I think that one of the most difficult things that I personally deal with, both from within and without, has to do with questioning myself as to whether I am being overly judgemental or practising Biblical discernment. If I listened to one of my critics (the number varies from time to time), I have been told that I am bent on destroying. The connotation being that I am overly critical and focus more on the negative rather than the positive.
I actually pray about this a lot, because Jesus specifically stressed that when we make judgements, to ensure that we are not being hypocritical, to ensure that our judgements are righteous, in that we are not actually quilty of doing what we are identifying in others, ourselves.
I don’t know about you but my track record in maintaining this goal is not always that great. I think I am better than I used to be, but there is obviously still room for more improvement. I do endeavour to be mindful of my own shortcomings and consequently I actually do limit myself in voicing observations, when confronted with shortcomings that I see in others. Consequently, I very rarely, if ever, voice concerns about false pride or lack of consideration for others, as a couple of examples, that I sometimes see in others (be they Christian or non-Christian), because of my own shortfalls in these specific and other areas.
What I do try to focus on is adhering to sound Christian doctrine, which, of necessity, centres on staying on point when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That would mean that I would object to the doctrines that Mormons have about Jesus because their doctrines do not adhere to our Christian doctrines about Jesus and I would also object to recommending or using “The Passion Bible”, as another example, because it literally replaces many Scripture verses with words that support unBiblical New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) teachings, words that are not found in the ancient copies of the originals.
The short story is that I do try to limit any criticism or objections that I may have, to topics within the Bible that deviate from what the Bible actually teaches. And where there are acknowledged different schools of thought on a particular subject, such as Old Earth, Young Earth Creationism, Calvinism and Arminianism or Eternal Security, as examples, I facilitate those different schools of thought as secondary issues, that do not limit my accepting anyone who holds a perspective that may differ from mine, as a fellow Christian brother or sister in the Lord.
I have and also do however, exercise Biblical Discernment, when it comes to Biblical teachings, which are not supported by the Bible and I been known to object to some who teach these unsupported teachings. An example is that we should never judge anyone (both non-Christians and Christians) and just love everyone, and disregard the clear teachings we find in the Bible for the necessity of Christians to exercise Church Discipline within the Church. Being non-judgemental towards non-Christians is a given, but that does not justify using that same non-judgemental stance within the Church, just because some deem it not necessary and something that the Lord can better address. For those who hold these unsubstantiated Biblical views, I do not make any judgement on their salvation status, but I do note that we have clear differences of opinion, and that we have agreed to disagree, should the exchange become contentious, after or during the period where we both are making our Biblical case. And I do always endeavour to always remain civil throughout the discussion.
What I do find lacking however, in far too many cases, is the exercise of any Biblical discernment at all.
The Apostle Paul explicitly states in Galatians 1:8 NASB “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!”
That is a pretty strong statement! In fact, Paul repeats it again in Galatians 1:9 so that there is no misunderstanding! Having read that statement and taken it to heart, one would think that one would want to know exactly what is entailed within the Gospel that Paul preached to those Galatians, so that we could identify a gospel that is in fact, contrary.
So if you ran into someone who says that Jesus, who the Mormons follow and Jesus who Christians follow, are one and the same Jesus, would that not qualify as a gospel that is contrary to what Paul preached? And if someone called that person into question, for making that statement, would that be a example of someone being overly judgemental or exercising Biblical discernment? And just so you know, in this real life example that I am using, this is NOT the only questionable statement being made by this particular individual. Sometimes people can be misquoted or they can say something that is misunderstood, but such is not the case here.
To the person who does NOT exercise Biblical discernment and has already decided that the person that made this statement, is beyond reproach, anyone who questions that person would be labeled as being overly judgemental. And the reasoning for this logic is not difficult to ascertain. When you call into question someone who another person has already decided is beyond reproach, what you are also doing is calling their decision making process or discernment abilities into question.
But to the person who DOES exercise Biblical discernment and takes that warning that Paul gave, to heart, this is not being overly judgemental, it is in fact, an absolute necessity to challenge, especially if that person is being showcased as a born again Christian.
The difference between those two differing perspectives is what? One perspective seldom if ever questions Biblical doctrine and teachings and the other perspective does. And who do you think is much more prone to become led astray and who do you think will label the other as being bent to destroy?
I am not lamenting about being called bent on destroying. I’ve been called worse. What does hurt is that a fellow believer does not see the necessity of exercising Biblical discernment and not only that, but indicates distain for someone who does.
I am aware of how easy it can be to be overly judgemental. One really does have to guard against it at all times. I am aware of my own shortcomings and I do earnestly try not to be hypocritical, I am making headway but nothing to get excited about yet. I am also aware that there has never been a time, in my considerable recollection, that Biblical discernment is more needed, than it is now.
Something to think about.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!