Seven Steps to Better Discernment

I really enjoy operating this site. The other day two false teachers God’s Word exposed were moaning about my site (without the courage to name me) on one of theirs like two puppies who were scolded for peeing on the carpet. They accuse me (and others like me) of “dishonoring God’s work” by holding their “biblical teachings” up to the light of the Word of God. How dare we read our bibles for ourselves to see if their teachings are Scriptural! Today I would like to demonstrate 7 steps to better discernment (I’m sure there are others and feel free to add them in the comments section!) 

 

1). Try it    (1John 4:1)        

Don’t take anyone’s word for it; not even mine. John says to put every spirit to the test. The sheep don’t do this which is why they get devoured. Watch the reactions of people who come here defending the wolves. Clearly they don’t read their bibles and it shows in their comments.  When someone like Larry Huch says he’s “the only begotten son of God” open up your bible and find out if he is correct.

 

2). Rightly judge it (Luke 12:57)

Whenever I examine one of the wolves, I examine my own life first. If I’m doing the same things the wolves are doing, then I have no right to judge their actions. If my motives are ungodly then I have no business cleaning out their house until I clean my own. Operating this site has taught me this and by examining others I’ve grown by examining myself first.

 

3). Discern it (Romans 16:19)

Many times the wolves are easy to spot…sometimes they aren’t. They do teach some truth…and this is how they catch the sheep off guard. The wolves know people don’t read their bibles like they should and for this reason alone they fleece the sheep in the manner they do. Rat poison is 98% harmless but the effects are the same. Studying the bible daily will strengthen your discernment skills and help you to detect the poison they’ve mixed in with the sugar.

 

4). Test it (1Thessalonians 5:21)

Just because you hear something that doesn’t sound quite right doesn’t mean it’s wrong or the teacher is in error. When someone is claiming to speak for God, take what he or she says and test it according to the Word of God. If the “new revelation” doesn’t line up with what God said and did in the past….then it isn’t from God. If what your pastor or teacher is teaching is contradicts God’s Word….head for the exits and don’t look back.

 

5). Examine it (Revelation 2:2)

Are there prophets and apostles today? The offices of Prophet and Apostle have ceased (Ephesians 2:20) so anyone making such a claim is either highly confused….or is lying. What they teach will indicate whether the person is delusional or a liar. I have never witnessed anyone claiming to be an Apostle or Prophet who taught sound doctrine…..other then the Apostles and Prophets found in my bible. The church at Ephesus was commended for not tolerating the false…and so will you if you refuse to tolerate evil works from evildoers.

 

6). Judge it (1Corinthians 2:15)

Here’s where Spiritual Warfare comes into the mix. The battle between the carnal and the spiritual has been waged from the beginning…and will until the end. Most of what’s taught today is carnal….it places the created (you) above the creator (God). If what you hear appeals to your flesh….it is of Satan….run as fast as you can! You are being led right into the ditch.

 

7) Prove it (Ephesians 5:10)

What pleases the Lord; Those who love and obey His Son. Those who teach that Jesus was wealthy, or Jesus died so you could be wealthy and healthy don’t love Jesus. Those who claim to be “the only begotten son of God” don’t love Jesus. Those who claim that Jesus suffered in hell for your sins don’t love Jesus. If your teacher spends more time talking about the blessings of the here and now rather then the hereafter….it can’t be pleasing to God. If you are sitting under a flesh based ministry that isn’t pleasing to God you need to leave IMMEDIATELY.

 

It doesn’t matter if it’s Paula White or someone sitting behind a keyboard in their pajamas; false teaching needs to be refuted and this site is here for the just that reason. I’ve spent the last15 years or so in careful and honest study and have realized that most of what passes for “Christian” today is carnal and fleshly which directly contradicts God’s Word….and like the church at Ephesus I have refused to tolerate it.

 

These 7 steps helped to pull me out of the ditch I had allowed myself to fall into. I used to believe and teach the very same things you see exposed on this site…and it took some Godly men and God’s Word for me to see my error and to repent from it. I hope these steps will help you to do the same.

 

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14 thoughts on “Seven Steps to Better Discernment

  1. Preach it, Phil, preach it!

    Keep doing this great work exposing the falsehoods and warning others to learn to discern!

    God bless, and Shalom.

  2. Search the Scriptures Daily-

    Be a Berean and don’t accept any one’s word for it but search the Scriptures daily to see if the teaching lines up to the word of God (Acts 17:11).

  3. Don’t Purchase it.
    God’s word is not for sale, but most TV evangelist would have you think that God’s forwarding address is posted on their TV screen. We know the story of Simon in Acts 8:9-24, unfortunately that story is repeated daily on our TV channels. God however sees it this way.

    1cor 9:18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

    2cor 2:17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

    cryloud.com

    Tit 1:11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

    1Cor 10:33 Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.

    2Co 7:2 Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one.

    2Co 7:2 Let your hearts be open to us: we have done no man wrong, no man has been damaged by us, we have made no profit out of any man,

  4. These steps pretty sum it up. By following those, I believe error will be on d spotlight and easy to discern by those that really want to.

