Judging or Testing?
I have often found that when I begin to address heresy or biblical inaccuracy in teaching that I am often told I am judging others… So this post it to briefly clarify the difference between judging and testing, as well as to affirm our call as believers to test.
The term judging is often misused in Christian circles today. We have a faulty concept that to make any sort of discriminating discernment is wrong. In fact, we are called to discriminate, and to carefully test and discern. I believe the fault is found in the misunderstanding of the term judging. The negative concept of judging (judge not, lest ye be judged) does not mean to analyze or evaluate, it refers to condemnation. It is wrong for Christians to condemn or pronounce judgment on others. We evaluate, we analyze, we discriminate, we discern, but we do not condemn.
The term testing, thankfully, does not seem to be under the same cloud of confusion as judging. To test means to evaluate through analysis… This may be observed analysis or through questioning. We do this in the sciences on a regular basis, as we observe reactions through the scientific method and use this data to make calculated judgments (there’s that word again) based on the data…
Here is some scripture from my bible study today:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
We need to test what we believe, specifically the teachers of the scripture. How do we test them? We test them by their confession of Christ… If Christ Jesus is not found as the center of their teaching- if the gospel is not preached in a direct, clear way… Then that teacher must be examined carefully, for they may be a false teacher, filled with the spirit of the Antichrist.
This is more common than I care to admit. Preachers that preach sermons of self-help and universalism are not prophets of Christ, they are workers filled with the Antichrist.
Where is your heart today? What is at the center of the teaching of your church? Is the gospel preached, or is it a side-item… Omitted because it is assumed?
Test, evaluate, decide.