Posted in berean, bible, end of days. prophecy

Paul: What does it mean to be a Berean?

By Elizabeth Prata

“In Berea”

As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.(Acts 17:10-12).

How many times have we heard some celebrity caught in a traffic stop or in an indiscretion and when called to account on it, says “Don’t you know who I am?” They balk and they yell and they squirm and try to escape accountability due to their position. Quite often, their ego is inflated to a large enough degree that they never expect they’ll be asked to support their views or explain their mistake. Even more often, the person calling them to account are seen as the ones with the problem. “Don’t you know who that is?” they are told. “Don’t ask him to explain himself!” as if there ever comes a point when someone is above the law.

Continue reading “Paul: What does it mean to be a Berean?”
Posted in theology

Jackie Hill Perry rejects discernment talk about her false prophesying

By Elizabeth Prata

On April 4 I posted a blog reacting to Jackie Hill Perry’s (JHP) coming out as a prophet. In a multi-tweet thread she announced that God deals with her in dreams, speaks to her, gives her information about other people for JHP’s intercession. My examination of her statements is here.

I am not all that familiar with JHP. I don’t follow her on social media nor have I listened to her raps, songs, or sermons (Yes, she is a preacher too). But I know a false teacher when I see one. Or when I hear one… preach to men or claim direct revelation from God. These are easy. You don’t need a nuanced or advanced discernment radar to know the bells are going off when a so-called Christian says that.

Her following is huge. She has 688,000 on Instagram and 211,000 on Twitter and I’m sure more on TikTok. Let’s say north of a million followers. So what she says and does matters, because numerous impressionable and undiscerning women are being impacted by her consistently unbiblical example.

When I posted about her admission that she is a prophet, that blog got a lot of views. See chart below. You can guess which hits are the days when my JHP essay dropped. People are influenced by influencers, and JHP is an influencer. My job is to praise the ones the Lord has raised up and warn people about the others. My job is to tell the truth using the gift of discernment for y local church and the wider body, to warn, admonish in love. And I mean it in love. No one is happy to see someone drift away from Jesus.

Jackie Hill Perry does not like “discernment bloggers” (I purposely used scare quotes). She certainly didn’t like that many have called her false. So, she posted an Instagram video pushing back. She did not address the scriptural issues raised by me or other discerners. Of course. She cannot: there is no scriptural basis for denying the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits, no basis for receiving direct revelation nor of scriptures allowing females to preach to men. So, JHP’s push-back was against discernment as an activity.

She raised the usual canards about discernment: It’s unloving. It’s unwarranted. It’s unbiblical. Well, I’ll just let you take a listen yourself. It is 52 seconds.

I’ll go through her points one by one.

JHP: “If you follow somebody or something and literally all the content they produce is talking about other people, you don’t need these people to teach you how to spot false teaching or error.”

EP: I agree with this. When authors, bloggers, preachers, teachers etc get ‘stuck’ on one topic and that is ALL they ever “literally” produce, speak of, write about, their perspective becomes skewed. We must focus on Christ and employ the spiritual gifts for His glory and the good of the body. A skewed or myopic perspective won’t accomplish that. We should be balanced.

But while I agree with her general point, her comment is a straw man, because only a few discernment bloggers produce ONLY content that is “talking about other people.” She deliberately focused on only the fringe bloggers and lumped the bad ones in with the good ones and denied the total use of the gift of discernment. JHP says people who focus too much are not to be followed. So, opponents will find a reason to try and dismiss your warning or admonitions and then just focus on the emotional.

JHP: “You need the Spirit, you need the church, and you need your Bible.”

EP: I agree with this. However, her list is not complete. You also need the gifts of the Spirit. The Spirit dispensed gifts to believers. One of them is discerning of Spirits. All gifts that are in use today are for the edification of the body, which is the church. (1 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Now this is interesting. JHP maintains that she is a charismatic (not in those terms, but yes). She believes the gift of prophecy is in use today, and tongues, and hearing from God etc. So does she not believe that the gift of discerning of spirits is also in use? Did it go away? We don’t need believers with that gift anymore? But miracles and tongues and the rest we do need?

Or does she believe that NONE of the gifts are in use today, all we need is the Bible and the Spirit and the church?. And what does she mean by needing “the church” to discern? Are not believers with gifts the ones who make up the church?

