Showing posts with label Discernment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discernment. Show all posts

Friday, March 01, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Making Merchandise

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

As long as there has been a people of God in the world, there have been those who looked to take advantage of them. The Israelites had their false prophets, and Peter warns the young church to expect their share of false teachers. He says, as the translators of the King James Version so eloquently put it, “Through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.”

Tom: But of course the trick is always identifying such people, isn’t it, Immanuel Can? I mean, what does that look like in the real world?

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Seconding an Unpopular Opinion

In internet parlance, an “echo chamber” is a sociological phenomenon produced by the algorithms on major websites that respond to our choices of viewing material with suggestions for other options.

Because web designers want users to ingest their content, read their advertising and buy the stuff they are flogging, anything we look at regularly online generates multiple opportunities to do more of the same and fewer and fewer invitations to do anything different. Amazon does it. Google does it. YouTube does it. Your favorite news website probably does it. Everybody does it.

Sometimes it’s merely irritating. Sometimes it’s downright funny. But you must have noticed it.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

A Nation of Useful Idiots

This isn’t going to be a nice post. It’s going to be rude, pointed and blunt. It’s definitely going to offend a lot of people … maybe as many as half of our readers. But that’s also one difference we at Coming Untrue have long prized in comparison to some other, more diplomatic sites: we’re not going to back down on principle in order to stroke an audience.

If political correctness and flattery are what you like, you’d maybe better move on now.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Testing the Spirits

The biblical injunction to test the spirit behind a religious teacher or doctrine requires more of us than merely weighing the worth of a teaching by its popularity. Nor should we allow the smile, charisma or demeanor of the one presenting a message to influence our judgment.

In the apostle John’s three letters, the word “Spirit” shows how believers are equipped to detect unseen and intangible forces, even though they are more accustomed to living by what they see and feel.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Judgment and Discernment

Christ’s followers are forbidden to judge. He warned them against it, saying if they did they must expect the same measure would be used with reference to themselves. He then exposed the hypocrisy involved in professing concern about a speck in another person’s eye while ignoring the plank in our own.

I have a dear friend who I have every reason to believe is a devoted follower of Christ. Discussions with Rick have sometimes touched on the danger he believes is involved in coming to conclusions about other people, as to whether they are truly saved, merely church-goers, backsliders, adherents of a cult or whatever other pigeonhole we decide to place them in.

Rick thinks this too judgmental.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Common Sense and Spiritual Discernment

Moments before taking my daily stroll through what turned out this morning to be a dark, rainy neighborhood, I happened to come across a question on social media about the relationship of spiritual discernment to common sense.

The writer got me thinking. Obviously both are means by which human beings gain competence in navigating the world, but they are quite different from one another, though common sense and spiritual discernment may occasionally lead us to similar conclusions.

The distinctions may become clearer if we add a third factor to the mix. For the sake of brevity, let’s just refer to this third thing as knowledge, but what I mean by knowledge in this context is information received second-hand, whether from books, media or other people.

The natural man has common sense, the learned man adds to it knowledge, but only the regenerate man has spiritual discernment.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Anonymous Asks (86)

“How can I become more spiritually discerning?”

Great question. Discernment is something to which every Christian should aspire. Maybe the wisdom of Solomon is not a realistic goal, but each one of us can get better at making clear distinctions between things that please the Lord and things that don’t.

Let me suggest five ways we can start moving in that direction.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: Making Merchandise

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Between Prissiness and Profanity

I’m never sure how sorry we should feel for Esau.

I’m not troubled by the way he lost his birthright by trading it to his brother for a bowl of lentils. That one’s all on him. Jacob was a savvy deal-maker to be sure, but there was nothing sneaky about that particular arrangement. The problem was Esau’s: he failed to value something very valuable indeed. He despised his birthright. That’s just not very bright, and certainly not very spiritual.

The stolen blessing was another story. That involved some serious connivance, misdirection and outright lying. Esau had every right to be furious.

The problem was that he was furious about the wrong thing.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

On the Mount (23)

I like to think of wisdom as applied reality: taking one’s knowledge of the actual nature of things and working that knowledge through in a very practical way in the circumstances of life.

That sort of discernment is pictured for us metaphorically in scripture. It is not that the Lord Jesus came so that men and women might pay lip service to a particular series of moral data points, but that we might make use of those facts to act in our own best interests, in the best interests of others, and ultimately and most importantly, in accordance with the will of God.

The metaphor the Lord uses to describe applied reality is light: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Being able to see where we are going is exceedingly practical, and has tremendous value.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Yes, They Both Start With ‘D’

It occurs to me that — very occasionally, of course — I may have been the tiniest bit more dismissive of other believers than I ought.

Christian X’s wife runs the show, my youthful self noted. Scratch him from my list of potential spiritual advisors. Christian W has three kids who are off the rails, IMHO. Or at least they’re not very friendly in youth group. Christian Y’s car is awfully expensive: obviously too worldly. And Christian Z? Sure, he and his new wife use that cottage for the Lord, but wouldn’t that money be better invested in missions? Not to mention that divorce. Can you even be saved and do that?

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Beyond Baseline Obedience

The specs for the Ark are so clear
even Hasbro made a model of it.
Words on paper are rarely enough.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with the written word. I wouldn’t be blogging daily if I thought written communication isn’t effective and meaningful. It’s a tremendous blessing, and one for which we should always be thankful.

Still, when the original communicator is no longer on the scene, the limitations of words alone start to become evident.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Stray Thoughts from Romans 14

I’m struck by my own tendency to read into the text of scripture my current circumstances and the modes of thought that dominate the age in which we live.

It’s a bad habit, but also a hard one to break.

Two weeks ago in Too Hot to Handle, Immanuel Can and I explored the meaning of the word “judge”, as in “judge not lest you be judged”. We did not get into Romans 14, but the entire chapter is about judging and worthy of a few extra moments of consideration.

I’d suggest you cannot properly interpret Romans 14 without trying at least a little to understand the mindset of Jews and Gentiles in the early church and the differences between them.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: Making Merchandise

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Christianity and Racism

A more current version of this post is available here.