Exercising Discernment in Church Matters
September 26, 2018
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The following is from the July 2018 edition of The Pastor’s Authority and the Church Member’s Responsibility, available as a free eBook for viewing and downloading from www.wayoflife.org.

In giving miscellaneous suggestion to church members, we would also say that we must learn to exercise keen spiritual discernment, distinguishing between the important and the less important.

One Sunday morning I was talking with a man who attended one of my Bible conferences. He had driven 100 miles, he said, because he reads my material and wanted to hear me speak. I asked him about his home church, and he said that he attended a church that was “formerly Assemblies of God.” I inquired further about that, and he admitted that it is still Pentecostal “to some degree,” that it uses Christian rock music, and that it is engaged in other clearly unscriptural things. When I challenged him as to why he would be in such a church, he argued that “every church has its issues.”

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I answered him that while every church does have some “issues,” those issues aren’t of the same weight. I told him, for example, that Christian rock is of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and it is a major element of the building of the “one world apostate church,” and I would have nothing anything to do with a church that uses it. And I would never attend a church that teaches false Pentecostal doctrine. Those are serious issues.

In Matthew 23:23, the Lord Jesus Christ taught that not all things in the Bible are of equal importance.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

Some biblical teachings are “weightier” than others. Everything in the Bible has some importance, but everything is not of equal importance. Not every issue is an issue of separation and not every issue is important enough to leave a church over. Knowing the difference between the two requires a good knowledge of God’s Word and keen spiritual discernment. This is the lesson of the following verses:

“And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (Romans 15:14).

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:12-14).

Such discernment requires spiritual maturity, which comes only through diligent study and through exercise of the senses to discern good and evil. Paul told the church at Rome that the reason they were able to admonish one another was because they were filled with goodness and knowledge (Rom. 15:14). As we mature in Christ and in our knowledge of the Scriptures and in godliness, we are able to correct others and to be a blessing to the church. It is a sad fact that many who attempt to “straighten out” perceived problems are weak in Bible knowledge and carnal in their Christian living, and as a result they cause more harm than good.

For more on this see
The Pastor’s Authority and the Church Member’s Responsibility, available as a free eBook for viewing and downloading from www.wayoflife.org.

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