You see when Peter in 2 Peter 3:16 wrote that the untaught and unstable distort scripture, this is one way they do it. JHP is giving us an example here. They move your eyes from scripture to emotion. They use church-y verbiage like Bible and Spirit and church. They use verses but omit the parts they dislike. There’s another example of twisting coming up in a second.

JHP: “You don’t need a constant diet of someone tearing down the body to teach you how to contend for the faith”

EP: Contending for the faith is messy. It involves a fight. Not that we are pugnacious. Not that we look for it. But if you contend for anything, it gets painful. Paul contended and in almost every city he went to there were riots. All the apostles contended, and they were killed, or exiled.

I already addressed the ‘constant diet’, but now here is a common phrase, ‘you’re tearing people down.’ Well yes and no. We love people and pray for the ones like JHP. But we also tear down. We are commanded to tear down philosophies that oppose Christ.

We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 Berean Study Bible)

We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB).

We’re supposed to tear down anything that opposes Jesus, any teaching that is abhorrent to Him. Wolves always agree in principle that false teaching should be rejected. But wolves always say, “It’s not me. I’m not false. You’re so unloving”.

JHP: “That’s not what Jude offered he offered the old testament to them to give them some context for how to discern false teaching in their presence.

EP: That is exactly what Jude offered. He was soooo upset about false teaching he abandoned his original point of his letter about salvation so that he could teach them to discern.

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all time handed down to the saints (Jude 1:3).

Jude is the only New Testament book whose entire focus is devoted to confronting apostasy, meaning people who have defected from the true, biblical faith. Jude gave some examples from the Old Testament about their judgment, not about ‘how to discern’. He also described in detail the immoral and unconscionable character of these false ones who were infiltrating the church. He contended, and bluntly.

JHP: guard your heart and guard your mind from those who would tempt you and disciple you into lovelessness.

EP: Jude is the only book in the Bible written by Jude. His only focus is discernment. But JHP’s standard of discernment bloggers, of which Jude is one, we should avoid Jude since “literally all the content they produce is talking about other people.”

Was Jude loveless? Did the Holy Spirit include Jude’s book in the canon as a “temptation to lovelessness”? Of course not. You see the holes in Jackie Hill Perry’s talk by now, I’m sure.

Jude continued in his book describing in detail the immoral and unconscionable character of these false ones who were infiltrating the church. He ‘talked about other people’. (And so did Paul – and by name). Jude said the false ones were:

hidden reefs (which kill ships)
selfish
dead
wild
shameful
bound for hell
grumblers
fault-finders
lusty
arrogant
flatterers
self-aggrandizing

By JHP’s standard, isn’t that “loveless” talk?

Yes, do guard your heart and mind saturate it with truth. That way you won’t be twisted by the unstable who distort it.

Sinners never allow you to point to them. The lawyer tried to justify himself. The woman at the well tried to distract Jesus from talking of her sins by switching the conversation to worship. The Rich Young Ruler tried flattery (“Good teacher“) and arrogant knowledge (“I have kept the commandments”). A false teacher will never say, “Let me take a look at what they’re saying against me to see if there is any merit to it”. A Christian will do that. A wolf won’t. A wolf will use the Bible to justify herself, distract you from her sin, and pretend to be humble and kind. But inwardly they are ravenous. Don’t feed them.

Posted in theology

Discernment: Can we be TOO cautious or TOO critical?

By Elizabeth Prata

Here is a question: Can a person be too critical or too cautious in discernment?

I was asked this recently. I answered: yes. And no. It depends on what the person saying ‘you’re too critical’ or, ‘you’re too cautious’ means by the words cautious and critical.

The Bible says we are to test everything and hold on to the good. but examine everything; hold firmly to that which is good, 22 abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Continue reading “Discernment: Can we be TOO cautious or TOO critical?”
Posted in theology

Defenders of false teachers lay guilt trips and accusations

By Elizabeth Prata

Whenever I make a comment that a certain person is a false teacher, I do not do it lightly. It is based on years of observation, comparison to many teachings of that person over time to the Bible, and a heavy heart.

What we are supposed to do in discernment, is ask. If someone says my favorite teacher is false, let’s ask why they believe that. Spiritual conversations are, at root, about Jesus. We are either impugning His honor, or promoting His honor. We need to be sure we are in the latter camp, not the former. Therefore, we can either educate that person as to why my favorite teacher is not false or we can listen to her and be educated as to why he or she is fact, false.

