In the teachings of Jesus, there are parables, principles, and imperatives. Among those things that Jesus spoke in the imperative form is his admonition to “judge not!” (Matthew 7:1-3). And yet, the apostle Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 6:5 if there is not anyone spiritual enough to ‘judge’ a dispute among believers and in chapter 5, verse 12, Paul seems to imply that we are to ‘judge’ those within the church, at least in terms of morality. Again in 1 Corinthians 11:31 Paul seem to encourage us to ‘judge’ ourselves before taking communion.
So when do we follow the clear command of Jesus not to judge others? And we do we apply the teachings of Paul about judgment of ourselves and of other believers within the church? And what about the ‘spiritual man’ who makes judgments about all things but is not himself subject to any man’s judgment? (1 Cor. 2:15).
What is the difference between judgment and discernment?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
"Irreconcilable differences" is the primary reason given for divorce (with "incompatibility" perhaps a close second). Given the curse that divorce is and brings to marriages, children, families and society in general (you may dispute this if you desire), why is the church in the mess that it's in in this area? When divorce rates for "bible-believing Christians" mirror those of the culture at large, we are clearly approaching the status of salt that has lost its saltiness and which is now no longer good for anything. So two questions: what might it take to get our own house in order? (Feel free to define "house" however you'd like.) And assuming we are graced to move towards that goal (and even while we are moving towards it), how can we minister redemptively to people whose views of human relationships are increasingly divorced from God's good intentions?
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Here's a hypothetical for discussion: a single (never married) woman in your church (and here we allow as wide a definition of the term as you like) who understands herself to be gay wants to adopt a child. Let's posit that she (a) has made a clear, orthodox profession of faith, (b) is living that out consistently as an active member of your "church", and (c) currently committed to chastity (although has not closed the door on entering into a same-sex relationship "at some point"). She desires her church to support her in undertaking to adopt. How should/might you and the congregation respond? By the way, there are no legal barriers to a single person adopting.