Discernment

Discernment in 2021: Biblical Principles for Selecting Sources

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Where should discerning Christians get their information? Whom should we “trust”?

Arguably, Christians shouldn’t “trust” sources at all, other than the Bible. We should consult sources on different sides of an issue and always engage our critical thinking skills. But there’s a reality we have to grapple with: nobody has enough time to personally research every important topic. Even if we were never lazy, we’d end up with favorite information conduits we draw from on a regular basis.

We had better choose well.

The sources we consult regularly become our leaders and teachers to some degree, and we’ll tend to be like them.

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:39–40)

What we listen to, watch, or read on a regular basis influences our attitudes, assumptions, and biases.

Bad company corrupts good morals. (1 Cor 15:33)

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Discernment in 2021: It's Probably Harder Than You Think

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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.

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Eric Metaxas Is Being Sued for Spreading Dominion Voting Fraud Claims

"The lawsuit... names as defendants the Donald J. Trump for President campaign, Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, and conservative media outlets and personalities including One America News Network (OAN), Chanel Rion, Michelle Malkin, and Metaxas." - C.Leaders

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How to Lead Your Church in a Truth-Averse Culture

"I’ve found the most effect by engaging in a personal way. If we build up friendship capital, we can draw on that to ask questions of the conspiracy obsessed. We can pose questions like: Should we be focusing on this? Is this an important focus for a Christian? How does this impact our Christian witness? I’ve even shared with a few friends: I think you’ve gotten a little too deep here. I’m worried about you. You’re scaring me a bit here." - Dan Darling

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Survey: More than a quarter of white evangelicals believe core QAnon conspiracy theory

"There was also significant support among white evangelicals for the claim that members of antifa, or anti-fascist activists, were ‘mostly responsible’ for the attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the survey conducted by the conservative American Enterprise Institute." - RNS

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“I lived in an alternate universe during 1972 and 1973, so I know ideological addiction.”

"My Communist Party addiction lasted only 16 months, but even then I needed God’s merciful intervention to leave that drug behind. Others, though, may be able to regain a grip on reality by popping their right-wing-media-only or left-wing-media-only bubbles. One way to do this is by deliberately developing a Twitter stream that includes both liberals and conservatives." - Olasky

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