Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The Fallacies of Inclusive “Judge Not” Abnormalities

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Fallacies of Inclusive “Judge Not” Abnormalities

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 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” (Matthew 7:1-6).

It is difficult for us to understand how much God hates the hypocrisy of self-righteousness.  Self-righteousness is an absolute oxymoron.  Only a moron would consider himself SELF-righteous.  The failure lies in the inadequate way that certain people define righteousness.  Most people define righteousness as a person who regularly and habitually does what is right.  Others define righteousness as a person who always does what is right.  However, we must enter another factor into all of this.  What is the standard by which we establish what is right?  Do we establish righteousness merely by the laws of the land?  Can something be righteous and immoral at the same time?  This is what cultures do.  They seek to define morality through legislation of laws.  Then, the cultural norm for determining morality becomes whatever is legal.  There are many things that are now legal that are still immoral.  Homosexuality, adultery, and fornication may be legal and culturally acceptable to most of society, but they are all still immoral.  All of these practices or lifestyles are unchristian.  Are these kinds of things the things Jesus is talking about when He says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? 
If this is how we establish the standards by which we determine righteousness, then righteousness is constantly evolving and fluid in nature.  This is exactly what is going on it the post-modern culture of the United States of America.  This is even happening within most of Evangelical Christianity.  With every new generation of theologians, they must constantly question and move the ancient landmarks to new culturally acceptable positions.  After all, they argue, Christianity must stay in step with the culture lest the culture considers us irrelevant.  The new wave of Convergent Evangelicalism and Emergent Evangelism will accept no definition of righteousness that is not culturally fluid and constantly evolving.  These forms of Evangelicalism have wrapped themselves in their own death shroud of cultural relativism in their unending quest for cultural relevancy.  They seem almost blinded to the fact that they are rapidly moving toward a form of Inclusivism that is destined to the heresies of Pluralism and Universalism.  This destiny is predetermined because when you choose the beginning of a way, you choose the end of that way. 
The Word of God clearly tells us, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  God warns about forgetting and failing to learn from the past failures of others.  “10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after” (Ecclesiastes 1:10-11).
This is why we must be very careful about understanding what Jesus means by the statement, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”  It is completely inappropriate to make this statement means that we are not to be discerning between what is right and wrong or between what is righteous and what is sin.  Nor is it appropriate to make Christ’s statement mean that we are to be tolerant of such lifestyles of sin or of false doctrines.  The point of Christ’s statement is that we are not to approach people involved in such lifestyle practices as if we are somehow above them or that we are somehow sinless ourselves.  No matter how much God has cleaned up our lives, we all keep dirtying ourselves on regular occasions. 
Convergent Evangelicalism and Emergent Evangelicalism take Christ’s statement in Matthew 7:1 and completely warp it into another dimension never intended.  Convergent Evangelicalism and Emergent Evangelicalism move toleration into the realm of complete acceptance regardless of lifestyle practices or doctrinal orthodoxy.  Yes, true Christianity always receives a sinner at an entrance level of wherever he is in his life.  That does not mean true Christianity should continue to allow or tolerate a lifestyle that lives in unrepentance of known sin.  In fact, we have numerous commands in Scripture telling us that unrepentant professing Christians are to be removed from formal membership of local churches.  The issue before us is not a discontinuation of contact, but a discontinuation of cooperation in ministry.  The communion or “fellowship” in ministry has already been spiritually breached by ongoing and unrepentant sin or false doctrine.  Therefore, that spiritual reality MUST become a practical reality in obedience to Christ’s commands.  This is the substance of Paul’s admonition to the Church at Corinth.

1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new {a fresh or regenerate} lump, as ye are unleavened {with defiling impurities removed}. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company {get mixed-up or comingled} with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company {get mixed-up or comingled}, 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 {the idea is to let the world know that true Christianity is completely intolerant of Christians who live like the Devil}. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without {outside of formal membership of a local church of professing, obedient believers}? do not ye judge them that are within {inside of formal membership of a local church of professing, obedient believers}? 13 But them that are without {outside of formal membership of a local church of professing, obedient believers} God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person {so that God can judge them and chastise them accordingly}” (I Corinthians 5:1-13).

Convergent and Emergent philosophies are nothing new.  They are simply new terms for age-old theological integrationism.  Theological integrationism always exists on innumerable levels.  However, on whatever level it exists, it is always the outcome of some degree of either theological compromise or theological toleration.  Theological compromise takes place when cooperation or “fellowship” continues when there are major differences in positions regarding any main body of systematic theology.  Since no two believers will agree exactly on everything the Bible says there must be some degree of toleration if there is going to be any kind of “fellowship” in the “work of the ministry.”  The difficulty is in defining at what point toleration becomes compromise
Obviously, God expects a certain degree of toleration while any degree of compromise is unacceptable.  We define the line of demarcation between theological toleration and theological compromise by the word heresyHeresy takes place when those who are compromising divide forming a new sect.  The new sect is what defines the word heresy.  The new sect has adopted a doctrine, or doctrines, that are unacceptable to true Christianity.  The false doctrine means they are no longer following the teachings of Christ in that area and that they are therefore no longer truly Christian.  The false doctrine is the heresy that divides and those holding to the false doctrine are heretics who are divided and dividing. 

