Skip to comments.The misunderstood 11th commandment: Thou shall not judge
Posted on 05/02/2006 3:49:33 PM PDT by Conservative Coulter Fan
Regardless of the level of theological sophistication, we can always be sure the critics "know" one thing: The Bible says that we should not judge one another. Anyone who would do so is clearly being un-Christian. Such obtuse reasoning is employed against Christians who offer a negative commentary on certain cultural trends, behaviors or lifestyles. Still, I wonder how many people have taken this concept to its logical conclusion?
We now hear that in our modern times, John 3:16 has been replaced by Matthew 7:1, as the most often quoted scriptural passage. This is clearly because we have taken the focus off of what the Creator has done for us, and placed it on the creatures do for themselves. We have taken the emphasis off of grace, and have instead made the approval of moral pluralism the quintessential virtue of the age.
The very idea that all judging is wrong, is an illegitimate synthesis between Christianity, moral relativism, and the contemporary perspective on "tolerance." These ideas have been wedded together to conjure up witch's brew of self-contradictory sophistry.
Christianity has traditionally viewed "tolerance" through a prism of scriptural precept that parallels the garden variety dictionary definition. The scriptures say things like, "Love endures all things," and "As much as it depends on you, live peacefully with all men." The traditional definition is that "tolerance" is graciously enduring those who you disagree with.
Today, "tolerance" has been reconstructed to mean something entirely different. Essentially it means that all ideas, lifestyles and truth claims, are deemed equally valid. Christian author and speaker Josh McDowell refers to this phenomenon as "negative tolerance"(permission) versus "positive tolerance" (approval). One can readily see how this new definition of tolerance circles back to the claim made about judging. If nobody has a superior moral position, then nobody has the standing to "judge" anything in terms of ethical hierarchy.
But does the use of Matthew 7:1, as a stand-alone quotation, bring contextual justice to the point Jesus is making? Of course not. Later in the passage, Christ refers to certain people unable or unwilling to assimilate spiritual things. He refers to them figuratively as "pigs" and "dogs." That sounds a bit like judging to me! In the book of John, Jesus talks of rendering a "righteous judgement," rather than none at all. The point was never that we should not make moral judgments, or employ an ethical hierarchy in being discreet about evaluating "right" and "wrong." The idea was that there should be no "double-standards." We should not judge others by a standard we would not want to be judged with ourselves. This is how we avoid "judgmentalism" and cronin fault-finding. We are exhorted to correct our own hypocrisies before reforming the world.
Now that is very different from telling someone that they shouldn't dare to call anything wrong. In fact, such reasoning will ultimately lead to calling evil good and good evil. This is because evil cannot be called evil, since such labeling is judgmental. Good is considered evil, because those who are endeavoring to do good by calling something else wrong, are guilty of judging. How could any court of justice operate if all judgment without exception were considered wrong? All criticisms of anything would have to be withheld on the basis that such critiques are judgmental in nature.
Christian apologist Greg Koukl offers us the perfect antidote to this apparent logical dilemma. He says that we must be egalitarian in terms persons, but elitist in reference to ideas. That principle is embodied in the old ecclesiastical adage that we are to hate the sin, yet love the sinner. This is a perfect expression of "righteous judgment," but it is a posture that would be condemned today as grossly judgmental. And yet in effect, is it any different from saying, "We support the troops, but oppose the war(We have concern for the person, but disapprove of the cause)?" The latter position is assumed to be accepted as valid without question, despite the fact that the former is seen as intolerant. Interesting paradox.
Last year an editorial writer to my local newspaper made a preposterous claim. He declared that the only hope for the peaceful co-existence of mankind, was that each of us must accept and respect the other guy's truth. We can't be dogmatic and say the other guy is wrong. But in articulating such a standard, the writer himself is engaged in judging, not to mention being dogmatic. Applying Koukl's axiom to this situation, we might say that all people deserve respect because of their unique position as reflecting the image of God. But in the process of evaluating the cogency of ideas, the writer clearly is confused, as he seeks to reconstruct the term "truth," by making it tantamount to opinion.
The idea that we can never judge about anything is patently absurd. To say that we can never judge is to wander aimlessly. The scriptures tell us that we should reprove each other, speaking the truth in love. What our society lacks is righteous judgment. What we have an abundance of is knit-picking and indifference. Neither of those two alternatives promotes justice and righteousness.
Genesis, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 19, Verses 1-13 (NIV)
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning." "No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square." But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodomboth young and oldsurrounded the house. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof." "Get out of our way," they replied. And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else heresons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.
Leviticus, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 18, Verse 22 (NIV)
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
Leviticus, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 20, Verse 13 (NIV)
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
Deuteronomy, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 23, Verses 17-18 (NIV)
No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute [a] into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both.
Judges, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 19, Verses 22-23 (NIV)
While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him." The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing.
1 Kings, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 14, Verses 22-24 (NIV)
Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done. They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.
1 Kings, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 15, Verses 11-12 (NIV)
Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his fathers had made.
1 Kings, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 22, Verses 45-46 (NIV)
As for the other events of Jehoshaphat's reign, the things he achieved and his military exploits, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? He rid the land of the rest of the male shrine prostitutes who remained there even after the reign of his father Asa.
2 Kings, Book of (Old Testament)
Chapter 23, Verses 5-7 (NIV)
He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalemthose who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah.
Romans, Book of (New Testament)
Chapter 1, Verses 18-27 (NIV)
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualitieshis eternal power and divine naturehave been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creatorwho is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
1 Corinthians, Book of (New Testament)
Chapter 6, Verses 9-11 (NIV)
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Timothy, Book of (New Testament)
Chapter 1, Verses 8-11 (NIV)
We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law[a] is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurersand for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
Jude, Book of (New Testament)
Chapter 1, Verses 5-7 (NIV)
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own homethese he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Ping for later read.
The admonition not to judge applies to judging others' motivations, which we cannot know, and to judging others' salvation, which is not ours to determine. It does not apply to judging actions, we we can all plainly see.
Thanks for the post.
Great Post! I appreciated it.
Thanks for the ping!
The greatest love there is: The truth.
It is not immediately obvious to many people, but logically inescapable if one follows the reasoning to its conclusion, that claiming some holy person does not speak for God is the same as the speaker claiming speak for God.
It's the same conceit as that which robs atheism of intellectual legitimacy.
Everyone loves to quote, "You who are without sin cast the first stone." What everyone forgets is, THEY WERE REAL STONES. She was receiving a death sentence at the hands of men guilty themselves. There is a difference between speaking the truth and exacting a punishment.
Fine essay. It is the great and malignant lie of the left that it the right of each person to define his own morality and the sole duty of everyone else to celebrate it or keep silent.
Why are you pinging me? I never said that sin should not be judged. I said that there lots of sin as serious as homosexual behavior, and that it takes a small man to disown his child for acting as a homosexual. How does this article contradict my claims?
Um... exactly why am I being pinged and what ping list are you pinging? I only know of two lists I belong to so...
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