© 1998 by John Green
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“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed…” — Noah Webster of Pennsylvania An Examination of The Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, Philadelphia, 1787 “[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually.” – George Mason of Virginia: Virginia’s U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788.
As history has shown, it is a common tactic for the oppressing force to gain control of a nation by seizing the means by which individuals might defend themselves. Once the citizenry are disarmed, it is a relatively easy matter to exert complete tyrannical control. It seems to me that the same principal holds true in the spiritual realm. Those who would remove the defensive weapon of discernment are binding the hands of the Church. They are preparing God’s people for the slaughter. Why are they doing this? Why would they want to expose millions to the myriad deceptions of the enemy with no protection. Why do they take away what the Father has given? The Church is becoming a slaughterhouse slick with the spilled blood of saints who have been seduced by false teachers. The faithful plod forward to the killing floor, their trusting eyes fixed on their leaders. Error and deception runs rampant. Charlatans rule the bestseller list. Pseudo-knowledge is dispersed around the world, speeding through electrical synapses. Make no mistake. It is a battle, and much is at stake. The New Testament is replete with warnings of false teachers and teachings, of lying signs and wonders, and of corrupt men who would seek to draw followers after themselves. God has not left His people defenseless. He has indwelt us with His Spirit of Truth, provided us with the example of Christ, His teachings, the teachings of the apostles, and all the other writings found in the Bible. There is a gift of the discerning of spirits given to some, but more importantly, there the ability to test all things and to be discerning, which is the responsibility of all believers. If the believer is to be armed against the deceptions of the enemy, and to remain free from his oppressive regime, then he must exercise discernment with continual vigilance. If this defensive weapon is seized and taken from you, then you are easy prey for any who would desire to take you captive. Because of these things, it is very disturbing to me to observe a trend in the Body of Christ today. This trend is to scorn and belittle those who would exercise their God-given self-defense weapon of discernment. Those who would obey scripture and “test all things” are mocked and ridiculed from the pulpit, and labeled ‘Pharisees.’ It seems that the Church has fallen prey to the pluralistic, non-judgmental mindset of our present age. The one unpardonable sin is to question someone’s belief, or dare to say that it might be wrong. These new leaders demand you climb on the bandwagon, and if you cannot agree, then you must remain silent at all costs. They call for us to experience now, and evaluate later. Adam and Eve had no experiential knowledge of good and evil. The Serpent called their attention to the attractiveness and desirability of the fruit, and enticed them to experience for themselves. In their later evaluation, they knew that they had been wrong to ignore what God had said on the matter, but by then the damage had been done. Let us examine the logic (or lack of it) behind what some of these leaders are saying:
“You have to experience it yourself before you judge it.” This is pure nonsense. It is the method the Mormons use to get people hooked in (pray about the Book of Mormon and see if you get a ‘burning in your bosom’). You don’t have to experience suicide to know that it is bad for you. Christians are never commanded to authenticate a questionable spiritual experience by submitting themselves to it.
“If you don’t jump in the River, then you may miss out on the move of God.” If you don’t exercise your duty to test everything and hold on to what is good, then you may be deceived. God is not in a hurry. If you are walking with Him, seeking to please Him, then He will guide you into all He desires for you. Just because someone proclaims something is a move of God, doesn’t make it so. Beware of the salesman who pushes you to make a decision on the spot. He may have something to hide.
“God offends the mind to reveal the heart.”I don’t know what this is, but it is not Scripture. It is true that God’s ways may be offensive to human wisdom. Often though, this quote is used to say that if you are offended by something going on in the Church, then your heart isn’t right. The real issue is, are you offended because what is going on is unscriptural? If so, then stand fast.
“Don’t oppose what is going on, in case it turns out to be a move of God.” This is the argument used by Gamaliel in Acts chapter 5. Although this argument worked in favor of the apostles, it must be pointed out that Gamaliel was a Pharisee making a pragmatic argument. His was not a directive from the Lord on how believers should conduct their discernment. If something is not from God, ultimately, it is true that it will not succeed. In the time that it takes for a false movement to runs its course however, many lives will be damaged, and many souls deceived and damned. Look at the phenomenal growth and apparent success of Mormonism. Christians rightly oppose Mormonism on a basis that it twists and deviates from Scripture. Things which occur within Christianity should receive no less scrutiny. Or consider the works of Satan. We know that he will not succeed, but we certainly do not sit back and allow him to do his work unhindered. When souls are at stake, we cannot afford to sit back and do nothing.
“Don’t you want more of God in your life?”This is a sneaky one. Of course, any sincere Christian realizes that they need to grow closer to God, and they desire to do so. This should not lead us to embrace everything that comes down the pike however. Part of growing closer to God includes obeying His commands to test and be discerning. The desperation of some Christians reminds me of King Saul turning to the witch of Endor. He wanted an answer at any price. The price he ended up paying was his own destruction. Look for yourself. See how many times the New Testament references false teachers, false teaching. Using your concordance, look up the commands to discern and test, to not be deceived. Shake off the chains of those who would seek to bind you. Exercise your “Right to bear arms” as a believer.
The healthy soul, like the healthy blood system, has it’s proper proportion of white and red blood cells. The red corpuscles are like faith: they carry the life giving oxygen to every part of the body. The white cells are like discernment: they pounce upon dead and toxic matter and carry it out to the drain. In the healthy heart there must be provision for keeping dead and poisonous matter out of the life stream. A.W. Tozer