In response to a commenter who points out that we’re not to condemn others, chookwatcher attempts to justify their false claims against Andy Stanley by misrepresenting scripture. Now anyone who is alert will know that there is a significant, if subtle, difference between discernment, judgment and condemnation.
Jesus Himself said “I have not come to condemn the world, but so that the world, through faith, can be saved!” If He is not condemning the world, then who are we to condemn the world?
But the chookwatchers miss this point altogether and bumble into an attempt to justify their continual judgmental attitude towards Christians.
Here’s what they say:
‘Think about this – Jesus commends those who judge rightly
John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Unfortunately those who support these false teachers love to throw around Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” And like their adored false teachers, it’s yet another scripture cherry-picked out of context. ‘
Well, no the context is very plain. Jesus isn’t commending judgment at all. He is advising against it. Chookwatcher adds the scripture as if to prove a point s/he actually misses.
Matthew 7:1-6 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Exactly. Don’t judge in case you are judged for the judgement with which you are judging others. Clear as day. He calls the person who judges without first judging themselves a hypocrite.
Let’s read it again in case anyone misses what Jesus says.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.”
That’s pretty clear really. Only a really biased, self-deluded, or spiritually blind person could miss what Jesus is saying. Don’t judge and then you won’t be judged. He says we’ll be judged with the same measure with which we judge others.
If you do judge you’d better be sure you’re not worthy of judgment yourself or that judgment is coming down on you with the same measure with which you mete out judgment on others.
To emphasise this Jesus explains that if we judge others without having first sorted out our own judge-worthiness we are likely to be found to be as guilty as those we set out to judge. That is very obviously the context.
So no one, least of all Jesus, is ‘throwing around Matthew 7:1’. We are quoting Jesus. He is saying we should not judge others for their faults, especially if we have not already judged ourselves.
Which is exactly the point He was making to the Pharisees when He made the statement “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
He wasn’t ‘commending’ the Pharisees for what was, in effect, false judgment of others, but reprimanding them for having judged anyone at all when they were falling so short themselves. That is the actual context of that sentence.
It is the chookwatchers who have taken Jesus out of context, and done some ‘cherry-picking’ of scripture of their own. When Jesus talks about judging with righteous judgment He is not contradicting His earlier warning not to judge others. He is pointing out the folly of judgment.
The Pharisees stood judging, and even despising, others and, by their judgment, commending themselves, so Jesus is putting them in their place by reminding them that they were in no position to judge anyone given the the judgment God had over their heads if they did not repent and change their ways.
You see, when the chookwatchers are judging others, they are very much commending themselves, exactly as the Pharisees did, whilst despising others, and not righteously judging at all.
And the thing is, in defending their right to judge others according to their own standards, they are, in effect, admitting to their judgmental attitude. It is their confession.
Discernment is not for condemnation
This kind of judgment has nothing to do with discernment or condemnation. Discernment is making an accurate assessment of what is right or wrong according to the Word of God, and is mostly directed at our own walk with God in getting things right, not an excuse to discern everyone else’s walk and set up a blog to demonstrate who of them is right or wrong.
And we are told to test every spirit to see that it is of God. But this is so that we can make sure our own walk is in line with Jesus’ directions and so we do not go off course. We are to contend for the faith by knowing what the Word of God is and staying in faith. We are to watch and pray. We are to resist the devil, but we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.
Woah! Stop right there for a minute and think about this. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. People. We wrestle with the spiritual darkness that keeps them from the truth. Our weapons of righteousness are the Word and Spirit, the gospel and faith, prayer and justification. The Word is our only offensive weapon, and is designed to bring change through faith, not condemnation.
If we see that someone is in error or at fault we are to speak to them in a spirit of meekness lest we ourselves fall. We measure everything against the Word of God. Correction isn’t judgment. It is a realignment. An adjustment for the better. It’s not always comfortable, but it brings us through intact.
Judgment requires law, policing, legalists and penalties. Condemnation confirms the punishment. Grace, however, circumvents law and applies mercy in love to carve a pathway to liberty and forgiveness through faith in the Pardoner (without condoning the infringement) who, in Christ, sacrificially paid the price of our transgression, and released us from condemnation through the cross.