Spiritual conversations are supposed to edify. If Jesus is the reason we’re having the conversation, then we should be sure we are in truth, and if it is done properly, we are spiritually energized and more knowledgeable than we were before we began.

Sadly, most people who reply to discernment comments or engage with discerners in discussions rarely ask questions. They rarely use scripture to back up what they are claiming. What they DO do, is, make moral judgments and slanderous accusations under a guise of “sadness” and pietistic babble. Here is one example I received in an email.

“As a former atheist and now a devout follower of Christ and not people or denominations of men who believes the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, I have to say that it’s people like yourself that drove me away from Christianity for so many years. Where is your love for your brother? Where is your forgiveness? Where is the unity of fellowship? Where is your humility? Do you really think you have it all figured out with regard to the book of Revelation? Rather, I see jealousy, envy and strife. See 1Chorinthians and what Paul had to say about it. Or is Paul also a false prophet according to you?”

Let’s unpack this.

This person is using the same talking points that most every other defender of other false teachers use. Probably unwittingly. But comments like these are remarkably similar. Weirdly similar.

People like you drove me away from Christianity“. People who leave Christianity don’t leave because some old woman like me on the internet said something about some other woman on the internet. No. They ‘leave Christianity’ because of their sin. They do not want to hear messages calling out their sin, or they want to continue to be in sin, or they desire to protect their sin. They leave because they sin and they want to stay in sin.

Remember, no one leaves Christianity. If they leave they were never in it. Their leaving proves that. All the commenter is doing is trying to make you feel guilty. Don’t fall for it.

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be evident that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19)

I’m a devout follower of Christ, and you…” No they aren’t. They most assuredly aren’t a devout follower, maybe not even a follower at all. People who are devout followers of Christ seek His glory and stand on scripture. They don’t use fake names or anonymous accounts to email or post judgmental, slanderous insinuations, and otherwise misuse the name of Christ in order to feel better about following their favorite (false) teacher. They seek to educate, edify, learn, or ignore. They give grace and charity. They don’t make claims of being “devout” then destroy that claim with mocking and sarcastic behavior.

Why don’t you love them?” Another guilt trip, this time misusing the word love. First, the word love gets thrown around too much without a proper context. Jesus called his religious educators the priests, Pharisees, and scribes, vipers. Did He not love them? Jesus mourned them! He cried over Jerusalem and its lost people. Yes He loved them. Correction or rebukes or warnings to someone does not mean an absence of love. In fact, it often means the opposite- we DO love them.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6).

My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD, and do not loathe His rebuke; (Proverbs 3:11).

We must let our Christian family know that the false teacher is hurting them with their lies and opposition to Jesus. Most of us indeed do it in love and for love.

I’m disappointed in your tone” – Talking about a false teacher usually calls down the Tone Police. They’ll come into a thread to voice their disappointment in the “tone” of your comments. They won’t address any scripture you’ve shared, they won’t use any scripture themselves, they won’t reply on a biblical stance, but instead will try to guilt you into not making comments about a false teacher. They’ll try to convince you that you sound like a harridan. And heaven forbid you’ve actually named that false teacher, which makes them even more “disappointed”. They will simply camp on an emotion. ‘I’m disappointed you’ve…I’m sad that you…’ “What people are saying doesn’t seem to matter [to the Tone Police] half as much as how people are saying it.” said Mike Riccardi in his article “A Sanctified Rant about the ‘Tone Police”.

If you went to a potluck dinner, and I said I knew one of the dishes had poison in it, but since I don’t want to name names, and we want to only focus on the poison-free dishes, I wasn’t going to tell you which dish could kill you? Does that make sense? No. False teaching is poison. We must point it out. Unashamedly.

Staying in the word of God is the best way to remain unswayed by opposers of the truth – either the false teachers themselves or their defenders. Stay strong in the Lord.

EPrata photo
Posted in theology

Discernment Lesson, part 2: Is discerning really attempting to “know the heart”?

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

On February 2 I was interviewed by two wonderful ladies of the faith, Amy Spreeman and Michelle Lesley. Their podcast is called A Word Fitly Spoken, a great title for a podcast!

The result of the podcast is here, it was broadcast already and I’m humbled by the opportunity to speak of Jesus, doctrine, and discernment as our wide ranging conversation went.

