Posts Tagged ‘Berean Way’

Basic Training – Being Berean: 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture by Michelle Lesley

September 14, 2018

In the past here at Talk Wisdom, I have often mentioned the need for Christians to be “Berean” in their beliefs regarding discernment while examining the Scriptures and also when sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  My previous posts are listed at this link.

Today, I found a great blog written by a Christian woman named Michelle Lesley.  Her recent post entitled Basic Training Being Berean: 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture is one of the best I have ever found on this topic!

The post is excellent and very thorough in describing exactly why we, as Christians, need to follow the “Berean Way.” It is also a guideline on discernment when evaluating churches, the pastors that lead them, the teachings that are given at churches as well as the various teachings one may find through all of social media online.  The importance of utilizing  discernment and the “plumb line of Scripture” is that which establishes what we are to deem as truth vs. error by those who claim to be Christians.

Excerpt:

How do you know if what your pastor, you Sunday School teacher, your favorite podcast preacher, or your favorite Christian author is teaching you matches up with what the Bible actually says?

Did you know that you’re supposed to examine what you hear and read by the measuring stick of Scripture and reject anything that conflicts with it? Or do you just take for granted that if someone is a pastor, teacher, or Christian celebrity, he must know what he’s talking about, and what you’re hearing or reading must be biblical Christianity?

If you didn’t know you need to examine what you’re being taught, or you’ve always just assumed that if someone calls herself a Christian teacher what she’s saying must be biblical, sadly, you are not alone. In fact, you are in the overwhelming majority of the visible church. I’ve been a faithful church member all my life and, to this day, in the churches I’ve attended, I’ve never heard a pastor or teacher proactively preach or teach this biblical concept. I was nearly forty when I “stumbled across” the concept of being a good Berean – through a para-church ministry.

What does it mean to be a Berean, or discerning, or to “test the spirits”?

The term “Berean” comes from a little story in Acts:

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
Acts 17:10-12

“Testing the spirits” comes from 1 John 4:1:

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.

Some Christians have an extra measure of discernment – “distinguishing between spirits” – as a spiritual gift:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;…to another [is given] the ability to distinguish between spirits,
1 Corinthians 12:4,10b

But all of these passages have the same foundational concept. All Christians are to believe what rightly handled, in context Scripture teaches, and reject whatever contradicts it. Although it is the responsibility of our pastors and church leaders to teach and lead us to distinguish between true and false doctrine, we are not to depend solely on others to “do discernment” for us. We need to learn how to be good Bereans ourselves.

How do we go about that?

 

Read the rest HERE.

 

Hat tips to all links and graphic sites.

Discernment Through Christ, With Love Incorruptible

May 3, 2018

On Monday, May 2, 2018, I watched a Dr. Phil show about a young woman who was brought into a cult group known as “The Church of Wells.” Readers can see several videos about this cult at YouTube.

Here is one video describing the two-part broadcast on this cult:

I saw the second broadcast which was mostly about the tragic story of the Grove family whose daughter has been there since 2013. She tried to escape four times.

Parents:

A photo of their daughter before she was brainwashed and indoctrinated:

A photo after years with the cult:

It was truly heartbreaking and very sad to hear how desperately grieved the parents were over the mind control and indoctrination that made their daughter into a completely different person!  Apparently, she made it home one time but left and returned to the cult.  Sometimes, the mind control is so strong that it renders the victim helpless to break out of it.

The “church” building is creepy!

The “elders” are creepy!

 

 

*******

Can “love” be corrupted?  I think so.  It can be corrupted,  by unregenerate people who utilize obviously extremely wicked, heinous and vile techniques and ideas on others, as well as those who are more sneaky and subtle in their “counseling” approach.  “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong.  It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”C.H. Spurgeon

 

You might think that Christians would know to avoid such obvious examples of cult behavior and severe indoctrination techniques (i.e. secretly drugging them through water given; plus food, bathroom and sleep deprivation, and the “deep dive” mind control methods) which were used on the victims at Wells.

Perhaps.

But how about the more subtle cases of pulling someone away from their family and friends?

How?

  1.  Through mind control
  2.  Anti-biblical indoctrination techniques (often disguised as “counseling”)
  3.  Making victims think that their previously good upbringing was somehow “bad” for them.
  4.  What about the churches who steer people away from the truth of the Bible?  There are so many of them!  And, the Bible warns us that the closer we get to the end times, many who aren’t discerning about such churches will be fooled.

That is where recognition of such errors is ESSENTIAL in order to avoid heresy and to utilize the discernment Scriptures in the Bible when any individual needs to, and should, evaluate what someone with possibly subtle nefarious intentions is doing to them!

Excerpt with some good advice and a warning:

Only the spiritual man (regenerate) possesses the knowledge of God’s will….because he has the mind of Christ.  Henry calls to our attention that it is through reading the scriptures that the spiritual man receives the knowledge of His will.

Before we move on we must add a word of caution from blogger and author Tim Challies.  Speaking on discernment in “How can I increase my spiritual discernment?” he wrote:

Some have mistakenly defined spiritual discernment as a God-given awareness of evil or good spiritual presences—the ability to tell if a demon is in the room. While some people may possess this capability, it is not the biblical meaning of discernment. Spiritual discernment ultimately has to do with wisdom and the ability to distinguish truth from error.

So – how do Christians grow in spiritual discernment?  Two ways.  By allowing the Holy Spirit to be their guiding light; likewise, thorough carefully studying the Bible.

What should we do to determine if a person’s teaching is unbiblical? We are commanded to test what’s being taught. In fact, Paul urges believers to “test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Likewise, John encourages us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” How does one test a spirit?  By reading the scriptures, in context, for that’s where Truth is found. Why is “testing” so important? “For many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) False prophets/teachers distort the truth….which is why the Bible refers to them as false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing.  It’s no exaggeration to say that a large number of charlatans knowingly—and without a smidgeon of guilt–lie through their teeth. Admittedly, examining someone’s teaching is no easy task.  But nowhere in Scripture are we told that it should be left to “professionals”; it is clearly our responsibility.

We mustn’t ignore the fact that any teaching that fails to line up with what the scriptures say is not from God.  And if the Bible’s not the source of his/her teaching, most likely its source is the “spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.”  Satan’s not called the father of lies because he’s a truth teller!

Far too many Christians rely on the discernment of other believers, like those of us involved in online discernment ministries. It’s okay to learn from each other (iron sharpens iron), but again, we must do as the Bereans did – test!  Regrettably, when it comes to testing for errors, a growing number of professing Christians deserve a failing grade.

Yes!   We must do as the Bereans did – test!

FYI, In a question and answer page at the Berean website, a pingback link to TalkWisdom’s post entitled “Syncretism Stew” is at the bottom of the page.

My prayer continues that through the leading of Jesus Christ in my life that I would be corrected when needed in my writings here and most of all, be led to write Biblically accurate and discerning posts for as long as I run this blog.

I also pray, dear readers, that you each would be led towards discovering the truth within God’s Word through diligent study of the Scriptures so that each of you can earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

In Jesus,
Christine

Hat tips to all links.


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