“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” – Ephesians 5:11-13
I put “Discernment Ministry” in quotations marks because I am not convinced that it is the proper term for what I (and many other ones) am doing. The first time someone called me a “Discernment Minister” I corrected him. I replied that every Christian should have discernment and that I was merely a Christian attempting to obey God’s word and calling (see the above verse).
“Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.’ – Titus 2:15
If we wish to consider a more biblical term it might be “watchman” or perhaps “prophet.” However, the majority of Christians are paranoid about the title “prophet.” They will accept most of the titles in Ephesians 4:11 except “prophet” and “apostle.” They elevate “prophet” to such a highly venerated position that no one can fill the office without being mass pilloried. It is considered presumptuous and self-aggrandizing for one to claim he or she can predict the future. The sneering rejection of one accepting that title is nearly unanimous except among the heretics and their deluded followers.
The truth is that the prophet was much more engaged in warning people than in predicting future events. In fact, when Israel became apostate and refused to hear any other voice, God always sent the prophets with blunt and bold warnings. So whether people like it or not, or whether or not they accept the title, God has sent prophets during these last days. We can hang whatever term we wish upon them, but they will speak as prophets have always spoken.
By the way, a true prophet is not concerned with what you call him and does not seek honor or accolades. His office, by the nature of his efforts, is a difficult and lonely one. No one in his or her right mind should desire to be in that office. “Prophet” is no more a special title than “pastor,” and one that wears it is not an elite, supersaint,nor anything more than a servant of God. So I advise people to cease romanticizing or title-worshipping the term “prophet” and just accept the ministry God sends.
Furthermore, God has sent watchmen. Like the prophet, they are mostly rejected, considered obsessed with “doom and gloom,” and exceptionally negative individuals that do nothing more than warn people of dreadful events. The primary difference in the callings is that the prophet, according to the Didache, is also a teacher. My reference to the Didacheis solely for understanding what the Early Church thought about the prophet.
“And every prophet who teaches the truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet.” – Didache 11:10
No matter what the term or title, the Body of Christ needs godly men and women that as humble servants minister in this vital area of need by the Remnant in the last days. Although every true Believer ought to have discernment, and exercise and refine his or her use of it, just as we need pastors and teachers we still need watchmen and prophets. If we cringe at the titles, then call them “Discernment Ministers” and be done with it. For that matter, we can simply call them apologists, exhorters, or investigative reporters. Whatever they are called, the Body of Christ needs them. Individuals whose faith is being compromised and are susceptible to deception need them the most.
If someone is truly called of God into such a ministry, he or she is not concerned with how sensational their words are, or if they are continually in the spotlight. They will not become blog-per-day verbose chatmen just to remain on everyone’s A-list of relevant people. Consider the biblical watchmen and prophets. They remained silent and out of the public eye until they had something significant to say. Elijah remained by the Brook Cherith for 3 years. John wandered in the desert. I don’t think either of them were concerned about losing their support base.
All that aside, you can expect the true prophetic voice or watchman’s call to be clear, concise, often blunt, and piercing. They are not pastoral and no one should hold them to that standard. Furthermore, they are unconcerned about the effect their words may have on the delicate and soft ear tissue of individual with hypersensitive emotional systems. They are not comforters or encouragers—they are alarm systems, irritating and often considered indecorous.
Thus, if people do not esteem “Discernment Ministries,” and are repulsed by their constant reporting on what is wrong and bad, there are options. They can maintain their spiritual status so that they are not in need of such warnings. Additionally, they can take the initiative to inform themselves and prepare spiritually to face whatever the future may hold. I think that if they did those things they would neither regard the warnings as repugnant nor mind them piercing their hearts.
We understand the value of smoke detectors and other warning devices, such as alarm clocks. We do not enjoy their warnings but are glad that they perform properly when the need arises. Presently, we may not enjoy the “Discernment Ministries” and believe they are all speck huntersobsessed with spiritual perfection. One day we will be glad they warned us.
I warn people to be careful about what we say about them. Further, it is selfish to deny an essential benefit for someone else simply because we do not believe that we need it.
Someone may say, “But I pray daily, study God’s word, have discernment, and am not engaged in any heresy.”
How wonderful! But do you know someone who is not so disciplined? I know many such individuals. I can testify that they do not respond well to scripturally sound teaching and preaching. If they did, they would not need to be warned. Besides, if, as one popular minister recently insisted, sound teaching and preaching could not prevent the current great apostasy, why do we believe that such a noble effort will correct it? There are warnings and rebukes in God’s word for a good reason. Human nature, even adults, need warnings, rebukes, and as the Apostle Paul wrote, even the Father’s chastening (spanking?).
What deceived people respond to, even if in an angry and often retaliatory manner, are anointed warnings from God’s alarm system, the watchmen, prophets, or if you please, “Discernment Ministries.” They can no longer hide in the folds of deception from the truth about heresy and deception. Their reaction may be as a lost person who has been witnessed to, but the benefit is that truth has been deposited in their minds. The Holy Spirit will use that truth to convict them.
If there is any hope that they may be delivered from being inextricably swallowed by apostasy, it most likely will not come from the individuals who are too timorous and otherwise reticent to speak one sentence of piercing and effective truth. It will come from those irritating, rejected, impoverished, and ostracized, individuals who ignore their own comfort, and the luxury of great favor and fondness of the masses, to speak clear and bold warnings.
Christianity is beyond critical mass with heretics, hirelings, and a deluge of other false Christians. Heresy has become a critical spiritual disease that has captured the souls of millions. A motivational speaker is not the answer to how the damage can be reversed. If that were the case we would not be in this condition in the first place. There need to be clear and piercing warnings to alert people that are submerged in apathy and lured by Satan’s emissaries onto a path to destruction.
Please do not criticize what you do not understand. Pray about and for the ones He has sent to warn of approaching danger, and do not be concerned about the “Discernment Ministries” that seem to be excessive or off course. False prophets were always present when God’s prophets arrived. Likewise, there will be undisciplined individuals involved in hyperbolic “Discernment Ministries.” There is no benefit in focusing on those people. Furthermore, it is not fair to lump them all into one pot and throw it out the back door. Instead, pray that the ones who are of God will prevail and people will be informed and delivered.