Responding to doctrinal weeds (some thoughts on discernment)

419162-dandelion-fieldI recently was asked about how to respond to a spouse who is enthralled by some false teachers. The points I gave for consideration are these:

  • The Bereans were praised (Acts 17:11) for checking to see if what Paul was teaching is true to Scripture, so it is clearly not wrong to determine if a preacher (or a blogger) is speaking in accordance with Scripture.
  • We are called to exercise discernment. All through Paul’s epistles, he deals with issues within the Church and gives his readers the foundation they need to make good decisions. In some cases, Paul calls people out by name so it is clearly not wrong to exercise discernment with regard to people and doctrine.
  • We are called to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16). We should not be tricked by deceivers but we need to be innocent in the way we respond to them and speak about them.
  • In Ephesians 4:15, Paul commands us to speak the truth in love. Love must be the guiding principle as to how we respond to the false teaching. See also 1 Corinthians 13 for a check list to see how you’re doing with regard to a loving response toward the preachers and your spouse.
  • James 1:20 reminds us that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Be honest with yourself as to whether your spouse is sensing and responding to anger which prevents your spouse from hearing your legitimate concerns.
  • It is not wrong to be concerned about what these preachers are teaching. It is also not wrong for you to share your thoughts with your spouse. You will need wisdom (James 1:5) and love to share your thoughts in an appropriate way.
  • While these preachers distort Scripture for their own ends (and will be judged accordingly), they are using Scripture. The Holy Spirit can use the Scripture to show your spouse the error in what they teach.
  • Above all else, I encourage you to pray for your spouse so that the Holy Spirit will reveal the error. Remember that “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” No amount of argument can subdue the will. Only God can do that.

Anything else that should be considered? Please comment back to add to the list, I would like your input.