The cult of Do not Judge
This article is being written on behalf of all the ministries and people that defend the faith with the truth and are accused of judging because they test those who teach falsely with the Word of God.
The premise-Does God tell us not to judge?
John 7:24 Jesus says: Do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment. What Jesus does tell us is not to judge by our own opinions, but instead judge by the word of God, that is what it means to judge righteously. He always encouraged the people to judge. God told Israel to judge the prophets in the Old Testament. He had the true prophets judge the false but the people reacted saying the very same things people are saying today. Your being negative oh you never have anything good to say. In the New Testament we are told to judge prophecy, to discern, to test the spirits and we are told to test ALL things. We are told to do this because it helps keep us away from what is false and evil. The apostle Paul showed us how to judge so there would be no second guesswork. The apostle Paul said, If anyone preaches another gospel let him be accursed Would anyone say to Paul's face your judging. In 2 Thess. 3:14-15 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. Strong guidelines that many avoid to do today. These are done not to condemn but to bring repentance and restoration.
Lets let God decide whose right or wrong. Does this sound familiar? Except this particular statement was from a Muslim. But it can be anyone from any religion. Even Christians say we should not pursue a matter to find the truth. I realize that when one's favorite teacher or leader is questioned the initial human response can be one of agitation and turn to over emotionalism. But when feelings do not subside and escalate into anger, rage, and maliciousness, it is not godly at all. Despite that they believe they have a cause to protect their teacher, it is not advantageous for anyone to have their emotions rule if they are trying to arrive at the truth.
There has been a trend going on for a number of years that has dulled the spiritual senses of the church and leavened the convictions of many a Christian. It has risen to new heights as of late where if anyone has anything to say about another they are told, Don't judge, touch not my anointed do my prophets no harm etc. Maybe if some of the people that quote these verses would look at what they actually say in context, they wouldn't have such flawed arguments, they would not find themselves becoming entangled emotionally. Its not just finding a few words to prove a position, but what do they mean in the Scripture in its context and can they apply to us today.
What is ironic is that to tell people they are judgmental is to judge them. What people are doing is recommending for us not to judge by the word of God, but dispense with any discernment, just like they do it. Some even threaten and curse those who test because they cannot deal with the Scriptural proof presented to them. Christians are not to threaten or curse others because they disagree. Neither should they be warning that they are going to prayer, as though God will answer their prayer of vengeance and avenge the persons teaching that was examined and found false. The facts more often than not are; those who say not to judge are incredibly more judgmental then those they accuse of judging.
One person wrote, Whether _______ is right or wrong is not up to you to discuss with anyone. Lets look at this illogical statement. Now we can never discuss doctrine and peoples teachings. This means they too cannot discuss anything that they think, even if it is beneficial! But Heb.6:1-3 tells us we can discuss doctrine. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. In other words many of these things should be settled, but there are many things that are not.
What I have found is very few challenge back quoting from the Bible to prove their position. Rarely do they say this person does not teach this or you misunderstood, he really means this. What they argue is just don't test it, or don't say this because I know such and such for years and they are doing great things for God. That's judging isn't it? And it is done by appearance. Then when this does not work they will respond by calling names and threatening people using Bible cliché's as don't judge don't touch God's anointed, do my prophets no harm, etc., all taken out of context. If they were to think biblically they would realize we are all anointed, not just some, and to come against another brother or sister that is trying to obey Scripture means they too are coming against God's anointed. Everyone in the body of Christ is anointed; nonetheless what someone teaches is to be tested. How do we know this? Paul commended the Thessalonians for doing so, even when it was Paul himself that was being examined by Scripture (Acts 17:11).That is a right Spirit.
So many have been indoctrinated into the constraint of don't say anything against another no matter how far off they are. Let God will deal with them. If this were true, then why are we given all the commands in Scripture to judge? Why all the warnings that deception and falsehood will permeate the Church in the end and we are to be on guard? We are told to deal with it and not allow it to continue. It's not to say that we make mountains out of molehills, but some are already mountains that need to be moved. So lets speak to the mountain, speak to those who congregate at the foot of it and tell them.
We should take note, we all judge things all day: let me give some examples. When you sit down you make sure you're comfortable, you're judging whether or not you are comfortable. When you eat food at restaurant you judge whether it taste good or bad, and you judge the service you were given. When you bring your car to a mechanic you look for a good one and then you judge if he did a good job. When you buy a product you make sure it works as advertised. When you receive bills in the mail you judge whether they were recorded right. Even in conversations you judge whether someone is telling the truth. So we judge not only every day, but throughout the day. You can't help but judge! All these things mentioned do not necessarily have an affect on your spiritual life. But the things that actually can affect your spiritual life people are saying, don't judge. If ever a lie of the Devil was told this was it. When the Devil tempted Eve he hoped that she would not judge what he was saying with what God had already spoke. During the conversation (Gen.3) she began to challenge him by the word of God but he responded by bringing doubt on God's word, saying has God said? By the time he was finished she believed the Devil over what God said. She didn't judge, and instead she and Adam were judged!
