What I’ve Learnt Along The Way About Discernment (re: Charismatic Stuff)

As I’m getting into more and more conversations with younger people – many of whom are wonderfully passionate about Jesus in their lives, almost all of whom will be the next generation of leadership in our churches and in our city – the one thing that holds my heart suspended in my chest in many of these conversations is my fear that they can be dangerously undiscerning. In seeking deeper, richer, more intimate, more vibrant experiences with God – all of which I am enthusiastic about – I fear, however, that a lot of the foundations are being neglected, or even at times deliberately set aside in reaction against a perceived drier, older orthodoxy.

I plead with those who are on that road, please, please, please: be discerning. Have your Bibles open. Have your leaders be your sounding boards. And remember this advice I helpfully got from my mate Mikey Lynch (head AFES dude in Tassie): ‘What you learnt from those who taught you the gospel is most likely still right.’ (That was an inadequate paraphrase. What he meant was: don’t go too far from your foundations. What seems new and exciting is probably not right. What is closer to the old and solid stuff that led you to Christ is most likely still correct.)

So what does discernment look like?

I preached a sermon about a year ago that was my attempt at giving the young adults of my former congregation at Chinese Christian Church Milson’s Point the fruit of my journey. As some would know, I dipped into a bit of Charismatic teaching over the past few years, being as sympathetic and willing to learn and be changed as I could. And while I would still put myself somewhere around the John Piper mark when it comes to my view of Charismatic things, I have learnt a heck of a lot in the past few years, mostly about what it means to be discerning of something that can be so good, and (I still believe) a genuine work of God, and yet not be without some very significant problems.

I thought about blogging the main arguments of my sermon in a few posts, but being short on time (and basically lazy), I thought the sermon on its own to listen to is probably still the best way of accessing what I had to say.

It’s not definitive. It’s not going to be entirely correct. Be discerning about that too! But I hope it’s helpful. You can find it here.


About Pete

I am a child of God, a husband, a father of four children, a pastor, and a church planter. I live in Sydney Australia and live to see Jesus made famous in this city and be the only God people worship.

Posted on July 12, 2011, in Bible, Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. good observation. lack of discernment can lead to all sorts of errors.

    what do these young guys think about unity?
    are they keen to express their unity with our charismatic friends?
    how do you encourage them to think this through?

    i personally feel the tension.
    i see good stuff going on in other circles. stuff that i’m genuinely encouraged by. but i also see some significant dangers.
    i know that i’m united with all those who are in Christ regardless of opportunity to express it physically.

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