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EDITIONS:

1. CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY DEFINED
2. CORPORATE PRAYER
3. AUTHORITY OF THE WORD
4. INTERPRETING THE WORD
5. UNDERSTANDING THE WORD
6. END TIME FERVOR
7. LOVING NOT OUR SOULS TO DEATH
8. KEEPING ALIVE THE ORIGINAL SPIRIT
9. RECOGNIZING REVIVAL
10. HINDRANCES AND CATALYSTS TO REVIVAL
11. TESTING THE SPIRITS
12. INTERCESSION
13. INTERCESSORY PRAYER WARFARE
14. THE CROSS-LIFE
15. WORSHIP
16. WORSHIP II
17. THE INCARNATION
18. DIVINE PROTECTION
19. DIVINE GUIDANCE
20. WILL OF GOD
21. THE FEAR OF GOD
22. WHAT IS TRUTH?
23. JESUS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH
24. LIVING A LIFE OF TRUTH
25 SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT
26. THE OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW
27. THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD


CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
THE E-ZINE

First published by Christian Publications, Inc.,
3825 Hartzdale Drive,
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011

Republished by www.kneillfoster.com 2005.
K. Neill Foster, Publisher
Paul L. King, Editor
A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963,
Editorial Voice

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE:
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Scripture labeled KJV is from the King James Version.

Welcome to Classic Christianity

First published by Christian Publications, Inc., 3825 Hartzdale Drive,Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011 Republished by www.kneillfoster.com in 2005. K. Neill Foster, Publisher. Paul L. King, Editor. A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963, Editorial Voice.


WELCOME TO:
CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE E-ZINE
THEME: "SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT"
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Published by K. Neill Foster

Paul L. King, Editor
A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963, Editorial Voice

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE:
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the
International Bible Society. Scripture labeled KJV is from the King James
Version.

Note: Some of the language may be updated, paraphrased for clearer understanding or condensed for space.

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#25 CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE INDEX
THEME: SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

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1) THE PUBLISHER ON V. RAYMOND EDMAN

2) THE EDITOR ON "FINE-TUNING OUR SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION"

3) A.W. TOZER ON "DISCERNING OUR EXPERIENCES"

4) ST. AUGUSTINE ON "DISCERNING THOSE WHO CONFESS CHRIST"

5) CHARLES H. SPURGEON ON "THE HEARING EAR"

6) CHARLES H. SPURGEON ON "RULES OF DISCERNMENT"

7) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "DISCERNING GOD'S HAND"

8) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "CRITICISM IS NOT DISCERNMENT"

9) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "THE ENEMY OF THE BEST"

10) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "BEWARE OF SAGACIOUS DISCERNMENT"

11) V. RAYMOND EDMAN ON "DISTINGUISHING THE SPIRITS"

12) V. RAYMOND EDMAN ON "DIRECTION BY DISCERNMENT"

13) V. RAYMOND EDMAN ON "THE DISCIPLINE OF DISCERNMENT"


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1) THE PUBLISHER ON V. RAYMOND EDMAN

It was 1960 and V. Raymond Edman, then editor of The Alliance Witness, was asked to preach the divine healing service at The General Council of The Christian and Missionary Alliance.  (The event was held before independence for the Canadian churches took place and while Reverend W.H. Brooks was still in his heyday as the pastor of the Tenth and Ontario Alliance Church in Vancouver.)

That Council was memorable in a number of ways. I recall Harold M. Freligh, a teacher from Nyack verbally swaying the legislative assembly in a moment of high drama. The clarity of the doctrinal position of the Alliance on the Holy Spirit's work was defined that day as a second work of grace in the life of the believer subsequent to salvation. Indeed, that position endures to this day in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, USA.

The other memorable event that year was the healing service. Edman, whose writings no doubt focused more on discernment than any other theme, preached an anointed message.  Healings were taking place in the congregation even as he preached. It was one of those days when "the power of the Lord was present to heal"--a gift to my memory of the Lord's beautiful working through His special servant --whose gift to the Church was indeed spiritual discernment.

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2) THE EDITOR ON "FINE-TUNING OUR SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION"

Welcome back to Classic-Christianity once again! After a three-year hiatus, we are pleased to be able to revive this e-zine of insights from great men and women of God from the past.

