Norm Field’s Broadcast, Sunday, November 17

I was out of town this weekend, but Randy was good enough to watch Norm’s Sunday night broadcast and write his thoughts.  Randy wrote:

I’m not sure you if you watched Norms program last night, but if you did, you might have noticed by now, that whenever someone calls in and says that they are being judgmental, they ( CofC ) will run to John John 7:24 , yank it from its context and use it to prove they can judge everyone. 

We read in John 7:24: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

Here Jesus rejects and repudiates this popular notion that one may judge based upon perception. In the context of John 7:24, Jesus was teaching in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles (v.2). Many were speaking about Jesus at the feast, but quietly (v.11-13). Part of this gossip included the rumor that he had a demon (v.20). Jesus reads their hearts and repudiates this by showing that the same critics formed hypocritical judgments regarding healing on the Sabbath (22, 23). They had quickly come to wrong judgment regarding Jesus based upon gossip that they heard. The “evidence” upon which they had drawn their conclusions regarding him was all perception. So Jesus rebukes them, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

Unlike Jesus, we cannot read the hearts of individuals who act this way, so the Bible gives us several principles upon which to ensure that our Christian relationships remain in tact. These principles are love, patience, longsuffering, and brotherly kindness. Applying these principles in our life will go a long way toward not judging according to appearance. 

I find it quite sad that Norm and others yank scriptures from their context and judge peoples hearts, and even go as far as telling them they are headed to hell.  I understand fully that they do so, because they consider being in a denomination sinful, but notice how Paul acted when faced with the same issue…Paul did have to correct the Corinthian church for becoming man-followers, calling themselves “of Appol, of Paul and others, but note that Paul addressed them as Saints, not as someone outside of the body of Christ. 

James 4:11, 12 states, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?”

This passage is a little more difficult to understand, but I think that we can get the essence of it. First, this type of judging has to do with speaking evil of someone else. The Christian ought never to do this. In fact, we are to give blessing to others, not cursing according to 1 Peter 3:9. So the passage starts with the idea of a Christian who is speaking evil of another Christian. When we personally make judgments against another brother and speak evil of him, then we become a judge instead of one who is practicing the law. We also then judge the law, because we pronounce our own personal judgments upon others particularly when the law does not condemn them. I think that is what this passage is discussing. That is, it is specifically in regard to speaking evil against others. So the judgment that is being made has already been condemned–it is an “evil” judgment, not a righteous one.

The Bible teaches that there is a sense in which the Christian must judge. Let’s look at a few passages.

First, in 1 Corinthians 5:12 Paul says, “Do you not judge them that are within?” Here, Paul is talking about judging Christians who are not living according to the standards that Christ sets for them. In particular, he was talking about the fornicator that was among them. However, Paul does not limit this process to just fornication. He says in verse 11, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” We are, in fact, obligated to judge Christians who are engaged in these sinful situations.

In the very next chapter, we also notice 1 Corinthians 6:1-3. This passage teaches that instead of going to a court of law to settle differences between Christians, we are to judge such matters among ourselves. Here is another form of judging that the Christian is to do.

Finally, notice also Matthew 7:16-20. This passage teaches that we are to judge men according to their fruits. As we mentioned earlier in John 7:24, Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Jesus also said in Matthew 7:6 “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Who are the “dogs” in this passage? Who are the “swine” in this passage? How do we determine that?

We must make judgments. We, as Christians, have obligations to judge certain situations. Jesus taught us to do this in regard to false teachers, people who are not living morally, and those who have proven themselves unworthy of the gospel. Jesus also taught us not to judge inappropriately. We should not judge hypocritically. We should not judge unrighteously, and we should not judge in a condemnatory fashion.

Note that there is a big difference in the judging from out TV Church of Christ guys and the judging spoken in the bible.   There is righteous judgment, which is clearly stated in the above verses, but there are also unrighteous judgment which is condemned…

Thanks, Randy!

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One thought on “Norm Field’s Broadcast, Sunday, November 17

  1. Just as Norm yanked a verse from it’s context, so did Johnny! Last night Johnny used 1 John 4:1 as a proof text to judge a person. If Johnny had read the verses that follow 1 John 4:1 we all would have known what John was warning people to look for. John was warning people about the “false prophets” the Gnostics. It’s quite sad Johnny and crew use this verse and others to grant them the “ok” to judge everything and everybody, who doesnt believe or understand as they do. Read the verses below in their context and you will see what John was warning Christians about.

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
    By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

    The Gnostics were an early heretical sect beginning later in the first century. The basis of the Gnostic teaching was the idea of a fundamental antagonism between the world of matter and the world of spirit. Matter was evil, spirit alone was good, the world is bad and the body is bad, being a prison for the soul. These false teachers, similar to the Jehovah Witnesses of our day, allowed that Christ was a unique personage, perhaps even “a” son of God, but that He was “equal” with God, was vigorously and viciously denied. There were certain philosophers that had tried to combine this believe with Christianity and taught that Jesus could not have had a human body (since the body is evil) and therefore could have not been crucified. Paul and John both confronted these false teachings by affirming that God in all His fullness dwelt in the body of Jesus.
    They viewed the visible creation with its imperfection as the work of a lesser power, in many ways prefiguring the Mormon heresies. The Gnostics tended to reduce revelation to a mere philosophy. Christ was not truly God, and that he took only an apparent body.

    Named from the Greek word gnosis (knowledge) they constituted a loose group within the early Christian movement and also outside it. The teaching of the Gnostics is gnosis, one of the gravest threats to the new Christian teaching. They claimed to possess secret knowledge about God and his purposes by which they were confident of gaining eternal life. In its developed form, Gnosticism pictured a redeemer coming from Heaven to earth in human appearance to liberate mankind from enslavement to the world of matter, prefiguring the Christian Scientists.

    The struggle with Gnosticism compelled the church to put its teaching, its worship, and its discipline into fixed forms and ordinances, develop creeds, and to exclude everyone who would not yield them obedience. A form of Gnosticism which was disrupting the churches in John’s day taught that there is in human nature an irreconcilable principle of dualism, that spirit and body are two separate entities, that sin resided in the flesh only, that the spirit could have its raptures, and the body could do as it pleased, that lofty mental mystical piety was entirely consistent with voluptuous sensual life. They denied the Incarnation, that God had in Christ actually become flesh, and maintained that Christ was a phantom, a man in appearance only.

    In Ephesus a man named Cerinthus was a leader of this cult. Starting from the belief that evil is inherent in matter, this type of teaching disparaged man’s bodily life, and as it affected Christian thought, denied the reality of the incarnation of the Lord. Gnostic heresy was endemic in the district around Ephesus by the time the Gospel of John was written and combated by the declaration that “the Word became flesh.

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