Parts 4A through 4D show that Bible study teaches a person how to discern between spiritual truth and spiritual error. The ability to possess spiritual discernment is especially critical in the 21st Century because of the proliferation of theological error whether intentional or not.
Part 4B looks at why discernment of truth vs. error is essential.
Charles Spurgeon spent the last years of his life to no avail contending against early modernism in the Baptist Union. John MacArthur describes Spurgeon’s excellent observation that it is a steep and slippery slope when the church departs even slightly from the fundamental Christian truth. See MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Ashamed of the gospel: when the Church becomes like the world (pp. 21–22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. Once the snowball of theological heresy starts rolling down the hill, and all it may take to begin the descent is a nudge, it grows into an almost unstoppable avalanche of destruction and mayhem. Recovery from such a fall is uncommon and takes a spiritual revival. To possess spiritual discernment can go a long way to avoiding the heartache of such a catastrophe.
In his book Reckless Faith, John MacArthur points out that as early as 1994 truth had become fluid in some churches. Truth was no longer the rock-solid absolute objective truth of Scripture. Instead with the takeover of relativity (i.e., postmodern thinking) the average Christian loses his or her ability to discern truth from error, right from wrong, good from evil. As to one highly relevant 2019 issue, in 1994 MacArthur wrote:
For example, some Christians are no longer certain whether homosexuality should be classed as a sin.
MacArthur, J. (1994). Reckless faith: when the church loses its will to discern (pp. 19–20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
MacArthur observed 25 years ago that, “,the average Christian is woefully ill-equipped to sort out the lies from the truth.” Id. at pp. 19-20. Today in 2019, anyone who holds to biblical truth that runs counter to society’s favorite sins, e.g., homosexuality, is tarred with the brush of being a “hater” or being intolerant.
The ability to discern between truth and error is of immense importance since people’s eternities are at stake! And eternity is a long time. One cannot legitimately downplay the criticality of Bible study in the life of a 21st Century Christian.
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