Their website for A Word Fitly Spoken podcast is here, where you can catch ALL their podcasts! I recommend the podcast and also their individual efforts in the faith, Michelle’s website Michelle Lesley- Discipleship for Christian Women and Amy’s at Berean Research and Naomi’s Table Bible Studies for Women. You can also check out her archives from earlier work at aspreeman.com.

When I was preparing for the interview, I made notes. I wanted to post those (I’ve gained Amy’s permission) and flesh the concepts out a bit. This is part 2 of that post. Part 1 is here-

Discernment lesson, What is it, why do we need it? Part 1

Now on to part 2:

Is discerning whether a teacher is false really attempting to “know the heart”?

When I do a discernment essay, I am often chastised with an old chestnut of a comment that’s becoming practically standard for people without discernment to say. It is,

“You’re being a Pharisee, Only God knows the heart!”

I get that a lot. Is the practice of discernment really attempting to put ourselves in God’s place in knowing the heart of a person? No. As we looked at yesterday, discernment is advised, even commanded, in most New Testament books. The wisdom book of Proverbs continually lauds wisdom in spiritual matters. Evaluating a teaching and coming to a solid conclusion that it is profitable is an activity that brings glory to Jesus. Doing so and concluding that a teaching is unprofitable in no way attempts to “know the heart” of that false teacher.

But you know, the Bible DOES show us the heart. We can know the heart of a false teacher because the Bible tells us. If the teacher is speaking falsely, their heart is full of deceit, and from the heart flows life. (Matthew 12:34). Here are some of the verses which speak to a false teacher’s heart:

(Their hearts are) full of deceit. Colossians 2:8

(Their hearts are) filled with their own appetites. Romans 16:17-18

(Their hearts are) disguised with light. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

(Their hearts are) full of greed. 2 Peter 2:3

(Their hearts are) ravenous. Matthew 7:15.

(Their hearts are) inwardly full of sensuality. Jude 1:4

(Their hearts are) full of secrets, such as destructive heresies. 2 Peter 2:1

(Their hearts are) full of intent to exploit. 2 Peter 2:3

(Their hearts are) full of fleshly passions. 2 Timothy 4:3

(Their hearts are) puffed up with conceit. 1 Timothy 6:4

(Their hearts are) understand(ing) nothing. 1 Timothy 6:4

(Their hearts are) cunning and crafty. Ephesians 4:14

(Their hearts) serve the creature. Romans 1:25

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(Their hearts are) slaves of corruption. 2 Peter 2:19.

(Their hearts) deny the Master who bought them. 2 Peter 2:1

(Their hearts) prophesy lies. Jeremiah 23:26

So although we are not God and we can’t read the heart directly, we can know the heart to the extent the Bible speaks of it. Ultimately though, we evaluate the teaching that comes out of their mouth. If it is bad, avoid it.

Discernment doesn’t stop at evaluating

We are called to do certain things after discerning. Once we discover a teaching may be riddled with falsity, we have to ACT on it. Keeping your conclusion as head knowledge is no good. We are supposed to perform certain actions-

Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. Romans 16:17-18. Mark & avoid. You can’t mark a teacher as false unless you discern that they are. Discerning means evaluating their teaching by comparing it to the Bible.

Matthew 7:15 says to  Beware of false prophets. We have to know who to beware of, and we won’t unless we have discerned their teaching as unprofitable.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 take note of those who do not obey and keep away

Ephesians 5:11 Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Philippians 1:9–10 And this I pray, that your love may overflow still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may discover (Greek- test, approve) the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ;

Discernment isn’t just about doctrine, lifestyle matters, too!

Often times people who are undiscerning dislike when I write of a false teacher’s lifestyle. They say I should mind my own business, that how they live is of no concern of mine.

O, but it is.

It is important to discern their lifestyle as well as their doctrine. Those two cannot be separated. Why? First, in speaking in general of a Christian life, there are many commands for us who are saved to live a certain way. Some of those commands are extremely specific.

Secondly, there are lifestyle commands for Christians who are in eldership or desiring to be teachers or deacons. In fact, most of the qualifications for teachers or deacons are lifestyle oriented, not skill oriented. (1 Timothy 3) (Titus 1). HOW we live matters to Jesus, because we are supposed to be a light to the Gentiles with not only what we say but how we live. We cannot have a good witness if we are living like pagans. The same goes for teachers of the Word, even more so, since they will be judged more strictly.

