So much online writing today celebrates so-called discernment bloggers whose purpose seems to be spotting the fault in others. They experience schadenfreude at the fall of others (1 Cor 13:6). And worse, much of this writing appears under the guise of Christianity.
Discernment bloggers have contributed to the end of discernment because they have damaged the reputation of the idea itself. In today’s climate, we almost cannot engage in true discernment without being associated with cynical and pugnacious modes of argument.
And this problem is tragic because discerning truth from fiction, right from wrong, lies at the centre of Christian ethics (Phil 1:10). And biblical discernment means knowing “what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2). Granted, we need to know what falsehood is if we are to discern truth. But our focus zeroes in on what is good.
Yet so much online writing today celebrates so-called discernment bloggers whose purpose seems to be spotting the fault in others. They experience schadenfreude at the fall of others (1 Cor 13:6). And worse, much of this writing appears under the guise of Christianity.
We should define falsehoods, and we should use strong language—of course. I am not here criticizing these things (and I have used strong language in this article!). The difference lies in this: we call a spade a spade and use intense language to protect the flock of God and to repoint people to God. We often must call out evil and evil people to protect other Christians and for the sake of truth. But our main diet of writing and thinking is the good.
Hence, we should reject pursuing a life that seeks to spot the bad in others. We should reject, in most cases, any ministry that primarily focuses on what is bad. The kind of skepticism, cynicism, and pessimism of much “discernment ministry” has no place in biblical Christianity whose mark is: love, joy, and peace. Love believes, endures, and hopes all things (1 Cor 13:7). Cynicism is not a virtue. It vitiates love.
And in any case, the key biblical passages on discernment tell us to focus on discerning what is good (Phil 1:10; Rom 12:2). We do so because God is good. And we must fix our minds to heaven where God lives (Phil 4:8).