Biblical Dogmas such as Judgement

I am certain of only a few things. One of my certainties is that there is an essential set of beliefs, without which one would not consider themselves a Christian. That set of beliefs will vary according to many things, not the least of which is which particular faith one subscribes to. E.g., the smallest number of beliefs might be that God exists, that Christ was a real person and sent by God, and that He was crucified dead and buried. But there are hundreds of additional concepts that some believe, and others do not require. A Catholic might require a belief in the Holy Spirit coming from God and the Son together, while an Eastern Orthodox might believe that the Spirit comes only from God, but through His Son Christ.

What about Judgement? Are we to believe that to judge others is a sin?
Who has not been troubled about judging others? We learn about some egregious behavior and cannot help but form an opinion about it. Then we judge it against ourselves or some standard that we impose. Then we are told that that is not what Christ asked of us.

Matt 7:1 says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”. Also Rom 14:13 “let us stop judging one another”. But can we not show discernment? If we are not to judge, how can we discern false prophets, or avoid throwing “your pearls before swine”? That was a part of Christ’s message from the Mount. Jesus wants us to tell right from wrong. Certainly He did not mean to imply that all actions are equally moral or that truth is relative. So calling a lie a lie is to pass judgement on the statement, and to call adultery or murder a sin is to judge the actions. How else are we to deal with sin?

We even have a book of the bible named Judges. Those judges of the OT were raised up by God himself and today’s judges are necessary in society. So what should we not judge?

Appearances : Jn 7:24 says to “stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly”.

Superficial : Jumping to conclusion before knowing all the facts, e.g.

Hypocritical : In Mt 7:1, the command not to judge others is preceded by comparisons to hypocrites and followed by a warning against the hypocrisy of pointing out the sin of others while we commit the same sin.

Harsh : An unforgiving judgement is wrong. It is the merciful who will be shown mercy in Mt. 5:7

Self-righteous : God calls us to humility, and God opposes proud (James 4:6). God sees our heart and may not forgive the sin of self-righteousness (Lk 18:9-14).

Untrue : That is bearing false witness, forbidden in Proverbs 19:5.

Christians who speak out against sin are not wrong even as they “judge” the sinner in the process. We always see that it is the sinner who tells you not to judge him. And you cannot silence the truth. Remember that John the Baptist incurred the ire of Herodias when he spoke about her adultery with Herod (Mk 6:18-19). She certainly had him silenced but could NOT silence the truth.

Even Christ commended “right judgement” in John 7:24 and also "we are to gently confront erring brothers in Christ (Galatians 6:1) and to “speak the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15. So I choose to believe that I can and should judge others, but only after culling for the 6 categories above. I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on this.

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Bold fellow, to be certain of so many things. Ha!

How interesting! Personally, I’ve engaged in the same exercise and a variant.

  • The same exercise involves asking myself what are the beliefs which I personally believe are essential to qualify myself as a theologically-sound Christian. Necessarily, I suppose, that belief or set of beliefs is the minimum that I would expect “a true Christian” to hold. I find it “comforting” to note that you and I both concur on some beliefs (to wit: God exists; Jesus was a historically “real” person sent by God; who was crucified, died, was buried, and was raised by the Father on the third day, and subsequently ascended into heaven. I have not, however, yet decided on whether or not Jesus inherited Y-DNA from a human male or not.
  • The variant that I’ve engaged in, shifts my focus from “beliefs qualifying a person as a Christian” to "the minimum number of correct beliefs to qualify a person as “a righteous person” who trusts in Yahweh.
    • Jeremiah 17:7-8. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord.
      “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit."
    • And Proverbs 10:25. “When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.” [Absence of a Hebrew word for “has” leaves open the possibility that "the righteous is an everlasting foundation.

Considered in a subsequent post.

Thanks Terry for your thoughtful response.
I have also crafted a list of “issues” that many might consider their sine qua non for being a Christian. I’ll list them, and also add whether (or not) they are critical for me:
Belief in God is necessary for eternal salvation (me too)
Mary was a virgin at the time of Christ’s birth (+ or - for me. Not necessary)
Mary was herself of a virgin birth (not necessary)
Jesus has haploid, with only 23 chromosomes (NOT, all males have 46 including a Y)
There is a heaven to reside in for an eternity (not necessary)
There is a hell of eternal torment (absolutely not)
Prayers today will be answered if from a true believer (not)
THere is a power of prayer but only in certain situations (I think that also)
The bible is innerant ( not necessary)
Miracles were performed by Christ (I believe that they occurred, but is not a necessary part of my belief in God)
God created us exactly as we are today (absolutely not. We have evolved, but God played a role in the ‘formula’ of our DNA, mutation, epigenetics, gene sequencing, etc)
Forgiveness is necessary, and when asked for, shall be granted (me too)
Christy will come again in a literal forrm (NOT)
Suicide eliminates the option for salvation (not)
Christ’s crucifixion was necesary for our salvation (not necessary, since if so then every death prior to His birth/death/resurrection would not be candidates)

This list is most superficial. There are many more beliefs that many of my friends would hold to be necessary.

