Read Part 1.
It seems to be everywhere these days: Christians expressing uncritical belief in random claims and conspiracy theories they’ve heard on social media, mainstream media, and right wing media. This external evidence tells us discernment is a desperate need in our churches and ministries in these times. The internal evidence of Scripture tells us that discernment is always needed—and always hard to develop.
In the context of future dangers and pressures, Jesus told His disciples they would need to be like snakes and doves at the same time (Matt. 10:16). They would need to be phronismos—prudent, shrewd, savvy. At the same time, they would need to be akeraios—pure, untainted. Here’s what He said (my translation).
Note this—I’m sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves. Be savvy like snakes and pure like doves.
It was a call to discernment. It was also a revelation of some of what we’re up against in our efforts to help others, and ourselves, grow in this area.
Why Discernment Takes Work: 3 Reasons
The reasons discernment isn’t automatic, even for mature Christians, are many. Here, we’ll consider three.