Pay particular attention to a distinguished leader of the charismatic movement and the head honcho of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Peter Wagner, endorsing Todd Bentley, the man behind the Lakeland Revival.
(you may want to fast forward to 4.50 min to go to the relevant part).
It is easy for believers to get carried away by spiritual gifts, supernatural experiences or manifestations. Many are so fascinated with anything that gives them a spiritual high. .
However, believers must be vigilant and discerning. The Bible warns that during these end times, deception will be a prominent feature. This means various spirits will arise and mimic the Holy Spirit, causing confusion.
Deception is as old as the Bible. When Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, it became a serpent. Similarly, the magicians in Pharaoh’s court were able to produce a counterfeit miracle.
And, today, because the counterfeit is hardly distinguishable from the original, even the elect—supposedly mature leaders—can be deceived. If leaders are deceived, don’t you think the flock will fare even worse?
May God grant us the discernment to know that NOT all supernatural experiences or manifestations are of the Holy Spirit—even though it may be happening in church. Just as not all that glitters is gold, not everything supernatural is of the Holy Spirit. http://goo.gl/9juNxg
Coming back to the original question, Is spiritual discernment directly proportional to the number of theological degrees one has under one’s belt?
I hope you have found the answer.
In my humble opinion, the one with many theological degrees under his belt may not necessarily have spiritual discernment.
Who or what then makes us competent in discerning whether a particular supernatural manifestation is of divine origin or otherwise?
The Holy Spirit grants to believers spiritual discernment:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:12, 13, 15, 16
Unfortunately, in these perilous end times, deception is so prevalent and discernment is so lacking. Even mature leaders can be deceived. If leaders are deceived, don’t you think the flock will fare even worse?
FAILURE TO DISCERN, AFRAID TO OFFEND
"Many tender-minded Christians fear to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus. They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God. They timidly remember how the Pharisees refused to accept Christ when He came, and they do not want to be caught in the same snare, so they either reserve judgment or shut their eyes and accept everything without question. This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit. Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be. Try the spirits is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine. And the current habit of refusing to take sides is not the way to avoid the question. To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world. And the more as we see the day approaching."
—A W Tozer, Theologian
SHOULD WE RUN AFTER SIGNS AND WONDERS?
Is there a rationale for pursuing signs and wonders?
Can we attribute the following scenarios in church to the work of the Holy Spirit? A person slithering on the ground like a snake? A person barking like a dog? A person crowing like a cockerel? A person fidgeting non-stop and jumping around like a monkey?
Excessive preoccupation with signs and wonders has its dangers.
When teachers like Bill Johnson exalt signs and wonders to the extent that doctrine, scholarship and the use of one’s sound mind are all downplayed and even the deity of Christ is denied, red flags go up.
What do you think is the true measure of a believer? Does it rest solely on how much anointing or power he or she has? Or how many spectacular feats he or she can perform? Are there not other more important considerations such as an abiding relationship and intimacy with God, obedience, self-denial and faithfulness?