Are discernment ministries biblical?

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Are discernment ministries biblical?

  • All discernment ministries are biblical.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Some discernment ministries are biblical.

    Votes: 1 50.0%
  • No discernment ministries are biblical.

    Votes: 1 50.0%

  • Total voters
    2

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
3,744
1,928
113
#1
Recently someone made comments about the income and net assets of two prominent Christian leaders.

This information was obtained from a Youtube channel called Servus Christi. The individual who produces these videos is Josh Chavez , who is associated with Jacob Prasch and Moriel Ministries.

I have listened to some of the Servus Christi videos in the past. I have noted that Josh Chavez often makes "suggestions" about those he is criticizing, rather than producing solid facts against the individuals.

My question is this: are discernment ministries biblical?

I personally do not think ministries purely focused on discernment are biblical. It is entirely one thing for a well-educated pastor to identify and mark a false teacher, and another thing for an unordained believer to identify and mark a false teacher.

Am I claiming that an unordained believer cannot identify false teachers? No. Am I claiming that an unordained believer cannot recognize a false teacher? No.

What I am claiming is that a young, unordained believer should not be operating a discernment ministry where it is his full time occupation to criticize ordained, older men of God. And, often these criticicisms are not backed up by solid proofs, but mere suggestions.

For instance, in this case, John MacArthur and Alistair Begg are being accused of financial improprieties. Firstly, Josh does not have solid income figures or net asset figures about either men. Secondly, if he had such figures, he would not know how much either men gave to Christian causes throughout their life. Thirdly, he would not know if the wealth was received from inheritances. Fourthly, the average layman has no idea how expensive it is to live in Los Angeles, in the case of John MacArthur. Fifthly, are not pastors allowed to write books and to receive royalties? That is actually based upon the agreement the individual has with his employer, the church. Sixthly, it is not immoral to have a net worth over a certain amount.

Satan is an accuser of the brethren. Christians who engage in unwarranted accusations are actually serving as Satan's mouthpiece. Neither of these men are involved in the bogus giving claims of Word of Faith types either. So, if someone wants to insinuate that either are involved in immorality, I encourage them to produce their solid evidence, otherwise they are making false accusations.

By the way, my understanding is that Billy Graham's net worth exceeded $25 million at his death. I was a bit shocked about this, because I thought he took something like a "vow of poverty" to live within a certain level of income. I don't mean a literal "vow of poverty" but I heard he agreed with certain other ministers to make sure that money never became an issue in their ministry.

However, I don't know if this vow was ever made. Additionally, I don't know what the terms were. And, finally, I don't think it was immoral for Billy to have a net worth of $25 million. My understanding is that any money I receive is entirely mine to do what I want with it. I should give to the church, and I should give to the poor if I'm able, and I should support outreach efforts. But, the decisions on those matters are mine. I should be aware that I am going to be judged by my decisions, though. I should not be hoarding wealth and neglecting others.

These discernment ministries which are proliferating like wildfire amongst the Church do serve a purpose in some cases, but when do they overstep their bounds? When do they become a vehicle of Satan to accuse solid church leaders? When do they intrude upon the private affairs of the leaders?

Personally, I don't believe Josh Chavez has a biblical discernment ministry. Like I said, I have watched some of his videos. He hints a lot, to build suspicion about certain individuals, without enough solid evidence to support his claim. Additionally, he is too young to be sitting as a judge over the ministries of various men who are likely almost twice his age.

I am also not convinced that ministries focused strictly on discernment are worthwhile. I have watched episodes of various discernment ministries, and find that almost all of them, including ones from my own camp, tend toward conspiracy theory mentalities looking for every little thing they can criticize. So, I am becoming skeptical about them, although I know in some cases these ministries are very handy in identifying pertinent issues.

Anyways, are discernment ministries biblical? This is the topic of discussion.
 

breno785au

Senior Member
Jul 23, 2013
6,003
760
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36
Australia
#2
I don't believe it's even a ministry. Dedicating your life to purposefully find and 'exposing' to the world peoples errors is not a life I think God wants us to live.
Do we point out error? Yes, of course.
Do we hunt for it? No, I don't believe so.

People like this assume they have everything 100% correct. They better if they want to live their life this way or ill be thinking they're a hypocrite.

