How many times have we heard it , often accompanied with great indignation, ” Who are YOU to judge someone else’s religion ? ” , or the more popular ( but much misunderstood ) quoting of Matt. 7:1, ” Do not judge so that you will not be judged. ” ( NASB ) This seems to be the one verse that every non-believer knows. It’s the cure-all, the discussion-ender, the ” guess I told you ” winning knockout blow !
Why do we never hear the very next verse ? ” For in the way you judge, you will be judged ; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. ” ( Matt. 7:2 ) Because this verse indicates that we all exercise judgement, we all distinguish between right and wrong, it merely commands us to use the right standard . In verse 8 for example, how do we distinguish between those who love the truth ( believers ) and those who hate the truth ( referred to as dogs and swine ) ? Are we not commanded to discern the differences between the two ?
Jesus in John 7:24 further says, ” Do not judge according to appearance , but judge with righteous judgement. ” We should avoid being arbitrary , and self-righteous in making judgements and discernments, but we are told to do so ” righteously ” which means in accordance with God’s Word.
Judging or discerning someone who leaves the truth and follows error is neatly summarized in James 5:19-20, ” My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. “If pointing out error to a person can save his soul from ( eternal ) death, would this not be the merciful and loving thing to do ? If you were going to drive your car across a bridge, and I knew the bridge was out , would it be mean of me to spoil your plans and tell you of impending danger ?
The Bible commands us to judge ( in love ) those who have departed from the Truth.
Rom. 16 : 17 — mark them, avoid them
2 Cor. 6: 17 — be seperate
Titus 1: 13 — rebuke them sharply
2 Thes. 3: 6 — withdraw from them
Eph. 5: 11 — reprove them
2 Tim. 3: 5 — turn away from them
We judge matters everyday. The key is to always judge according to the Word of God, the only objective standard of truth. Do so in a spirit of humility , remembering that ” pride goes before a fall ” , and always pray for wisdom.
In light of clear Biblical revelation , we would have substantive theological differences with , but not limited to , the following movements:
New Age Teaching
Word of Faith and Seed Faith Teaching
Seeker Sensitive & Emerging Church
Seventh Day Adventism
Philadelphia Church of God , Restored Church of God , Living Church of God , United Church of God , and other high demand offshoots of The Worldwide Church of God and Herbert W. Armstrong
IMPORTANT: When we say we have significant disagreements with these movements and their teachings , we do so not on a personal level but on our understanding of God’s Word. We believe these churches have departed from the Historic Christian Faith in their teaching and practice , though we do not and cannot judge their individual members in terms of their eternal salvation. There are Christians scattered here , there , and everywhere , though in many cases poorly taught and often mis-informed.
We should add that there are honest disagreements among Christians involving many doctrinal issues , but the groups listed above have gone past this point , and teach varying degrees of Heresy. We should pray for those involved in the Cults in a spirit of humility all the while examining ourselves to make certain we are in the Faith.
Serving Our LORD along with You,