The Christ in Prophecy Journal

When Discernment Turns Ugly: Discerning Discerners

Jan Markell


On January 7, 2013, I was interviewed by Jan Markell, Founder and President of Olive Tree Ministries, and her guest co-host Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Jan has written eight major books with prominent Christian publishing houses. She has produced a dozen DVDs, some featured on Sky Angel. At one time she traveled full time across America as a speaker. Since 2000, Jan has been broadcasting her nationally syndicated “Understanding the Times” radio program over the airwaves and Internet. It is a great source of news and commentary-driven information.

Jan, Eric and I spent the one hour radio program discussing how to discern discernment ministries and expressed our concerns over some of their increasingly bitter attacks on the Church and Christ-redeemed Christians rather than on exposing the Enemy and his plans.

Discerning Discerners

Eric Barger: What really concerns me is that what is happening in apologetics and discernment today with the bitter attacks from some discernment ministries against believers in Christ is helping to, may I say, train in the wrong way the next breed of apologists, the next generation. Is this the way the next generation of apologists are going to think they need to operate inside the Church? This is of great concern.

What apologists and discernment ministries need to do is come back and look at the Scripture and recognize that if we are not showing love to one another then we have missed the mark. I’m going to say this again because it needs to be repeated. If we are not showing love and instead are treating other Christians badly because we instead selfishly want to correct people by bringing “truth” into the picture and not do so in a spirit of love, then it is the wrong spirit.

Jan Markell: David, one of the issues people have for example with Jonathan Cahn who wrote The Harbinger, is that he is a Pentecostal. Today that seems to be an offensive stance.

Dr. Reagan: There are a number of motivations for what I call the “pit-bulls” who are out there attacking everybody. One of them is that there seems to be a knee-jerk response that if somebody is a Pentecostal or a Charismatic then they have nothing good to say. Instead, they are just going to rip them from one end to the other.

Secondly, I think jealousy is in play. Some of these “discernment” people are very jealous of their fellow Christians who have been blessed by the Lord and who have large ministries or ministries that have had a significant impact. They are just jealous. Some of it is motivated by the fact that they inherently believe they can build themselves up by tearing other people down. Unfortunately, there are people who respond to that approach and declare, “Oh, yeah, this guy is really ripping everybody apart, so now I’m on his side.” I think that’s a very sad reason to take a stand against someone.

Eric Barger: Let me just say “amen” to that. I had a discussion with another major ministry leader who is on radio five days a week. I will leave him nameless for his sake because he is not here to comment, but he told me nearly identically the same thing that you just said.

Jan Markell: David, you’ve said this, “I’ve always had great respect for the Pentecostal movement; in other words for its zeal, enthusiasm and its passion. The praise music it has produced has blessed my soul.” You added, “I am also thankful for the way God has worked through the movement to resurrect the gifts of the Spirit. But, I have never been able to accept their core teaching that the baptism of the Holy Spirit must be manifested in the gift of tongues, etcetera.” I agree with you. I think somewhere along the line, and maybe it was because of some of the excesses seen on the TBN Network, I’m not sure as I don’t have Christian television so am not sure of what is all being aired, but somewhere along the line the Pentecostal issues just seem to have become a lightning rod. I think it’s very tragic.

Dr. Reagan: “Christ in Prophecy” is currently trying to get on the TBN Network. We announced that to the public and asked them to pray for it. You wouldn’t believe the number of hate letters that I got. People accused, “How could you dare be on such a horrible network? How would you be on such a network with people preaching things like the Word of Faith doctrines and so forth?” I wrote back and said, “I would be willing to be on CBS, NBC, and ABC if I could afford it and they would give me a time slot. I would even be on a pagan network with a bunch of pagans if I could get on there and proclaim the soon coming of Jesus to as many people as quickly as possible.”

The fact that I am on a network doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with what may be their basic theology. And yet, there is this automatic knee-jerk response from some “watchmen” who bite, “Well, you must have gone apostate, because you want to be on the TBN Network.”

Jan, the network you’re on must have some people who don’t agree with you and your theology and all. Does that make you an apostate?

Jan Markell: No, I know.

Eric Barger: I have said many times that if the Mormons invited me to come speak, I’d go, but then I’d be ripped apart for it. Still, I would go gladly as long as I wasn’t told I couldn’t present the authentic Gospel message.

Dr. Reagan: There you go! I’m glad this brand of “watchmen” weren’t around when the Apostle Paul went to Athens and rubbed elbows with all those heathens there and shared the Gospel. He would have been attacked immediately!

Dr. Reagan: I appreciate you guys for speaking out.

