Discernment: The Ability to Tell the Difference Between Right and Almost Right

Originally written in 2015, I felt once again to bring this article out. Having just written the article with Thomas Littleton’s “Betrayed: An Open Letter to the Church” I realized that more than ever before, many Christians have no chance to understand if they are sitting under heretical teaching.

We are in the middle of the “Great Falling Away” and no wonder. Corrupt leadership in many churches with congregations filled with people who do not read God’s Word and therefore lack discernment. This is a dangerous combination.

When I think back to when I originally wrote this piece, I never would have imagined that the church would be in the condition it is in today.

Original Article

As we observe the aberrant and mystical teachings in so many of our churches, my heart breaks for the members in these congregations who are either not yet born again, are babes in Christ – or are lacking discernment. They are prey for the evil one – they have no spiritual armor to defend themselves, and to distinguish between God’s Truth and  counterfeit satanic lies.

Discerning of spirits

From gotquestions.org

Question: “What is the spiritual gift of discerning spirits?

Answer: The gift of discerning spirits, or “distinguishing” spirits, is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Like all these gifts, the gift of discerning spirits is given by the Holy Spirit, who disperses these gifts to believers for service in the body of Christ. Every believer has a spiritual enablement for a specific service, but there is no room for self-choosing. The Spirit distributes spiritual gifts according to the sovereignty of God and in accordance with His plan to edify the body of Christ. He gives His gifts “just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:11).  (Emphasis added)

When it comes to the gift of discerning spirits, every born-again believer has a certain amount of discernment, which increases as the believer matures in the Spirit. In Hebrews 5:13-14 we read that a believer who has matured beyond using the milk of the Word as a babe in Christ is able to discern both good and evil.The maturing believer is empowered by the Spirit of God through the Scriptures to tell the difference between good and evil, and, beyond that, he can also distinguish between what is good and what is better. In other words, any born-again believer who chooses to focus on the Word of God is spiritually discerning.  (emphasis added)

There are certain believers, however, who have the spiritual gift of discerning spirits—that is, the God-given ability to distinguish between the truth of the Word and the deceptive doctrines propagated by demons. We are all exhorted to be spiritually discerning (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1), but some in the body of Christ have been given the unique ability to spot the doctrinal “forgeries” that have plagued the church since the first century. This discernment does not involve mystical, extra-biblical revelations or a voice from God. Rather, the spiritually discerning are so familiar with the Word of God that they instantly recognize what is contrary to it. They do not receive special messages from God; they use the Word of God to “test the spirits” to see which line up with God and which are in opposition to Him. The spiritually discerning are diligent to “rightly divide” (2 Timothy 2:15 the Word of God.(emphasis added) – source

I’ve heard it said that discernment is the ability to tell the difference between right and almost right.  

We know that satan takes a little bit of truth and then twists it with his lies.  We read about this in Genesis when he deceived Eve into disobeying God.  The devil’s tactics have not changed since the beginning.

Our Lord Jesus was tempted by Satan in the Wilderness:

Satan attempted to deceive our Lord Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus came back at him with Pure Scripture “It is written” He said,  and the evil one finally departed. Jesus was teaching us to do the same.  The Bereans did it, and it won them a mention in the Book of Acts: 

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

We are admonished to study the Scriptures to keep us safe:

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

“That we henceforth be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and their cunning and craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14).

The Gift of Discerning of Spirits

I’ve been a believer since January of 1983. In 1984 I made a friend in our neighborhood who attended my church, and we would ride together to choir on Wednesday nights.

One of those nights she gave me a bunch of cassettes and told me “You will love this preacher.” I told her that I would give him a listen. The next day I put the first cassette in while I did dishes. The preacher was Kenneth Copeland. I listened to about ten minutes of this man and turned him off.

I was a babe in the Lord and no one told me that Copeland’s teaching was questionable. I just knew that God did not want me listening to that man. He talked about never being sick – NEVER. He said he never even got a cold. Then he made jokes about a man who was feeling blessed because God had allowed him to get a used Chevy that he had wanted. Copeland said, “I told that man that if that was truly from the Lord, he should have asked for a Cadillac – and a brand new one!” He laughed at his own lame joke.

That’s when I turned it off. That’s when I knew that Kenneth Copeland was not someone that my Lord Jesus would want me listening to. I should never get sick? I should be rich because I’m a Christian?

