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Telling The Real From The Fake
In an article entitled How To Discern, Test & Judge Rightly, website developer Sandy Simpson highlighted the disturbing lack of discernment among many Christians today.
He highlighted several dubious methods of so-called discernment being used, including -
• Experiences and physical manifestations that are labelled 'spiritual'
• Feelings, emotions & the atmosphere in a meeting
• Numbers of people claiming to be saved
• The size of a church or movement
• Signs & wonders, purported miracles (real or imagined)
• Subjective testimonies of dramatic experiences
• The apparent 'sucess' or wealth of a teacher/evangelist
• The apparent authority or performance of a speaker
The Meaning Of Discernment
The Greek verb diakrino means to distinguish the difference between two or more things - for example, between the guilt or innocence of a defendant in a court case; diagnosing between different possible medical conditions a patient may be suffering from in medicine.
In the Bible "discernment" is used to mean the ability to distinguish between good and evil; biblical truth and doctrinal error; and the influence of the Holy Spirit vs the influence of a demonic spirit. It involves the ideas of distinguishing between -
• two groups of people ACTS 15:9
• two kinds of wisdom JAMES 3:13-17
• good and evil HEBREWS 5:14
• different types of spirits 1 CORINTHIANS 12:10