If you stand for the Bible being the authoritative measure for all matters of faith.
If you you believe all ministries and ministers needs to be put under the microscope of Biblical scrutiny.
If you feel that error needs to be exposed whenever it is found, no matter who promotes it.
If you feel compromise for the sake of unity is not a noble objective.
If you think the message of The Cross, and repentance unto salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ must be the primary message of the church.
If you feel that the Social/Civil/Peace/Seeker/Mystical based movements have relegated Jesus into being an accessory, then you may be seen by many in the Postmodern church movement as a member of "Discernment Ministry"
What is an ODM?
The modern church has entered a new paradigm and it is not in a good place, scripturally. As a defensive measure a new term has been introduced by the "Unity" crowd and it is "ODM" (Online Discernment Ministry) The term is not meant complimentary but as an insult intended to marginalize those who believe if Biblical fundamentals.
This means that the people who believe there is a mandate to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) according to scripture are now classified obstacles standing in the way of unity.
As is usually the case an opponent can create a term, give it a pejorative connotation, apply the term to anyone with whom they disagree, and thereby hopefully end the conversation. Too often the person being classified spends more time defending themselves, rather than taking the label and the issue head on . No need for defense, but rather embrace the term as Biblical truth is nothing about which to be ashamed. Speaking for myself, I am entirely comfortable being identified as a “Discernment” believer, and when the day comes that I shun Biblical scrutiny of what I hear, I forfeit the mandate given to us throughout Scripture.
As Paul said of the Bareans:
11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
So where do we err by examining all that we hear and see? Are churches and ministries immune from having the hearer "Search the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."? If so, when did this take place?
It should be standard procedure for those who propose to speak for God, or elaborate on the message of scripture, to have their positions scrutinized by in light of God's Word. Is this not the reason why Paul wrote the Epistles as he did? Was it not for the reason of clearing up and correcting errant doctrine? So, could it not be said, Paul was the original “Discernment Minister”? Does that not put "Discernment" believers in good company, and on solid ground?
Only in recent times has discernment been classified as an obstacle to “unity”. As a result of this redefinition those who would dare hold the modern church movements up to the light of scripture, are seen as the problem, as opposed to people warning of growing apostasy in the church. Jesus Himself had something to say on the matter.
1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.
The people seeing the worldly signs were oblivious of what signs were to indicate. Using this passage, in context, should cause all who love the purity of scripture to defend it against error. We need and are challenged to recognize the times in which we live and sound the alarm when needed. As most believers enjoy prophesy in the geo political sense, or perhaps on the level of societal degradation, these events are seen as indicators that we are in the End times worldview. So we need to ask, should we not expect to see the church headed towards apostasy on a parallel track?
2 Timothy 4
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Look at what the Word is designed to accomplish. If we are not to discern, why does Paul include "Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." in his list? Do these not call to us to be aware, and take measures to oppose error? Well, the answer is given in the following verse.
We are in the times when sound doctrine is less common, and formulas, programs and methods are the new model. Scripture is used when it appears to support the message, but Scripture is not to be brought to bear on the validity of those very same movements.
One such critic (for means of illustration) of those who sound the warning is Richard Abanes. Mr. Abanes is a passionate advocate for the unity movement and the Purpose Driven model in particular. Mr Abanes has popularized the term ODM and as stated above. When labeling any ministry as ODM, in his mind, it serves to dismiss anything that comes from those he has categorized.
In an article he wrote:
"We live in an era of too much information; an era wherein anyone/everyone can post whatever they want to post on the Internet—unchecked, unverified, unaccountable, unhindered, and unstoppable. Rumors, gossip, baseless accusations, outright lies, fear-mongering, hate rhetoric, hoaxes, slander/libel, and false information now litter the Internet.
"Most tragic is how so-called “Christians” are contributing to this proliferation of misinformation and disinformation throughout cyberspace. It’s almost beyond belief that individuals supposedly indwelt by the Holy Spirit could be partakers of such activity. But the facts show that a significant number of “Christian” blogs & websites have indeed become dedicated to attacking others; more specifically, dedicated to attacking other Christians!" 1.
Now, when you are able pigeon hole your opposition in such a tidy little box you can easily marginalize your opposition and never deal with the veracity of their objections and arguments. The problem is he completely, and in my opinion, deliberately misrepresents those with whom he disagrees.
We see danger creeping into the church in a slew of movements and philosophies. Among them are the Contemplative, Seeker, Spiritual Formation, Purpose Driven, Emergent, Dominionist/Kingdom Now to name only a few. All of these can clearly be dismissed as unbiblical if a person would but only examine them in light of scripture. That requires "Discernment". Let us not be intimidated by our opponents and refuse to examine, in detail, any new wind of doctrine that appears on the landscape.
As Paul wrote:
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
So it begs the question, is it better to be intimidated by people who like to go along to get along, or call people's attention to poorly considered and poorly conceived doctrine? We can disagree with one another on peripheral doctrines, but the above list movements and philosophies cannot be seen as peripheral issues. All of them, to some extent, trivialize the message of The Cross, without which nobody can claim Salvation. This is clearly an issue about which the church should and must divide. I will most certainly side with the ODM's and stand for a full and unapologetic examination of anyone or any ministry purporting to be a ministry of God, or Jesus or however they define themselves.