No Spiritual Gift of Discernment – Only the Discernment of Spirits

This is just a quick note on something which comes up occasionally, that someone in the body of Christ claims to have the gift of discernment and tells a lot of unsubstantiated stories about other people that turn out to be spiritualized slander, superficial impressions, personal preconceptions and prejudices and sometimes retaliatory accusations of the same sins for which that person has been repeatedly been scripturally rebuked. The scripture does not give a basis for a gift of discernment, but of the “discernments of spirits” (I Corinthians 12:10 – Dale’s sight translation). There’s no basis that this gift expresses itself as the Holy Spirit telling someone lots of stuff behind that person’s back – the Holy Spirit isn’t a gossip or tattletale. Ray Stedman took care of this fallacy at length a long time ago in his book Body Life,  but sometimes someone still gets away with this spiritualized scam and does a lot of unnecessary damage to the reputations of others. It seems like the true gift of discernment of spirits would function more like Paul’s discernment of the evil spirits behind Elymas Bar Jesus the sorcerer (Acts 13:10) and the fortune telling slave girl (the ‘Pythoness’ – Acts 16:16, 18).

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