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January 19, 2010

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Have you considered writing a sequel to "Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air"? Perhaps a how-to manual for discrediting political correctness?

It seems our aversion to "judging" has a deeper seated basis than we first admit. Why does "not judging" sound so pious?

Its because Christ Himself gives the command to not be judgemental......and we all want to show how Christlike we are. But like much of scripture...this command is easily taken out of context in order to cast a favorable personal impression.

Perhaps it is important to investigate the distinction between the words "judging" and "condemning." Is there such a distinction in the biblical text?

I'm sure there is a difference but it is moot for our discussion. The point is..we most certainly ARE to judge all things...and CONDEMN what is ungodly. Condemning may mean something as simple as ignoring or having nothing to do with it..or it may mean supporting its destruction altogether.

I think the judging that we are forbidden to engage in concerns our fellow brothers and sisters in christ....and is the kind that says..."Do like I do and you can't go wrong". IMO

When we read in the Gospels Christ's warnings against judging (Matt 7, Luke 6) he is speaking to those still under the judgment of the law, and how those people should interact with their enemies or those who mistreat them. So in it seems to me his warning is to be careful when judging because they are under judgment as well for the same type of things for which they are judging others. Christ also warns against the hypocrisy of our judgments in Luke 12 when he makes the point that we can discern the seasons or weather but we can't or don't make accurate judgments of our own conscience.

In the epistles God's word is directed at those under the new covenant. Here it seems that we are directed to judge only those within the body of Christ. In fact through Paul, Christ makes the point that it's worthless to judge those outside the Church because by definition they are under judgment/condemnation due their unrepentance (I Cor 3). However, we are instructed to make moral judgments about those within the Church in order to protect and grow the Body (I Cor 4,6). Now, taken together, along with other issues regarding making judgments from Christ (I judge perfectly, you people judge imperfectly because you're sinful - John 8) and, because you're prone to misjudgment, do so not individually, but as a group (John 8, Matt 18), and it seems the Body is called to make careful judgments about moral issues within the Body of Christ.

So it seems that scripture as a whole suggests that God will rightly judge and condemn those who's sole claim to eternal life with God is based on their own goodness and we should stay out of God's business for the time being. However, when it comes to moral issues within the Body of Christ (not whether someone chooses to go to the "traditional" or "contemporary" worship service), we are to judge this behavior, but not as individuals, but as a larger portion of the Body.

Judging, as a moral duty of believers and even non-believers, requires a lot of distinguishing between right and wrong, good and evil. The article uses this meaning of the word, the way I see it. We, in effect, regularly separate the sheep from the goats. Whether we should swing the sword at the latter to eliminate them from this world is the issue raised by Christ against those who are not in a position to render the judgment, that is, making the public distinction without moving to the side of the goats and saying, "I, too, am guilty!"

Christ was obviously poking fun at our inconsistencies and not divesting us of our duty to judge righteously, as He would later exhort and exemplify. "Shut up, hypocrites," was obviously His point.

In Revelation, we are to "let the evil be evil still and the holy be holy still." This is judging and distinguishing but not condemning, for only God can send anyone to hell. Even a person who says, "You will go to hell for your sins if you do not repent" would then be simply saying a truth and not condemning if he basis his words on facts or on what is right. In this case, to convict sinners -- the other meaning of the word "judge" -- is a hard task but one that is expected of every Christian. How else will we save the lost?

Only the guilty and the hypocrites can hate righteous judges.

So when Jesus said "Judge not lest ye be judged", you were looking the other way?

Sometimes, you have to be among the goats to realize you too are guilty of sin. Yeah, I have been looking into myself and wondering how I could find a way back to the right place and then, hopefully, bring a few people along with me. A goat would certainly be sympathetic to a fellow goat.

Sadly though, it doesn't always happen that way. It takes years to understand many of Christ's teachings. Perhaps, this one is just too much to grasp for many of us who merely hear and do not listen. Why? Because instead of appreciating the good we have found and which we want to share, some would turn it around and use it against us.

This issue of judging requires more clear thinking than we are willing to give.

Brian, above, was almost 'spot on' in his response. The 'almost' is in that: not only were they under the law, but as the 'holders of the law' the scribes and Pharisees, who should have understood it all, but didn't, they were as a kettle calling the pot 'black'. Those who should have recognized the messiah, but didn't see, wouldn't sse their messiah in front of their eyes, were condemned for making unrighteous judgements! (The law was a 'schoolmaster unto Christ'. They skipped class alot, learning what they wanted, for their own benefit.)
We, who are truly in the body, and who are exhorted to be sinless, (cf Rom. 6), should judge our 'brothers in the faith', using the Word which is suitable for all correction, reproof, etc. This is, partially, what James is about. Of course, you can't judge someone else if you are guilty of the same! chauvinistic, :))

(sorry. "chauvinistic" was to have been deleted, I missed it)

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