What Has God said?
Jethro gave advice after seeing Moses was going to be burnt out on ruling. Moses responded in Deut. 1:15-18 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men, and made them heads over you, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes. Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, 'Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. 'You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man's presence, for the judgment is God's. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.' And I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do. This was the law to Israel and a principle of how they were to live. So they were to judge even the menial matters among themselves. This is made clearer in the New Testament about doctrine.
This is again repeated in Deut.16:18-19 You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the LORD your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.
Why are some of the most drastic things said by famous people ignored, these scriptures show that it is because people are partial, loyal to the renowned, not caring if they are wrong or right. A bribe can be money or it can be other things such as promises or blessings that will be lost. The outcome is that it twists the words of the righteous when they are manipulated not to say the truth.
Judges 2:18-19 And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way. The judges were to implement the commands from the word. Notice what happens when there is no judgment to decide what is right or wrong, the people do what they feel like and reap the consequences. The end of the book of judges it tells us what happened, every man did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 21:25).
The judges were restored under Jehoshaphat king of Judah. 2 Chron.19:4-7 So Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim, and brought them back to the LORD God of their fathers. Then he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.
For even Asaph said in Ps. 82:1-4 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Selah Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked. People are defenseless from the wicked when they put aside judgment. Today there are many people that are abused by those who Lord it over them, by manipulation, by teachings and promises that never come true. If you have a heart of compassion you cannot just sit idly by while this takes place, even to those you may not know personally. It is being done to the body of Christ and the body of Christ needs to say something.
What did Jesus actually say on judging?
Protectors of false teachers will say Jesus said, not to Judge, quoting Matthew 7:1, therefore that we cannot judge. At first glance it appears that Jesus does forbid judging, but lets continue to read the passage. Matthew 7:1-5: Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.
In other words you can judge as along as you are not doing the same thing. If you want to help another and have taken care of yourself in this area, then you are able to see and operate on your brother. Jesus does not say don't operate under any circumstances, but allows us to remove the speck when we can see. But Jesus goes on and says in v:6: Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. What He is saying is that we need to make sure whom we are engaged with. When you try to correct someone with the Holy Word and they are haters of truth they will not receive the pearls and will turn on you. So we are to weigh out whom we give the Word of God out to.
Christ kept this theme throughout His ministry rebuking the people in Luke 12:55-57 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, 'There will be hot weather'; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? This was said right after Jesus lectured on His coming, how it would bring division, not unity (Luke 12:56-57).
Jesus also said Beware of false prophets! (Matthew 7:15) this is a warning but comes as a command from our Lord. But how could we beware of false prophets unless we test what they say? Instead of obeying what Jesus said, some actually ignore this and support them. How? By saying, don't test it, don't touch God's anointed. They do this because they have been taught by them not to question them. Loyalty and respect are good qualities but we cannot fall into the trap that because so and so was in ministry for 20-40 years or we know them personally that they can't say something terribly wrong. True men of God are willing to be corrected from the Word, no matter who spoke a certain teaching or prophecy.
Ye shall know them by their fruits, Christ said (Matthew 7:16). In judging their fruits, we must judge by God's Word. So what is fruit? Well to understand fruit we need to take a few steps backwards. The seed is the word of God, it is what gives us the new life. As it grows in us we mature until we become like a tree (Psalm 1), for a tree bears fruit. Christ is using a natural example of a spiritual principle-- a mature tree bears fruit. If the seed is the word, than the tree and the roots of the tree must be of the word. So a good tree bears good fruit. The fruit can't be good if it is not based on the word, in other words they need to have correct doctrine and teach right to have good fruit. This does not mean one is right on everything but they will hold to the core teachings and are consistent in these. They will not say one thing one time, and contradict themselves another time.
In the New Testament this statement sums up what Jesus meant on judging. In John 7:24 says: Do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Jesus is saying we can judge only do it correctly, not by what you see or hear but by the Word of truth. Just because you don't want to judge does not mean you have the right to tell others not to. To accuse others of doing what the Bible tells us to do-- is to judge without a righteous judgment.
Jesus said in John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. To seek God's will in a matter is to go to Scripture to see what he says on something. Jesus had perfect judgment because he heard from the Father. He also delivered this word to us and says it is not only His Word but the Fathers (Jn.14:24). So if the Word of God is used correctly it is not you or I judging but God, therefore it becomes a righteous judgment.
