Jonathan david

Judging Other Christians - A Dangerous Game

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Nowadays, there are many websites that seem focused on being "centers of true Christian theology." They have names that include the words "Berean, Truth, Error, Heresy, Discernment, etc." Not only do many of them offer what they purport to be true biblical doctrine, but other differing points of view are often met with disdain and disparagement.

Other Christian perspectives are typically dismissed and demonized as "heretical" or "aberrant" in favor of their own, "pristine" view. A fair amount of effort is spent aggressively "going after" those who dont see things quite the way they see it.

Welcome to the world of the "Heresy Hunter" (HH) website.

The main issue I have with HH websites is their all-too-common flawed reasoning and lack of due process. It is not surprising that this happens (from the human perspective), as we tend to be poor judges of others, while giving all the slack and understanding toward our own actions and opinions, however flawed.

But Gods people are called to follow a higher road in how we treat others.

Sadly, with many supposedly Christian "truth" websites, the evidentiary path to condemnation of others beliefs appears more akin to "lynch mob" justice, when the Bible says that (righteous) justice is what God requires of us (Micah 6:8).

When you choose to come against other people of differing Christian beliefs, you put yourself in the arena of "judging others", and the Bible has lots to say about that.

Firstly, the biblical principle of being truthful demands integrity of information and process, with proper attitude (e.g., respect, humility) and motive.

Matt 7 says that how we judge, we will be judged. Matt 12:36 says that we will be held accountable in the judgment for EVERY IDLE WORD we speak.

This alone should make us shudder at the possibility of harming other believers in how we judge/misjudge people with negative words.

Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile (Psalm 34:13)

Furthermore, James 1 says that teachers are held unaccountable to a higher standard. We would do well to consider if our own theological position is necessily correct, and ask: Are alternate views necessarily deserving of condemnation or contempt (e.g., because of "camp mentality").

I would rather keep my mouth shut, rather than propogate hastily or incorrectly derived accusations.

If there is a concern about someones teaching, YES, by all means, state it. But position it properly. Too many "Correctors of the Brethren" have adopted polarizing and presumptive analysis, that only propogates needless division.

A good communicator knows how to properly place and nuance evaluation and analysis in "degrees." Immature communicators will commonly exaggerate or use harsher terms than the evidence calls for. The unbiased reader will easily pick up on this tactic, and the author will lose credibility.

We have to consider that unity of the body is paramount to God (Jn 14:21). Propogation of division/discord is one of six things that God hates (Prov 6:19).

This means that we should make every effort to ensure that we evaluate others theological positions with charity, making every effort to make sure we are not falsely accusing, or exaggerating or otherwise abusing others views in a way that leads to discord.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Prov 16:18)

Again, due process is paramount. All too often, the approach of a "heresy hunter" is to take a pastors "sound bite" out of context, misconstrue what the speaker meant, and label them as a heretic.

To make matters worse, propagation of this flawed information to the masses, who often don't verify the information, often leads to class-level misjudgment, ungodly prejudice and even slander against other believers.

This harms the Body of Christ, despite good intentions of keeping integrity to the Word.

We need to have the academic integrity and discipline to rise above prejudicial "camp mentality", and get the realization that theology is not as entirely direct in concept and practice as, say, mathematics.

It is quite derivational, where PROCESS and even PREJUDICES define the PRODUCT.

Doctrinal clarity is not always 100%, where even the most "scholarly" process can leave room for debate. We make the best fit approximation we can based on the biblical dots, and the result can vary.

This calls for grace, love and commitment to find common ground – there is more there than many think!

In conclusion, do you really want to be a "judge of other brothers?" (No, you don't get off the hook by just branding them as "unbelievers"). My advice: We should all focus on our own issues, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

There are just too many "unrighteous judges" out there, as false accusation is evident when in-depth and proper analysis is conducted.

Even the world "gets it" that judging people bears a heavy responsibility of integrity. I will leave you with the definition of what constitutes a good judge, from a municipal judge friend of the family in Asia (Judge Judy). She describes what an excellent worldly judge should be - shouldn't Christian judgment at least be as fair and righteous?

WHAT IS A GOOD JUDGE? (From a real judge)
A good judge would be one who is fair and just in dealing with parties that come before him, without harbouring any prejudice or bias against a party due to skin colour , language, nationality etc. Patient to listen, censure when necessary or situation calls for it. Listen to both sides , consider the facts and evidence in totality before coming to a considered decision or judgement.

There are always two sides / versions to a case or story and that's when you need to have an impartial mind to determine which version is more probable and viable.

We must strive not to be judgemental based on one side of a story ( one person's word against the other) without hearing the other or not knowing the full and actual facts of what happened.

Updated 04-28-2018 at 12:55 AM by Jonathan david

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