JUDGE NOT, YOU HYPOCRITE!
April 25, 2017 By J. Davila Ashcraft
Jesus’ admonition is often used to attack Christians who dare to speak to the immorality and inherent destructive history and nature of the Leftist agenda. Inevitably some Social Justice Warrior who is either an Atheist (and so quoting scripture seems a bit disingenuous), or claims to be a Christian (in name only) screeches,”Judge Not!” This misguided and out of context appeal to the teachings of Jesus and the Bible are not an affirmation of their validity and proper place in public discourse by the Atheist/Leftist, but rather a smug attempt to hijack truth in support of error. Of course they have no problem judging Christians, and thus fall under the very condemnation they wish to charge us with. The idea that Christians cannot judge ideas, political programs, social issues, and the like is really designed to shut down discussion and debate. It is the turning of a virtuous teaching against us.
Leftist, Denay Burris’ op-ed piece in The Lincoln Echo, Arizona says, in reference to Christian opposition to same sex marriage:
“Now lets refer to the Bible. Matthew 7:1. Judge not, that ye be not judged. Refer to John 8:1-11 [“let him that is without sin cast the first stone”], and Romans 2:1-3.”
In Abortion: My Choice, God’s Grace : Christian Women Tell Their Stories, Anne Eggebroten asserts, “as Christians we must not judge those who have found themselves in need of an abortion” (p. 198).
We are told we cannot judge homosexuality, transgenderism, Islamic terrorism, and on and on. What this amounts to is not a concern for biblical thinking, but an attempt to control public discourse and marginalize opposition.
And lest we think such tripe is found only outside the Christian community, let’s not forget a situation with the so-called “Christian” rock band Stryper. During one of their recent concert tours, they hired the once-famous secular group White Lion as the opening act. During some of the concerts White Lion openly used filthy, vulgar profanity on stage. At one concert they even threw out pornographic magazines into the audience. In an interview Michael Sweet was asked, “How did you guys deal with that when it happened?” Michael replied, “We felt we couldn’t judge any other group. If we told them, hey, you can’t do this and you can’t do that, we would be judging them.”
Such Leftist thinking permeates not only secular culture, but much of the church, and is really a symptom of relativism.
These misapplications of scripture are rampant and ignore Biblical Texts which require judging. Texts such as:
• Matt. 7:6, 15-20
• John 7:24
• Matt. 18:15-17
• I Cor. 5:9-13
• I Cor. 6:1-8
• II Thess. 3:6, 14-15
• Gal. 6:1
• I Tim. 5:19-20
• Eph. 5:11
• Titus 1:13
The fact of the matter is, we all judge every day out of necessity. We judge whether the character of the people we choose to associate with is acceptable. We judge the suitability of those who would be friends of our children. We judge people, places, and situations each and every day as a matter of safety, suitability, morality, and ethics. Judging is not the problem if we know how to judge righteously.
The question we have to ask is, what are the principles of application for judging or refraining from judgment?
What is Required:
1. We must evaluate ourselves and others by God’s word- John 7:24 2. We can identify a false teacher or false social idea (claims to be right with God, but isn’t) if the fruit (words and behavior) of his life or the idea does not measure up to the standard of God’s word — Matt. 7:15-20 3.
2. When encountering violations of what God’s word clearly teaches are sin, we must identify them as sin and then deal with them according to the Biblical pattern.
What is Prohibited:
1. We are prohibited from judging others based on a simplistic reading of Scriptures. We must consider all the Scripture teaches to be able to “judge righteous judgment.” – John 7:24
2. We are prohibited from condemning others for what we ourselves are guilty and unrepentant – Matt. 7:1-4; Rom. 2:1-3.
3. We are prohibited from speaking negatively about fellow believers and condemning them – Luke 6:37; James 4:11-12.
4. We must not de-Christianize those who differ from us on matters over which good, godly men have differed and do not contradict scripture. — Rom. 14:3, 10.
The following are a sampling of common scenarios which are actual violations of the biblical principle “Judge Not”:
1. Believers assuming that another believer’s motive is self-centered or sinful, and on that basis criticizing them and/or condemning them, i.e., “They did wrong”; “They cheated”; “They lied”
2. Believers who listen to information that damages another believer’s reputation without rebuking the gossiper (and this includes websites authored by Christians who slander other Christians under the guise of exposing error or lies), and thus implicitly participating in the gossiper’s judging of the other person. This one is rampant!
3. Complaining about the actions of a believer or group of believers (church, para-church organization, etc) and criticizing them without having first followed the biblical pattern for dealing with a brother who sins against you.
What we have to understand is that scripture advises us to judge, and that, if we do not judge ideas, issues, etc. by the measure of scripture, then we are not living a Biblical life, but a secular, Relativist life.
J. Davila Ashcraft is a Theologian and Apologist, and a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. His website: www.paleoorthodoxy.org
GOVERNMENT IS YOUR GOD IF IT MUST ALWAYS BE OBEYED!
April 25, 2017 by Dr Don Boys
If you think a citizen must always obey the government, then government has become your God. To disobey government is to become a rebel and maybe a prisoner! It has always been dangerous to be right when your government is wrong. When Christians disobey government, they must do so based on biblical principles, accept the consequences, and not whine about “suffering for Jesus.”
John Bunyan preached without government permission and spent 12 years in Bedford Jail for preaching without a license; yet after his release, he accepted a license!