In discernment, lifestyle matters as well. We know that false teachers are greedy (2 Peter 2:3). Displaying profligate wealth for its own sake indicates a heart of greed and likely false teaching to match.

The words disobedient, undisciplined, and ungodly are words that are often mentioned in verses with discernment.

For example, 2 Thessalonians 3:6 advises us to keep away from those who are living an undisciplined life. The word in this verse means unruly and insubordinate to God’s word. You do not want to follow a teacher whose teaching you like but lives as a mouthy, argumentative, divorced adulteress, now, do you? If a female teacher (or male) initiates a divorce without cause, can you believe the rest of what they teach, since they are already rejecting the verses about God’s standard for marriage? No. If they reject one part of the Bible, they are likely to reject other parts, and teach it so.

Finally, 1 Timothy 4:16 warns all of us to watch our life and doctrine closely. Not just doctrine, but how we live too.

Conclusion

So those are some ideas about discernment. I hope they are helpful in prompting you (and me too) to always treat discernment with respect, and to practice it. Seeing Jesus clearly is the goal of life, we cannot see him clearly and bring Him his due glory if we are looking at Him with mud on our binoculars. Pure doctrine helps us see him more clearly than false doctrine can.

Posted in theology

Discernment lesson, What is it, why do we need it? Part 1

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

On February 2 I was interviewed by two wonderful ladies of the faith, Amy Spreeman and Michelle Lesley. Their podcast is called A Word Fitly Spoken, a great title for a podcast!

The result of the podcast is here, it was broadcast already and I’m humbled by the opportunity to speak of Jesus, doctrine, and discernment as our wide ranging conversation went.

Their website for the podcast is here, where you can catch ALL their podcasts! I recommend the podcast and also their individual efforts in the faith, Michelle’s website Michelle Lesley- Discipleship for Christian Women and Amy’s at Berean Research and Naomi’s Table Bible Studies for Women. You can also check out her archives from earlier work at aspreeman.com.

When I was preparing for the interview, I made notes. I wanted to post those (I’ve gained Amy’s permission) and flesh the concepts out a bit. This is that post.

The Holy Spirit dispenses gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11) and it is my settled conviction He has given me a gift of discernment. I strive to employ this gift for the edification of the saints in my life and also online. Why? We are to use the gifts He dispenses for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7).

Let’s start with a quote from A.W. Tozer, who said,

“Among the gifts of the Spirit scarcely one is of greater practical usefulness than the gift of discernment. This gift should be highly valued and frankly sought as being almost indispensable in these critical times. This gift will enable us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat and to divide the manifestations of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit.”


What is Discernment?

Discern is from the Greek word diakrino. It means to separate thoroughly. Defined, it means,

The sound judgment which makes possible the distinguishing of good from evil, and the recognition of God’s right ways for his people. It is necessary for the understanding of spiritual realities and, on a practical level, for right government and the avoidance of life’s pitfalls.

Tool for Topical Studies. Martin Manser.

Types of Discernment

There’s the type of discernment every Christian should train up in, as this verse reminds us: But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Then there’s discernment as a special gift of the spirit, above and beyond the training one receives as a Christian without that gift, as this verse states, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:10)


General Discernment verses:

The Bible is strong on discernment. It is important. Every book of the New Testament except Philemon warns about the dangers of false teachers and the potential destruction of the faith of a Christian who allows false doctrine into their life. It’s important. Discernment is not an extra. It is not negotiable. It is one of the most important skills any Christian can train up in.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:6-10)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

Focus on this verse for a moment, don’t let it slide by:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Only the sure word transforms the mind. False doctrine does not transform the mind. When you deliberately ingest false doctrine, for every gain you make in your forward walk, you go backward two steps. Strive with all energy to stay in the pure word and don’t allow it to be polluted with lies from false teachers. You can read a short treatment on this thought here.


Why else did God give us discernment?

God gave His word to us for two reasons: In addition to revealing Himself, it’s to show us the way to salvation and to tell us how to live post-salvation. God has standards for holiness, worshipful living, morals, etc., and if we are to worship Him properly, we need to know who He is and what He expects. I always go to the verse in Acts 1:11,

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. [bold added]

We must worship this same Jesus as the one who had been revealed to us in the Bible. Not the liberal Jesus, not the boyfriend Jesus, not the woke Jesus, but this same Jesus. False teachers work hard to skew our vision of who Jesus is. How do we know if we are being fed a different Jesus? Discernment. What a tragedy it would be to get to heaven only to discover that you’d been worshiping, praying to, and learning about a different Jesus all along!