Many of you have had the same experience as I have of going to the optometrist to have our eyes checked for updating our lenses.  He puts our eyes in front of a big black machine, and it goes "Click, click." He asks, "Which of these is clearer?"  And for the life of me, I cannot tell any difference!  It looks just the same.  Yet he insists that one is clearer than the other, and he tells us to distinguish between the two. He is trying to fine tune our vision, to make it as clear and vivid as possible. In the same way, God wants to fine tune the nuances in our spiritual vision --to perceive God's truth and will more accurately.

Further, there is a difference between visual acuity and visual perception.  Visual acuity has to do with the sharpness and clarity of vision. Visual perception has to do with understanding what we see. Pharoah had visual acuity --he saw dreams vividly. However, he lacked visual perception --the ability to understand what he was seeing. He needed a man of discernment --Joseph --who could perceive the meaning of what he had seen. God wants to give us both acuity (clarity) and perception (discernment).

We have cited several portions from the writers below, because they are filled with so much insight --both acuity and perception.

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A.W. TOZER (1897-1963) ON "DISCERNING OUR EXPERIENCES"

The world's spirit is strong, and it clings to us as close as the smell of smoke to our garments. It can change its face to suit any circumstance and so deceive many a simple Christian whose senses are not exercised to discern good and evil. It can play at religion with every appearance of sincerity. It can have fits of conscience (particularly during Lent) and even confess its evil ways in the public press. It will praise religion and fawn on the Church for its ends. It will contribute to charitable causes and promote campaigns to furnish clothing for the poor. Only let Christ keep His distance and never assert His Lordship over it. This it will positively not endure. And toward the true Spirit of Christ it will show only antagonism.(1)

Here is a little secret by which I have tested my own spiritual experiences and religious impulses for many years. Briefly stated, the test is this: This new doctrine, this new religious habit, this new view of truth, this new spiritual experience --how has it affected my attitude toward and my relation to God, Christ, the Holy Scriptures, self, other Christians, the world and sin?. . . .

If this new view of truth --this new encounter with spiritual things --has made me love God more, if it has magnified Him in my eyes, if it has purified my concept of His being and caused Him to appear more wonderful than before, then I may conclude that I have not wandered astray into the pleasant but dangerous and forbidden paths of error.(2)

The times call for a Spirit-baptized and articulate orthodoxy. They whose souls have been illuminated by the Holy Ghost must arise and under God assume leadership. There are those among us whose hearts can discern between the true and the false, whose spiritual sense of smell enables them to detect the spurious afar off, who have the blessed gift of knowing. Let such as these arise and be heard. Who knows but the Lord may return and leave a blessing behind Him?(3)

(1) A.W. Tozer, THE PURSUIT OF MAN (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1950, 1978), 121.

(2) A.W. Tozer, HOW TO TRY THE SPIRITS (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1997), 3-4, 6.

(3) A.W. Tozer, THE PRICE OF NEGLECT (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1991), 7.

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4) ST. AUGUSTINE (354-430) ON "DISCERNING THOSE WHO CONFESS CHRIST"

Ask the Arians: they confess "that Jesus Christ came in the flesh:". . . . put it to the Novatians; they confess "that Jesus Christ came in the flesh." Then have all these heresies the Spirit of God? Are they then not false prophets? Is there then no deception, no seduction there? Assuredly they are antichrists. . . .

What are we to do then? How to discern them?. . . We found that some do in their deeds deny. "For they confess that they know God, but in their deeds deny Him.". . . Let us look to the works, not stop at the noise of the tongue. Let us ask why Christ came in the flesh.  . . . If you stop at words, you will hear many a heresy confessing that Christ is come in the flesh. But the truth convicts them. . . .

Therefore by this understand the spirit that is from God. Give the earthen vessels a tap, put them to the proof, whether they are cracked and give a dull sound. See whether they ring full and clear, see whether love be there. . . . This then is the Spirit of God, which says that Jesus is come in the flesh, not in tongue but in deeds, not by making a noise but by loving. And that spirit is not of God, which denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, not in tongue but in life, not in words but in deeds.

St. Augustine, Ten Homilies on First John, Homily 6: 1 John 3:19-4:3, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Albany, OR: Ages Software: Master Christian Library, 1999).