While John was in jail, he was only a five minute walk to his home. When blind Mary visited, she brought her father a jug of soup. John wrote, “O the thoughts of the hardship I thought my Blind one might go under, would break my poor heart to pieces. … Yet recalling myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you. O, I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his Wife and Children. Yet, thought I, I must do it, I must do it.”
Mary often brought father a jug of soup, feeling her way along the damp wall to his cell where she embraced her father and related news of their home and church. On leaving, she would reach up and feel for her father’s eyes and wipe away the tears. John said that as he considered what he was doing to his family, it was as if someone were pulling the flesh from his bones. Knowing that he could go home with Mary if he simply agreed not to preach, made the matter worse.
Although convicted illegally and without a proper trial, he served in prison 12 years of his life from age 32 to 44. Of course, unlike today’s prisoners, he did not have access to radio, television, or prison library. He didn’t even have a gym! He slept on a flea-infested straw mattress when it was available or on loose straw along with 20 to 30 other prisoners. He was cold in the winter and sweltering hot in the summer as he became well acquainted with rats, lice, and fleas. One can imagine his desire for silence and solitude.
While in prison, John began to write and authored the most-read book of all time other than the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress, one of 60 books he wrote. Next to the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress has been translated into more languages than any other book.
Bunyan had been convicted under the Act Against Puritans 1593, which mandated that every citizen should attend the parish church (Church of England) regularly. The punishment for breaking this law included banishment from England forever. However, the law was to expire at the end of the next session of Parliament so Bunyan was arrested and convicted under an expired law!
When King Charles II issued the Declaration of Religious Indulgence in 1672, he was showing tolerance toward all religious groups but his main interest was giving Roman Catholics a boost from their disfavor. Charles was thought to be a secret Catholic and in fact did become one on his deathbed. His Catholic brother James was heir to the throne, which scared Englishmen.
As a result of this Act, Bunyan was released even though he spent six additional months in prison in 1675. With the Indulgence, it was possible for people to worship God in the way they wanted if they bought a license. Non-conformist sects such as Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, and others could register and get a license. But no preacher should get approval from government to minister–not then, not now.
The dissidents wavered for a while not knowing what to do. If they registered, then the King would have all their names and addresses, “but surely you can trust the word of the King.” Eventually the offer was accepted with a total of 1610 ministers taking licenses: 939 Presbyterians, 458 Congregationalists or Independents, and 210 Baptists. Bunyan was one of the Baptists!
However, the Indulgence was cancelled in 1673, under pressure from an Anglican-controlled Parliament, and the licenses were recalled in 1675. (That is exactly what Bunyan told the judge could happen.) It wasn’t too difficult since the government knew where everyone lived and preached. The nonconformists learned that you can’t always trust your government. However, the results for nonconformity were permanent. The dissidents made enormous advances in only a few months and there was no going back. Freedom does that.
But the mess was getting messier.
A vacillating king, a vicious Parliament, and a vindictive state church had made a mess of life in England. Charles didn’t know what he believed and was only interested in cavorting with his eight mistresses (producing 17 bastards) and everyone “just getting along.” The king’s interest was not in politics but in philandering, partying, and playing. Things haven’t changed much, have they?
The Parliament was displaying its power after being in limbo during the rule of Oliver Cromwell (an independent Puritan). Additionally, the Church of England was getting its pound of flesh from the dissidents after the state church’s humiliation during Cromwell’s Protectorate from 1653 to 1659. (It’s interesting that Cromwell rejected the offer to make him king!)
Bunyan was released from jail and he found that his affairs were “gone to wreck” and that he had to begin life as if he were a young man again. “Before his liberation, a license had been sent to him from the king to preach, and Mr. Gifford [pastor of the Bedford Church] being dead, it had been resolved by the church that he should become their pastor, in case he concurred with their desire.” (William Brock, Life of John Bunyan, Cassell Publishing Company, New York undated, p. xxx.) However, a license “sent to him” was still a license to preach.
No one knows what happened to Bunyan that permitted him to accept permission to preach from the king after his principled reply to the judge: “No man or company of men may grant or deny me leave [permission] to preach.” The fact is, if an official can give permission to preach then he can tell you that you can’t preach.
The Bible principle is, no power on earth has the authority (power yes, authority, no) to tell a preacher he can preach or he cannot preach nor can he be told what to peach or how to preach or when to preach. Nor can any authority sit in judgment as to what a preacher or layman can believe. Modern Christians had better imbibe these convictions as an out-of-control government arrogantly tells them what they will believe about same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism, homeschooling, licensure of Christian schools, etc. It seems Charles II is still on the throne!
John Bunyan was a good, great, and godly man who was far more courageous and talented than I; however, he was wrong not to tell King Charles II that while he appreciated the thought, he would continue to preach without a license.
But then that could be dangerous since King Charles beheaded Algernon Sidney for saying that there is no divine right of kings to rule over the people. It’s dangerous to disagree with any “king.”
No one can know what changed Bunyan’s mind about a license. Maybe he liked being free; or was delighted with his enlarged ministry; or was influenced by his family; or was convinced by his preacher/friends to be “practical”; or felt that he had done enough for the cause; or maybe he became weary in the battle.
Modern Christians must learn to pronounce the most difficult word to speak–no! No, to government control.