Many say we have no right to make a judgment of another person, we all make mistakes, and I agree in great part on that, but when God says something is right or wrong, that is not us judging & we better pay good attention. God’s Word is our final authority. We are not judging (condemning) people when we discern behavior or beliefs that are clearly unbiblical.
Unfortunately many Christians go to both extremes and some think they should not judge at all, they think Christianity means getting along with everybody. This fear of using proper judgment may come from a simple lack of understanding of God’s will, so they start embracing ecumenism & mixing with wrong doctrines, getting little by little out of tract to finally fall into apostasy. Some others go to the other extreme and judge the wrong way, looking to condemn instead of looking to restore, or look to destroy others for their own gain. But we shouldn’t judge according to our own perceptions, rather we should always judge according to the Word of God.
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. John 7:24 (see Greek interlinear)
In order to judge rightly it is extremely important to have sound doctrine. Besides being necessary for salvation, sound doctrine is also necessary to stay in the right track. Sound Doctrine is very important because what we believe affects our actions & our way of living.
That’s why its so important to study a good translation of the bible (Authorized King James, Modern English Version, New King James) on our own, 2 Tim. 2:15 and compare it with any other teaching, if we find contradictions, then there is something wrong with the other teachings.
We are living in perilous times and need to be very careful NOT to drift away or fall from grace, Gal 4:5. We are in times of the apostasy of the Church (departing from the true faith) and the Word of God tell us clearly what is the main reason for this to happen.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed (G4337– giving attention) to seducing (#4108=deceitful) spirits, and doctrines (G1319–teachings) of devils” 1 Tim. 4:1. See also Greek
This is serious. A believer can depart from the faith, by paying attention to deceitful spirits & false teachings!
Many Christians don’t seem to understand this. Can we now understand better the words in Romans 16:17 ? This recommendation is to protect the Church & the sound doctrine, not to mark & shun people indiscriminately. I firmly believe we are in those last days the bible talks about and we are witnessing the apostasy in the Church right now. But thanks God we can avoid apostasy by living for HIM (not just pretending), by studying diligently the Words inspired by the Holy Spirit, and by avoiding the teachers that bring false doctrines (contrary to the Word of God).
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” Acts 17:11
We normally don’t see a call for spiritual discernment in the church. Could these be the main reason for the growing apostasy? Discernment should be highly valued & sought by Christians in these end times of deception. King Solomon requested God for an understanding heart to govern (H8199-judge) and discernment to distinguish between good and evil, & God was pleased. 1 Kings 3:9
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. Proverb 2:6-8
In the New Testament the Greek word ‘krino’ (G2919) translated to judge, is an ambiguous word as well as in English and it means to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose, to approve, to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong and also means to judge, to rule or to pronounce or pass judgment. According with the bible God call us to discern, there is even a gift of ‘discernment of spirits’ (1. Cor.12:10), why does God give this if we cannot use it? Discernment is good & necessary it helps us to go in the right path but the bible call us not to judge in a way that condemns other, only God is the judge in this respect, He is All knowing & Just.
“Judge (krino) not, and ye shall not be judged: condemned not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
We should be able to know when the bible is talking about discernment or judgment according to the context of the scripture. Discernment is redemptive, is not to tear down but to build up and helps others to stay close to God & not to drift away.
The following is a very needed article by Christian author Warren Smith, about people that sadly oppose discernment in the Church:
Discernment Detractors: Calling Good Evil
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
In the first book of Kings, God comes to Solomon in a dream and tells him he can ask for anything that he wants:
In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. —1 Kings 3:5
Solomon asks for discernment: He wants to be able to discern the difference between what is good and bad—between good and evil. He answers God:
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? —1 Kings 3:9
God is pleased with Solomon’s request, noting that he asked solely for discernment rather than selfish things for himself:
And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment. —1 Kings 3:10-11
While our Adversary furiously attempts to undermine the importance of discernment by ridiculing it, we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
SOME OF THE MANY ACCUSATIONS MADE BY DISCERNMENT DETRACTORS
1) If you hate deception and evil and try to expose it, you are a hater—but the Bible says:
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. —Proverbs 8:13
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose] them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved [exposed] are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.—Ephesians 5:11-13
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. —John 15:18
2) If you contend for the faith, you are contentious—but the Bible says:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. —Jude 1:3
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. —1 Timothy 6:12
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. —Ephesians 6:11-13
3) If you sound an alarm, you are an alarmist—but the Bible says:
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. —Joel 2:1
If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people. —Ezekiel 33:3
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. —1 Corinthians 4:14
4) If you try to expose heresy, you are a heresy hunter—but the Bible says:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies. —2 Peter 2:1
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. —1 Corinthians 11:19
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. —Ephesians 5:11-13
5) If you critique false teachings, you have a critical spirit—but the Bible says:
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose] them. —Ephesians 5:11
6) If you name the names of false teachers, you are a name caller—but the Bible names names:
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works. —2 Timothy 4:14
This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. —2 Timothy 1:15
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred. —2 Timothy 2:17-18
7) If you exercise righteous judgment, you are considered judgmental—but the Bible says:
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. —John 7:24
8) If you separate yourself from the things of the world, you are a separatist and into separation—but the Bible says:
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. —2 Corinthians 6:17
9) If you think the way is narrow, you are narrow-minded—but the Bible says:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. —Matthew 7:14
10) If you think Jesus is the only way, you are exclusivistic and way off—but the Bible says:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. —John 14:6
11) If you mark them which cause divisions contrary to doctrine, you are divisive—but the Bible says:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. —Romans 16-17.
. . . (snip)
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: ”—Matthew 5:11-12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. ” —2 Timothy 3:12-17
A person that makes the above accusations against discernment it is usually because they haven’t been taught sound doctrine. When it’s done by a teacher or someone in leadership who should already know well the right doctrine, then we need to be careful, because they are causing division & offenses according to the doctrine we learned from the Word of God. Romans 16:17-18. The Bible says to avoid them for a reason, it doesn’t say to chew the meat and spit the bones. How many babies have you seen that can eat fish with bones? Are we thinking we cannot fall? The apostle Paul stated:
Discernment or Criticism – Pastor & missionary Roger Oakland
Is it right to expose error? E.L.Bynum, a pastor for more than 50 years