    One of the things I did back then was to discard all d wrong teachings I had believed. Of course, I didn’t know if some were wrong then because I hadn’t checked them out. All the same I dropped them because they were teachings of the WOF movement and I believed I would be better off without them.

    I had just discovered papa Hagin to be a big fat liar and one of the major perpetrator of false doctrines. My, I loved and respected him so much not to talk of T.D Jakes, Juanita Bynum, Crefflor Dollar, Copeland and co. It wasn’t an easy course because I realised how foolish I was believing those criminals.

    Immediately I decided to let go of their erroneous teachings, I started seeing things clearly with a biblical perspectve. And since then, anything that does not line up with God’s word I discard.

    So, a point I would like to suggest is that, if you are just coming out of the WOF movement, please discard all their teachings and start studying God’s word afresh. Thanks.

  5. Hi Phil,

    What wonderful advice for every Christian. So many don’t understand that THEY should be able to back up every position they hold with scripture. When asked to give account, then they should be able to open their Bible and make their case. I worry a lot about those who profess Christianity but when asked a Biblical question – respond with “you need to ask my pastor”.

    I use the 7 steps you have outlined here and they have served me for good. I’m sure there are some here who will benefit from seeing this and be encouraged to study things out for themselves.

    This reminds me of a college baseball coach I knew who asked his players if practice made perfect….the correct answer was no because practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect. 🙂

  6. Excellent steps for discernment! Thanks much for publishing them. A couple of additional thoughts:

    Read complete books and sections of the Bible to firmly ground yourself in correct doctrine. If you flip around too much you can end up taking Scripture out of context, which often results in an incorrect understanding.

    Pray, pray, pray without ceasing. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand difficult passages. Meditate on the Scripture and God will reveal Himself to you.

    Thanks again for your steps to discernment, and for your ministry. How sad that more Christians don’t feast on God’s Word daily so they too could discern truth from error. God Bless you, -Brenda

  7. #8 If your church leader pushes their books, tapes, CDs, DVDs and clothing line more than the word of God, they are salemen.

  8. 9. Is money involved?

    There is no scriptural reason for salaried ministers. You cannot serve God and money. Money in the church corrupts the message and the messenger. God does not need you money to do his work and there is no scriptural evidence of someone anointed to collect money for God. Whew! Now that I have said that, good article.

  9. Seven (7) ways to make one (1) or two (2) points.
    Brilliant isn’t it?

    But we get your point.

    Thanks

  10. Hi Phil!! I recently wrote a bit on the same subject from a different set of Scriptures. I decided to stick exclusively to 2 Peter 2 for use when you run across someone who needs the Biblical perspective on identifying false teachers because this chapter eliminates the necessity of jumping across the Bible and losing the person’s attention.

    This single chapter delivers all the Biblical criteria for making a sound assessment of a teacher in one handy package. It’s a bit long for a post, so please don’t feel the need to publish it. I just thought I would share it with you, as I will also be making use of your excellent points.

    2 Peter2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them (Greek;1) to disregard Christ’s interests 2) act entirely unlike Christ)
    , and bring on themselves swift destruction.
    2 And many will follow their destructive ways (As opposed to the few who find the narrow gate), because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.(False teachers cause the world to blaspheme the Gospel)
    3 By covetousness (Greek; greedy desire to have more) they will exploit you with deceptive words (Gr;to use a person or a thing for gain); for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
    4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
    5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
    6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;
    7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked
    8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)–
    9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
    (Here is the precious promise that God will separate those who belong to Him from the false teachers. He does this by the revelation of Truth and the proclamation of the Word. For those who have been delivered from false teaching here or elsewhere, this is an evidence that you are of God, and for that reason He delivered you from false teachers.)
    10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness (Gr; defiling lusts of any kind, especially sexual or material) and despise authority (They hate all authority and refuse to set themselves under the authorities God has ordained. They hold themselves accountable to no man or authoritative body as Scripture demands).They are presumptuous, self-willed (Gr;Daring in their pursuit of pleasure). They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries (that which God exalts),
    11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
    12 But these, like natural brute beasts (Gr; like animals with whom no one can reason) made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand (teach false doctrine about subjects of which they have no knowledge, implying both lack of the Spirit and education), and will utterly perish in their own corruption,
    13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness (Just as discussed earlier, those who support them will also share in their rewards of unrighteousness), as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime (They are proud and happy to display openly that which they gain by their false teaching). They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you,
    14 having eyes full of adultery (They lust for that which their eyes can see rather than what lies beyond this world) and that cannot cease from sin (Gr; Cannot be MADE to cease from sin), enticing unstable souls (Gr;Laying traps for those not firmly established in Truth). They have a heart trained (Gr;Through constant exercise) in covetous practices (Gr; the greedy desire to always have more), and are accursed children.
    15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam (Who loved money so much he was willing to harm God’s people to get it,like these false teachers of today) the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
    16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
    17 These are wells without water (A dry well hold out a promise of water that it cannot deliver,like these false teachers hold out promises of wealth and healing they cannot deliver), clouds carried by a tempest (Again, clouds in a tempest promise rain, but these clouds deliver none.), for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (Rather than dwelling with God Who lives in pure light).
    18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness (Gr; Overswollen exaggerated words that deliver nothing), they allure through the lusts of the flesh (Gr; they lay their traps IN the lusts of the flesh…..using the very desire of fleshly things already in those who hear them to trap them), through lewdness (Gr; great lusts), the ones who have actually escaped (Gr; barely escaped…….those unlearned and improperly taught are their targets) from those who live in error.
    19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption (Gr; Those unable to escape immorality) ; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
    20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
    21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
    22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

