In chapter 2, the author brought out reasons "why discernment is a particularly difficult skill to exercise in our day and our culture." Here are thoughts that stood out to me:
- He said many Christians wish they could live in a "bubble" that would protect them from false teaching. I think he is right- we want something easy that will take the difficulty, the WORK out of things. It is easier to just follow someone else's rules rather than digging into the Bible and seeing what God says on an issue.
- If discernment were just an intellectual exercise, it would be easier. However, he brought out that division naturally follows discernment. Often that division will put us at odds with other people. I was reminded that working to be discerning means that not everyone will agree with/be pleased with my decisions.
- When an author mentions The Lord of the Rings series, he gets points in my book. When an author mentions The Chronicles of Narnia series, he gets points in my book. When an author references both in the same chapter, I am definitely on his bandwagon!!
- He used the Jehovah's Witnesses translation of John 1:1 to talk about how Satan can use little things to deceive. He said, "It is the difference between beautiful truth and gross error." In my mind, beautiful truth is at one end of the spectrum and gross error is on the other end. His statement made me rethink and I realized that just a slight deviation from the truth can be gross error. By it being "close" to truth, it seems harmless. By being something other than truth, it is very dangerous!
-He gave four cultural hinderances to discernment: secular worldview, low view of Scripture, low view of Theology, and low view of God. To me, they tie into each other so much. For example: if a person has a high view of Scripture, it will change his worldview, his view of theology, and his view of God!
- He said that the worldview around us "refuses to delineate an antithesis between good and evil." I am willing to go a step farther. The secular worldview in many instances call good evil and evil good.
- In thinking about the section on worldview, I thought again about how easy it is just to go with the flow. Unless we are consciously seeking God, we will naturally adapt the thinking of the people around us. May God help us to see where we have assimilated the world's thinking and to think Biblically! (I guess I'm saying, may God give us discernment!)
- In regards to people's view of Scripture, it seems he was describing a type of dichotomy that exists. We reverence the Bible in regards to theological concepts, but we essentially deny its sufficiency for practical lives. We don't allow God's Word to affect us where the rubber meets the road.
- "Theology is increasingly portrayed as the realm of fundamentalists- dangerous adherents to Christianity whose fanaticism makes others suspicious and distrustful." This is completely off his point, but stay with me. I don't know if you guys would classify yourselves as fundamentalists, but I think most evangelicals would put us in that category (whether we want to be or not). It is sad to me how we are viewed, but I realize there have been enough problems in our type of groups that the individuals (us) are judged by the perception of the group. We can't change the whole perception of a group, but may we do our part!
- One thing I disagreed with how it was stated: "We cannot have right theology if we are not systematic." I agree that studying theology systematically helps us to thoroughly examine each topic and the relationships between topics. However, I think a person can have a correct theology without necessarily studying it "systematically."
- "God's holiness lies at the very heart of the need for discernment." If my view of God is low, I see less of a difference between Him and me, and therefore less of a problem with the wrong in my life. I appreciated his connecting discernment and God's holiness.
I've had my say, what say you?
Discussion on Chapter 1
Discussion on Chapter 3