JUDGE NOT THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED

T. PIERCE BROWN

The bulletin came back in an envelope, slashed across the front with a big X, with something like the following note attached: “Stop mailing me your hate sheet! You think you are right and everyone else is wrong. You are wrong! You are a stinking, judgmental hypocrite, and you know that Jesus said not to judge. Your hateful language and ignorant attitude is exactly opposite of Jesus. You are going to hell for it!”

The article that caused the uproar had a sentence or two similar to this: “Paul warns that the Lord will take vengeance on those who obey not the gospel (2 Thess.1:8). If you have not obeyed the gospel as Peter preached in Acts2:38, you have no promise of salvation.”

The thing that was so striking about the vituperation was not so much the venom displayed, but the fact that in every statement the thing condemned was the thing practiced by the person doing the condemning! I had made no judgmental statements at all, but merely quoted scripture.

There was not the remotest hint in the article which was slashed that I was right and everyone else wrong. There was not the slightest hint of personal judgment on anyone. I looked in vain for anything that would suggest hypocrisy. As far as I could tell, no language of the article, either mine or the Apostle’s had anything that sounded remotely hateful.

That sort of thing has always been common among those who oppose New Testament Christianity. It comes with a little more of a surprise and disappointment when I read similar statements in an editorial or an article approved by the editors of some of “our” journals. They write about hate-filled articles and ignorant speeches and ungodly sectarian, close-minded people, who are being critical of someone!

I have no doubt that we have people who are called our brethren who have a lot of hate, and some who are ignorant, critical and/or sectarian. But the remarkable thing about it is that in almost every article where I find someone criticizing the critical, berating the close-minded, and ranting about hateful language, the criticism is just as sharp, the language is just as hateful, and the mind seems to be just as closed as the ones criticized!

I confess that I know of no way to correct error without being critical of it! Did you ever hear of anyone who could write or preach against negative preaching without being negative? If you are firmly convinced that one must always have an open mind on everything, are you absolutely positive of that? Do you think anyone could change you on that point? Have you ever had (or tried to have) a discussion with a person who was absolutely sure that all things are relative, and nothing absolute?

There is no reason for us to argue about these things, and I will defend that position to the death!!! I love you very much and want to have fellowship with you in the worst way, but if you disagree with my position in the above article (whatever it is), then don’t ever bother me again!

Whatever you understand that last paragraph to mean, you are probably wrong, and I can explain it in two or three different ways. In any case, you have absolutely no right to criticize me for criticizing you for being critical of people criticizing critics. So I have probably attained my desire to have fellowship with you in the worst way. Can you think of any way that is worse than this?

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