Do not speak against one another. Do not speak against your brethren. Do not judge your brother. Is that what it says? Look at verse 4 of the same chapter.
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Do not judge your brother!
From the pen of the same apostle, in the distance of a few paragraphs, in almost the same breath that he is saying “do not judge,” James calls worldly churches “adulteresses.”
James is probably the oldest book of the New Testament. We know from its Hebraic background, from the way it draws on synagogue leadership structure and the Scriptures, that it was obviously written to Jewish Christians. James is using the Hebrew concept of whoredom or harlotry. Whenever Israel went into idolatry, God calls it “adultery.” Idolatry equals spiritual adultery.
Israel was to be God’s woman, in much the same way as the Church is the Bride of Christ. The Church being unfaithful is like Israel being unfaithful. Such idolatry is called “adultery.” It is a very strong term in Hebrew, a very strong concept in the Jewish mind.
By Their Fruit
“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:17:20)
Jesus said that you can judge someone by their fruit. In the same chapter, He says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” (Math 7:1). First it is, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” yet He goes on to say, “You will know them by their fruits.”
People involved with Toronto and Pensacola say, “You know Toronto/Pensacola by its fruit and there is good fruit from it.” Jesus never said that you would know a phenomena by its fruit He said that you would know a person by their fruit. More than that, even judging a phenomenon by its fruit, you can see that it is not the fruit of the Spirit? The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, not drunkenness and lunacy. (Gal 5:22-23)
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
First Jesus says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”, but then He says, “Judge with righteous judgment.” James appeared to contradict himself, now Jesus seems to contradict himself. Jesus said, “Don’t do it,” then He tells us how to do it; James said, “Don’t do it” straight after he did it.
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. (Romans 2:1)
Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (1 Cor 4:5)
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Rom 14:10)
For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. (1 Cor 5:3)
Over and over, Paul says, “Don’t judge.” But then he passes judgment. Jesus says, “Don’t judge,” but then he says to do it and shows us how. James says, “Don’t judge,” but then he does it. Why the contradictions?
God is the Judge
If God says in the Bible that something is wrong, and we see someone or some church do that thing, we are not judging them, it is the Word of God that judges. The Hebrew name “Jehoshaphat” means “Jehovah has judged”. That is not me or you judging, we are simply acknowledging, “This is what God says.”
James was not calling worldly churches “adulteresses.” The Word of God says that, if we are attached to this world, we are an adulteress church.
Paul was not saying that the man involved with his step-mother was immoral. Paul was saying that the Word of God says that person was immoral.
If God says that something is plainly wrong, that is not you or me judging, that is God judging. That is what it means when it says, “Judge with righteous judgment.” Judging with righteous judgment means judging with God’s judgment, not with our own. There is a big problem here in that there are things that I would not do, but which are not necessarily wrong for someone else.
I know of a case where some believers, after their wedding, went to a discotheque. (I would not go to a discotheque unless it was to give out tracts.) I did not feel a peace about going, but I am not going to make a big deal out of it, no matter what my own misgivings or feelings.
I know of another case in Ireland where, at a Christian wedding, people danced. Other people became indignant and began yelling, “You’re backsliders,” and stormed out of the wedding, creating a big scene. It split a church. That is people judging.
The word “Laodicea” has to do in the Greek with “people’s opinions, people’s judgments.” We have no right to make a judgment of another person, but once God says something is right or wrong, that is not us judging.
The Greek word for “judge” is krino. If you put the prefix “ana” in front of the word “krino,” we get a variation on the idea of someone who judges—anakrino, all things (1 Cor 2:15). God, in His Word, commands us to anakrino. It is not a right, it is not a privilege, it is not something that is advisable. We are commanded to do it. And if we do not discern, we lack wisdom.
There is a reason why false teachers will not stand up publicly and debate someone like Hank Hanegraaff or Dave Hunt. People who will stand up and say, “That is not Scriptural.” “That is not right.” “I discern that this is not of God,” are practicing wisdom.
The reason why Michael Brown backed out of his debate with me over Pensacola, and why Jim McConnell backed out of his debate with me over British Israelism is that they lack wisdom.
Those who practice wisdom cannot themselves be judged by anyone. Because they anakrino, they cannot be anakrinoed. That is why those others are afraid of them.