I will address a few of these. Before I start, the ancient creeds and the Calcedon Definition of the faith provide excellent summaries of the Christian faith for mainline churches.

Anyway, on to a few of your issues:

No Christian group believes this. But Roman Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary, meaning that Mary was conceived without original sin and prevented from sinning throughout her life. This was to provide a suitable vessel for Jesus.

We simply don’t know the genetics of Jesus.

Christians believe that the crucifixion was necessary for our salvation, and many also believe in “the harrowing of hell.” The rich man had a vision of Lazarus with Abraham in the next life.

@Christy Is there a cult for you now?

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I have no plans to usher in the New Creation. I will leave the cult-leading to others more capable than I.

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Christy, I would love to know to what you are referring? I have not read a single opinion or viewpoint on these pages that would come from someone who doubts evolution.

But Beagle-Lady, we absolutely do know Jesus genetic makeup. There has never been a person with only 23 chromosomes. Those unfertilized cells cannot develop. There is no conceivable circumstance under which that could occur. So Christ had 46 and one was a Y. He still was the Son of God sent here for our salvation. But he was not a birth without fertilization. To understand and admit that does not threaten my faith in Christ even a little bit.

I don’t know. I consider it a mystery and I don’t have special gnosis.

A typo above where you accidentally wrote Christy instead of Christ.

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I have always been taught that judging others is perfectly fine. We all do it. We judge everything. While judging someone we should not devalue them. I’m going to form opinions about a crackhead. I’m going to know that they have an addiction. I’m going to know they probably do a lot of shady stuff. But I’ll also make sure to not devalue them in my heart. Such as if they are trying to vent I will listen a little bit. I won’t just completely ignore them initially. I would never ignore them while they are hurting. I’ve seen people drag actively overdosing drug addicts away from a icebox outside of a gas station so they can get their ice bag. I called the ambulance and waited.

I’ve seen hookers that was laying down best senseless bleeding with their clothes had ripped off and people literally just be like “ that’s what happens if you are a hooker” and so on. I thought to myself hooking is bad and it’s dangerous and they are definitely choosing a profession that is placing them more likely in harms way but I’ll still let them wear my shirt and ask them do they need my phone to call someone or so they want me to call a ambulance or someone for them?

The other thing I’ve been taught is that we can’t judge someone’s seriousness in their faith no matter how bad they are living. I can trust that they are exceptionally livicng in sin and doing evil and need to repent, but I can’t judge that they don’t want to do better and ect… I can’t judge that they deserve to be destroyed in hell.

But I can definitely judge that something is evil and thst I don’t want them in my life. I can choose to block their numbers, not answer when they knock and not invite them to places. If they are hurt I still need to offer help. If they ask for water I still need to give them water and so on.

We are told to judge righteously and forgive people and to help out enemies. We are also told to preach against evil and false teachings. But we are not judges of the faith. We are peacemakers .

Many may be interested in what your personal behavior(s) is (are), but the issue I raised was intended to ponder and discuss what we are told by Christ to do regarding judgement. In my original post, I offered a thought process that would “allow” for judgement as long as it did not violate any of the 6 categories carved out by Christ. Those such as superficial opinions, dishonesty, hypocrisy, harshness or self-righteousness. You are simply telling us what you, personally, have done (and taught). Yet you offer no reference for your decisions other than “I’ve been taught”. I intended the topic to be one of combining thought-experiments with the spoken word of Christ and tempered by expert analysis. You may be a truly fine and righteous man, and congratulations on your good behavior toward the less privileged, but I’d love more insight into the issue.

Of course we all have opinions. We all discern right from wrong. That is not my point at all. My point is when and under what circumstances can we (should we) judge another person? Christ did it and admonished us not to throw pearls before swine. How shall we know who the swine are without judging them?

My response was directly tied into your question, and the discussion. You already laid out verses about judgement. I don’t need to repeat everything you and others already said.

You stated the Bible says to judge righteously.

I stated I agree we are to judge righteously. I then showed how righteous judgment is judgement against a persons choices on righteousness and truth versus sin and lies.