Was this true? Should Christians never be sick? Should we all be rich because we’re children of God? Something didn’t ring true. I had to go to the only place I knew would have the answer, my Bible. I knew that I had a bad feeling as I listened to Copeland, and I knew that God had urged me to turn him off. I wanted to know the truth.

I went to Acts in my Bible. I was sure I’d be able to see how the first Christians lived. I’d find out if they were prosperous and disease free. What I found was what I suspected to be true. The Apostles were jailed, tortured and ultimately killed, except for John. And he had been boiled in oil, yet lived because of the Lord.

Then I went to the Gospel of John to see what Jesus said about our lives as His followers.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Luke wrote:

“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27).

Revelation 21:4 says:

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

We Share in the Sufferings of Christ

Suffering, tribulations, bearing our own cross, pain, crying, and death – well, this was a far cry from what I had heard Kenneth Copeland preaching. That was my first experience with discernment from the Lord. It was overwhelming to me to know that my heavenly Father protected me from the heresy I heard when I was a little more than a year old in Him! Many years later I realized that He had given me the Gift of Discerning of Spirits.

But brethren, don’t forget that every true child of God has some discernment, and as God’s child studies the Word of God diligently, he/she becomes more discerning.

I look around today and I am shocked at the lack of discernment in many Christians. How could someone who was drawn by the Holy Spirit and born-again in Him, listen to a motivational speaker like Joel Osteen, and then rave about him as an amazing preacher? Really? Which part of “Your Best Life Now” would not be a big red flag that this man is NOT preaching the gospel of Christ?

How can a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ not know that the Emergent churches and now the New Apostolic Reformation churches/cults (NAR) are not God’s will?  There are many reasons why millions have been drawn to these heretical teachers. But I think that the main reason that people are duped so quickly is that they are NOT reading their Bibles.

My Honesty is now called “Hate speech”

People who know me know that I’ll be honest with them, even if that means they might not like what I am saying. When I hear someone talk about Benny Hinn and how much they enjoyed his crusade and how many people were healed, I tell them the truth about him. I tell them that he is a fraud, that he talks to the dead, that he believes we are little gods, and that he says that God takes over his mind at times before he preaches, and doesn’t remember one word he has said. Our God is a God of order – not confusion. We know who is the author of confusion!

Should preachers live like kings in mansions? The only mansions I have read about in the Word are the ones Jesus is preparing for those who love Him. Christians have no problem seeing their favorite “preacher” living in a $10 million dollar estate. I am not saying that a pastor of a large church should live like a pauper. I am saying that a pastor who is living large is not the kind of shepherd I would ever want to be my pastor.

1 Timothy 6:10 says:

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  

Not “money” itself, but the Love of money.  Money can be used in wonderful ways in the body of Christ. It’s when money becomes an idol – that is when it becomes the root of all evil.

The Mine Fields Called Christian Bookstores

Christian bookstores can be a nightmare for someone who lacks discernment. These stores are in business for the same reason anyone goes into business—to make money. One would hope that if one of these stores is owned by a blood bought, born-again Christian, that they would have a conviction about what is sold in their establishment. I have yet to find one like that.

The Shack

I remember when The Shack came out. I was in a Christian bookstore and picked up the book and scanned through it. I had the urge to hurl it across the store! I resisted that thought and put it down hard. The clerk gave me a strange look. I walked over and asked if she had read The Shack. The girl said. “Oh yes, it’s great, isn’t it?” OY. God give me patience.

If you have not read The Shack, you are blessed. If you, because of my article, decide to look for it, I do hope that you will see it as garbage. I think more people need to be vocal. If you have discernment from God and you see a brother or sister lacking in discernment, help them!

Prosperity Preachers

I have discerned that the “prosperity” preachers are frauds. I have discerned that “name it and claim it” is not Scriptural. I have discerned that we will never be little gods. All of these teachings could be easily detected as heresy by simply looking in the Word.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”   (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

People with itching ears like to hear what makes them feel good. The Bible is not a smorgasbord; pick what you like and leave the rest. The Bible is God’s Word to us. Everything we need to know about Him and about life is found within its pages. How amazing is that?  The Creator of the the Universe is our Father, and wants us to know what is good for us and what is not!

