“But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins.” (1 Kings 9:6-9)

So with all Solomon’s wisdom, he still backslid. With all his discernment, he allowed paganism into his heart in marrying over 700 women and having over 300 concubines. They were from foreign lands and they persuaded him to turn away from God and commit spiritual fornication with false gods.

Having wisdom and discernment is no guarantee that without all due purity in public and private life, you won’t be turned away from God.

But do ask God for wisdom. If you dare! Wisdom is knowing how to apply your knowledge. Discernment is detecting not just right from wrong or good from evil, “but right from almost right” (Charles Spurgeon).

It goes without saying the discernment and wisdom that we yearn for and live by are God’s truths, not man’s. Live by His statutes and His paths, and ask for the wisdom and discernment to always remain there, walking uprightly in His wise ways. Discernment is a bestowal from the Lord which honors Him and serves the brethren. And it greatly pleases the Lord when we ask for it.

*This essay first appeared on The End Time in September 2013

Posted in discernment, theology

How do you trust a teacher? Discernment lesson

By Elizabeth Prata

The rate at which false teachers reveal themselves these days is staggering. The rate at which false teachers apostatize is amazing. The rate at which a good teacher begins to adopt some troublesome philosophies but largely remains above reproach in life & doctrine is frequent and puzzling.

It used to be that one could trust a teacher for long periods, their ministries would stay clean for years or even decades. Only rarely would a teacher reveal himself as false, holding aberrant or unorthodox doctrines.

Younger sisters in the faith notice this. Which is a good thing, they are practicing discernment.  One young lady came to me asking “How do you trust a teacher?” Good question. Continue reading “How do you trust a teacher? Discernment lesson”

Posted in discernment, theology

In most recent teaching, Beth Moore declares Catholicism “a denomination”

By Elizabeth Prata

A dear sister sent me information related to a new ‘teaching’ series Beth Moore has begun, called, “Developing Compassion for the Sexually Abused – Part 1“. Apparently there are three parts to the series. The sister wondered if this is an indication that Beth Moore (ever eager to capitalize on any and all trendy or faddish waves, says me) is preparing to capitalize more overtly on the sexual abuse issues that have arisen in the wake of the Houston Chronicle’s exposé one year ago this month, the #MeToo movement, and Moore’s own “Letter to My Brothers” published in 2018.

I replied that I appreciated the information, was inspired by her insight, and promised to review the series (painfully, I’m sure) and get back to her. Continue reading “In most recent teaching, Beth Moore declares Catholicism “a denomination””

Posted in discernment, theology

Spiritual Formation: What is it, and is it as innocent as it sounds?

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s encouraging for me to hear from women who ask penetrating and insightful questions, and are training their discernment to detect truth from error. Ladies who adhere to sufficiency of scripture, who want to engage with people on the basis of the Rock, and not feelings. I’m so grateful for sisters in the faith.

I received a question about Spiritual Formation. What is spiritual formation, and how do I help a sister who is caught up in it? Continue reading “Spiritual Formation: What is it, and is it as innocent as it sounds?”

Posted in discernment, theology

Testimony from an ex-Beth Moore follower: Lessons about Jesus, but not Jesus Himself

This precious sister whose Twitter handle is CaDaisygirl (@CaDaisygirl), wrote a heartfelt thread about her time when she had followed false teacher Beth Moore. We know and understand that Moore and other false teachers affect a denomination. Their damage impacts wide swathes of professing and true believers. The damage is real.

But what of the lone woman, wandering in a maze of doubt, loneliness, perplexity? What of the negative influence on a woman’s life when she seeks the true Jesus, but isn’t taught? What of her private and individual pain? What happens when the Gospel isn’t even part of the conversation?

 

Here is CaDaisygirl’s testimony. She asks “that we together remain in prayer that these words would be used to glorify Jesus and bring others out of darkness and into His truth and glorious light. I by no means desire to wound anyone, rather I desire that we learn to put our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

—————Testimony—————

I was praying about and for Beth Moore last night and checking my heart in this debate. I followed Beth for many years, a staunch supporter. I read her books, did her studies, and followed her blog.

I realize now that what captured me was, well, quite frankly, Beth.

She was witty, interesting, beautiful, and had that Southern charm. Being her fan was being part of a beautiful club of engaging women who were being drawn towards Jesus. I was a much less mature Christian in those days, and hadn’t yet encountered the depravity of my sin.

From her studies, I learned I was “broken” and a “mess” and that Jesus could fix my messiness, but what I realized in my prayer time last night was that, in all the books I read, and all the studies I did, I was never lead to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Nowhere did I read that my brokenness and messiness was actually rebellion against God and His Word. Nowhere did I read that the flesh must be crucified with Christ, and it was no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20.