And this is not discernment. Discernment is NOT criticism. Discernment is discerning something spiritually with lack of physical knowledge (simplest, quickest and best way I can explain right now).
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
16,156
7,961
113
#3
For instance, in this case, John MacArthur and Alistair Begg are being accused of financial improprieties. Firstly, Josh does not have solid income figures or net asset figures about either men. Secondly, if he had such figures, he would not know how much either men gave to Christian causes throughout their life. Thirdly, he would not know if the wealth was received from inheritances. Fourthly, the average layman has no idea how expensive it is to live in Los Angeles, in the case of John MacArthur. Fifthly, are not pastors allowed to write books and to receive royalties? That is actually based upon the agreement the individual has with his employer, the church. Sixthly, it is not immoral to have a net worth over a certain amount.
So your real concern is not about Servus Christi or Josh Chavez, but about the fact the some ministers of the Gospel (including MacArthur and Begg) are being exposed for their obscene wealth and their lavish lifestyles.

Here is what is published by Wealth Record regarding MacArthur's wealth:
Nеt Wоrth & Еаrnіngѕ:

Тhе nеt wоrth оf Јоhn F. МасАrthur іѕ оvеr $14 mіllіоn. Не hаѕ еаrnеd аn аnnuаl ѕаlаrіеd іnсоmе оf $160,000 fоr hіѕ ѕеrvісеѕ. Јоhn F. МасАrthur еаrnѕ аѕ раѕtоr-tеасhеr fоr ѕеrmоnѕ fоr thе Grасе Соmmunіtу Сhurсh оf Ѕun Vаllеу, Саlіfоrnіа. Јоhn F. МасАrthur сrеаtеd аnd ѕоld аudіо саѕѕеttеѕ оf hіѕ ѕеrmоnѕ bеfоrе аіrіng hіѕ ѕеrvісеѕ оn rаdіо ѕhоwѕ wоrldwіdе. Јоhn F. МасАrthur еаrnѕ ѕеrvіng аѕ thе Рrеѕіdеnt оf ‘Тhе Маѕtеr’ѕ Unіvеrѕіtу’ аnd ‘Тhе Маѕtеr’ѕ Ѕеmіnаrу.’ Тhе ѕаlе оf hіѕ numеrоuѕ bеѕt-ѕеllеr bооkѕ fоr аdultѕ аnd сhіldrеn hаvе аddеd tо hіѕ nеt wоrth.


https://www.thewealthrecord.com/cel...-2024-2025/pastor/john-f-macarthur-net-worth/

Presumably this information was obtained legally and has some basis is fact. Otherwise someone would have seriously questioned it by now.

1. Does MacArthur's average parishoner make $160,000 a year, or would it be less than $60,000. Which means that MacArthur is being over-compensated.

2. MacArthur probably makes triple that with the other income sources listed. So should he not be donating all his income over and above a reasonable living wage to those in need? Obviously he is not since he has a net worth of 14 million.

2. Should a pastor have a net worth of 14 million dollars when the teachings of Christ call for His disciples to divest themselves of wealth? One can understand that prudence calls for maintaining a reserve fund for emergencies (say $100,000), as well as life insurance. But retaining 14 million means that there is a serious problem with his priorities.
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
19,324
10,617
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#4
I'm not going to get into a discussion of the wealth of individual persons; that's between them, their accountability team, and God.

Discernment of spirits is a spiritual gift listed in 1 Corinthians 12, but that isn't the kind of the discernment the OP appears to be questioning. The "discernment ministry" described is more of a "faultfinding ministry". As such, it is not (directly) biblical. However, I believe that God does call some (likely very few) people to the role of "critic". This is akin to part of what the OT prophets did: call out ungodly behaviour among Israel's leaders. As the Church is distributed rather than centralized, it is reasonable that God would call some to consider the teachings of others and to challenge them from a biblical basis.

I can think of only one or two people who do this kind of work in a way that I consider respectable. I won't name them though; that will only set off a debate that I have no wish to start.
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
3,744
1,928
113
#5
I don't believe it's even a ministry. Dedicating your life to purposefully find and 'exposing' to the world peoples errors is not a life I think God wants us to live.
Do we point out error? Yes, of course.
Do we hunt for it? No, I don't believe so.

