After taking a detour for the past few posts, I think it’s time to return to Mark Sandlin’s post on “10 Things You Can’t Say While Following Jesus”. My previous responses are here, here, and here. Today, we are going to look at numbers 3 and 4 in his top-10 style countdown.
4) It’s okay to judge.
Recently, there has been a rash of Christian bloggers defending their right to judge. I guess it’s a thing. All the cool bloggers are doing it.
I love being cool. And apparently it’s cool to judge others. So, let me judge them for trying to justify judging others. Don’t worry though – I’m loving the sinner, hating the sin when I do it. So, it’s OK. Right?
Oh, give me just a minute though. It turns out I’ve got a log in my eye. I’ll need to take care of that first.
Probably he does, but the issue here is not “judging” but what one means by the term. Most often, when people use the word “judge” they are confusing it with “condemn”. While making a judgment is a necessary fact of life, passing judgment is outside of the purview of any one person outside of God.
Rev. Sandlin has, obviously, never thought through what Matthew 7:1 means, probably because he’s never made it past the first phrase. Mostly people, when they think of “judging” they hear only,
Judge not, that you be not judged. (Matthew 7:1 ESV)
but they often miss the rest of the statement, which is,
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:2, ESV)
Now, Rev. Sandlin catches part of the context in which the statement is to be understood,
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? (Matthew 7:3, ESV)
as well as,
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? (Matthew 7:4, ESV)
and the application,
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)
The key to the whole passage though, is the word that is rendered as “brother”. And, Rev. Sandlin, you claim to be a brother in Christ, and according to our Lord Jesus Christ, we are to judge, but not by mere appearances,
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. (John 7:24, ESV)
The point of the passage is that the person who is looking on in judgement better have his own house in order before he opens his mouth to speak; in other words, they were not to speak as a hypocrite. Just check this video for more information.
And then, there’s this canard to distract from what he had just said,
3) Because the Bible tells me so (or “it’s in the Bible”).
The King James Bible tells me there are unicorns – 9 times.
I’m sorry, I got distracted. What was it you were telling me about using the Bible to prove a fact?
That sound you hear is me laughing at the utter absurdity of this statement. Notice that he goes to an older English translation of specific words in the text, I find this video to be an interesting response to this, but here’s the main point: Sandlin is making a couple of blatant category errors. He’s first confusing descriptive statements with prescriptive statements, more than that, that the translators use of a certain word that is present in the language 200 years ago, even though the word has gained a definition, somehow defuses the authority of Scripture today. Talk about a non-sequitur. Second, the King James Version is a translation of the Bible into English, somewhat antiquated English, but it is merely a translation, and his mockery of a translation’s use of certain words shows how bad his argument is and how it fails.
This is just sad, and I have had all that I can stand for this post. Next, we’ll deal with 1 and 2, if I can stomach it.