Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.
I recently came across this post at Desiring God about one of the benefits of a local church. I was really interested in the benefits of “righteous judgment” and the need for accountability espoused in this brief article. I hear the oft-repeated mantra “not to judge” based ostensibly on Luke 6:37. This verse (“judge not, lest you be judged”) is often the only Scripture some people have memorized and almost exclusively used out of context. I think the passage in question might is more concerned with humility and genuine faith than some prohibition against pointing out sin or inconsistency in another believer’s life.
I have reproduced the entire Desiring God post below for your consideration.
“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (1 Corinthians 5:11-12)”
It is dangerous not to be judged. We need other people to judge us, with righteous judgment (John 7:24). We need accountability. If we don’t have Christian friends that are close enough to confront us when our lifestyle doesn’t match our confession, then we ought to tremble.
The type of judgment I am referring to is not generated by a desire to look down on others for the sake of feeling superior—a condescending disposition. Rather, it comes from a tender disposition of love. It comes from a Nathan who is willing to tell David to repent and turn to God (2 Samuel 12).
We should fear God in light of the sin that can deceive and destroy us. We should not fear the judgment that comes from friends in the church which helps us to fight sin. This is grace!
It is immeasurably more safe to be a part of a local church that watches for our souls. Praise God for the safety that is in the righteous judgment of his people. It is grace from heaven!
This week at camp the speaker gave a really helpful illustration when talking about integrity. At one point he had the kids play a version of Simon Says called “Head, Belly, Knees.” When I first played the game I remembered how much easier it is when you close your eyes and listen to the commands rather than trying to imitate.
The speaker, however, used this fun children’s game as an example of the importance of Christian integrity. Every time he said one thing (i.e., head) but did something else (i.e., touched his knees), a number of students would imitate him rather than listen to him. The point was clear, it is a much easier game when the leader’s actions match up with his words.
While my hypocrisy might not prevent someone from coming to know Christ, it will make it much more difficult. I pray that my actions match my words.
I believe one of my duties is to provide a jaded realism to our otherwise cheery existence. To that end…
Thomas Kinkade, the self-proclaimed painter of light, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Both Robert Cargill and Jim West alerted me to this story and provide some amusing coments. Mr. Kinkade will have a little bit of image rehab to accomplish if he is to continue to be the American evangelicalism’s Bob Ross.
It looks like Heaven & Earth and other Christian novelty stores will need a new go-to faux artist to produce overwhelming amounts of kitschy prints.
Richard Bartholomew, always vigilant against religious hypocrisy (though for the wrong reasons), has helpfully pointed out the inconsistency of many “right wing” evangelicals who loudly decry homosexuality yet have no problem with divorce. You can read the full article yourself which describes Washington State pastor Ken Hutcherson (vocal advocated against homosexuality and defender of “traditional marriage”) officiating Rush Limbaugh’s (yeah, THAT Rush Limbaugh) fourth marriage (one more than three and one less than five).
Hutcherson is also known for asserting a form a overt machismo. Here is a quote on his view of gender roles.
During his sermon, Hutcherson stated, “God hates soft men” and “God hates effeminate men.” Hutcherson went on to say, “If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I’d rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end.”
I wonder how he felt that hired performer at the reception was Elton John?
Jesus made a big deal about hypocrisy. For him hypocrisy was so bad because it involved a lack of acknowledgment of one’s own sin and type of self-righteousness. Self-salvation is impossible.
On the other hand, I think hypocrisy is so dangerous because it calls into question the efficacy of “new life” in Christ.
Sin is often a continual problem for the Christian, but acknowledging one’s sin does not justify it (Romans 6) and one of the results of salvation is obedience (John 14).
I am continually wrestling with the idea that what I do matters (though it does not save). I wonder at what point honesty about my sin becomes merely a way to justify my disobedience.
If I do think that my life should reflect the character of Christ (my savior) and that my actions should demonstrate the legitimacy of my new life in Jesus, how do I avoid letting outward behavior become a substitute for the inward working of God?