When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

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When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:39 pm

This is a question I've been struggling with recently.

In the past, I have found the notion of people expressing doubt over whether a person was actually a Christian offensive. As a Mormon, I've had that leveled at me more than once and I always resented it. "Whether or not I'm a Christian is between me and Jesus Christ." I would say. (These days that doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to. What do I care if people think I'm a Christian or not? Only one whose opinion on that matters to me is this certain carpenter from Nazareth...)

And I still believe that.

But the problem is more nuanced than that, isn't it. If a crazy cult leader, claiming to be a Christian, leads his people to murder, is it still wrong for us to say "Yeah... that dude... not a Christian?" That one's a relatively easy one... When somebody's basically doing the OPPOSITE of what Christianity is about, I think if ever there's a time when you can make that call...

But does it have to be so blatant? Can we still exercise discernment? I was riving to work the other day and took a route through downtown Baltimore and I saw a church with a gigantic rainbow flag hanging in the front of it. The message there is obvious: "Come worship here, we're totally cool with gay people being gay people." Maybe they even have a gay minister. Should I regard that as a Christian church on the same level as my own?

What about people who claim to be Christian but then support abortion, homosexual behavior or fornication? Is it okay to openly question their commitment or understanding of Christianity?

I think... maybe... the answer is in the Book of Matthew, chapter 7. I mean, at first, it seems pretty simple.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

But wait... is this really telling us not to judge at all? Those are the first two verses. Let's keep going.

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, 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."

The next 3 verses are about hypocrisy. You don't get to call someone on their screwups when you're doing the same thing. Look carefully at the last part, though... Once the beam is out of your own eye, you are now in a position to call them out.

So what's that telling us? Well, my take on it is that if you're going to make a judgement like that, you're a hypocrite if you haven't got your own act together. A person can't preach about the evil of abortion then head on down to Planned Parenthood for an afternoon of baby slaughter.

Well that seems pretty simple and obvious... But what does it say about knowing who's a real Christian?

Jumping ahead to verses 13 and 14, we see a little commentary on what it means to follow the Lord.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

Note here that the gate is "strait" not "straight." In other words, the gate is not wide but narrow. What Jesus is telling us here is the path to follow Him is not wide, nor is the entrance to Heaven. We don't get to make up our own rules and decide what's "good enough" and still expect to find salvation.

Interesting, isn't it? So many people define Christianity as being very, very broad, simple, easily compatible with our modern world of shifting morality. But it's not. The gate is strait, the way is narrow.

Doesn't quite answer my question yet, but I think we're getting there.

Verses 15 - 20 talk about identifying false prophets.

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

How do you know a false prophet? Not by the doctrine he teaches, but by the fruits. Are his followers good examples of what disciples of Jesus Christ would look like? Would they accept the teachings of the Savior or would they turn away from them? Does this prophet encourage people to follow the Word of God, or to follow the morality of the world?

And also we're taught here that a good prophet will have good, Christian followers, and a bad one will NOT have good, Christian followers.

The last part of the chapter that I will quote from is verses 21 to 23.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

What's this tell us? It tells us that SAYING you're a Christian doesn't make you one. Pretending to follow Christ won't get you saved, and claiming to do things Jesus' way doesn't mean you are.

Ok so what I learned from this is:
  • There are times when it's acceptable to judge, but ONLY if we're not being hypocrites.
    The path to follow Christ is NOT loose and easy, but narrow, and not flexible.
    You can tell a true Christian leader by the example of those who follow him.
    Claiming to be a Christian doesn't make you one, and Jesus isn't giving anybody a free pass.
The question still in my mind here, is what makes "good fruits?" What about this defines a good Christian? Well, there are some insights in verse 22 aren't there? It talks about false Christians who " prophesied in [Jesus'] name? and in [Jesus'] name have cast out devils? and in [Jesus'] name done many wonderful works." So just the things they do (or claim to do) isn't enough. You can do all that stuff, even cast out devils(!) and not be a good enough Christian to make it.

So what is it that pleases God enough to make one a good Christian?

Maybe it's as simple as this:

Matthew 25:23
"His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

This from a parable Jesus told. What pleases God is a good and faithful servant. Someone who is faithful to Him, someone who does good in His sight, and one who is obedient. Know what that adds up to? Humility. Submission to the Will of God.

So a good fruit is someone who is faithful to God's Will and doesn't put their own knowledge, desires and experience over God's commands.

