WHEN TO STOP AND WHEN TO START JUDGING
“It would be well if we were to stop judging people and churches by our own prejudices and preferences; and if we were to begin to give thanks for any person and any church who can bring people nearer to God, even if their methods are not the methods that suit us.” I read this one morning last week. It is a great truth, but I think a little modification and elaboration for the sake of clarification might be in order here.
Our exercise of judgment isn’t condemned in the above-quoted statement or in the Bible: “He that is spiritual judgeth all things”’ (1 Cor. 2:15). What is condemned is the judging of people and churches according to personal prejudices and preferences that have no basis in biblical truth. One’s personal likes and dislikes – their “druthers” – are best kept to one’s self, and shouldn’t be foistered or forced on others as standards that must be met.
The methods, means, style, etc. involved in bringing people “nearer to God” may be different, but none of this matters as long as what takes place is within the context of, conforms to, and upholds truth. Incorporating methods ostensibly aimed at bringing people “nearer to God” in word or deed, etc. that are worldly in nature and appealing to the flesh are not suitable, but sinful.
People are only brought “nearer to God” by methods that are aligned with truth. Why? Because the Holy Spirit only operates in conjunction with, and within the context of, Truth. The Spirit of God is grieved and quenched by fleshly prejudices and preferences applied to worship of, or work for, God — whether they are perpetrated by modernists or fundamentalists.
The days of the Judges were days when “ there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Jud. 17:6). We live in days much like this when too many are thinking and doing and insisting upon that which is right in their own eyes based upon things that are personal preferences and prejudices and nothing more. The antidote to this is for Christians to remember that we have a King whose name is Jesus; He has revealed in His Word what His preferences are—and those are all that count.