Friday, January 04, 2008

Types of Judgment

Chapter 8 of the book "UnChristian" is entitled "judgmental." Imagine that! An entire chapter devoted to labeling conservative, biblically-based orthodox Christians as "judgmental." It's so easy for anyone to do this. Why? Because judgment is inherent in Christian faith. There is no getting around it.

Those who perceive all judgment as an incorrect way to share the gospel, need to realize an important portion of the Scripture verse where Jesus discusses judging.

First, lets look at how many times the term "judge" appears in Scripture. According to the KJV of the Bible, the term "judge" appears 191 times in 170 verses.

Now, those who wrote (and many who commented) the "UnChristian" book typically quote the following verses:

Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Mat 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Mat 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye?

Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Yet, they often ignore the fact that Jesus tells us to "first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of they brother's eye.

I have found that a common thread amongst the emergent church crowd is their objection to Christians 'judging'.

The Scripture verses that talk about not judging are not meant to be blanket statements against all critical thinking, but a call to be discerning rather than negative.

We make judgments about many things every day. Proper judgment has it's place in our lives. That is undeniable. When it comes to spiritual matters, the Bible shows and teaches us what is right and what is wrong. We either follow it all, or reject it all. We, as Christians, can't pick and choose according to our fleshly desires.

I do agree that judgment can be improperly used against others; especially when it is used in a way that is to tear others down in order to build oneself up.

This often is perceived as happening to gays by Christians because of a misunderstanding of motives. Christians are often unfairly labeled as hypocritical.

Jesus does tell us to examine our own motives and conduct before we make judgments about others. The Bible tells us that one day, the saints shall judge the world. If we are unworthy to judge the smallest matters, then what is it that we are missing?

1 Cr 6:2 - Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

The UnChristian book lists four forms of judgmental attitudes: wrong verdict, wrong timing, wrong motivation, and playing favorites as "errors in judgment."

1. The first error that Christians make is coming to the wrong conclusion. God's judgments about people are perfect; ours are not. When Christians reach the wrong verdict, it is typically because of our own biases, assumptions, or stereotypes about others. Our superficiality gets the best of us.

I can admit that this happens in some cases. But the fact that the Bible teaches us biases about certain behaviors does not mean that Christians have come to the wrong conclusion about the matter!
And, I think that "superficiality" is more likely in unregenerate man, rather than genuine believers. A genuine believer knows "from whence he or she came."

For example. As a sinner in need of the Savior I HAVE been judged and found guilty! I see my sin right in front of me and have become convicted. I have surrendered it all to the Lord, have repented and asked for forgiveness. Through faith in the cross of Christ I know that I have been forgiven and His mercy and grace endureth forever. I want to share this with everyone. How can I be labeled "superficial" with that attitude?

2. A second type of judgmental error we make is having the right verdict, but giving it at the wrong time. We sometimes have the right idea about God's views, but we describe that verdict in the wrong context or at the wrong time. I have a Christian friend who lost his gay brother to AIDS. Can you imagine the response if he reminded his mom that his deceased brother was living in sin?

I don't know about you, but I don't know ANY CHRISTIAN who would say such a thing. Do you? When a non-Christian dies, I am silent on such an issue. His/her time to repent and be saved is gone. It's over. Whether he/she did or didn't repent is totally between the individual person and God. It is only when a person is alive that we can be instrumental in pointing them to the saving grace through Jesus Christ!

"UnChristian" book:

I was surprised to find in 1 Corinthians that Paul informs the Christian community that they have no responsibility to judge outsiders, but he said, "It certainly is your job to judge those inside the church who are sinning" (1 Cor. 5:12).

How ironic it is that the "UnChristian" author used (in reality, misused) that quote! Here is the NKJV of 1 Cor. 5:12 -

For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?

Now, anyone can take a verse and use it to their advantage. However, when we examine the entirety of the epistle, we see much more is at stake:

1Cr 5:1 IT is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named[fn1] among the Gentiles--that a man has his father's wife!
1Cr 5:2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1Cr 5:3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.
1Cr 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Cr 5:5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.[fn2]
1Cr 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
1Cr 5:7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.[fn3]
1Cr 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1Cr 5:9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
1Cr 5:10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
1Cr 5:11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a person.
1Cr 5:12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
1Cr 5:13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."[fn4]

5:1 NU-Text omits named.
5:5 NU-Text omits Jesus.
5:7 NU-Text omits for us.
5:13 Deuteronomy 17:7; 19:19; 22:21, 24; 24:7

We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Those who repent will find the same forgiveness, mercy and grace that the Lord has bestowed upon me. I am no better or worse than any other sinner. However, those who don't repent will miss heaven. I must warn them of that. That is my motivation. Some reading this may never believe it, but I pray that others will recognize this as genuine and from my heart.

The verses in 1 Corinthians specifically tell us to purge the church (not a building or denomination, but all believers) of those "who is [are] sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a person."

