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

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2. Help. Ever notice that people who judge almost never help and people who help almost never judge? That's because judgment creates a line. The line is labeled "better than" or "smarter than" or "more righteous than" the person who needs help. Help knows no such line. It just knows how to help. The Christian purpose of stepping into someone else's world is not to judge someone, but to help them. -- Carey Nieuwhof

Honestly, I never noticed that at all Carey. Once again, he is creating the line. He is creating this scenario where judgment is always wrong and this lovey-dovey state of mind is somehow the Christian standard. If you see your friend driving off a cliff it is not "helpful" to hold their hand on the way down and tell them everything is going to be ok. I knew someone once who was in an open relationship in the same church his wife went to. He would say he was "divorced in his heart." No one addressed it from leadership. He still served in ministries. I am sure that no one wanted to "judge him." I however told him the truth of what the Bible says and he eventually was able to do the right thing and end the adulterous relationship. That is how judging can help.

3. Humility. Judgment is never grounded in humility (As in oh my, I'm also a mess. Let's figure this out together.) Judgment is grounded in arrogance. That's because a judgmental person almost always carries with them a sense of condescension (I never get into this kind of situation myself"you should be as good as I am) or a sense of pity (poor, stupid you). Judgment always says I'm better than you, I know more than you and I'm also superior to you. Very few people get judged into life change. Many people get loved into it. Humility, by contrast, fosters empathy. It says "I'm like you. I get that. Maybe we can help each other." Many people would run to that. -- Carey Nieuwhof

No, no, a thousand times no. I am like you? I get that? Then by definition you are advising on something you have not resolved! That is when you are not supposed to judge! Maybe we can help each other? Do both people need help? I am confused. This is a common carnal solution in the workplace I refer to as "splitting the bill." There is a disagreement and it is clear that one person is wrong and the other is correct. Not arrogantly, just truthfully. To avoid conflict however, the mediator splits the bill. A little blame here and a little blame there and everyone walks away feeling better. Except truth is not served and the incorrect behavior is empowered. We ought to do better within the church. Right is right and wrong is wrong. That is one of the benefits of being saved -- absolute truth. I feel badly for Carey Nieuwhof because it sounds like he associates with a lot of unchristian behaving people. Judgment can be grounded in arrogance or it can be grounded in love and truth. There is a difference. Yes it can carry with it a spirit of condescension or it could carry with it a desire to really want to help a brother or sister. It could have a sense of pity or it could have a sense of grace. If you approach someone with a spirit of superiority, condescension, and arrogance then judging is not your problem. Who you claim to be in Christ is and yes that was a right judgment.

4. Prayer. There's also a connection between judgment and prayer. Judging someone and praying for someone are pretty much mutually exclusive. You can't pray for someone you judge because you're actually not for them. Sure, you can pray about them, but again, your prayer won't be grounded in humility. It might be grounded in anger, or in arrogance, or superiority, but it won't be grounded in love. You never truly pray for someone you judge. It's impossible to judge someone and truly pray for them at the same time. -- Carey Nieuwhof

How absurd. The pattern however is now clear. Judging is everything bad in the world. It is evil, mean, and wears a black hat. The opposite however is always love and rainbows and unicorns. You can ground your summation of a situation in love and concern for others and thus pray appropriately. You never pray for someone you judge? What church is he in? I would wager that the vast majority of intercessory prayer is rooted in some judgment that we have made, no? Otherwise wouldn't the prayer be empty and vacuous? Now the final point:

5. Evangelism. If you want to kill evangelism at your church, fill your church with judgmental Christians. People run from people who judge them. They run to people who love them. Think about it; that's what you do: you run from people who judge you. When grace and truth are fused, people usually run toward it because the combination of truth and grace describes a reality they're facing and brings actual hope that things can get better. God never asked you to judge the world. He did ask you to love it. Judgment is a terrible evangelism strategy. -- Carey Nieuwhof

What is Nieuwhof suggestion that we do then with these "judgmental Christians" because the inference is to get rid of them? I do not recall the parable of the 99 and 1 ending with Jesus not pursuing the lost sheep because after all, that sheep was judgmental. He is right that God did not instruct us to judge the world but this article was premised on the church being killed by judgmental Christians. We have already displayed that the Bible actually commands us to judge within the walls of the church. I agree that judgment is not a good evangelism strategy but then again we do not need one. We just need to preach the Gospel. What is the Gospel? That we are wretched sinners apart from our Creator but He loved us enough to send His only Son to die for our sins so that we might have eternal life. Jesus did not come and say "hey I understand, I've been there, how can we help each other." He said repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. Pretty judgmental stuff if you follow Carey Nieuwhof's thinking. I think I will follow what Jesus said. Nieuwhof finishes by trying to parse out how wrong he has been:

But when it comes to judgment, Paul makes it clear we are NOT to judge the world, but we are to practice discernment in the church. There is also a distinction (at least in my mind) between judgment and discernment. The reality is that people's lives are plagued by problems. There is an epic battle raging in this life, and people get taken down every day over addictions, failed relationships, misguided beliefs and things that we think will give life, but, in the end, only destroy. We need to help outsiders because we have been helped. We need to help each other on the inside and thereby better realize our mission. True judgment is reserved for God. Discernment seeks to help. And if this article still strikes you as harsh, remember that Jesus' harshest words were reserved for arrogant, judgemental leaders inside the faith. Conversely, Jesus was pretty much never harsh to people outside the faith. -- Carey Nieuwhof

Bzzt! Thank for playing Carey. Remember when we started by saying that when your goal is church growth you will eventually compromise more and more? That is what we see now. We have already cited the verse Carey references and it does not say that we are to "discern" within the church and not judge outside of it. The same exact word is used -- judge. The world? No. Inside the church? Yes. At least he admits that this fallacy exists in his mind alone and there it should stay. By the way; addictions, failed relationships, misguided beliefs are all related to sin issues Carey, not "epic battles." We do not need to "help" outsiders. We need to present them the Gospel, no matter how hard some of the truths may be. None of us want to hear that we are a sinner in need of a savior but we cannot get saved without it.

Jesus was never harsh to people outside the faith? What Bible version does Carey Nieuwhof own? The Aesop's Bible? Technically the Pharisees were not in the faith and He was the harshest with them! The only people that were in the faith when He ministered were the disciples. The rest walked away when the teaching got too tough. I am not suggesting that Jesus was a tattooed biker but this pansy Christ is a false Christ. You do not think He was being harsh by making the hero of one of His parables the Good Samaritan? Do some research on the cultural context and you will see how harsh a rebuke this was. Carey Nieuwhof brilliantly displays the purpose driven slop one's mind becomes when you chase nothing but carnal metrics for church growth. His theology is chock full of carnal wisdom and eloquence wrapped in scripture references that he does not seem to understand. Look beloved. We should never judge harshly or hypocritically but to pretend that all judgment is wrong is simply unbiblical and will lead people to not be their brother's keeper. Carey Nieuwhof needs to stop selling carnality as Christianity. Sorry if that was too harsh a judgment Carey but I sincerely hope you repent.

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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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