9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject {the idea is separate him from you and him from influence in the local church while leaving his judgment to God}; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:9-11).

Even though heretics may be correct in all other doctrines, any single false doctrine divides them from true Christianity in that the false doctrine defines Christ and His will in a false way.  In obedience, the body of true Christianity separates this group from them and labels them as heretics.  In almost every historical case, even though the heretics objected vehemently, the true body of Christianity still separated from them because of their false doctrine.  They then called the main body of Christianity unloving and intolerant.  Nonetheless, true Christianity was unmoved by the pleas of the heretics even when the heretics became predominant in numbers such as Roman Catholicism.  True Christians refused to call evil good or good evil.  True Christians maintained the lines of demarcation, often at the cost of their own lives.  This was certainly true of the ancient Anabaptists who refused to accept infant baptism as an acceptable form of biblical baptism.  Thousands of them died at the hands of the heretics because they would not tolerate this false doctrine.  There are no circumstances under which it is ever righteous to call light darkness or darkness light.  Yet this has been the historical pattern of compromise.

18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: 19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! 20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! 22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: 23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him” (Isaiah 5:18-23)!

God pronounces six woes or curses upon those that misrepresent His truths by endorsing corrupted life styles in Isaiah chapter five.  God gives us four of those six woes in Isaiah 5:18-23.  A woe is God’s promise of judgment or chastisement with the severity determined according to God’s evaluation of the harm done in the distortion of His definition of righteousness.  When God’s definition of righteousness is distorted, God’s righteous character is distorted as well.  This is the opposite of glorifying God.  To glorify God means we accurately reveal Him in all of His wondrous character and marvelous attributes.  To distort the character and attributes of God in any way is to de-glorify Him.  This is the heretical crime of Convergent Evangelicalism and Emergent Evangelicalism.  These two theological movements may be different in the sense of the degree of their departure from biblical Christianity, but they have nonetheless departed.  Although they stand outside of the body of true Christianity demanding that they not be considered heretics, the fact remains, they are.  The voice of true Christianity should be unbending towards them.  The message should be clear.  They are welcome back, but they must leave their false doctrines and the false alliances behind.  In other words, the admonition is simple: REPENT!
The objection of the pragmatists is that when true Christianity continually practices biblical separation, Christianity fractionalizes and marginalizes itself to the place of obscurity in being relevant to the culture in which it exists.  God answers this silly idea with what I refer to as the Gideon Factor.  The Gideon Factor is God’s design for the way He is most effectively glorified in two specific groups of people:

1. To the unbelieving world
2. In the midst of His children

Basically, the Gideon Factor is that God is best glorified by doing miraculous things through the lives of a faithful few and with insignificant numbers.  This is what we see God doing repeatedly in the Old Testament Scriptures.  We see Him doing this with the nation of Israel for forty years in the wilderness.  In those forty years, God purged out unbelief from the nation of Israel to the degree that they saw no army or fortress greater than their God.  With that faith vision, the nation of Israel crossed the Jordon with God going before them and they following close behind. 
The Gideon Factor is rarely seen and soon forgotten by almost every succeeding generation.  In every case that we find the Gideon Factor in Scripture, God created it in the lives of people through His supernatural intervention in the life of an individual or individuals.  This is the substance of the historical record of Gideon’s call and lifetime of ministry to God beginning in Judges chapter six going through Judges chapter eight.  God supernaturally intervened in the life of an individual named Gideon to create a man that could trust Him and believe Him for anything.  Only God can create those kinds of leaders.  They are forged and shaped by the Hands of the Creator.  The last few verses of Judges chapter eight record what happens when great spiritual leaders like Gideon die and there is no one to replace them.

33 And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. 34 And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: 35 Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel” (Judges 8:33-35).

          Great men of God are unbending.  They are unbending because they and their faith in God are forged into an amalgamation of Divine, impregnable truths.  They know that as soon as they compromise any of those truths that they will crumble into mere dust.  Without the truths that bind them to the power of God, they become nothing more than dried out clay.  They understand that it is their union and unity with God from which their power comes.  These people focus so intensely on their union and unity with God that they would never even consider compromising that union and unity for mere human fellowships.  Those who possess the Gideon Factor in their lives know that their sole responsibility is to maintain their relevancy to God regardless of how irrelevant that makes them to the world.  They understand their power comes from God.  They know power does not come from the world or from joining themselves to the masses in unholy alliances!

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

1 comment:

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

great post