Saturday, June 25, 2016

To Judge or Not To Judge?

It’s interesting how a Facebook post, a road sign, or someone’s general comment sparks one’s motivation into a full-blown, in-depth Bible study.  This particular spark came from a Facebook post and inspired my husband, Bruce, into the following research. 

There is a trend infiltrating a lot of churches today. It could be labelled, “We don’t judge!”  Well, if you've happened across this little confusing mantra, I encourage you to read on.  I know this study set things pretty straight for me …

Guest Post by Bruce Repka:

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. - Romans 14:13

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; - Philippians 1:9

Are these two verses in opposition to one another? Is this a scriptural contradiction? Absolutely not. Are we, as the church, to judge or not to judge? Are we to use godly judgement, biblical judgement, or are we to live and let live allowing in the church a mindset of "anything goes?" 

To answer these questions we must first have an understanding of the definition of the word “judge."

The word “judge" found in Romans 14:13 is the greek word 2919 krino  which means to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication, to try, condemn, punish:--avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.

The word "judgement" found in Philippians 1:9 is the greek word 144 aisthesis = perception, i.e. (figuratively) discernment:--judgment. 

This word has it's foundations in the greek word 143 aisthanomai of uncertain derivation; to apprehend (properly, by the senses):--perceive.

Then we also have a form of the word "judge" in 1 Corinthians 14:29 - "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge."

This word "judge" is the greek word 1252 diakrino; to separate thoroughly, i.e. (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figuratively, to discriminate (by implication, decide), or (reflexively) hesitate:--contend, make (to) differ(-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver.

This word also has it's foundations in the greek word 2919 krino (see above)

So in summary, we can biblically define the word "judge" as meaning the following:

distinguish, decide, conclude, decree, determine, esteem, call in question, think, perception, discernment, separate thoroughly. 

OR: try, condemn, punish:--avenge, condemn, damn, sentence to, discriminate.

These are two groups of very different definitions. All these words are translated from the original greek to the english word “judge."

Therefore,  each use of the word "judge" in scripture must be examined and defined in CONTEXT as a whole of what is being said. If we resort to a conclusion that we as the church, disciples of Jesus Christ, must NEVER judge, then that would mean that we would never be allowed to call into question, decide, think, perceive or discern. If we are to never discern, that would mean we would have to reject and ignore the Holy Spirit, as "discerning of spirits" is a gift and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

If we are not to decide, discern or call into question, then that would mean there are many instances given in scripture that we will have to ignore and remove from our midst. Instructions and scriptures such as the following:

Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
I Corinthians 14:29

If we are to not properly judge prophecy, that would mean we as the church would have to tolerate and accept any false prophet and false prophecy in our midst simply because there is no longer a standard to think, discern, perceive or call into question anything that is uttered by any so-called "prophet" or false prophet who "prophesies" in the name of the Lord. We would no longer require the lens of scripture in which to view and/or confirm or decide who among us is a true prophet of God or a charlatan. 

Sadly, this is already happening and has been happening in much of the "church."

Secondly, if we turn off and do away with godly, scriptural judgement, then we have to ignore biblical instructions such as the following:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. - 1 Timothy 5:20

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. - II Timothy 4:2

This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; - Titus 1:13

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. - Titus 2:15

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. - 1 Corinthians 11:31

First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. - Matthew 7:5

And thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: - Revelation 2:2

Without Godly, scriptural "judgement" (discernment, perception, thinking, distinguishing, calling into question) then the church can no longer:

1. Rebuke
2. Recognize and deal with sin
3. Enforce sound doctrine
4. Apply biblical correction
5. Deal with sin in our own lives
6. Set those free who are held in the destructive grips of sin
7. Test and try deceiving spirits
8. Be the church

The flip side of "judgment" is to try, condemn, punish, damn, sentence, discriminate.

This form of judgement is the judgement of God, which we must leave up to Him. This is not to say that we do not warn those and try to save those who are headed toward destruction. But if we are to no longer "judge" in any sense of the word, then we can no longer warn anyone of the impending destruction they are headed towards. Because, no longer discerning, perceiving or thinking—everyone is OK. There is no longer a biblical standard for what being a "Christian" is. It's "anything goes." Whatever works for you is fine with the church and with God. There is no condemnation for those in Christ. It doesn't matter if we walk after the flesh or the spirit. After all, what did those archaic scribes of scripture know anyway?