Eric Barger: Sadly, many in the Church are rejecting many of the discerners and apologists and making themselves open and ripe to being deceived by actual apostates like the Brian McLaren’s and Tony Campolo’s. When this sort of deception happens and people are not motivated by love and when discernment is only being done in a caustic fashion, I believe that real biblical error is then passing through the midst of the in-fighting. People then who should be hearing the truth about Apologetics are instead discounting all of it. What a tragedy!

Jan Markell: The Bible speaks repeatedly about false teachers — wolves in sheep’s clothing — particularly in the Last Days. Jesus refers 14 times to some of those false teacher as “ravenous wolves.”

Then we have the passage in Jude about contending for the faith. It’s a commandment; not an option. Jude says, “I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints, for certain persons have crept in unnoticed.” Well, they have! They have crept into the world of the Church and even into ministries.

We here are not suggesting that you not become discerning people and that you not sharpen your discernment, but we are asking you to do all things in love.

While we wait upon Jesus, in the meantime, look back and thank Him. Look around and serve Him. Look ahead and trust Him. Always look up and expect Him, for Jesus is coming again sooner, rather than later.

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Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan is the Founder and Evangelist Emeritus of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher and he led over 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan was the host of the radio then television program Christ in Prophecy for nearly 40 years.

22 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Dr. Reagan: There are a number of motivations for what I call the "pit-bulls" who are out there attacking everybody. One of them is that there seems to be a knee-jerk response that if somebody is a Pentecostal or a Charismatic then they have nothing good to say. Instead, they are just going to rip them from one end to the other.

    After reading that paragraph it made me think of some what could be called "pit-bull" attacks by Dr. Reagan on Catholics, Mormons, etc.

    But in his defense, he did say Catholics get some things right and Mormon's values are excellent. So it proves Dr. Reagan, while being a pit-bull, can also give credit when due while still being faithful to true Christianity and practicing what he preaches.

  • I just want to say…. i love tbn. I could care less what anyone thinks of that network. I know they have some goofy stuff on there sometimes… but they have been Gods instrument for reaching the entire world with the gospel. I agree with dr reagan that the baptism of the HS does NOT mean a person MUST soeak in tongues. However, it does mean they CAN. Its a choice…. one that brings u so close to the Lord… but i wont go ther since most people will argue wih me on the point. U can have as much of God as u want… sticking witb the truth of scripture is all that matters to me. The plain sense of scripture is ABUNDANT LIFE! AMEN AND AMEN

  • I would actually like to comment on your current poll vote. The question is 'What is the ultimate destiny of the unsaved?" I don't believe the correct answer is even one of the choices. At the end of the book of Revelation it says that 'death and Hell were tossed into the Lake of Fire". So eternity in Hell is not possible, but eternity in the Lake of Fire should be the correct answer. The unsaved are destined to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire along with Satan, AC, False Prophet, Death, Hell, etc..

  • Wonderful article. Well I don't agree with myself sometimes but continue to study God's word so I can grow (reading, listening, etc); love to watch Christian networks and am glad that we have them airing all over this world so others can hear about Jesus too! Have you noticed that a lot of us want to see the patriachs of old, but hardly anyone says they want to talk to Paul (what a man of God). How would he be accepted from us today? What about John the Baptist or Elijah? I am gonna talk to them all!

  • Clarification…when I referred to Dr. Reagan with "pit-bull", I didn't mean it by his definition, that is…"who are out there attacking everybody."

    I meant pit-bull in the sense of "hard hitting" WITH BIBLICAL TRUTH.

    I hope no one misread my commments as negative towards Dr. Reagan…not my intent!!!

  • The Bible says fear not one who can kill the body but God who can kill body AND soul in hell (if I remember correctly).

    Therefore, I can consider a punishment period based upon degree of sin in hell at the end of which the soul is killed and ceases to exist. I think justice would be served in that scenario. Plus…isn't eternal life, ETERNAL life, ONLY for BELIEVERS in Christ…NOT non-believers?

    I do believe satan and the antichrist and thier hard core followers and those with the mark of the beast will be in eternal hell however.

  • Billy,
    In trying to seem loving and non -judgemental we often go to error. If a person is a catholic or a mormon, according to their belief, they are not christian. Paul called them ungodly. Was he a bull dog. This is all political religious correctness and non-biblical. Jesus said you are either for me or agaisnt me.

    It is not bull dog if you realize that they are not saved but you attempt to share the bible with them.

    People are so afraid that they may lose viewers, readers etc. that they do almost everything to seem so caring. What they care about is their own ministry.

