Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment- Chapter 10

(A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)

Chapter 10: The Practice of Discernment
- I think he gave a lot of good thoughts in this final chapter, but I'll have to admit, his layout really confused me for awhile.  I finally realized (the second time through) that he was explaining a step and then relating it to the test case of self-forgiveness.  Still, it seemed like some things were out of order or that he repeated himself.  The way things were laid out just put a slight damper on the last chapter for me.  Anyone else think think the same thing?

- I read through the end of the book and looked at the study questions.  When reading through the questions for this chapter, it confused me because he asked, "What are the five steps of testing a doctrine?"  I looked back through the chapter and tried to identify which five he was specifically talking about.  I think I may have found them, but I'm still not sure.

- I'll list the actions he explained:
1. Verify: write down the statement you need to verify
2. Clarify: write down your understanding of the issue and the opposing thoughts you have come across
3. Assess the issues: ask what is at stake in the discussion
- In the testing stage he said this (going back to the currency illustration): "He can return to the standard and compare one to the other [bills].  In the same way, we can compare any teaching to the standard of Scripture and see how they compare." (Page 167)  
4. Pray
5. Asses your instinct: write down your first instinct and why you think that way
6. Asses your conscience: write down what your conscience is saying
- "Scripture is the perfect and holy standard, and it is here that we will be able to gauge whether our instinct and conscience are right."  (Page 169)
7. Search the Scriptures: make a list of relevant passages
- Loved the quote from Martin Luther: "First I shake the whole tree, that the ripest may fall.  Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf."  (Page 170-171)  May we be ever so diligent!
8. Observe the Scriptures: singularly, carefully, thoroughly, systematically, intimately; write a few words for each passage
9. Compare and Contrast: compare unclear passages to clear ones
10. Research: see what others have said about the passages
11. Summarize: write a sentence or two what each one means
12. Expand your research: look for information from other resources
13. Conclude: write down what I have concluded
14. Make a list: write down how the idea lines up from Scripture
15. Judge: write down at what point the doctrine leaves Scripture
- I thought his comment on abstaining from the appearance of evil of those things that are actually evil was said in an interesting way.  I would need to take more time to figure out why, but I thought I'd throw it out here and see if it struck you as well.
16. Hold fast: write down what you will abstain from
17. Apply: write down what you will do and what you will hold fast to
- I was convicted by the discussion of seeing truth, shrugging our shoulders, and walking away.  I am afraid I do that too often.  May the Lord help me to incorporate his truth in my life- not just my mind!

- "Some Christians immerse themselves in the philosophy, entertainment, and culture of society.  They feel such a strategy will strengthen their witness to unbelievers. . . . But the emphasis of that strategy is all wrong.  Our focus should be on knowing the truth." (Page 179, quoting MacArthur)

- Now that I've worked back through this, I really appreciate this model he has given us.  Certainly, we can tailor it to our own use, but I think he has a lot of good insight for examining a doctrine.

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapter 9
Discussion on Conclusion

1 comment:

  1. We have finished the book! In order to wrap this up, I plan to scan back over my posts and write down five things I want to take away from this book (five- no more, no less). I am not going to agonize over which five to pick, I just want to review and remember what I learned.

    If you want to do the same, I would be very interested to see what stood out to you.

    Also, be thinking about if you'd like to do this again sometime after the first of the year. I plan to, but again, the reading program was made for the preacher and not the preacher for the reading program. If you can/want to join, fine. If not, fine. Once I know who all is in for the next round, we'll discuss the next book.