On her personal blog, Ingrid Schlueter writes:
In the discernment ministry realm we speak much about defending the church from false teaching and exposing error, but it is important that we don’t forget to speak much of the ONE we love the most: our Lord Jesus Christ. Our passion should flow, not just from a desire to defend right “positions”, but from our love for the Savior who bled and died for us and rose again, and who sits at God’s right hand interceding for us.
Too often in the desire to discern truth from error, we overlook Jesus Christ. He’s pushed aside when the swords of debate dart and dance with one another. Deftly two combatants pursue what is right, but in that quest for truth, Truth Himself remains unsought. Jesus Christ is forgotten, but ironically, His teachings are not.
Is the pursuit of correctness necessarily bad? No, of course not. It is a very good thing that every Christian should endeavor to aspire to. We each should be ready to even give up our lives in defense of what the Bible clearly proclaims. Many of our dear brothers and sisters have done so already, and some perish even now. Defending right positions and theology, however, should not be the aim of discernment in and of itself. Such a pursuit quickly becomes an exercise in missing the point. And what is that point? What should discernment really be about? Jesus Christ. Anything outside of Him is ultimately fruitless.
As soon as anything supersedes Christ in the mind of a believer, it becomes an idol. Even what many would consider to be good – children, family, ministry – can easily and surreptitiously be cast into the golden calf. The unrelenting pursuit of truth is no different. If the central aim of this pursuit is for anything else other than the glory of Jesus Christ, it is folly. If the motives are wrong, then whatever work accomplished will burn like stubble in the Lord’s trying fires. Works done for the wrong reason, no matter how noble, will not survive – even the defense of pure and sacred doctrine.
Jesus undoubtedly is deserving of worship with our minds, but equally so He demands the passion of our hearts as well. Like dried, dead leaves, a faith built around knowledge but lacking the water of passion crumbles in the slightest hot wind. The head can all too easily leave its partner behind, which is why I would argue that both the head and the heart need to walk hand in hand, striving equally toward the final goals of personal sanctification and God’s glory.
We should not pursue truth in order to be right, to win debates, or to garner appreciation for the intellect, but rather because we love the Truth the Lord has graciously given us. That Truth shows us Jesus Christ, from beginning to end – from Genesis to Revelation. Any defense we mount should point to Him as well.