 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

All Scripture is God-breathed and we must trust it – ALL OF IT – regardless of teachers such as Andy Stanley who teaches that the inerrancy of the Word is “selective.”  Brethren, this is devilish.  If we go down that path, who is to say which Scriptures are inerrant and which  are not?   That is a very slippery slope and a lie from the pit of hell.

Itching Ears

Perhaps you have placed yourself under false teaching, and have not repented and trusted Jesus alone for the forgiveness of your sin. There are many preachers who love to tickle itching ears. Does your preacher speak about sin, and how it separates us from God? Does he preach repentance – agreeing with God that you are a sinner, and to turn away from it?

If he does not, then you are playing church. You sign up to help for every event. You may even teach Sunday School. You are a helper at every Vacation Bible School and of course you are on the clean-up team. These are all good things!

But if you think that doing these good deeds will get you into heaven, you have missed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How many good deeds are enough to gain entry into heaven when you die? Have you never seen this Scripture?

 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”  (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Bible says that God is sending “strong delusion” in these end times. The Bible makes it very clear why God is sending this delusion”

“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

So if you think you lack discernment, could it be that you have neglected the reading of God’s Word?  Perhaps after you study His Word, you will begin to apply what you’ve learned to your life. You may see that the preachers you have been relying on to impart wisdom from God’s Word have actually been preaching a different gospel.

That’s a scary thought, but isn’t it more scary to continue listening to empty and deceitful words?

Get right with God! He sent Jesus to die for you so that you could be reconciled to Him.


For anyone who did not read the letter by Thomas Littleton – please do yourself a favor and make time to read this. YOU may be sitting in a church where the leadership has traded the truth of the Word of God for the lies of the enemy. Actually, YOU may have fallen for his lies as well. The devil is Evil but he is also crafty:

“Betrayed: An Open Letter to the Church”

Many hymns are like mini-sermons. Look at the words you sing in  “Jesus Paid it All”:

“I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Trust Jesus for your salvation. Then pray for discernment as you read His Word.

How Can I Be Saved?

Shalom b’Yeshua



12 thoughts on “Discernment: The Ability to Tell the Difference Between Right and Almost Right

  1. Pingback: Discernment: The Ability to Tell the Difference Between Right and Almost Right — Absolute Truth from the Word of God – NZ Conservative Coalition

  2. The foundational beliefs of “original sin” and “necessity” taught from Augustine that so many have believed are the same beliefs these so called “prosperity teachers” believe that has brought them to the false conclusions they have come to. Because it is on account of these they believe they are Gods every bit as much as Jesus. They even have scripture in 2Peter1:4 that they point to that they say supports their conclusions. Since their beliefs twist Peter’s meaning when he taught that we have been made “partakers of the divine nature”.

    Coupled with their beliefs in the false “original sin” and “necessity” doctrines that come from the teachings of the Gnostic pagan Augustine and the rcc, it is logical to conclude they have become Gods. Because accordingly they say a thing is what it’s nature is(also not Biblical). The rcc catechism teaches- “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

    So it is because these “prosperity teachers” have believed the same doctrines, that so many who say they are christians believe that their mother the rcc has taught them, that forces them to this conclusion. That because their nature has been changed from a sin nature they falsely believe they inherited from Adam. To the divine nature God has. They have become Gods.

    So it is incumbent upon all who have been deceived by the false rcc “original sin” and “necessity” doctrines to examine themselves(2Cor.13:5) and throw out all her heretical doctrines. And replace them with what is plainly taught in the Bible. The only means for true salvation.

    Even so… Maranatha!!

      1. Yes. The Bible never once says Adam’s nature changed after he ate the fruit. In fact, Paul taught that all men are born with the same flesh that Adam had when God created him.
        “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
        Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
        The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
        As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
        And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
        Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

        In this Paul is in perfect agreement with Jesus who said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
        Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”John3:6,7. And “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”John4:24. Neither Adam nor any man until Jesus could worship God in this way because all men are as Adam was when Goid created him. Natural, not spiritual. That’s why Jesus had to come.

        Neither of these taught that man needs to be born again because his nature is evil. That is Gnosticism. They both taught that man needs to be born of the Spirit because flesh and blood can not inherit/see the kingdom of God.

        Even so… Maranatha!!

      2. Edwitness,
        Perhaps I misunderstand what you’ve explained in your original response and to your reply to me.

        One thing we certainly agree on is that Roman Catholicism has some unscriptural and deceptive teachings, and that the prosperity doctrine is also deceptive.