Notice, also, that Paul states, "not to keep company with anyone named a brother" who does such things.

This is exactly why it is VITAL to point out heresies, sexual immorality and church "movements" that exchange the truth for a lie.

I have read countless comments over at Gay Christian Movement Watch that claim Pastor DL Foster is being too "judgmental." However, if you go over there and read about all the horrific damage that homosexual "clergy" is inflicting upon certain denominations and individual mindsets, such discernment by Pastor Foster is totally justified!!

This leads me to the next "UnChristian" book accusation regarding "wrong" judgments.

3. We may have the right verdict but give it with the wrong motivation.

To paraphrase, the author erroneously claims that "Jesus broke ranks with centuries of religious teaching within Jewish law and custom" when he prevented the stoning of the woman.


That is not what all!

Yes. Jesus points out the sin of the men ready to throw stones at the woman. But he doesn't "break with the law" to do so! He leveled a JUDGMENT against all of the people involved. The law was being carried out against the woman incorrectly; precisely because the man that she committed adultery with should have been punished too!

Remember the fact that Jesus bent down and started writing something in the sand? There has been much speculation about what he wrote. Some scholars claim, the Ten Commandments. I once heard someone say that maybe he was writing down the names of all the women that the crowd of men had committed adultery with! Of course, that's just speculation. However, SOMETHING motivated the men to, one by one, drop their stones and walk away.

What was it?


The "UnChristian" author mentions the fact that Jesus then asked the woman, "where are your accusers?" Since there were none left, he told her, "Go and leave your life of sin."

Jesus didn't condemn the woman. It isn't the time for that. But he didn't condone her sin, either.

There are movements within churches today that blatantly condone the sin of people! This is not what grace, mercy and forgiveness is all about. This is where we get the saying, "God forbid."

1Cr 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make [them] the members of an harlot? God forbid.

Gal 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

Gal 3:21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

What do those verses teach us? As believers and lovers of Jesus Christ, we are not to live "willfully and purposely" in sin!

Jesus himself told us that he did not come to abolish the law (which is a running theme in the liberal left, emergent church, "rethink" mantra of those who reject orthodox biblical Christian faith); he came to FULFILL THE LAW!

Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Jesus is to be the final Judge.

John 5:30 - I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

In Noah's time, the scoffers mocked and ridiculed him and his family while they built the ark on dry land. The people didn't believe that there would be an impending judgment. When it happened, it was too late for those who refused to repent.

The world today is much like in the days of Noah and the days of Lot. I covered this in a previous post. There are scoffers today who don't believe that there will ever be a time of judgment.

God keeps his promises.

It isn't a matter of will it happen? It's a matter of when.

Are you prepared? Are the people around you ready to face Jesus Christ?

When Christ returns, the time of calling others to come under the grace and mercy of his love will be over. All that will be left is his judgment. He will separate the wheat from the tares, the goats from the sheep. His words, from the Bible, not mine.

I have a genuine concern for anyone who is a homosexual, because I do believe it's a sin. I certainly believe that a person can be a Christian and struggle with the sin of homosexuality, in the same way a person can be a Christian and struggle with alcoholism.

But I also believe that every born again Christian has the Holy Spirit (Ephesian 1:13-14) and the Holy Spirit convicts people of their sin (John 16:7-11); both believers who are being sanctified and unbelievers whom God is calling to faith in Him. Therefore as with any sin, if you are a believer the Holy Spirit will convict you of it and you will be very miserable until you repent and submit to God's word.

It doesn't mean you cannot struggle with it, but you are resolved that it is sin and you are going to strive to get it out of your life. No one said it's easy, but Christ will bring you through it.

It has to be a conviction of your own that homosexuality (or any other sexual sin) is sin before you can really repent and begin to ask Christ to help you defeat it.

Romans 1:18-32 is where Paul talks about the effects of sin, the result of the Fall. He goes on to list numerous things that the entrance of sin into the world caused. Anything from murder to gossip, and yes, the description (although the word was not invented yet) of "homosexuality".

Romans 1:26-27 (English Standard Version)

26"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error."

Pastor DL Foster has an amazing post about the true meaning of "God gave them up to dishonorable passions."

My honest heart is for those involved in homosexual behavior and identity to find Christ and repent. You may think I am wrong about this, but what if I am correct? And for those who may have trusted in Christ but struggle with this or any other sin to be convicted and strive towards Christ.

This is certainly not a message of hate, but a message of love and hope. It is geared to those who "have an ear to hear." I know that not everyone will accept it.

"UnChristian" book:

4. A final error in judgment is really the problem in reverse: favoritism. It is human nature to show partiality, but favoritism affects the relationships of Christians in unfortunate ways.

I can agree with that statement, but for a reason that is a 180 degree turn from the reasons that the "UnChristian" authors profess.

I see their "favoritism" as ignoring the need for repentance for "certain types of sin." While they claim that Christians appear as "haters" when we call for the need for repentance of sin, they, on the other hand, want to give certain sinful behaviors a "pass."