So maybe it's that simple. Do you submit to Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior, or don't you? Not just pay lips service, but REALLY submit. Really do what He says we must do whether it feels good or not, whether your neighbors like it or not, whether it's easy or not.

So maybe, if someone is obviously not doing so, putting their own desires ahead of God, or perhaps trusting in the preferences and "worldly wisdom" over God's Word, then maybe... just maybe... It's okay to say that person is no Christian. At the very least they're not an example to follow. perhaps it's best to leave it at that. Don't follow the example of someone who is clearly more interested in the world's morality than God's.
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby ccgr » Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:44 pm

Great topic and post BTW

The way I look at it is this:

Ultimately it comes between the person and God. But their faith should be evident by their works. In other words, are they seeking God's desires or their own? (I typically lump prominent televangelists in the latter category)

It's really easy to see someone's flaws, but we have our own sins and vices too. The question is are we addressing them? When we see a Christian sinning we are to help them up instead of kicking them down. Be their accountability partner if they want one. Also if you know of a stumbling block of a fellow believer, don't tempt them. (Don't provide alcohol to alcoholics etc)

It's not necessarily a lack of faith but the strength of it that comes to question I think. Is someone a mature believer or not, who is guiding their lives, them or God?

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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:54 pm

Thanks!

And yeah you're right about that. What got me thinking about it is the sort of schizophrenia Christianity seems to be experiencing these days, where some are willing to let their faith bend to modern philosophies while others are holding fast. The traditional side accuses the contemporary side of being weak, and in return the accusation is being stuck in the stone age.

Personally, I think if your morality is based on what feels good, and not God's Commandments, then you have no business calling yourself a Christian. Period.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby JOJ650s » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:10 pm

Great topic and post BTW
Ditto!
It's times like this where I am glad to have a like button. ^-^
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:44 am

You are too kind!
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:39 pm

Hello,

I have not been on here for quite some time. How is everyone?

I hadn't checked this in some time and I couldn't help but notice this. There are a few items to keep in mind when going about doing these things.

First, as far as discernment goes, there are four things that are necessary to strive for before we seek to discern things:

1) Correct Doctrine
2) Correct Practice
3) Humility
4) Holy Lifestyle

All four are interdependent on one another and none of these can be taken in isolation or over-emphasized at the expense of the others. Granted, no one is ever perfect in any of these four but it is our responsibility to try. Without these the process of discernment in itself can easily go astray and lead to a conclusion that is in fact contrary to the faith, doing potential spiritual harm not only to others but to oneself.

Regarding how to determine the first two, that's a discussion in itself given the various denominations but nevertheless before any process of discernment can begin there must be a baseline that is true to the Christian faith throughout the ages. I must disagree with those who claim it is not a requirement, for how can one determine how to follow Christ's example or live a holy life if they do not have a sound baseline understanding of what Christ's example was in the first place? Without sound doctrine and sound practice to anchor us, attempts to carry out the latter two will have no basis outside of our own thoughts and emotions. Likewise, without trying to do the latter two, sound doctrine and practice are of no assistance, since faith without works is dead.

There are a couple of things this does not consist of however:

1) Pronouncing final judgment
2) Not speaking the truth in love
3) Relying on man made political views too much as a means of discernment

The first one is so easy to do when deciding who is and is not a Christian. Even without any blatant passing of final judgment, if your basis is not even sound to begin with in the ways I mentioned above, then what good does it do? It's so easy to go from discerning the correctness of a given belief or whether or not it is Christian to declaring people damned for eternity. Doing that, and even going around determining who is or is not a Christian can easily become filled with pride as we draw ever more closely to sitting on the Throne of Judgment ourselves in place of God. Without love speaking the truth becomes either cruelty or an emotional outburst (which I admit I am prone to the latter in regards to certain situations, and it renders the whole thing ineffective when I do).

The last one I think deserves its own mention since it is far too often we conflate our faith with our politics. We should not allow disagreements regarding a set of man made institutions to cloud our judgment and color our discernment with the wrong kind of bias. For example, the church teaches that abortion is wrong and that life begins at conception, that is clear cut. However, the political nuances of how to go about fixing the problem are not as clear cut and until a definitive and binding proclamation is made by the faith as a whole it is a gray area. These are usually the gray areas where we most often see people passing judgment on both whether someone is a Christian or not and whether someone will ultimately be saved unfortunately. As one of the psalms says (sorry, I was never very big on straight up memorization of Scripture so forgive me) "put not your trust in princes and sons of men, in whom there is no salvation." There are many places this can be applied and this is one of them.

