There are biblical ways to judge people and nonbiblical. The biblical ways, according to John Piper, will judge a person’s Mouth, Writing, and Behavior. In other words, we are to judge a person’s statements whether verbal or written (to see if they match up with Scripture), and how he lives his life. However, we are not to judge a person’s heart (I. Corinthians 4:5).
The counter-“Christian” cultural reality is that you have been commissioned to be a judge. I know this is not popular nowadays, but we’re not here to be popular. We’re here to be biblical:
- I. Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
- John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
- Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment
- Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.”
Now, to be careful lest you all run out and start judging each and every thing and person you see, remember that the Christian is not to judge another person’s heart. But, the Christian is to be a watch guard over the church, over his own personal life and family. He should be ready to fight against what’s wrong (see Ephesians 6 and the Armor of God). How else will he know what is a fiery dart from Satan if he hasn’t been trained in discernment (i.e. the art of judging)?
HOW TO JUDGE 101:
- Know the Truth!
- God’s Word is our gauge. It sets down rules, instructions, history (and remember that history always seems to repeat itself), and the life of Christ for us to grow into maturity and to know right from wrong.
- In 2008 a Thai woman named Kannika was living on the Isle of Wight (England) and picked wild mushrooms that looked like the ones she picked in her native Thailand. Her relative, Amphon’s means of gauging whether they were toxic was if the rice she cooked them in changed color. Kannika ended up sick with liver damage, but Amphon died from the poison of the death cap mushrooms she ate—all because her criteria for discerning safe and unsafe was not based on truth but on fiction.
- Do you know your doctrine (i.e. the teachings of your church)? Look at the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (our current Southern Baptist statement): http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.aspand notice that after each point there’s a reference of Scriptures that went into formulating each point. The foundation of our doctrine is the Scripture, and knowing the main features of orthodox Christianity serves to help you in your own walk as well as in your defense of the faith.
- Discern false messages from false teachers:
- Ever hear anyone say that God is love and therefore would never send anyone to Hell? That’s a false message. It’s believed by lost and saved people alike because as a false message it has spread like an aggressive disease. And, while technically the person promoting this is a false teacher,ifit’s in ignorance then you need to confront that person lovingly and show him the way more accurately.
- Apollos, in Acts 18, was a bold proclaimer of Jesus, yet was lacking in a few areas theologically. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside to train and correct him.
- A false teacher is sold out for the false beliefs he peddles. He or she may be within one’s church promoting false doctrines, or outside of the church selling miracles, healings, promises of wealth, unbiblical/unsubstantiated/unfulfilled prophesies, and so forth. Mike Bell, a former pastor who teaches there is no Hell is a false teacher.
- Prayerfully seek wisdom and counsel:
- Carefully pray and seek wisdom with wise people who are mature in the Word:
- Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.
- Do not move forward too fast, but when you do move, talk to the one teaching wrongly within your church lovingly and with the goal to restore him:
- Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love
- Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
For full-blown false teachers there are no kind words for them or to them anywhere in Scripture. Never. At worst they are servants of Satan, at best they are deceived Christians who are being used as tools of Satan until they repent (see Acts 8:9-24). We must stop the spread of gangrene before it’s too late!
Christian, you are the first line of defense for Waikoloa Baptist Church, but if you do not know your Bible, then you will not discern false teachers from biblical teachers, and in fact you may even believe the biblical ones to be false.
- Have you made good traction on reaching 30 chapters of Bible reading this week? _______________________________________________
- Southern Baptist Voddie Baucham has said: “We do marriage according to Dr. Phil, raise our children according to Dr. Spock, govern our sex lives according to Dr. Ruth, and only run to Dr. Jesus when things have gotten so bad we can’t find another doctor to help us.”
- Think about the influences and education that shapes how you think, function, and even respond to things in life. Now, what has greater weight in your life, culture or the Bible? ___________________________________________________
- For most of us, our culture dictates our lives well above that which the Bible does. How can you replace the false teachings of our society with the Truth of God’s Word? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Why is it we trust everything else in life except the Bible? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Have you noticed from previous pastors/churches a tendency to teach very little Bible and a whole lot of worldly wisdom? ___________________________________________________
- What has the authority? The God of the Bible Who also made the world, or the world system itself? _______________________________________________
- Why is the false teaching of the world gaining more room behind pulpits than God’s Word? ______________________________________________
- We are not to just hold hands with everyone who claims to be a Christian and to proclaim “We’re unified in Christ!” We’re to vet every person through the lens of Scripture. This is part of how we are to judge those who would unify with us.
- Do you know why we don’t unify with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and call them fellow Christians? ___________________________________________________
- Do you know why we don’t do this with the Mormons? ___________________________________________________
- Do you know why we won’t join up with Protestant denominations which deny that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, or that deny the orthodox/biblical understanding of the Trinity? Or that believe in baptism to get saved? Or believe you can lose your salvation? Or refuse to accept the Scriptures as 100% accurate, inerrant, and authoritative? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
I was not raised with a catechism. However, they are beneficial as you can learn the basics of Bible doctrine which can serve useful for one’s personal apologetics against false teachings and false teachers (and to help spot them). This can serve at least as a launching pad for you if you desire to memorize it. A good suggested one is the Baptist Catechism of 1695: https://learnscripture.net/catechisms/BC1695/.