Q. I have been perplexed for some time now about the controversies that rage within the Body of Christ these days. There are large groups who hold views that other large groups claim are apostate. How can we all be led by the same Spirit in so many conflicting ways? Why is the discernment in one believer so different from the discernment in another? Why is there not a consensus amongst the Body of Christ?
A. If the Christian community was united we would be a force to be reckoned with. For example, imagine how different this country would be if all Christians believed that the Lord was coming back for us soon, and began to live their lives accordingly. Or if we all adopted generous giving to help the less fortunate as the primary expression of our gratitude to the Lord.
To minimize the tremendous effect this would have, the enemy has to keep us divided and because we’re all sinners he’s able to do it. As long as he can keep the Body of Christ fractured by manipulating our human weaknesses he can keep us from becoming the force for good we would otherwise be.
There are many God-fearing Spirit-filled believers in all of Christianity’s movements, but I don’t think discernment differs from believer to believer. I think the problem is that very few believers practice discernment, and even if they do, they don’t say anything for fear of the criticism they’d get.
For example, when the head of a popular healing revival resigned in disgrace several years ago, a number of well known leaders admitted that they had reservations about what was going on there all along but didn’t say anything because they didn’t want to be accused of “quenching the spirit”.
If respected national leaders are too timid to exercise their discernment how can we expect the rank and file to be any different?