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Sacrificing Accountability on the "Judge Not" Altar of Church Growth

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"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. -- Matthew 7: 1-5 (ESV)

It seems that at least once per year I have to exegete the key verses because someone within Christian leadership misuses them completely. Outside of poor Malachi, perhaps there are no verses more misunderstood than these. If you asked Christians, I guess nine out of ten would say that Christians should never judge! Just read Matthew Seven, right? Wrong. What preacher? Are you saying Christians are supposed to judge? Within the church -- absolutely.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you." -- 1Corinthians 5: 12-13 (ESV)

The modern church has it backwards. They spend the majority of their time judging people in the world. They claim some form of a moral high ground they do not possess and pretend that all the problems we have could be resolved if unbelievers would just behave better. These verses from Corinthians however make it abundantly clear that they are facing the judgment of God therefore we are not to judge them. It is those on the inside we are to judge but judgment has been smeared as a dirty word within Christian circles. That is probably rooted in confusing two different definitions of the word "judge." The first is what we all will face at the hand of our Creator. Final judgment is always the Lords beloved. No one is suggesting that person A is going to heaven and person B is going to hell other than militant Calvinists. The primary way the word judge is used however carries a different definition. According to it simply means to form and opinion or conclusion about something. There is no biblical admonition against doing such and in fact as Christians we are commanded to do such for each other. The answer to "am I my brother's keeper" is a resounding yes! People ask me often how I would feel if someone criticized my teachings and my answer is I would thank them! If I ever state something incorrectly or misuse a Scripture I would hope my brothers and sisters in Christ would hold me accountable for it because the truth is the only thing that matters. Not my delicate sensibilities. Wait a minute preacher! What about judge not lest ye be judged? As Paul Washer has said, "twist not Scripture lest ye be Satan." The "judge not" portion are seven words that start a brief teaching that lasts five verses. We cannot just look at the seven words and call it a day. Read the key verses very closely beloved and ask yourself what Jesus is really speaking against because it is NOT judgment. It is hypocrisy. The key is in verse five:

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. -- Matthew 7: 5 (ESV)

Does Jesus teach to leave the splinter in your brother's eye? In order for judge not to mean what people keep saying it means, that is what Jesus would need to say at the end but He does not. He says take the log out of your own eye and THEN help your brother with his splinter. A practical example is if you are in an unrepentant adulterous relationship then you should not be advising or judging your brother's adulterous relationship. If you have an unresolved anger issue or unforgiveness, you should not be judging your brother for the same. So it is not that you should not judge your brother but rather that you should not do so hypocritically. This squares with the aforementioned Corinthians verses as well as the countless admonishments against hypocrisy found throughout Scripture. Earlier this year, Carey Nieuwhof wrote an article entitled "Five Ways Judgmental Christians Are Killing Your Church." This can be found at the following link:

Nieuwhof is one of the modern day "church growth and leadership" gurus. He is raised and trained on the purpose driven model that aspires to build churches and not the kingdom. From the title alone you can see that his premise is flawed and his focus is skewed. The only thing that matters to him is the growth of your church. Wait a minute preacher? Shouldn't that be what leaders should be focused on? Not according to the Bible. God provides the growth for a church, not man. Not all church growth is good. Do you think 55,000 people show up each week to hear Joel Osteen preach because he preaches the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ? Hardly. Mega churches fill up because the people hear what their itching ears want to hear. That God wants them rich. That they can be promised eternal life and embrace their carnal selves. When your sole focus is on growth then you will find yourself compromising more and more in order to grow and the worst thing is that when that growth comes you will view it as God's approval instead of His judgment. So let us reason together and review this article to gain a better insight into what judgment is and is not according to the Bible and to reveal the flaws within the purpose driven church growth mind:

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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