This is not loving!

We don't love the sinner by excusing their sin. That's a lie from Satan in the pit of hell! Satan WANTS sinners to remain unsaved. He WANTS sinners to believe that their particular sin does not need confession nor repentance. That way, the person remains in his/her own sin and at death, will not have Jesus as their Advocate to enter into eternal life with God.

You call that loving? I don't!!

Ironically, the "UnChristian" author quotes:

This type of partiality has the same outcome as judgmental attitudes. We pigeonhole people and determine who has the greatest spiritual value and the highest potential to be Christ followers, and we focus our efforts on these people. In the Bible, James specifically warns believers against favoritism: "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others?" (James 2:1)

I'll tell you where the true danger of "favoritism" lives. It lives in those who are not warning sinners of their need to repent!

Yes. Christians are called to share the truth... in love. Sometimes that involves 'tough love.' hurts!

Jesus said, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" Condoning sin is not in Jesus' repertoire. He told the adulterous woman to "go and leave her life of sin."

These bishops and clergy that are condoning (and blessing!) same-sex marriages are committing heresy and apostasy. They must be exposed for who they are and what they are doing. There is not a 'soft' way to do this. It has to be harsh (IMO). There are too many souls of homosexuals (and those that think they are doing "good" by supporting them in their sinful behavior) at stake to treat it lightly!

Our need to repent of sin is the bad news. Only then, can the Good News of the Gospel of Christ for salvation be applied to the individuals own soul.

I will close by sharing some notes from a Galatians Bible study.

(see Galatians 1:3-12)

Notes: God's plan all along was to save us by Jesus' death.

We have been rescued from the power of this present evil age - a world ruled by Satan and full of cruelty, tragedy, temptation, and deception.

Being rescued from this evil age doesn't mean that we are taken out of it, but that we are no longer enslaved to it.

You were saved to live for God. Does your life reflect your gratitude for being rescued?

Have you transferred your loyalty from this world to Christ?


gcmwatch said...

Christine thank you for this post. I will definitely refer all my judgmental critics to it when necessary.

I was sharing with my wife how Christianity is the ONLY faith system which is constantly attacked for being judgmental. Not only do those who are outside do it, but so do those on the inside.

They never talk about islam, bhuddism, zoaratism, hinduism, judiasm or any of the other pretenders to faith.

Why is it that the teachings of Jesus Christ are the only ones deemed too hard on people?

As your article shows we ARE to be judges. And we are told how to do it and who it applies to. I often ask critics why is there an entire book in the Bible called "Judges"?

Neil said...

Good distinctions, Christine. Oddly, the liberals and skeptics who accuse us of being "literalists" are the real literalists when it suits them.

Matt W. said...

Excellent post Christine, very well written, and oh, so true.

The way I had understood the "Judge not..." passage was that we were not to judge a person's eternal Soul because that is up to God. That we are not to say "Because you have commited the sin of homosexuality you will go the hell." But rather to call it sin, as it is, and draw attention to the need for repentance and salvation.

Christinewjc said...

Thanks gcmwatch. You shared additional good points here!

gcmwatch: "Why is it that the teachings of Jesus Christ are the only ones deemed too hard on people?"

You and I both know the answer. It is because either people believe in him and are set free from their sin, or, they remain condemned in their own sin. Those who are condemned, hate the gospel message.

Have you ever noticed that when people curse, they only use the names of Jesus Christ or God in vain? Does anyone every say, "Buddha dammit?" or "Allah dammit?" Do they angrily say, "Mohammed Almighty" like when they use Christ's name for such a derogatory purpose?

No. Of course not!

Why? Because all those other names do not hold the power as do the names of God and His Son, Jesus Christ!

You wrote: "As your article shows we ARE to be judges. And we are told how to do it and who it applies to."

Great points! I will remember to say that back to people who use the tiresome argument, "do not judge" against me.

What it boils down to is this. Are we going to listen to their fleshly, political, emotional, and/or ideological errors? Or, will we continue to listen to, and proclaim, God's Infallible Word?

I know my answer.

Christinewjc said...


Ha! Great point!

Just goes to show how badly their biases towards the Truth in God's Word really is!

Christinewjc said...

Very well said, Matt!

Trouble is, the recipients of the call to repentance often miss that important distinction that you pointed out in your comment.

Unfortunately, it was one of the "running themes" in the "Anti-homosexual" chapter of the book, "UnChristian."

Realistically, is there a "seeker-sensitive" way to tell someone of their need to repent?

Consider this. If we are not supposed to judge anything...then why would Jesus have given us the responsibility of the Great Commission?

When Jesus started his earthly ministry, the first words he uttered that were written in the gospels were, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand."

Look at how many times Jesus' call for repentance it is mentioned in Scripture!

Mat 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mar 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Luk 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luk 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Plus, look at all the times the word "repent" is mentioned throughout Scripture!