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5) CHARLES H. SPURGEON ON (1834-1892) "THE HEARING EAR"

The hearing ear is intended by God to be the discerner of the Spirit to men, to most men the only discerner that they have. . . . God's way is "faith cometh by hearing" (Rom. 10:17), and the first detector of the Holy Spirit is the ear.

Truth, when it is couched in words, is the rustling of the Holy Wind; it is the footstep of the Eternal Spirit as He mysteriously passes along a congregation. . . .

Some hearers, however, go further, for they hear the sound of the Spirit in their consciences, and it disturbs them. . . .

We have heard the sound of the Holy Spirit in another sense, namely, as going forth with us to the battle of the Lord. We have heard that "sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees" (2 Sam. 5:24) which David heard; we have stirred ourselves, and victory has been ours. If we have not heard that rushing mighty wind which came at Pentecost, we still have felt its divine effect which ceases not but still brings life, power, energy, and all that is wanted for the conversion of the sons of men to us who are bidden to go forth and preach the Gospel among the nations. In all these respects the Holy Spirit has manifested Himself, as wind does, by His sound. "Thou hearest the sound thereof" (John 3:8).

C.H. Spurgeon, Power for You (electronic ed.) (Ephesians Four Group: Escondito, California, 2000), 70-72, 75.

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6) CHARLES H. SPURGEON ON "RULES OF DISCERNMENT"

How may I tell when Satan hinders me? First, by the purpose. Satan's object in hindering us is to prevent our glorifying God. . . .

You may tell the suggestions of Satan by the method in which they come: God employs good motives, Satan bad ones. If what has turned your attention away from your the Lord has been a bad thought, a bad doctrine, a bad teaching, a bad motive --that never came from God, that must be from Satan.

You may tell suggestions from their nature. Whenever an impediment to usefulness is pleasing or gratifying to you, consider that it came from Satan. . . . He generally deals with us according to our tastes and likings. . . . If the difficulty in your way is rather contrary to yourself than for yourself, then it comes from God. . . .

We can tell suggestions of Satan by their season. Hindrances to prayer, if they are satanic, do not come in the regular order of thinking; they dash upon the mind unawares. If my soul is in prayer, it would be unnatural that I should then blaspheme, yet then blasphemy comes. Therefore it is clearly satanic and not from my own mind. . . .

When we have ascertained that hindrances in our way really come from Satan, what do we do then? I have but one piece of advice, and that is to go on, hindrance or no hindrance, in the path as the Holy Spirit enables you.

C.H. Spurgeon, Satan, A Defeated Foe (electronic ed.) (Ephesians Four Group: Escondito, California, 2000), 25.

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7) OSWALD CHAMBERS (1872-1917) ON "DISCERNING GOD'S HAND"

God seldom speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, "I wonder if that is God's voice?" Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him "with a strong hand," that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?

Get into the habit of saying, "Speak, Lord," and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, "Speak, Lord"; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, "Speak, Lord." Recall the time when God did speak to you. Have you forgotten what He said? Was it Luke 11:13, or was it 1 Thessalonians 5:23? As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (United Kingdom: Marshall Morgan & Scott, 1927), Jan. 30.

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8) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "CRITICISM IS NOT DISCERNMENT"

When we discern that people are not going on spiritually and allow the discernment to turn to criticism, we block our way to God. God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticise, but that we may intercede. 

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, (United Kingdom: Marshall Morgan & Scott, 1927), November 23.

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9) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "THE ENEMY OF THE BEST"

It is not wrong things that have to be sacrificed, but right things. "The good is the enemy of the best," not the bad, but the good that is not good enough. . . . Anyone will give up wrong things if he knows how to, but will I give up the best I have for Jesus Christ?(1)

In the spiritual life we do not go from good to better, and from better to best; because there is only One to Whom we go, and that One is The Best, viz., God Himself. There can be no such thing as God's second best. We can perversely put ourselves out of God's order into His permissive will, but that is a different matter. In seeking the Best we soon find that our enemy is our good things, not our bad. The things that keep us back from God's best are not sin and imperfection, but the things that are right and good and noble from the natural standpoint. To discern that the natural virtues antagonise surrender to God is to bring our soul at once into the centre of our greatest battlefield. Very few of us debate with the sordid and the wrong, but we do debate with the good; and the higher up we go in the scale of the natural virtues, the more intense is the opposition to Jesus Christ, which is in inverse ratio to what one would naturally imagine (cf. Matthew 23:31).(2)

(1) Oswald Chambers, Biblical Ethics, (United Kingdom: Marshall Morgan & Scott) c1947.