As Paul told the Romans in chapter eight of his epistle, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
No condemnation. We are made free through Christ.
But, yes, we have to test the spirits – the spirits, notice, not people, and contextually talking about those who oppose the faith – and measure all we hear against the Word so that we are able to discern right from wrong in our own walk, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (not working out someone else’s salvation, for which they are responsible before God), for this is enough for us to be going on with without setting ourselves up to judge others’ walks.
But none of those listed means of assessing right and wrong are the same as sustaining a critically judgmental attitude which has as its sole purpose the castigation and defaming of churches, movements and ministers of God, nor setting up a covert operation to remove Christians from their churches. This is fly in the ointment stuff.
As already pointed out, condemnation, vengeance and judgment are God’s prerogative, and Jesus has chosen not to condemn people for their sin at this time, but to save people from their sin. There will be a judgment, and there will be wrath, but it is not yet here.
Who are the dogs and pigs?
Then chookwatcher adds this, as if it is condoning their desire to judge others.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
The earlier part of this passage is talking about refraining from judging our brethren. This part is talking about the uncircumcised, who, at that time, were not considered part of God’s chosen people. The Gentiles were outcasts. The pigs, or swine, as the Authorised Version has it, were the uncircumcised – the unclean – who had no covenant with God. The dogs were the religiously legalistic circumcised – the Pharisaic parties – who subsequently attempted to stumble the Galatians.
Of course, later, Jesus gave His life for the uncircumcision and for the circumcision, breaking down the middle partition of the Law, and brought them together in Himself, but here He is talking about different sets of people – the brethren, who we do not judge, the legalists, who we do not trust with the truth, and the then outcasts, the Gentiles, who could not understand truth without the Spirit.
But chookwatcher asks:
‘How do you discern who the “dogs” and “pigs” and “false prophets” are? Jesus is allowing us to tell right from wrong by making that judgment call on whether someone’s doctrine is sound or not.
By throwing discernment out with the bathwater, you lose the ability to identify sin, that sin being what God himself clearly defines as sin.’
Well, no. Jesus doesn’t mention false prophets in these verses. He is talking about the uncircumcised and the religiously inept circumcised. Those who would not hear the Word, or would reject it, or would trample it.
In fact, Rome did exactly this seventy years later when it sacked Jerusalem, and, before this, the Sanhedrin persuaded Rome that Jesus should be crucified, attempted to have the Apostles silenced (although they resisted through prayer), and, later, people like Nero tyrannically sent Christians to be martyred in their arenas of blood and death.
Jesus is certainly not saying that withholding truth from those who will abuse it is a license to judge anyone, or He would be contradicting what He has just said about avoiding judgment of the brethren. He is saying that the Word (in the Law, at that time) is too precious to be displayed before the unlearned or unworthy.
He isn’t saying that anyone is throwing out discernment with the bathwater. That is ridiculous. Discernment is very important to the believer. There is a difference between being discerning about what we hear and do and judging others for what they do.
Chookwatcher tramples on truth
Then the slander:
‘Andy Stanley have [sic] turned aside from the truth and has been made “shipwreck of the faith” by using the word of God to misrepresent its meaning.
Cheers, Team ChookWatch.’
No he hasn’t. Andy Stanley is a godly Christian with a gospel message. Chookwatcher is against Stanley’s doctrine which says that an essential part of the gospel is to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. As the Apostle John reminds us, if we do not love our brethren we do not have the love of God and we are none of His.
The chookwatchers have come against the clear commands to love, having written numerous articles condemning Christians for being obedient to Christ by loving God and loving our neighbours, which is the thrust of Andy Stanley’s teaching, and the root of the chookwatchers’ complaint against his doctrine.
Now the chookwatchers have to determine who is right, Jesus or them. Was Jesus telling the truth when He told His disciples ‘do not judge, lest you be judged.’ Are we to listen to the chookwatchers or obey Christ?
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!