    This is the reward Peter describes for not only the false teachers, but for those who support them financially or even by word (2 Jn 1:9-11). I hope we can all begin to look carefully at those whom we support, and compare what we know of them, their lifestyles, their doctrines, and their actions with what Peter provides us above.

    God has given us an explicit means of identifying false teachers by the characteristics recorded in the Word. Here they are laid out for us.

    1)Disregard Christ’s interests and act contrary to how He acted.
    2)Cause the Truth to be blasphemed among the world
    3)Greedy to always have more, and willing to exploit the flock to get it through deceptive words
    4)Trapped by defiling lusts of any kind, sexual financial or otherwise
    5)They refuse to submit to any authority of God or man other than themselves.
    6)Self willed, doing only what they desire
    7)Cannot be reasoned with
    8)Teach about things of which they have no understanding through lack of the Spirit and education
    9)They are proud and happy to display openly that which they gain by their false teaching
    10)They lust primarily for that which can be seen with the eyes
    11)Love worldly things so much they are willing to exploit the sheep for it
    12)Promise what they cannot deliver through exaggeration and deception
    13)They targets are those who are unlearned and untaught by appealing to the greed within those who listen to them (wealth, health,authority, etc).
    14)They are slaves to immoral behavior.

    This is the measure against which we are to judge those to whom we offer support in ANY way. May we be faithful to use the tools God has given us so that we are not found partakers of the evil of false teachers.

    Phil: Excellent work GaryV! This is why I LOVE operating this site!

  11. The last 15 years you have been trying to find the wolves among the sheep. The last 15 years the people of America have been dying without Jesus. I am now 60 years old and I have seen the discord in the body of Christ seen I was very small. the Barna group just put out a poll about young people 16-29 and the majority think evangelicals are mean and judgemental. when the disciples came to Jesus and said look at those over there they are preaching in your name and they are not of us Jesus said let them alone. You have been so into finding wolves you have not allowed the Holy Spirit of God to make more sheep. The commission was to make disciples not kill each other. When America is won for the Lord then go back to hunting wolves. 15 years of your life trying to find ways to take something away from the body of Christ instead of trying to live in harmony and unity the secular humanists have become unified and purposeful and have taken over our school. Do me a favor for the next 15 years of your life go after the secular humanists docturine and destroy that work which is of the Devil. I am so very tired of all the God ordained wolf hunters wasting money that could be spent on telling people the good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you think the Holy Spirit of God can show the average Christian the wolves in sheeps clothing. Oh well you will still go on your way but I hope I have put a dent in your thinking. We have been divided and the enemy has almost run Christians out of the United States. 15 years of asking people to come to Jesus Christ would be jewels in your crown in heaven. I havent read in the word what the rewards for finding wolves in the body of Christ could be. Come to think of it I cant think of any scripture that mentions rewards for wolf hunting. God bless your new efforts for Jesus Christ.

  12. Steven,

    Who says none of us evangelize, or go after the humanists and their work?

    You seem to think that evangilization and discernment are to be pitted against each other. That’s twice this week I’ve seen where God’s word is split in effort to make a whole.

    It’s this mindset that is destroying our Churches. Just as my physical body requires nourishment, exercise, etc., so does the Church. I can’t ignore skin cancer and allow it to flourish anymore than I can ignore false doctrine slithering into the Church.

    We are called to be like minded. That doesn’t include ignoring the portions of scripture we don’t like for the sake of unity. We all should be contending for the truth because our witness is tarnished when we have mixed messages and a mixed message places scripture in a state where integrity is questioned and then it just becomes a matter of opinion.

    I work with a lot of denominations and I do know there are men at the top of some of the organized Churches striving to come to terms with their differences so unity is declared. I applaud their efforts and support them. They are doing what we all should be doing.

    No Benedict – I’m not sacrificing the portions you don’t like in scripture for unity.

  13. Well Mr. Arnold I must disagree with you. The second and third chapter of Rev. to the seven churches, gives us a great reward if we “overcome” the error in the church. Jesus told us to love people, but he never told us to love error and those who preach it. As a matter of fact these are the last rewards offered in the bible. If we don’t overcome the errors in the church we will perish.

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