Beth’s teachings dance around this concept, but never fully engage it. That is why they are so dangerous. They make you feel good to know about Jesus, without ever directing you how to know Him as Lord and Savior through repentance and surrender and obedience to His Word.

Her teachings are emotional and easy on the soul, but if a non-believer were to study them all, would they know, in the end, what is required to have a saving faith in Christ? Are her followers being drawn into a superficial knowledge of Jesus rather than a saving knowledge of Him?

That is my question and my fear, and that is why I feel compelled to speak about a ministry I so dearly loved at one time. We must use discernment in this day and age. No matter how charming a teacher may be, are they pointing us to salvation?

Are they pointing us to surrender, obedience to God’s Word, and crucifying of the flesh? Are they teaching us to die to self and live for Christ?

If not, why not?

—————End of Testimony—————

 

I praise the Lord that He draws women out of darkness. Those who follow false teachers are either given over to the lusts that allowed their desires to cloud the truth and they keep heaping up the teachers that speak to those desires, (2 Timothy 4:3) or they are brought out of darkness into the light, seeing satan for the masquerading minister of light that he actually is. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

We warn because of women who wander and remain broken but unaware of their true state and waxing worse due to the false teachers. We warn because of women who are being taught that Jesus is an add-on to their life, a fixer, but who remain unknowing of Him as savior and Lord.

I’m grateful for testimonies as grace-filled as CaDaisygirl’s is. Of her extolling Jesus who saves, who purifies His Bride. I pray her words will help another woman out there who wonders… ‘I’m broken and messy, but why aren’t I ‘fixed’?’ and that she finds true solace in repentance and glorifying Jesus for who He really is.

flowers verse 5a

 

Posted in discernment, theology

Naming Names. Repeatedly.

By Elizabeth Prata

I liked this article a lot. (linked below). It was balanced, noting the fact that some sites make a cottage industry of naming wrong things on the internet but the noting the importance and purpose of doing it right. She diminished her credibility somewhat by including a well-known hateful discernment ministry in the footnotes on the ‘good side’, but the article itself was terrific.

In it, the author made an interesting side trip into history, noting Athanasius’ struggle with battling false doctrine. She showed from scripture how it’s the duty of every Christian to be on the alert for false doctrine and the false teachers who bring it. She also addressed the question that has been proposed to me of late, when to stop battling a celebrity false teacher and just go my way. (Answer: never).

Is the error being propagated publicly? It must be refuted publicly — in the pulpit, in print, and in person. Does it rear its ugly head after it has already been defeated? It must again be refuted, however many times it takes. Does that sound fatiguing? Discouraging? Like a losing battle? It is.

But that is the call — to defend the faith once delivered to the saints. Whenever and wherever new, or worse, old repackaged heretical ideas gain cultural ascendancy, and the number and flavor are ripe for the picking, they must be battled because they are still wrong.

The author also stressed the importance of being art of a church body and submitted to its authority, of being properly equipped, and resisting pride and arrogance. I recommend the article,especially if you’re involved in discernment online in any way, something which I am and I’m unapologetic about. The Holy Spirit gives out the spiritual gift of discernment and always remember it is a gift. I intend to use it to the best of the ability I have in His strength and for Him both online and in my church, even and especially when it means naming names. Even the name of certain celebrity female preachers who regularly claim to hear from God. 🙂

I recommend the article.

Naming Names: Why It’s OK (and Necessary) to Call Out False Teachers and Fugitives from Church Justice by Name

discernment

Further Reading:

MacArthur sermon, A Call for Discernment

MacArthur blog, Naming Names

Buice, Matthew 18 and the Universal Church

Challies, Matthew 18 in a Shrinking World

Wretched, Christians must get over their fear of pointing out false teachers

Posted in discernment, theology

A few thoughts on discernment

By Elizabeth Prata

I wrote last week that I’d tweeted something about a certain false teacher’s lifestyle, and the tsunami of hate immediately came rolling toward me. It didn’t let up for three days.

As per usual I was called hateful, evil, a troll, jealous, self-righteous, covetous, judgmental, and more. That’s the usual stuff.

I always try to learn from any experiences, especially experiences in contending for the truth. Continue reading “A few thoughts on discernment”

Posted in discernment, theology

Ladies, here is how to be precious in His sight

By Elizabeth Prata

Phil Johnson has been a discerning Christian for a long time. He noted in a recent Q&A at the GraceLife Pulpit when responding to a question about women teaching and preaching, that he doesn’t know of a single seminary that has caved to culture in installing female Bible professors that hasn’t compromised in other areas soon after. It’s the same with churches and denominations. If you don’t like the clear teaching of God in the Bible in one area you’ll soon find ways to compromise on others, too, he noted. Here is a definition of an evangelical feminist (an oxymoron if there ever was one)- Continue reading “Ladies, here is how to be precious in His sight”