(2) Oswald Chambers, Not Knowing Whither, (United Kingdom: Marshall Morgan & Scott), 1934).

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10) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "BEWARE OF SAGACIOUS DISCERNMENT"

Beware of discerning according to your own sagacity how God must do some things, because it means that you dictate to God --That word of God must be fulfilled; I cannot allow that I have been deluded, therefore there is only one thing left to do. That is leaning to your own understanding instead of trusting in the Lord with all your heart.

Chambers, Oswald, Not Knowing Whither, (United Kingdom: Marshall Morgan & Scott, 1934).

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11) V. RAYMOND EDMAN (1900-1967) ON "DISTINGUISHING THE SPIRITS"

Beelzebub berates us for the blunders we have made; the gentle Holy Spirit speaks of the precious Blood that washes whiter than snow. . . . The condemnation of Satan points constantly to the sin; the conviction of the Spirit, while not overlooking the stains of the sin, points constantly to the Savior from sin. Transgression depresses; confession releases.

Satan points at self, physical need, social need, self-preservation; the Spirit points to the pathway of self-denial and selfless service. The pressure of Apollyon is upon what we want, what we deserve, what is our right, what we can do; the patience of the Unseen Presence points to what we can do for others and what we can do without. Self-pity makes us sulky; self-denial makes us strong in the Savior. Self-preservation makes us sensitive to imagined slights; complete surrender to the will of God makes us sweet under all circumstances.

The enemy emphasizes the past, with all its mistakes and heartaches; the Comforter exalts the present help of our Lord. The devil delights in taunting us with our weaknesses; the Lord reminds us of the wealth of His riches in grace. Condemnation concerns itself with our failures; conviction shows us the faithfulness of God. The tempter teases us with immediate gain, at any cost; the Trustworthy One tells us of eternal gain. . . . The father of lies magnifies our problems . . . ; the God of all grace reminds us of the promises. . . . The false angel of light would have us walk by sight and earthly wisdom; the Lord of Life would have us walk by faith. . . . The enemy would have us see the hosts of evil against us rather than the hillsides covered with ministering spirits. . . . The Vanquished would have us see the nails and the thorns; the Victor would have us see the triumph of Calvary's tree. . . .

V. Raymond Edman, THE DISCIPLINES OF LIFE (Minneapolis, MN: Worldwide Publications, 1948), 169-171.

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12) V. RAYMOND EDMAN ON "DIRECTION BY DISCERNMENT"

There is a subtle dogmatism, a spurious spirituality, which declares that there must of necessity be divine guidance for each detail in one's life. . . . The divine principle is that direction is by the discernment of God's will and not by dogmatism on our part. . . . Divine direction in life is both a delight and a duty. . . . Discernment of the divine will requires teachableness and tender-heartedness on our part toward God and toward others. . . . The gentle discern God's guidance; the teachable understand His truth.

V. Raymond Edman, "Direction by Discernment, Not Dogmatism," THE ALLIANCE WITNESS, February 1, 1967, 6.

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13) V. RAYMOND EDMAN ON "THE DISCIPLINE OF DISCERNMENT"

None of us is free from life's emergencies and exigencies; but we should face them with spiritual insight and uplift. In order to view them with steady eye and untroubled heart we must know whether their source is in the mind of the Almighty or in the machination of Abaddon, the destroying spirit of darkness. . . .

There is then the discipline of discernment, to differentiate between the Spirit of Truth and that of error, the will of God and the working of Satan, the horizon of faith and the hallucination of fanaticism, the promise of the Triune God and the presumption of the Tempter.  Truth and error, light and darkness, conviction and condemnation, cross and curse, are set in contradistinction in the Word of God. . . .

By the Word, by the Spirit, by faith, by submission to the divine will, and by resistance to any appeal to self and sin we discern between the way of God and the path of the destroyer.

V. Raymond Edman, THE DISCIPLINES OF LIFE (Minneapolis, MN: Worldwide Publications, 1948), 167-169, 171.

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Welcome to a spiritual adventure!