People like this assume they have everything 100% correct. They better if they want to live their life this way or ill be thinking they're a hypocrite.

And this is not discernment. Discernment is NOT criticism. Discernment is discerning something spiritually with lack of physical knowledge (simplest, quickest and best way I can explain right now).

I agree concerning your remarks about the biblical gift of discernment.

Additionally, my understanding from friends who watched the videos of this Servus Christi is that he isn't even in regular fellowship at a church and disdains the need for this.

I was also reminded about a contact with an online person who says she heads a discernment ministry. Well, I witnessed her talking in graphic terms about sex and telling folks she was a "cougar".

To her credit she admitted her sin when I confronted her with her vulgarity, but at the same time I considered how inappropriate it was for her to be the alleged head of a lone-ranger discernment ministry.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,708
10,646
113
#6
i am not in the least bit familiar with the people in the OP apart from knowing John MacArthur's name and probably having heard some of his preaching a few times at one point or another. he's one of the most prominent theologians of our day.

but i don't know that anyone should be calling it a '
ministry' to be griping about the earthly wealth anyone has been blessed with, and i do not think that either innuendo or outright criticism against rich men qualifies as 'discernment' in the sense of the gift of the Spirit. in fact i would call someone 'discerning' who does not regard such things, and if we were either to recognize a man because of his wealth or to speak against him merely on account of riches, i would consider that 'lack of discernment'

don't we see that same principle often in discussion here? someone says, '
yada yada yada' - quote from George. and another replies by attacking George's character, maybe saying yeah George is wealthy therefore a sinner, and ignores every bit of the 'yada yada yada' that was being brought up in the discussion. what has that person who ignores the point and attacks the man on wholly unrelated grounds become? an unjust judge, right? 'yada yada yada' may be 100% true and poignant, but it's not taken to heart simply because George is the one credited with saying it.
that's not discernment. at best that's avoidance of the issue at hand through logical fallacy, and at worst, foolish, unrighteous slander.


'yellow journalism' comes to mind.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,708
10,646
113
#7
But retaining 14 million means that there is a serious problem with his priorities.
if i judge any man by his bank account, whether for good or for ill, i think i'm the one with a serious priority problem.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
16,156
7,961
113
#8
if i judge any man by his bank account, whether for good or for ill, i think i'm the one with a serious priority problem.
Well then you have not paid any attention to what is taught in Scripture regarding pastors who are after "filthy lucre" (CASH).

1 PETER 5: THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PASTORS AND ELDERS
1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversightthereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.


MacArthur is a very prominent preacher known publicly. It he has a net worth of 14 million (which no pastor should have) he should resign. He is supposed to be an example to his flock and to Christians worldwide.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,708
10,646
113
#9
Well then you have not paid any attention to what is taught in Scripture regarding pastors who are after "filthy lucre" (CASH).
well David was a rich king.
probably he was after 'filthy lucre' too, huh?
and Joseph - man, Joseph was lavishly wealthy in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself, in the greatest kingdom on earth at the time.
so Joseph was probably after 'filthy lucre'


sounds like a great sermon, huh.
brb let me go tear all the Psalms out of my Bible, didn't realize the guy who wrote most of them was wealthy. my my.


oh! also need to get rid of Proverbs & Ecclesiastes -- Solomon was unimaginably rich. so obviously the word of God written through him must be worthless. right?
 

notuptome

Senior Member
May 17, 2013
15,050
2,527
113
#10
Those who profess to have a discernment ministry are usually the least discerning among the group.

You will be judged by the same measure with which you judge/discern others.

We all have a ministry of being a witnesses for Christ. We are to testify of how Christ has saved us from our sins and gave us new life eternal an inheritance in heaven with Him.

For the cause of Christ
Roger
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
19,324
10,617
113
#11
Well then you have not paid any attention to what is taught in Scripture regarding pastors who are after "filthy lucre" (CASH).

1 PETER 5: THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PASTORS AND ELDERS
1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversightthereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

MacArthur is a very prominent preacher known publicly. It he has a net worth of 14 million (which no pastor should have) he should resign. He is supposed to be an example to his flock and to Christians worldwide.
Just because a man has been financially successful is no proof that he has sought financial success over integrity of ministry.