        Here’s a bit of my understanding on the old man and on sin nature:

        The last Adam. . . I’ve not heard that interpretation in that way. When Apostle Paul spoke of the Second Adam, according to Pastor Martin Lloyd-Jones, this reference is to Yeshua, i.e., the first Adam was made (created), while the second Adam, Yeshua, was begotten (of G-D).

        There is an interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Romans that teaches immediate and complete sanctification at the time of salvation: It’s called antinomianism.

        Gnosticism involves “secret” knowledge, and other beliefs similar to not having a sin nature or the sin nature is cast off at the time of salvation; it was deemed heretical in the 2nd Century as it is today. I’m sure it resurfaces from time to time, however, under other guises and within other teachings.

        Yeshua came to die. Adam’s price for his sin was death. That death was passed on to all who were born after him. When we are born, we are born with an Adamic nature, which is under the penalty of death, spiritual death. Apostle Paul calls this the Old Man. It is put aside at the time of salvation, in which we begin regeneration. We continue to have a sin nature that persists with us until we receive our glorified bodies, however. This sin nature is often referred to as “flesh,” as in having a flesh nature.

        We, under the Adamic nature, led lives contrary to G-D. Apostle Pauls calls it enmity with G-d. At the time of salvation we receive the Spirit of G-D and can now be led by the Spirit.

        Yeshua’s death paid the price on our behalf, so that we would not have to die. Yeshua is the perfect sacrificial Lamb, slain once (not annually as on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement).

        L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

      3. Death can not be the penalty for Adam’s sin because Paul said that sin was not imputed to Adam or anyone who lived after him. It was only imputed to those after the law came through Moses.Rom.5:13,14.

        That so many fail to see this when it is so plainly stated is evidence of the power of the spirit of antichrist John spoke of that is in the doctrines of the rcc and evangelical protestant religions.

      4. Wow.

        We do agree, there is “evidence of the the power” of deception.

        However, to your interpretation, back up one verse, which “plainly states” “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all mene because all sinned.” Then look beyond to verse 15 in which Apostle Paul “plainly stated” “For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

        Of interest may be Pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s Friday night services in which he expounds on Romans. There are 366 sermons. Some find Pastor Lloyd-Jones tedious, as he can cover one verse in four or five sermons, often elaborating a for an hour on a single word in which he compares its usage in various contexts throughout scripture, and its Greek origin and usage. Check out:


        I’d love to read your blog when you start writing. Feel free to visit JonahzSong, where you can read some of my blogs (and read about me, if you care to).

        L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .


      5. A correct translation of Rom.5:12 does not say “because all sinned”. This verse uses the Greek word efho, which means “upon which all sinned.” Upon which what? should be the question we ask of this. Upon which refers to what Paul said right before this. Which is, “upon which(death that passed to all men) all sinned”. So the original Greek says that it was because death passed to all men all sinned. Not the other way around.

        Now with this premise in place as Paul intended, when you read the rest of the chapter it all flows perfectly. Showing that the “condemnation” that came to all in men in vs.19 is death’s reign over this physical body as a result of their not being allowed to eat from the tree of life any more. Which God did because He said the man became “as one of us”(Gen.3:22,23). Not because Adam’s sin changed his nature to a sinful one. Nor is it because Adam’s sin was inherited by or imputed to his progeny.

        Also, if it was true that Adam’s sin is imputed to mankind, when Paul plainly says it is not(vs.13), so that we are condemned through no free will choice of our own, then the obverse must also be true. Which would mean that all men also must be justified by the act of Jesus through no free will choice of our own.

        But, free will is a key part in our justification. And free will is the reason we know that babies don’t go to hell if they die. Deut.1:39. Because they must reach an age that they are able to make a free will choice of their own to believe in Jesus or not for that to happen.

        Thank you, I will take a look at the blog you gave the link for. Hnewswire.com posts articles that I have written under Ed O’Hara.

  3. “Something didn’t ring true,” you wrote. Yes. Yes. May this be the case for more and more people.

    King David exclaimed:
    Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
    let my head not refuse it. (Psalm 141:5)

    Sadly, when mentioning the possibility a person’s deception, even without using the word and speaking as lovingly as possible, we are the ones who are rebuked for daring to say something is wrong or that something isn’t right; we are rebuked when we point out Truth.

    L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine upon you had your household. . .

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