I then stayed judgement against someone’s choices is not the same thing as judging their value as a human being. I have examples of how people instead judge wrongly by judging a persons value.

I showed how you can judge the evil in someone’s choices without devaluing them.

So i answered your question,

Not under the guidance of Jesus then?

Our prisons are full of people who say exactly the same thing about theft and murder.

When Jesus tells us not to judge He is not talking about casting away our faculties of judgment as it guides the living of our own life. Rather He is talking about usurping God’s prerogative of judgment according to God superior understanding of both what is right and all the circumstances. According to Romans 10, living by faith preclude even asking who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. But deciding whose company we can keep in order to maintain the balance of our own life is an entirely different matter.

I think the gold standard is given when Jesus said,

Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

We must be careful because if we measure the salvation of others by something then Jesus promises that our salvation will measured in the same way.

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Taught that it’s perfectly fine because Christ and the apostles taught it. Christ and the apostles both not only taught but actively shown us that they judged righteously without devaluing people which is what I made very clear in my text.

As Christians we most definitely can judge people because we can judge righteousness versus unrighteousness. We are told repeatedly we will know a person by their fruit.

Goodness if that ain’t a “straight line” beggin’ for a rejoinder, such as:
Safe guess that you’re looking for a description and not specific names. Ha!

Bucky, I’m gonna step way out on a limb here and offer this response: “You can judge another person as long as you’re not being judgemental”.

I defer here to Christopher John Lindsay who wrote Three Traits of Judgmental People, although he does get some pushback from a reader or two.

  • They are overly critical,
  • they show no respect for the person they are critical of,
  • and they justify what they say because they believe it is true.

Urban Dictionary offers this:
1.)A way of making one’s self feel better, by hurting others. Usually caused by closed mindedness, and a lack of manners.
2.)Feeling the right to judge, and doing so.
Being judgemental will show people how tactless you truely are.

And to top off those tidbits, see if there’s any useful insight in the following article from Harper’s Bazaar: The age of judgement: the psychology behind judgemental behaviour during the pandemic

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Sounds like entitlement Christianity, for sure – those who thought they had the right to judge Africans and Native Americans as no more animals to be yoked or slaughtered and their land empty and free for the taking. I agree that Christians have thought in this manner. I disagree that they are or were entitled to do as they thought. No, Christians are not the gods they thought, and no they are not entitled to judge other people like that. I think the measure they dished out will come back to them as they deserve.

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So what I said is that the Bible teaches us that we can judge with righteousness. Nothing is a kit entitlement. Nothing I said is even remotely similar to your statements about racial thoughts. For a fact I said the opposite. I said while judging someone by their fruits we can’t devalue them.

They thought they could judge. They were wrong.

You think you can judge. You are still wrong, just as they were.

Yes when people passed judgement on Jesus in John 7, He condemned them for judging people on appearances rather than right judgement. But it is exactly for this reason that Jesus said not to judge in Matthew 7 because judging by appearances is all we are capable of. We simply do not know enough to make right judgment. Appearances is all that we have, and by appearances we judged the Africans and Native Americans to be no more than animals. Where do you think the Bible says that Christians can judge righteously? I don’t see any such thing in the Bible and the evidence of history proves this wrong repeatedly. Seems to me, the Christians in history whom I can admire knew very well they had no capability to judge others correctly and were constantly leaving it to God to do so instead.

But as I explained this does not mean that we use no judgement whatsoever. We must judge what we can handle. Some may be equipped to go into prisons and preach to the prisoners there, but most are not equipped to do any such thing. Many things in life are like this and we absolutely should use good judgement about how we can live our lives, safely and well. This is frankly more a matter of judging ourselves rather than judging others. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 is about judgment of this nature. Nor does it mean we make no judgements in order to settle disputes between us. 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 is about judgement of this nature.

But 1 Corinthians 5:9-6:8 does not erase what Jesus said in Matthew 7. We do not judge when circumstances do not force us to do so. Certainly we are in no way forced to judge who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. We are commanded NOT to do so. That is to be left to God alone. So when atheists see Christians saying that the people of other religions let alone the people of other Christian denominations are all going to hell, the absurdity of this is quite plain for them to see – making all of Christianity look no better than a bad joke.

I think there could be two separate topics to tease apart here. Yes judging others seems to be moving in the wrong direction for Christians. But we all make and must make distinctions/judgements all the time as we seek to understand the world and our place in it.

In general I think the mote in our own eye is the one we’re in the best position to do something about. So I don’t think dwelling on who is in and who is out, who is naughty and who is nice is an activity likely to help us in our own growth.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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