Congratulations, church. This is exactly where we are today. We no longer talk about and deal with sin. We no longer use our discernment, think with our own minds, call into question unbiblical practices and doctrines, perceive wrong teaching and wrong spirits. We no longer conclude that there are false prophets among us, false spirits in our midst, those who are offering "strange fire" and leading many astray. Yes, the infiltration of the politically correct doctrine of "no judgment" whatsoever has escorted much of the church into an apostate, drunken, fallen, lukewarm, unrepentant, defiled, miserable state. 

Jesus has stood at the door knocking, but we esteem the tickling of our ears and therefore refuse to let Him in. We refuse to be rebuked and chastened and therefore allow all manner of sin and leaven in the camp. We dare not let the Bible get in our way of what we believe. We are proud of our preaching of a different gospel, a different Jesus and a salvation without repentance, transformation and sanctification. After all, we have "evolved" and are so much more "spiritual" than those whose examples we read of in the book of Acts who walked with and were taught by Jesus. We gladly accept, promote and anoint for service those who love their sin and refuse to repent. We unashamedly hang onto mantra's such as "don't judge me because I sin differently than you." 

Sadly, much of the church are comfortable being slaves to sin as we proudly and desperately cling to our Romans 7 way of life. 

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves slaves to obey, his slaves ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? - Romans 6:15-16

Jesus answered them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin. And the slave abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” - John 8:34-36

The failure to understand and properly judge within the church has really revolutionized, enlightened and liberated the Body of Christ, don't ya think?

(Copyright 2016 -

Monday, June 20, 2016

Clouds Without Rain

‘These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water {rain}, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;’-Jude 1:12

I stared at the clouds, praying their blackness would oblige us and dump some much needed rain.  The red-orange glow of lightning-ignited fires ate up the surrounding mountainsides.  Dust mixed with smoke choked the long valley where we rode as we moved cattle up the Payette River.  

Why weren’t those clouds cooperating?  They meandered and accumulated, taunting us They had every look of a rain cloud, but they withheld any moisture. 

We left the cows at the salt blocks as the clouds drifted away and dissipated over the distant mountains, leaving behind frustration and haze.

“Clouds without rain” trailed through my thoughts, and I suddenly realized what that Bible verse meant—to understand the frustration of hope diverted.  I pondered the destruction of people’s lives around me: a heroine addict here, a grieving parent there, a lonely divorcee over yonder, and hopelessness abounded, driven by fear.

The common thread weaving its way through the desolation was a disillusionment of God. Where is He?  They had searched all the “normal” places but found nothing … no love, no answers. Oh, they found a semblance of spirituality in the folks they met, but nothing of substance.

As one rides along, there sure is time to ponder.  And I pondered.  Profound, disturbing questions pelted my thoughts as Nocona’s hooves pounded the sand:

Are we just too busy with our everyday lives to offer the hope within us, helping the hurting who stagger across our path? Are we too busy playing church, to go be the church?

Or, do we trip over the troubled as we lunge in a flesh-feeding frenzy, grabbing gold dust and jewels falling from a false heaven?

Are we as Believers in Jesus Christ living the Great Commission as Jesus’ hands and feet—healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead … binding up the broken-hearted? 

As I rode, I checked my own “gear”: When people observe my life, do they see God’s Word walking? Or do they hear a bunch of yammering and spiritual platitudes?—A cloud that should be full of rain, but void of any life-giving moisture? (I like asking myself the tough questions when I’m riding in God’s awesome creation—I can digest the hard questions a lot easier!)
(“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”- Psalm 139:23-24).

David’s prayer is a bit scary, really.  Deep down, we all want to think that what we’ve chosen to believe is right—that we have a corner on the spiritual market. However, the truth is simply this: we are all growing and learning in this journey we call life.  But our learning better be coming from “rightly dividing the word of truth” in God’s Word through the Holy Spirit.  And when the Lord in His love and grace reveals a hitch-in-the-get-along in our lives, we’d best be swallowing our pride and humbly fixing it (2 Timothy 2:15).

Nocona and I rode out of the river bottom and up the bluff, joining the rest of the crew. And I determined to always be that refreshing “rain” to those the Lord brings across my path, as a faithful representative of Jesus Christ.

As with everything in life, the lack of rain was temporary.  A couple of days later, the wind kicked up, and other clouds appeared. But this time they emptied themselves on that thirsty soil. As the land greedily gulped in the moisture, the dust settled and the smoke cleared. And I breathed deeply the cool, fresh air.

(Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved.)