Believers Judging Other Believers
Is it OK for Christians to judge the teaching of other believers? This study will show what scripture says about judging.
I get a lot of negative comments from those who tel me "thou shalt not judge," that I should take my concerns to the person in question "privately first," as it says in Matthew 18:15. However the problem with that verse is it doesn't apply to critiquing another's teaching when they have published their sermons or prophecies online for everyone to see.
I am also told to "touch not God's anointed" and that scripture says in the last days "your son's and daughters shall prophesy." These folks wrongly assume that we are to blindly accept the teachings of anyone who claims to be a "prophet" and especially those of the "anointed" class, and anyone who prophesies must certainly be a child of God. Right?
Is this really what scripture says, or have these folks bought into the Love Gospel permeating Christiandom today (forsaking doctrine for the sake of unity)? They also often take the scripture in Matt. 7:1-5 and Romans 2:1-3 (which are cautioning us about being hypocrites) and apply it to our judging the teachings of others.
Let's see what scripture really says about judging the teaching of others:
WE ARE COMMANDED TO REBUKE AND CORRECT
" All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, REBUKING, correcting and training in righteousness.. . . I give you this charge [COMMAND]: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encouragewith great patience and careful instruction" (2 Tim. 3:16-4:2.)
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I GIVE YOU THIS CHARGE: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; CORRECT, REBUKE and encouragewith great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the dutires of your ministry" (2 Tim. 4:1).
"He [elder/overseer] must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and REFUTE those who oppose it" (Titus 1:9).
"These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and REBUKE with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you" (Titus 2:15).
Do not touch GOD'S ANOINTED
"Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm." (Psalm 105:15)
This verse is often mistranslated and used by false prophets and their followers to claim that no one has the right to even question those who some deem are of the "anointed" class. However, a careful examination of this word, #5060, *naw-gah* means to touch, smite or strike (see Gen. 32:25 where God, wrestled with Jacob (later names Israel) and Touched his thigh so hard that it was wrenched and caused him to limp. So this verse is not saying we should not question the teachings of prophets. It is saying do them no physical harm.
WE ARE TO AVOID THOSE TEACHING FALSE DOCTRINE
" Now I beseech you, brethren, mark THEM which cause divisions and offences CONTRARY TO DOCTRINE which ye have learned; and avoid THEM " (Rom. 16:17).
" Now we COMMAND you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but ADMONISH him as a brother " (2 Thess. 3:6).
" Warn a divisive person [HERETIC] once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him [REJECT]. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned" (Titus 3:10)
" BE ON YOUR GUARD against the yeast [teachings leading to a works salvation] of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matt. 16: 6,12).
THOSE WHO TEACH A FALSE GOSPEL ARE ALREADY CONDEMNED
" But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach A GOSPEL OTHER THAN THE ONE WE PREACHED TO YOU, let him be eternally CONDEMNED! As we have already said, so no I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" (Gal. 1:8).
WE ARE TO CAST THE WICKED OUT OF THE CHURCH
"When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, HAND THIS MAN OVER TO SATAN, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed, and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord" (1 Cor. 5:4,5).
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'EXPEL the wicked man from among you.'" (1 Cor 5:12, 13).
We CAN'T MIX WORKS AND GRACE
"So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then is it no longer by works: if it were, grace would no longer be grace " (Rom. 11:5,6).
WE ARE TO JUDGE THOSE INSIDE THE CHURCH
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? [this is a rhetorical question requiring a "yes" answer] God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked man from among you.'" (1 Cor 5:12, 13).
We ARE TO REBUKE SINNERS PUBLICLY
"Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. I charge [COMMAND] you, in the signt of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and do nothing out of favoritism" (1 Tim. 5:20-22).
JESUS REBUKED HIS OWN DISCIPLES
"But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he REBUKED PETER. 'Get behind me, Satan!' He said. 'You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Mark 8:33).
"Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he REBUKED them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen " (Mark 16:14).
JESUS REBUKED FALSE TEACHERS:
". . .Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites . . . you blind guides . . . you whitewashed tombs . . . you snakes, you brood of vipers . . . " etc., etc.
JESUS REBUKED THE COMMON FOLK:
"When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a WHIP out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and OVERTURNED their tables. To those who sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here! HOW DARE YOU turn my Father's house into a Market!" (John 2:13-17).
JESUS REBUKED THOSE WHO FOLLOW FALSE PROPHETS:
"Nevertheless, [in spite of your deeds, love, faith, service and perseverance] I have this against you: [Church of Thyatira] You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants in sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffereing, and I WILL MAKE THOSE WHO COMMIT ADULTERY WITH HER suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I WILLl REPAY EACH OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR DEEDS" (Rev 2:20-23).
WE ARE TO CONTEND/STRUGGLE FOR THE FAITH
"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to CONTENT [struggle for earnestly] for the faith that was ONCE FOR ALL entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord " (Jude 1:3).
WE ARE TO BE GOOD BEREANS
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable woman which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” (Acts 17: 10-12)
HOWEVER, YOUR REASON FOR HOPE MUST BE BASED ON TRUTH--SAVED BY FAITH, NOT WORKS
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as LORD [not man]. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have " (1 Peter 3:15).
Other Resources on Judging Others
Here is a very good video listing even more scriptures that encourage believers to judge the teaching of others: False Teachers - Exposing them and Naming Them by Name