Developing Discernment for the Last Days
Renner opens this book by telling you the introduction is a “Must-Read” introduction because most people get the introduction of the book. I believe this is a necessary book to read for today. With everything happening in the world today, we need someone to help us stay doctrinally sound as a Church. Doctrine is the basis for how we stay sane.
Our world seems to be turning upside-down, especially for believers in Christ who see a whirlwind of change from just five or ten years ago. In chapter 1, Renner talks about how the world has changed. But it’s no surprise when you look at the history of the world. He describes how at the end of World War II liberators of the concentration camps were shocked to see the disturbing effects of Nazi doctors who dismembered, deliberately infected, and even did sex change experiments on people who were alive. Because of the doctrine that only certain life mattered, these doctors did disgraceful things. But in our time, such surgeries are heralded by liberals as freeing those who are confused about their gender. And that’s just the beginning.
Chapter 2 goes into detail about Paul’s explanation of a world that neglects God and even suppresses Him from Roman 1. Studying the original of the Bible with Renner is quite an eye-opening treat. He shows how the words Paul chose further illuminate how this world has gone awry from a theological..
Chapter 3 shows how demons in these last days have blinded people to the truth. They have inserted themselves and caused false teaching to run rampant. They are seducing people who are under captivity into believing lies about themselves and about this world. Christians who don’t defend God and the Bible against these whirlwind changes allow the truth to go untold. By not responding with the truth of God’s Word lovingly, they are complicit with such changes.
Chapter 4 talks about how the as Christians must contend for the faith, the Christian doctrines and beliefs that come from Scripture. As Paul instructed Timothy to contend for the faith even as a young minister, so Christians must stand against the social changes with the truth of Scripture. The author goes into further detail about these and time delusions and how the Church must get its voice on these issues. We must stand against them with God’s truth and compassion for those who are lost or go along with them.
In chapter 6, Renner talks about his own faith tradition and how even that has been infected with. Trends and a lack of leadership that protects the truth of God’s Word. Within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, especially in the Charismatic movement, there has recently been a lack of leadership that defends Christian doctrine. While the charismatic movement has been very positive throughout its history, the dangers now allies for false teachers to easily enter and destroy it. The same is true for most denominations.
The author likens the spiritual leadership of the Church to the cupbearer. Cupbearer’s tasted the food and drink the drinks of the kings before they drank and ate to make sure there was no poison. Today, church leaders need to test the doctrines and Bible studies, and all other resources they make available to their people. This would keep people from falling for the false doctrines and false teachers of our day. He also surveys some of the creeds in history.
In chapter 8, Renner talks about the Mount of Transfiguration and how we should review the majesty of Jesus. It should take precedent over the cunningly devised and doctrine of false teachers let into the Church. Prophecy should be tested. We cannot just accept something because someone said it to us. He further reminds church leaders that God’s judgment for their failure to keep false doctrines and teachers out of the camp church results in God’s judgment. God’s judgment is real. It should keep us from accepting trends and allowing false teachers to invade our churches.
He does a thorough exposition of Lot living in Sodom before God judged the city forever in chapter 10. There are many correlations between deceived church leaders and Lot. Lot chose to live in Sodom despite the fact that it was an immoral city. Perhaps he thought he could withstand such wickedness because of his righteousness. But that was not the case. He barely made it out alive, and his wife looked back. Church leaders and Christians need to realize their weaknesses.
In the concluding chapter, Renner tells us that instead of judging Christians and Church leaders who have been deceived by the enemy and allowed false teaching to come into the Church, we need to lift them up in prayer. Our goal should not be to ostracize them, but to ask the Lord to lead them back into the fold. His pastoral heart is evident in his conclusion to the book.
I appreciate Renner’s careful exegetical work and expositions of the biblical text. His Greek studies of the words used in the passages he covers are very helpful to understanding the context of each verse. You can clearly see Rick Renner’s heart to minister to Christians, and especially to pray for wayward Christians to bring them back into the faith. I enjoyed his approach to the subject and the detail with which he writes. This is a book you need to read in these last days. As the world becomes increasingly crazy and illogical, especially unbiblical and against God, you need to understand why and how to deal with the world and even Christian who becomes deceived by the enemy.