Jesus again made it clear how to judge unrighteously You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me (John 8:15-16). Jesus did not judge by appearances, He was able to know the heart. While we do not have the same ability, He has given us directions on how we can judge and be accurate in it. A crooked stick by itself may not show that it is bent, but it will always be seen as crooked when laid next to the straight stick of the word.
Paul wrote in Phil. 3:15-17 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. Paul used himself and the other apostles as our physical examples in everything. Paul could not deal individually with the many false teachers springing up like weeds in the different areas. Paul said to follow his example as he followed Christ. Christ openly showed what is false, so did Paul, and so did the other apostles. Much of the New Testament was written to publicly correct false teaching within the Church itself. Every second epistle written by an apostle is for correction or judging false doctrine. In 2 Timothy 4:10, Paul judges and warns about a man named Demas. Later in the same epistle (2:17) he warns of the heresies of two others naming them. Paul did a lot of judging and warning when it came to false teachers that could influence the church, because he cared. What if Paul didn't judge and allowed Alexander to continue teaching, what if Peter let Simon Magus stay in the Church? Think it through!
We also have permission to judge false doctrine, and those who really care do so.
What about love?
John the Baptist called both the Pharisees and Sadducees a generation of Vipers (snakes) (Matt. 3:7), he rebuked Herod the king. Today, he would be accused of being unloving, unkind, no respect for leaders and most of all un-Christian. Jesus and Paul would also be accused of being judgmental if one would examine what they actually said. I believe God has been training the Church to recognize error and deception because the real deception that could deceive the elect may be just around the corner. If you can't judge today's falsehood you will certainly be unable to tomorrow when things escalate. Is it now unloving to stop someone from going over cliff when you already know where the road ends.
How else do you protect the sheep if you do not speak out? Let me give a simple example: If someone is selling a false product in your city and numerous people are buying it and becoming sick. What would you do? What if you tried to go to the manufacturer but he would not meet with you because he is an important man in the community and you are not? Do you keep silent and just let it go or is it your duty to let others know? James says not to do something you know is right is sin. So you are sinning if you have any idea it could be wrong. Here in lies the problem, the people who say don't judge do this for protection of their teachers. But they will often admit that they know there are things wrong, but they have not come to the conclusion of how wrong it is.
The Apostle Paul also writes: And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all discernment (judgment) that you may approve things that are excellent in God's sight. It is this same love that he applies to Eph. 4:14-15 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ This truth would be the word that would challenge the words from deceivers who are deceived and affecting the body with winds of doctrine.
We are to identify certain people for the brethren's own safety. We are to identify false teachers for the purpose of protecting the sheep in Christ's Church, and we certainly don't need to apologize for this. We are our brothers keeper. This love is a discriminating love, a love that cares enough for others and is not concerned with what people think of you, especially when you know that you are right from the Word.
Hanging with people who teach falsely will rub off on you, the cliché for self protection touch not my anointed becomes let it be, it is grinded into the followers and moaned by them toward those who have anything to say about their favorite teachers. One needs to hear both sides before they can make a just decision. Find the proof that what they teach is from the Bible and not from their own imagination of what they think the Bible says.
Lets look at what those who say not to judge are actually saying the Word of God states, next to what the Word of God actually says.
Those who say Don't judge- 1 Thess. 5:21-22 Don't Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
The BIBLE-1Thess. 5:21-22 Test all
things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Those who say Don't judge- I John 4:1-3 Beloved, do believe every spirit, don't test the spirits, whether they are of God
The BIBLE- I John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
Do my prophets no harm. Meant not to lay hands on them. False prophets were to be rejected and stoned in the Old Testament (Deut.18:20). Instead , Israel killed the true prophets (Mt.23:35-37). No one is laying hands on anyone today. The Bible tells us to judge prophets. 1 Cor. 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. It does not just say let only the other prophets judge, but the others. These others may have the gift of prophecy or those gifted in the word and Spirit. This would also relate to 1 Cor.12:10 which tells us one of the gifts of the Spirit is a discerning of spirits. (judging, determining what is from God or not). Exactly what John writes in I John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God Here again we are told to judge, and in this case it could mean the whole congregation. The discerning of spirits is probably the most needed gift in the end times where Jesus said many false prophets and teachers would be around us. When there is a need God raises up a standard. As Paul continues to write the spirit of the prophets are subject to the prophets. This does not mean we turn over a meeting to false prophets to validate the prior false prophets that spoke. Today we have a repetition of the error of the people in Jeremiah's time An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? (Jer. 5:30-31) He asks a question that we need to answer today. What will you do?