  • Anon, i dont know why u think ALL catholics are no christian but u r MISTAKEN!!!
    Mormons r not chrisian.. but there r alot of saved catholics … i am one of them and i know many who have a personal loving relationship with Jesus.

  • susie from the catechism of the rcc

    the sacraments and ten commandments


    if you believe that works gets you into heaven, I understand why you think catholics are saved.

    The council of trent which is still in effect spelled it out




  • Hey anonymous, I am a former Catholic and you are exactly right!!!!! I can't understand what has happened. Dr. Reagan used to be so solid. I learned so much from him in my early Christian life but now………..Has the whole world gone nuts??

  • to the other anom

    I agree with you. Look at who he is associating with. He uses illustrations without checking what beliefs the people ar as well.

    He used to be solid, but look at how his sheep are turning from the simple truth.

    The world has not grown nuts as it always has been. What has happened is that to increase readers, watchers listeners etc. we have to make the message acceptable or exciting.

    Dave needs a good christian friend and not just upwardly mobile self proclaimed experts using him.

  • Anon (1st)
    I just wanna say, i am well aware of the incorrect doctrine the catholic cc teaches. I think that many catholics dont even no what their religion teaches…. and my only point is that somebofbthem are saved… when i grew up, i was taught the basics of christian faith… like virgin birth, death, resurrection, and the fact that Jesus is our savior. I shouldnt have got defensive, i was just having a bad day. I got saved 30 yrs ago and since then have studied different religions. I argue with my family every time the subject is brought up trying to get them to see the errors in the catholic church doctrine. Having said that, there is a carismatic movement in the catholic church where the HS is moving with power … so there are some catholics that are saved… and some that arent….

  • susie

    My mother worked at a RCC seminary that was a major player in the RCC charismatic movement. Just because you speak in tongues or do other gifts, doesn't mean you are saved. They are works and can be counterfeited. What if a person claims to be praying in tongues yet they dismiss salvation by faith apart from works. Suzie are they still a christian? I studied in charismatic schools, interviwed sons and daughters of the founders (Pauline Parham for one plus many others), and there were many in the movement who displayed gifts but their salvation was questioned. History is full of them.

    Sue, have you studied Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens, one of the 4 moderators of VC II, and the movent's birth at Duquesne
    in the 60's as well as NDU. What were their beliefs in regards to salvation. Simple logic will dictate that Leo Joseph Suenens, in order to be a cardinal and moderator of VaticanII, had to believe the church's dogma. Which he did according to his writings.
    The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Chied defender of the RCC Faith) back then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, acknowledged good aspects of the movement while urging caution, pointing out members must maintain their Catholic identity and communion with the Catholic Church.

    So you see the RCC position regardless of being charismatic, has not changed since the Council of Trent and before.

    Ask your RCC friends how they were saved? Ask them if keeping the sacraments is the way to obtain grace? Same for the 10 commandments. This will open a great opportunity to present the Gospel and the Holy Spirit to convict them.

  • Baa, baa. Dr. Reagan I will look forward and am praying with the sheep to see Lamb & Lion on TBN. What a way to let others know about God's word. There are a few ministries on prophecy, and a slot for you would be a tremendous opportunity for others to hear you/Nathan and your distinguished guests. I had to post this because you encourage us and you let us know what to expect based on the Word of God, we thank the Lord for you all.

  • O MY GOSH EVERY BODY!!! I am so excited … i just HAD to ask u all… and especially my friend first anon what u think about the newz that the pope resigned! I cant remember the popes name who wrote the book predicting that the final pope would be the false prophet i think? But i do remember that that pope would be whoever takes that office NOW! I hate to sound excited about that, but it has been one event i have been looking forward to!!!
    So … anyone wanna help me out with some info?
    Im going to check sean osbornes blog later too..

  • Ok… i went to rr and found out the book.. that malacy wrote… this is So exciting!! HALLELUJAH! YESHUA is coming soon i just know it! Also, anon, i have already started.texting my family…. and praying for them… and advising them to get on their knees and get a personal relationship.with Jesus unrelated to any works/faith based theology … amen!?!?!

  • I love Dr.Regan and Nathan with the love of Christ and though I would never support TBN directly I would and will support them and their ministry while on TBN just as I have Hal Lindsey. These are great men of God called to send forth the message of Christ soon return. We need to pray for their success in this endeavor and for their personal lives which are under deomonic attack continually. I am ordained with the Assemblies of God. Yes a Pentecostal though we don't believe you must speak with other tongues to be filled with the H.S. like our doctrine is falsely accused of. God Bless you Dr. Reagan I can't wait to meet you in person after the Rapture takes place!!


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