Part seven of Jan Markell’s Chapter “Religionist Deceivers Rampant,” an exclusive preview of Terry James’s book “Deceivers: Exposing Evil Seducers & Their Last Days Deception.
Has Discernment Turned Ugly?
In the early 2000s, many “discernment ministries” began to spring up. They looked at the various new theologies and at some of the old theologies that were getting new life, and became their critics. How refreshing! They named names. But even they didn’t get it right 100 percent of the time. It seemed to me that in order for them to get more followers and more “likes,” they started to name off good people, calling them “heretics” and “false teachers,” even if they were very sound!
Many ministries were harmed by these people who took the call to contend for the faith very seriously, but in my opinion, they took it a step too far. I can’t count the number of times that my name and ministry were dragged through the mud. If my theology wasn’t being questioned, then those I associated with were targeted with guilt by association.
I recall inviting a popular conference speaker to address my annual conference. He would have the opportunity to address 4,000 people with his cutting-edge message. His reply to me was that he could not associate with me because a ministry leader he admired and followed insisted I was heretical because I supported a popular author. I was speechless. Yes, there is wreckage in the Church, thanks to false teachers, but now there appeared to be wreckage, thanks to people contentiously contending for the faith!
Perhaps the end-time character of mankind is simply tanking. It seems to me like love is growing cold (Matthew 24: 12), just as sound Bible teaching is disappearing. This doesn’t seem like a good combination. At the bema seat of judgment, we are not only going to be held accountable for every doctrine we abused, but also for how we abused our brothers and sisters in Christ, for slandering their good character or their reputable name. That is what makes doing what I am now—critically looking at some false streams in the church—so difficult. If I am wrong, I have spoken ill against a brother or sister. That is no better in God’s mind than the apostasy that is running amok. It grieves me that discernment has almost turned as ugly as the false teachings.