No person is to be prevented from the right of investigating and comparing with the Bible what is said. Who would desire to prohibit the people from a full and free examination of what is said? Certainly it would not be God who tells us to judge in the Word. The guideline of testing and judging stresses the importance of truth being accepted and error being rejected. It gives accountability for what one says as a teacher to many people, this reduces the margin of error spread to the people.
Believers are not to avoid judging, just avoid judging with a final condemnation (the eternal destiny of someone). This word judge (Greek-krino) is used over 80 times in the New Testament and it means to call in question, discern, conclude, decree, and determine. The meaning does not mean to condemn in judgment; the context shows we are responsible to correctly evaluate a thing or an act. It does not mean to glean the truth and ignore the false because their good outweighs the bad. We cannot always judge someone's motives, only God has this kind ability. We are commanded to judge what they spoke, their teachings. God is the ultimate judge on eternal life but we the church are to be keepers of the truth, to do this one must test what is said and reject falsehood.
Heb. 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The author tells us that believers who are mature, are those who have trained themselves to exercise judgment, to discern between good and evil through the Word, not by feelings. That is judging; those who do not judge are babes in the word. One of the ways to show you are spiritually mature is to seek out a matter on its own without being persuaded by public opinions or the status of a person. People today often trust a person's position or fame more than the Holy Spirits discernment given in the Word. Error can only be seen as error only when it is measured against the truth. This means judging. If you accept anything everyone says because of who they are you are just a sponge that will soak up both the good and the bad equally. Then the only way we can get rid of the bad is for God to wring it out of you. That is not always a pleasant experience.
When we ignore the false we are helping the devil's cause because the truth becomes hidden. The Devil hates the truth because it exposes anything that is false: sometimes it is well hidden. Jesus warned us that false prophets and false disciples would arise and He told us how to know the difference. When somebody says that you are judging, they are wrong, we are inspecting the fruit that comes from the tree and we are told to do so. When we decide what someone is teaching is wrong by the Word that is not our judgment but God's. But if we decide simply by loyalty and allegiance this does not prove it is true and it becomes what Jesus called judging by appearance.
Attacks without a biblical case-- without the facts proves that one is relying on their feelings and having blind loyalty. One needs to make a case from the Bible or they become guilty of the very thing they accuse others of. Proverbs tells us to hear both sides of a matter before we make a decision.
When sheep follow sheep instead of the shepherd they will reap the consequences. It's well known that sheep are some of the dumbest animals on God's green earth, you and I both are not as smart as we think we are. Peter quotes Isa.53 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Pet. 2:25). Matt. 9:36 But when he (Jesus) saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. There are some Christians that confess Jesus as their Lord but instead of him being their shepherd they allow other men to lead them, they listen to their voice telling them what God has said. Certainly God has appointed teachers in the body of Christ, but no one is above scrutiny. Jesus said But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:26-27). We see this in cults where what the leader of the group says becomes more important than what the Scriptures say. People listen to other men's interpretation and what they say God said without ever going to Scripture to see if it is true. Lets make sure we are listening to the shepherds voice and not another's.
What we are not to judge?
These are just a few things to think about. Col 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths.
We are to avoid judgment on days of worship and food lest we stumble someone. Rom 14:10-15 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. The point Paul is making is not to stumble a brother or sister by your freedom from the Old Testament law. But to allow false teaching to freely take place would be to stumble them.
Why do I call this movement of do not judge a cult? Because for the most part they follow there leaders advice and not the shepherd of their souls. They are not thinking, as the Bible tells us to test ALL things. Many are not being taught to think, instead they have been taught what to think. I know this may be harsh to some, but its telling it straight. When we willfully do what we are told, without our checking it out ourselves, we become like the cults. Those who do not judge teaching are actually disobeying what the Bible tells us to do. And they are telling others to do the same, sometimes by intimidation.
The early church was apologetic and polemic. They contended for the faith to those outside and had to do the same inside. If we do not take up this same attitude that is clearly presented in the Scriptures, we will be leavened beyond belief. Many of us see this as a very dangerous trend going on inside the Church. It needs to stop and we need to get back to what the Bible actually says.
2 John 10-11: If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. It may not say the word judge or test but its obvious one must do so to know there is a difference in doctrine. And it is in this spirit of the text many other Scriptures are written. Paul writes to Titus about the insubordinate, idle talkers and deceivers Wherefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith (Titus 1:13).
Jesus commended those who judged to arrive at the truth, I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false (Revelation 2:2). All the apostles approved judging those who claimed leadership positions.
Paul wrote Timothy who was new to the ministry I charge you therefore
before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at
His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of
season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the
time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their
own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves
teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and
be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure
afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Tim.