So can we judge someone else's faith at times? Sure, there are times when it can be appropriate. However, the question of whether we should depends on how we go about doing it. If you can't do it the right way, it is better to not do it at all, lest you wind up causing more harm than good. If there is any pride, anger, or malice involved, just don't do it at all until that is taken care of first.

Ultimately, I think before we go around judging someone else's faith, we should have an honest and humble examination of our own. Without trying to seek out sins within ourselves, striving for holy living, and being open to corrections and accountability, how can we judge another's faith? What good is it to go about trying to do so if our own faith is lacking? Before we talk about the state of someone else's faith we need to assess ourselves and honestly judge our own faith first. Then we shall see the logs in our own eyes and understand what that is really about. All have sinned and fallen short of God, and once we start seeing ourselves for who we are and seeing the depths of how far short we have fallen, we won't have too much time to focus on judging everyone else's faith.
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:03 pm

One thing I forgot...

Concerning how to tell the fruits of the spirit, that too depends on the four requirements of discernment I mentioned in my previous post. There are many counterfeit gifts masquerading as the true fruits of the Spirit and to the naked eye (or naked spiritual eye if you will) they can easily look identical. However, these imitation fruits are the fruits of a different spirit, and certainly not a benevolent and loving one at that.

The concept of a counterfeit that is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing is a major plot point from the movie Rush Hour 2 actually...

(Spoiler Alert)

For those who have not seen it, one thing the detectives are chasing down is something called the Superbill. It is a counterfeit dollar bill so convincing that "nine of out ten banks can't even tell the difference." It passes all the usual known tests for spotting a counterfeit bill, and only with an additional and less well known piece of insight can you figure it out. In this case you had to burn the bill to see what color the flame was (a true dollar bill burned black, while the fake on burned red). Had you not known that, you could be doing transactions with fake money.

(End Spoiler)

So how would you guys go about telling the difference between the two? There are many counterfeit gifts going around these days and the usual answers of inspiring "love", "peace", "prayer", and so on are no longer sufficient to distinguish them.
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:48 pm

I was reading an interesting post on Matt Walsh's blog that addresses some of the items in this thread so I'll provide a link here.

It's basically explaining why Christianity shouldn't be modifying its doctrines to accommodate political correctness.

This quote reminded me of the rainbow flag in front of the church I mentioned earlier.
The Christians who would now be called “extremist” or “fundamentalist” or “conservative,” who stand against the cultural tide, who resist the temptation to succumb to the heretical fashions of the day — these are the Christians we need to include more. They have accepted the Faith for what it is, they are trying, though imperfectly, to walk through the narrow gate, but what do they find? Churches that treat them like nuisances. Church services designed to appeal to the secular crowd at the expense of giving the faithful the sacred and invigorating experience they deeply crave. Christian leaders who provide no leadership. A faith muted and watered down for the benefit of those who wish to destroy it.
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby selderane » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:52 am

"By their fruits you shall know them."

What do their fruits look like? Set doctrine aside (unless it's really egregious) and look at what their life's testimony is. Can you see a love for Yeshua in it? If you can, leave them alone.

'John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. “For he who is not against us is for us."' Mark 9:38-40

In a related example, I think this article written about Young Earth Creationists should give Christians who sneer at them pause, and speaks to a heart of judgement. From the last paragraph:
If Ken Ham is getting rich telling things he knows to be false, he's a shameless fraud. But the bulk of creation's fundamentalists are deeply sincere. And, better than that, they are willing to be, in St. Paul's words "fools for Christ's sake." They do not live for the world's esteem. And so when the world next discovers a sophisticated ideology to get around "Thou shall not murder," I'd rather have one cussed fundie next to me than the whole army of eye-rolling Christians lining up to denounce him.
Maybe what we're seeing isn't false doctrine but someone willing to beclown themselves for Messiah... and that makes us uncomfortable.
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:31 pm

"By their fruits you shall know them."

What do their fruits look like? Set doctrine aside (unless it's really egregious) and look at what their life's testimony is. Can you see a love for Yeshua in it? If you can, leave them alone.