If you desired a job with, say, Coca Cola, a good job seeker learns as much as she can about the company so when you go into an interview you can demonstrate your interest and loyalty by sharing what you know about Coke. But if you’d instead listened to someone else tell about Coke and never checked their facts, and never read a Coca Cola annual report yourself, and in the interview you discover all the facts you proudly shared was from the company Pepsi- its competitor! Would you get the job? No!

How much more is learning about Jesus important?

Proper Discernment is not Judging nor is it Criticalness

Let’s separate discernment from “being critical.” We can use the word discern for the judgment that God encourages, and criticize for inappropriate judgments. And God DOES enocourage good judgment:

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. John 7:24

Discerning is not judging unto condemnation. Discerning is judging (evaluating, deciding, determining) whether a teaching aligns with the Bible.

You discern all day long, in other words, evaluate. You discern that the tuna sandwich in the break room cafeteria looks little ragged and choose to eat the ham sandwich instead. You interview two candidates for a job and discern which to choose. You discern which rental application to accept. You sift through information all day and make choices as to which is good and which is not so good and you pick one.

How much more important is discerning which teaching to accept and which is not so good? These are the words of the King of the Universe, the Ancient of Days, the Sustainer of Worlds we’re talking about. Holy God!

Pure teaching is holy, false teaching is profane. False teaching will always have good teaching laced within it. It’s like a fake M&M. There’s candy coating on the outside to make it look attractive, but a worm on the inside to poison you. But you can discern a real M&M from a fake one. The candy coating isn’t as bright. The ‘M’ is not a capital. The Ampersand is crooked. You discern.

Paul even likened false teachings to gangrene, a disease that rots flesh by cutting off blood supply. (2 Timothy 2:17). It is incumbent on all of us to be able to spot the symptoms of a disease of false teaching before it spreads- for others’ health and our own. Most importantly for the name of Jesus Christ

Discernment is ultimately about Jesus.

Part 2 tomorrow!

Posted in theology

Can we eat the meat and spit out the bones?

By Elizabeth Prata

The Bible says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2).

Only the pure word of God transforms the mind. Strive to keep your doctrine as pure as possible. If you are of the ‘eat the meat and spit out the bones’ type, please know that for every ‘bone’ you ingest you make your forward walk move backward. Bones are not pure. They do not help your mind transform. They pollute your soul.

Think of it this way.

Continue reading “Can we eat the meat and spit out the bones?”
Posted in theology

Discerning Joyce Meyer: reply to commenter

Elizabeth Prata

When I make dogmatic comments on various social media about this or that person being a false teacher, invariably I receive push-back. It usually consists of one of two opinions- either they use ad hominem to accuse me of being critical, judgmental, or otherwise something negative. Or, they say they had a positive experience following the teacher and due to the experience they had, it proves the teacher is true. A sort of ‘I know s/he isn’t false, because s/he helped me!’

Either type of comment displaying zeal without wisdom also usually include some old chestnuts recycled from undiscerning person to undiscerning person. They include, Judge not, don’t touch God’s anointed, did you go to her … and so on.

I say zeal without wisdom and undiscerning, because these commenters know just enough of what is in the Bible but not at all what it means.

Continue reading “Discerning Joyce Meyer: reply to commenter”
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Why I am grateful for apostasy

By Elizabeth Prata

If you listen to old time radio pastors from the 1930s through 1950s and later, each one at some point, has said that this generation of church-going Christians or this era of Christianity is going downhill. Charles Spurgeon famously published an anonymous article actually written by his friend Robert Shindler (with input from Spurgeon himself) addressing a visible downgrade in an 1887 issue of his magazine, Sword and Trowel. That article, and its follow up, famously brought the “Down-grade controversy” to the public’s attention.

A hundred and fifty years before Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards wrote about the devil’s triumph in squelching a religious revival in New England and a lack of religious affections that had become evident in the people.

We can trace the genealogy of apostasy back to Genesis 6, or to Genesis 3. So is it anything new to say that this generation of church-going Christians are weak or falling away, that visible Christianity itself is downgrading itself in a compounding manner, faster and faster as we go? No.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1)

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