Why Does Discernment Matter?

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog this month, you know that we are concentrating our conversation on discernment—that is the ability to decipher Truth from lies. Discernment can be especially tough when it comes to unpacking cultural messages. To illustrate that point, we spent all of last week looking at the potential pitfalls of reading the best-selling Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.

But Twilight certainly isn’t the first book, show, or movie to desensitize readers toward Truth. Many of today’s hottest media choices are laced with harmful contradictions to God’s Word.

Nancy recently tackled one such book on Revive Our Hearts radio. As part of a two-day series, Nancy examined the best-selling book A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. She was joined in the studio by Dr. Erwin Lutzer and Dr. Don Whitney. That conversation contained great insights for those of us who are learning to discern, especially in the area of our media choices.

Specifically, their words give us insight into why discernment matters so much. Here is part of that conversation.

Nancy: I think, as we’ve had this conversation, this is a balancing act here. We’ve perhaps experienced a struggle of not wanting to sound like we’re bashing anyone or hammering on anyone, and yet, Dr. Lutzer, this is a subject that matters. It’s a serious thing to get it wrong when it comes to who God is and who Christ is and how you get to know God.

Just talk for a moment, if you would, why it matters to be aware and discerning about false teaching and false teachers.

Dr. Lutzer: Well, first of all, I think that the kind of teaching we’re speaking about, we all know the impact of the “Da Vinci Code.” What an attack that was against Christianity. Nancy, there are people who say, “Well, that was a flash in the pan. It’s all over now.” No, it isn’t. It’s like a tsunami. You have the headlines, and after the headlines are gone, people live with the devastation. It’s true in our universities and so forth that these kinds of ideas are being taught.

Getting back to the issue of Eckhart Tolle’s book, the reason that these matters are so serious is: Remember, Satan’s most dazzling deception is for people to be in contact with him when they think that they are in contact with the living God. So his desire is to duplicate spiritual experience so that we can say, on the one hand, that those who trust Jesus Christ are born again, and Satan can say, “Oh, yes, but I can have a born again experience for my followers, too.”

We certainly see that on the web where you have people indicating how transformed they have become because of this experience and so forth, and because of reading the book. Satan delights in that.

What’s at stake? Nothing less than the eternal destiny of people. In fact, what you really have, of course, is nothing less than the salvation and the deception of millions of people who are going to go through their lives believing that, because they had some kind of an experience, that surely God must accept them. So it is time for us to pinpoint the truth…

This is a deep, lasting deception on the part of those who follow it, except, of course, the hope is that they turn to the Living God through Jesus Christ.

What do you think about Dr. Lutzer’s statement that misleading books, like The Da Vinci Code, are like a tsunami in people’s lives? Do you think it is possible for one book, or movie, or television show to have that devastating of an impact?

Other than the specific books we’ve discussed here (Twilight, The Da Vinci Code, A New Earth) can you think of any books or movies that are currently popular that could be dangerous to seekers of Truth?

What are three practical guidelines you can use to discern that your media choices are wise?

I will be posting more from this series on the blog tomorrow. You can listen to the entire series by following this link.

About Author

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Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

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