'John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. “For he who is not against us is for us."' Mark 9:38-40

In a related example, I think this article written about Young Earth Creationists should give Christians who sneer at them pause, and speaks to a heart of judgement. From the last paragraph:
If Ken Ham is getting rich telling things he knows to be false, he's a shameless fraud. But the bulk of creation's fundamentalists are deeply sincere. And, better than that, they are willing to be, in St. Paul's words "fools for Christ's sake." They do not live for the world's esteem. And so when the world next discovers a sophisticated ideology to get around "Thou shall not murder," I'd rather have one cussed fundie next to me than the whole army of eye-rolling Christians lining up to denounce him.
Maybe what we're seeing isn't false doctrine but someone willing to beclown themselves for Messiah... and that makes us uncomfortable.
A lot of interesting thoughts here and I agree with most of what you said. There are two places I would disagree however.

The first comes from being on both sides of the Young Earth Creationist camp at various times of my life. The first part is I can assure you that there is just as much vitriol that is often found on the YEC side as well for the same reasons as their detractors. I like what the article says about admiring their bullheadedness but I've experienced (and a few times to my shame been guilty of) the very kind of sneering from the Creationist side too. They make a lot of the same declarations and hate. Sure they are remaining steadfast to what they believe to be true but that only is a virtue when the truth is spoken in love. Other Christians who do not agree with the Young Earth Creationists are often attacked for allegedly catering to the world, apostasy, and of course the dreaded "liberal" or "lukewarm" Christian which is in that context is tantamount to calling them a wolf in sheep's clothing. There's no speaking the Truth in Love in this.

This leads me to the second point too, which is speaking the Truth in Love also requires what they are speaking to be true. Christ is both Truth and Love, and to become more Christ like in our own lives we require both. I don't understand the supposed dichotomy between "doctrine" and "fruits", because to me sound doctrine is one of the fruits. If what someone is saying or claiming to be doing simply is not true, then that's a bad fruit in of itself. Furthermore, in some cases there are certain types of teachings and doctrines can be strongly correlated with certain fruits, and further and sober examination of both the fruits and the doctrines they correlate with for causation definitely has merit. Without examining this further, how can we determine what is really egregious or not?

Now having said that, I also am saying this with the full understanding that there are some doctrines that are far more important than others and that no one person ever has 100% perfect doctrine. We all make errors in belief and that's ok cause we all make mistakes, provided that we are open to correction as tough as it may be at times. We also sometimes have trouble agreeing on which doctrines are more important than others and that is a discussion in of itself. However, these things should not be taken as reasons to downplay or toss out doctrine altogether, but should compliment how we go about discerning it.

Hopefully it will also make people less uncomfortable about discussing the topic, because it does matter. However, we can go in with a humble and charitable understanding that we all make mistakes, we won't always agree on every doctrinal point, but at the same time acknowledge that some doctrines are more important than others (and thus need to be given a lot more weight). In doing that we can perhaps remove some of the unnecessary discomfort that the word "doctrine" sometimes brings with it.
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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby Dirkdigdeep » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:29 pm

That such a topic should even be considered valid and such a claim as is made by the originator of the topic be considered, show just how biblically illiterate most have become these days. I HOPE i won't be breaking any of the rules posted above, BUT HOW ELSE CAN IT BE SAID? It is long established and well understood that Mormonism is NOT NOW nor EVER has been a Christian sect or denomination! I only speak what is well documented and known fact by all intellectually honest scholars. There are SALVIFIC doctrines of a true christian faith such that to DENY them in any way by hook or by crook, means you are not saved, have not the Holy Spirit , will not see God except on that great and terrible day of Judgement. I could write a BOOK on that topic alone and why Mormonism does not meet the criteria. But that is not the question here, is it?

According to scriptures we can judge: MEN, ANGELS, 1Co_6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? the CHURCH,1Co_5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? OURSELVES, 1Co_11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. , DOCTRINES, 1Co_11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?, PAUL'S writings,1Co_10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. , and prophets, 1Co_14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge., the WORLD, ALL THINGS, 1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. . Each of these terms are associated with the word "JUDGE" in the scriptures. 1Co_6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 1Co 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
Sadly though, there are 4 words in the Greek that are translated to this one single English word. AND they do not all mean the same thing. The two primary words mean : 1) to pass sentence as a judge to judicially apply Or invoke a punishment or sentence as a magistrate. ( 1 Cor 4: 5) and, 2) to spiritually discern or righteously comprehend, to see clearly and properly the significance, meaning, intent or properties of a person, thing, words, etc. . ( John 7: 24, 1Cor. 2: 15)
When Jesus was speaking to those "HYPOCRITES" in the passage where he says judge not ...lest ye be judged >>> FOR WITH WHAT MEASURE YE METE OUT , SO SHALL IT BE METED OUT TO YOU AGAIN. He is NOT saying we cannot spiritually discern something. he simply warning those wicked men that their unrighteous judgements of others will be held against them on judgement day. ( John 12: 48) For Jesus said later: John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Does he contradict himself therefore? Not if you act like a good Berean and study the scriptures.

