And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. - Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)
Discernment plays a crucial role in the life of a believer. The key verses today speak about maturing in Christ. Some come to salvation and are content to hunker down and wait till Jesus comes but we are called to do more than that. We are called to be transformed into His image daily. To grow His church God supplied leaders. These leaders equip the saints for ministry. They build up the body of Christ until we attain the unity of the faith. What exactly is that; because so many push for a false unity based upon feelings rather than doctrine. Yet these verses clearly spell out that unity is in the knowledge of Jesus Christ to mature to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Jesus. Why is this important? So we would not be like spiritual children, tossed to and from by every wind of new doctrine. So we would discern human cunning and the craftiness of deceitful schemes. So that we can speak the truth! This is what makes the body grow up in Christ and build itself up. The purpose driven and seeker friendly church growth schemes have only focused on horizontal growth, which is the responsibility of God. They have actually sacrificed true vertical growth in Christ upon that altar. The result is an apostate church serving as an imposter with no knowledge of who Christ is and no desire to discern anything. Instead, discernment becomes secularized into "criticism" and then retranslated into pious-speak -- a critical spirit. The above link is to a new article by someone named Becky Harling. Mrs. Harling appears to be part of the machine as a "leadership coach" and is associated with John Maxwell. Let's see how she treats discernment.
"I've been reading through the gospel of Matthew in the Passion Translation in my time with Jesus each morning. It's been so life-giving to once again return to the life of Christ. One of the most profound statements Jesus made was, "Refuse to be a critic" (Matt. 7:1, The Passion Translation). Wow! If ever there was a time in history where we need that statement, it's now. Don't believe me? Watch the news. Check out social media. People seem to be screaming their opinions and criticizing those who hold different views more than ever." -- Becky Harling
From a discernment perspective we immediately can see that Becky Harling has none. How? Because she is bragging about using the Passion Bible, which is NOT a translation even though she believes it is. It is not even a true paraphrase. Instead it is a re-writing of the bible according to a set of heretical beliefs. The author superimposed his preferences upon the word of God. Matthew 7 is a perfect example:
"Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and judgment will not be passed on you. -- Matthew 7:1 (Passion Heresy)
Do we read the bible to hear what God wants to say or to confirm our unbiblical worldview? Becky is just thrilled here to say that Jesus said refuse to be a critic except Jesus said no such thing. Matthew 7 is not about being a critic, having a critical spirit, or even having bias. It is a teaching against being a hypocrite. So this nonsense about refusing to be a critic is from Becky Harling, not God. The lesson God wanted to impart was to not criticize someone for something you are struggling with as well. Take the log out of your own eye and THEN help your brother with the speck in his eye.
"Unfortunately, I fear this critical spirit has crept into us as believers. Jesus was clear and concise: Don't judge. What does that mean? Jesus was not saying don't discern between right and wrong. He gives us the Holy Spirit so that we can discern between right and wrong. What He is saying is don't write people off and don't be constantly looking for faults in others. Why? Why is it so important that we let go of a critical spirit?" -- Becky Harling
Yeah, not quite Becky. It is true that this is not Jesus saying do not discern but the notion that we cannot write off a false teacher is beyond unbiblical. It is important here to acknowledge that some people can indeed have a critical spirit and the risk is probably higher for those involved with discernment ministries. We should not be constantly looking for faults but rather be prepared to examine what is taught and test everything as the bible commands us. Becky is not trying to speak to those few people who truly have a critical spirit. Instead she has lumped anyone with any criticism into this bucket and that is designed to quell correct criticism. She now lists three reasons she claims are biblical to refuse to be a critic.
"You have enough of your own faults. Look, we can't waste our energy judging others when we have enough of our own shortcomings to worry about. Jesus put it this way, "Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else's life and yet fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own?' (Matt. 7:3, TPT). Boom! Jesus cuts right through our excuses with this one powerful question. Next time you're tempted to criticize your spouse, stop and consider your own faults. Next time you're tempted to criticize another's parenting philosophy, stop and consider the problems you're having with your own kid. Acknowledge your own blind spots and deal with those. Instead of acting as the critic, choose to act as the encourager! Seek to encourage others even if you disagree with them." -- Becky Harling'
No, Jesus did not put it that way at all! Not only is this not close to a translation but it avoids the actual translation! Jesus is not saying look at all the flaws in your life! He is saying to not have the same flaw for which we are being critical. For example, if a man is living an adulterous lifestyle, he should not be critical of someone committing adultery! Why? Because then he would be a hypocrite! We do not agree with someone teaching contrary to scripture. We do not encourage heresy. This Kumbaya Christianity is what will lead to the one world religion and millions of people standing before Christ in Matthew 7 saying, "Lord, Lord."
"You will forfeit happiness if you're constantly criticizing others. You will always be able to find fault with what others are doing, but when that becomes your focus, you forfeit happiness. Think about it. Do you know any truly happy, joy-filled people who are constantly criticizing others? The happiest people I know are those who focus on the goodness of God rather than the faults of others. The psalmist writes, "The people who love and serve God will be happy indeed" (Ps. 144:15b). Seek to live a simple life. Ask the Holy Spirit each morning, "How can I best serve Jesus today?"' -- Becky Harling
The road to hell is littered with happy souls, who think nothing of the road they are on until it is too late. That is not hyperbole beloved. I am not suggesting we have to be miserable to be saved but we at least ought to be conscious! I have dealt with the people who fancy themselves Christians who are enamored with what they perceive as the love of God. They of course are clueless about their own sin and need to repent to say nothing of being able to spot false doctrine. they just do not care. All the peace and joy we want and need is first found in sound doctrine. In being sure of what we are sure of. The verity of scripture provides immense joy for those who follow it.
"You are never more like Satan than when you're criticizing others. Revelation 12:10 describes Satan as accomplishing only one thing: He lives to accuse the followers of Jesus. Day and night, that's all he does. He criticizes and condemns. I don't want to be like Satan. I want to be like Jesus, and that means I need to be ruthless with myself when it comes to criticizing others. And so do you! Next time you're tempted to criticize someone, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the love of Christ for that individual. Friend, this was a hard blog post to write. But I fear within Christian circles we've become far too lenient with our critical spirit. It's wrong. We need to stop. Why don't you take a minute and pray this prayer with me:
"Lord Jesus, I confess that too often I have been quick to criticize others and write them off. Lord, forgive me. Teach me to love others as You do. Even those who have completely different views than I do. Today, lift my focus to Your goodness rather than the faults and shortcomings of others. May my life be a sweet offering to You!" -- Becky Harling
This is the classic shell game all false teachers play when advocating for unity over doctrine. Satan accuses the brethren. Discernment ministries expose the wolves in the pulpit. Benny Hinn is not my brother in the Lord. Joseph Prince is not our brethren. Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen and Mark Driscoll are not either. The bible says they are to be called out by name, marked, and avoided. If you truly want to be like Jesus you would call false teachers whitewashed tombs and broods of vipers. We should have the love of Christ for His sheep -- not those slaughtering them. This prayer is ridiculous. Jesus did not love false teachers. If Becky Harling's life was any kind of offering she would start by adhering to His word. Until then she is marked as a false teacher and should be avoided as such.