Chapter 14: Stigmatizing Discernment

In addition to teaching to not know truth, the visible church has stigmatized discernment. Anyone who has had a chance to directly witness the power and accuracy of the word (especially through the study of prophecy) will have a love for the word and its precision. Those who insist unwaveringly upon accuracy and adherence to the scriptures in their literal sense are branded as intolerant “pharisees.” They are regularly accused of being divisive, narrow, unloving, and even rebellious. The mainline church rejects discernment and those who are discerning (especially those that are vocal about what they see). To insist on truth and separate from error is considered unloving and divisive.

Today a new believer who falls in love with the word will quickly find that he or she is “peculiar” among many Christians. Over time after many rejections and encounters with Christians who admonish or rebuke them, they can begin to take on a shame complex.

When I began to go to Church, I assumed everyone would have the same view of the scriptures that I did. When we would get in small groups, people would say things that clearly did not line up with scripture, in quite astonishing ways. I would speak up, and then be quickly rebuked by an older Christian, perhaps the facilitator, for not being “tolerant” of other people’s views which may differ. I discovered that most Christians believed that doctrine was a matter of individual opinion and interpretation, or something left to the religious professionals. What mattered most in these settings was that we do not make people uncomfortable. Wrong beliefs were not to be directly confronted.

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