If I were to ask you what you think is the largest problem facing the church in America, what would your response be? Well that exact question was asked at this year’s Ligonier Fall Conference. Seasoned pastor of 46 years, John MacArthur answered unequivocally.

“A lack of biblical discernment. The church basically suffers from spiritual AIDS. It could die of a thousand heresies because its immune system is so totally deficient”

John MacArthur(2015 Ligonier Fall Conference)

Is this an accurate assessment of the state of the church in America? I would say so. All you have to do is look at the best seller so called “Christian” book today. It is none other than Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling, whose total sales worldwide has reached 14 million.

“After many years of writing her own words in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior’s voice and begin listening for what He was saying. So with pen in hand, she embarked on a journey that forever changed her—and many others around the world. In these powerful pages are the words and Scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart. Words of reassurance, comfort, and hope. Words that have made her increasingly aware of His presence and allowed her to enjoy His peace.”

Thomas Nelson, Publisher of Jesus Calling

In other words, this is beyond your normal journaling where you may be writing your Bible reading notes or personal prayer requests. This is going off to a place with simply paper and pen in hand to receive direct revelation from God outside of Scripture. Sarah Young herself admits to this in the introduction to her book.

“I began to wonder if I … could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.”

Sarah Young

In her own words, Sarah yearned for more than God communicating to her through the Bible. And people have boughten in to her, hook, line and sinker. Why? Spiritual AIDS. The Church in America dying from the heresy that God speaks to individuals outside of the Bible.

In the Appendix of his 2007 book The Truth War(ironically published by Thomas Nelson), John MacArthur highlights some reasons why there is a lack of biblical discernment.

  1. The rise of extreme tolerance – The church is reluctant to take a definitive stand on any issue.
  2. A refusal to shun the world – The church is preoccupied with image and influence.
  3. A failure to interpret Scripture accurately.
  4. A lack of spiritual maturity.

In light of the spiritual AIDS, the lack of biblical discernment, that is so prevalent in the church today, what is the solution?

“To proclaim the truth and to support the truth through Scripture and reason, this is the greatest need of the church.”

John MacArthur(2015 Ligonier Fall Conference)

May the true Church, consisting of true followers of Christ, who love His Word, return to a biblical discerment, for only then will she be cured of spiritual AIDS and build her immune system so as not to succumb to the heresies of the day, such as Jesus Calling!

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment

Philippians 1:9


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