"Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between what is right and what is wrong, rather it is the difference between right and almost right." -Charles Spurgeon
Evaluate the Message: 1 Thess 5:19-23, Acts 17:11
- Does it have a high view of Scripture? Does it see Scripture as authoritative, inerrant, and sufficient? Does it add to or take away from Scripture?
- Does it have a high view of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit?
- Does it have a biblical view of man as being created in God's image but fallen and sinful?
- Does it represent the Gospel faithfully? Does it soften the claims of Christ/the Gospel to make it more palatable to modern ears?
**If you have questions about the first four questions you can look at each one of the topics in our
Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
- Does it point you to the Gospel? (John 1:11-14, 29, Col 3:2, Rom 8:5-6)
- Is it more concerned about our being cleansed from our sins and made right with God or restoring our damaged self-esteem?
- Does it rely heavily on paraphrases (the Message, the Living Bible, etc.) instead of translations (ESV, NASB, RSV, etc?)
Evaluate the Messenger: Phillippians 1:9-11
- Does its appeal lie in who wrote it or in what it teaches?
- Is the lifestyle of the teacher/promoter consistent with or contrary to Scripture? (1 Tim 3, Titus 2:3-5, 1 Tim 2:9-14, Gal 5:22-23)
- Do they present the message with reverence? (Titus 2:3, Eph 4:29, Heb 12:28-29) Or do they rely heavily on storytelling, humor, and empathy?
- Do they challenge you to examine scripture or just to feel deeply? Do you leave the teaching with hopes to grow in Christ or is their message one that makes you happy "right where you are?
Contend for the Faith: Jude 3, 2 Cor 11:3
- Is it "new?" Is it consistent with "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints? If it is new, it is probably not true
- Is it "reactionary" against historic, orthodox faith? Scornful of anything "traditional?"