DOCTRINE is the single key means whereby we know if you believe in the REAL JESUS ( JOHN 8:23-24 + 58) or the REAL GOSPEL ( GAL 1:6-8) . IF YOU DENY EITHER OF THEM , YOU SIMPLY ARE NOT SAVED. There are at least 5 more salvific doctrines you MUST not DENY, or you simply not saved. Salvation by grace through faith and NOT works ( of any KIND) Ephesians 2: 8-9 + Rom 11: 6, Monotheism (Isaiah 43: 10), Trinity ( A matter of faith in the REAL JESUS) Virgin birth ( Gen. 3: 15, Isaiah 7: 14, Matt 1:23, Luke 1: 35) EXCLUSIVITY OF JESUS, as the ONLY way of salvation. (John 14: 6, Acts 4: 12) Even Satan can appear as an angel of Light and like men can say the words "I love Jesus" and even do many wonderful works in his name: Mat 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby Dirkdigdeep » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:39 pm

i MIGHT ADD THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT AND SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT BEING ONE AND THE SAME IS ACCOMPLISHED only BY A SAVED REGENERATE CHRISTIAN WHO HAS HIS MIND RENEWED .

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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby ccgr » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:00 am

Please look at our first rule (its in orange text above the reply box):

1) This is a Christian site, respect our beliefs and we will respect yours.

We're open about our beliefs and have many peaceful discussions. All are welcome here and disagreeing is okay as long as it's done respectfully.

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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:30 am

Yes, I would like to say that there are ways to say what you said my good man and ways not to say it. Please take what I am about to say as I intend this, as constructive criticism.

The caps are not necessary, and yes while I have used them at times to put emphasis on something specific, an entire post of caps usually is understood as hate or rage. If that is not the intent then it is best not to do so. If it is, then this is not speaking the truth in love, and truth without love can often lead to cruelty.

Let us also not presuppose ourselves to determine someone's final state in the next life. As 1 cor also states God will judge those outside the church and He will have mercy on whom He will. If you read the Last Battle in the Chronicles of Narnia series remember the Calormene boy who, had he truly understood the true nature of his wrong religion of worshipping Tash instead of Aslan, he would have chosen to serve Aslan. Aslan took the good he did and attributed it to doing it in Aslans name out of mercy for the Calormene boy. Let us be careful not to become the Elder Brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

We do not know the hearts of men, which is why I keep writing all these long posts cautioning us about taking up such matters into our own hands. Even if we are right in our discernment from a doctrinal standpoint, presuming to sit in the Seat of Judgment can easily lead to the sin of spiritual pride. Thus even though we may discern correctly, it does harm to our own souls if we wind up exacting cruelty or giving into pride in the process.
“If the history of the 20th Century proved anything, it proved that however bad things were, human ingenuity could usually find a way to make them worse.” - Theodore Dalrymple

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Re: When, if Ever, is it Okay to Judge Someone's Faith?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:27 pm

Also Dirk, I will say this...

While I do appreciate the importance you place on doctrinal discernment and ensuring that the core tenets of the faith as defined by the ancient creeds of the Church are taught properly (as they more or less are the definition of what the Christian faith is and is not), again this is not a license for cruelty.

The religious beliefs of the OP is not in of itself an automatic invalidation of the contents of the post itself. If any man speaks the Truth in Love, I believe God led them to it, even if it is in spite of their beliefs rather than because of them. We cannot be so callous and foolish to think that only Saved Christians as you put it have a right to even speak on doctrinal matters at all.

Now I had concerns of my own but based on the content from the OP. I was concerned about the act of judging one's faith, as I have said multiple times, crossing into the sins of cruelty and spiritual pride. I was also concerned that the basis for some of this judging was primarily on political, rather than lifestyle or doctrinal grounds.

That said, discernment, while indispensable, is no good to us if we harm our souls in the process, not to mention that if spiritual pride and cruelty are our fruits no one is ever going to be convinced of the truth of said discernment. Living out the faith is essential and non-negotiable if you actually want people to open up to what you are saying.
“If the history of the 20th Century proved anything, it proved that however bad things were, human ingenuity could usually find a way to make them worse.” - Theodore Dalrymple


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