“Don’t Judge Others!”

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this in response to the critiqing of some other churches on the way they handle the message of the gospel…

“You shouldn’t judge others! Who are you to say if they are Judge Mablean!!!Christians or not?”

Well, I want to make this pefectly clear to those of you that feel this way whenever I might be critical of the another church’s doctrine or church practices. I cannot possibly know (therefore I would not attempt to know) the eternal disposition of that person, or persons, with respect to God. Jesus said, “don’t judge” (another’s salvation), so we don’t judge…”lest we be judged.”   I do not judge them.

I do, however, have a perfect right to criticize persons or churches that are mishandling the gospel and teaching things that are not in scripture with respect to Christianity.   In fact, if I didn’t take the time to try and correct or point out their errors I would be part of the problem.

For example, there are certain churches (and loads of individuals) that believe that becoming a Christian (having faith in Jesus) is a choice. It is a decision that we make. Scripture tells us the opposite is true. So why why would we want to let them get away with teaching people the wrong doctrine without letting them know the truth?

Basic dishonesty is another problem that plagues many churches that claim to be “non-denominational”. They have no point of view? That’s ridiculous! Of course they do. In fact, their point of view is Baptist. Their theology is basically Southern Baptist and almost all of their churches started out as Baptist churches (if you trace back their origins). They became “non-denominational” as part of a marketing strategy to bring more people in. Is there anything wrong with that? Well, that is debatable, but my point is that they should at least be honest about it. They are ‘anti-traditional’ churches with a Baptist theology.

“Non-denominational” churches are a denomination. But they say they are not. Not only is it dishonest but it shows a real ignorance of the meaning of the word, ‘denomination’.

The mishandling of the gospel message itself is another area that deserves harsh criticism. To lead people on a path of performance with respect to their Christian lives just places them back under the law and relegates ‘the gospel’ to a meaningless, religious term. All over the place in this day and age people are being fed the law and are being told it’s the gospel. That is flat out wrong, and dangerous! If you think I am overstating the problem than read the book of Galatians. St. paul uses his strongest language to warn those that are engaged in such teachings and practice.

The mainline churches don’t get a pass here either.

What the mainline churches have done to the Church over the last few decades is enough to make a grown man cry. They have turned strong Christian churches with real traditions of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and His forgiveness of sins into social clubs and do-gooder organizations where the name of Jesus Christ to an outside world is something to be ashamed of and kept quiet. The greater church body that my own congregation is a part of (the ELCA) is engaged in this stuff as well. It makes me sick.

The Roman and Eastern churches are also guilty to a large extent as well with their stubborness to see that it is Christ and His work alone for us that makes us worthy to enter the kingdom of God.

The message is in “earthen vessels”. We will make mistakes. I know I make more than my share of them. I am not a better Christian than anyone I criticize.

Let’s use our criticisims as an opportunity to examine scripture that we might all be better informed about, and grounded to the One who makes His Church and holds it together. 

                    – Steve Martin

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8 Responses

  1. The church I attend is non-denominational.
    Baptist?
    Not on your life. 🙂

  2. Roland,

    I probably should’ve said ‘most’!!

    Free will, decision theology,…is Baptist theology.

    If your non-denominational church does not believe that we have a choice in the matter, then I was certainly wrong to lump your church in that group.

    I have found, though, that many of my friends and family that do attend churches(non-denom) with a free-will, decision theolgy, were suprised to find out that in fact, they had a Baptist theolgy.

    Thanks Roland!

    – Steve

  3. Your main point here, Steve, is vital.
    If what we’re about as Christians isn’t focused on a ministry and a ‘living out’ of life which derives from THE Gospel, but some re-hashed, re-packaged substitute, there’s very little point to our being here as ‘the church’ (of whatever stripe) at all.

  4. Howard,

    You are right. At that point one would just be playing ‘church’.

    Thanks!

    – Steve

  5. Steve,
    The lead pastor at the church I go to, grew up in a Baptist church.
    When he got the job at the church and continued to preach on grace, the legalists eventually left.
    Church of the Open Door is a name that now fits the place well.
    Its amazing how much I’ve grown since leaving the Baptist church I used to be part of. They were independent Baptist.
    😉

  6. Roland,

    You are truly blessed to have a pastor that knows his job!

    The legalists will not have to go far to find a place that is more comfortable (if being chained up is comfortable).

    I pray that the Church of the Open Door has many new people entering therein.

    Thanks very much Roland!

    – Steve

  7. Hi Steve,

    On this one I must agree with Roland, though my own journey has been a bit different: luke warm RC, charismatic RC, non-denominational charismatic, charismatic Southern Baptist, and now Lutheran. At any rate, the non-denominational church I
    belonged to for many years, New Covenant Fellowship, was baptistic (originally Advent Christian) in that they were decision oriented, but very charismatic.

    Good post and I appreciate your responses when others disagree. Blessings, my brother.

  8. Ivy,

    Your journey sounds very much like my own. I was hither and yon as far as churches and theologies go. But through it all, the Lord had a hold of me, and was keeping me in the promise of my baptism (infant, by the way). I
    guess my main point to the post was to say how much I don’t care for the deception (even if it’s unintentional), and that everyone(churches) has a theological point of view. To state up front that you have no bias’ with respect to your understanding of God and Christianity shows a real ignorance of language, and it totally masks certain belief systems to gain an advantage. Does it work? Yes it works. Is it right? That is the question.

    I always appreciate your thoughtful input, Ivy!

    Grace and Peace, my Sister!

    – Steve

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