I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide [diakrino] between his brethren, (1 Cor 6:5)
Another prefix which changes the meaning of krino is “dia.” Diakrino means to “render a decision.” Is something right or wrong? Is someone’s behavior right or wrong morally? Is it Scriptural or unscriptural? Is it of God, is it of the flesh, or of the devil? The Holy Spirit speaking through Paul commands that we are to diakrino. We are not “permitted: to diakrino,we are not “advised” to diakrino, we are not “privileged” to diakrino—we are commanded to diakrino. It is not that judging is acceptable; rather, to fail to judge is unacceptable.
Not Allowed to Go to the Secular
About two months ago a woman and her husband contacted us, very distressed. They had a four year-old girl who was the victim of semi-penetrated sex in a church. She was molested by a fourteen year-old boy, who was supposedly a “Christian” going to that same church for years. This little girl was devastated. She drew me a picture, and as soon as I saw the picture, I knew what it was.
I do not have much time for secular psychology. I believe in biblical psychology. Biblical psychology is based in the Book of Proverbs. If you want to know why human beings behave and act the way they do, and think the way they do, read Proverbs. That is the best book of sociology and psychology there is. I can agree with human psychology to the degree that it is based on biblical psychology. Secular psychology is godless and sees man as a two dimensional being. It concerns me that so many Evangelicals have gotten into secular psychology and pop psychology.
The little girl drew a picture of a house. Inside the house there were four windows and a door. Each face inside the house was female—there were no male faces. And she drew a picture of herself, outside. There was no pelvis, there was no pubic area. That, according to pediatric psychiatrists, is a very frequent characteristic of drawings by children who have been sexually abused. Children of that age will say things with pictures and drawings that they cannot express verbally. There were no men and she herself had no mid-section.
Her parents told me, “We don’t know what to do. We go to a Baptist church and the pastor can’t advise us because this fourteen year-old boy is a Christian, and, based on 1 Corinthians, we are not allowed to go to the secular authorities about another believer. So, according to his parents, “We can’t tell the police or the court what has happened. We are at our wit’s end—we don’t know what to do. Our daughter is traumatized.”
Civil Law/Criminal Law
1 Corinthians 6 refers to Roman law. (The systems of jurisprudence in Britain, Australia and America are based on the original model in Rome.) 1 Corinthians 6 is talking about civil law, not criminal law; it is talking about suing someone under civil law, referring to litigation; it is not talking about criminal law. It is 1 Corinthians 5 that talks about an immoral person.
But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? (1 Cor 5:11-12)
We judge those who are within the Church, who are guilty of immorality. Do not even associate with the person. Chapter 6 is not talking about criminal law, it is talking about civil law.
That fourteen year-old should have been dealt with under the criminal law. His identity would have been protected by the court because of his age. If something was not done for that kid at the age of fourteen, by the age of eighteen his life would have been destroyed. He would have been in an institution for pedophiles. But this fourteen year-old had a chance. He should have been brought before the authorities for his own good, and also so that the little girl could have seen justice being done. If this kind of stuff is not dealt with by the Church immediately, what is going to happen when these people get older? The victims are traumatized for their whole lives. It affects their sexuality when they grow up. And that church could not even give a Biblical answer!
(It was probably a good thing it was a Baptist minister. He could not give a biblical answer, but if it had been a Pentecostal minister, he probably would have tried to cast demons out of the little girl!)
I talked to my friend’s wife, who is a Christian pediatric psychiatrist, and I showed the pictures to a Christian pediatric psychologist. They both agreed with the advice I gave the parents, and the parents referred the matter to the criminal authorities. But what were these other ones saying? “Do not judge.” “You cannot go to the authorities about another Christian and you cannot judge another Christian.” What were they doing? Giving people a license to sexually abuse little kids?
This is what happens when the church goes away from God’s Word. We are not “allowed” to diakrino, we are commanded to diakrino. But it has to do with more than just people.
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others [diakrino] pass judgment. (1 Cor 14:29)
‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deut 18:20-22)
Jeremiah 14 and Jeremiah 28 says the same thing. Jesus warned that there would be many false prophets in the last days. We do not stone them to death any more, but the sin is no less serious. They shall die if they do not repent. We are not under the law, but under grace, but their “ministries” should be stoned.1 Cor 14:29 does not say that we are “entitled” to diakrino prophets or prophecies, rather we are commanded to judge prophets and prophecies.
On this basis, Rodney Howard Browne is a false prophet. On this basis, John Wimber was a false prophet. On this basis, Rick Joyner is a false prophet. And on this basis, Paul Cain is a false prophet.
That is not my judgment. I cannot krino anybody. It is the things that God has said that will krino. I have to anakrino—I have to discern, “Is this of God or is this of man?” No, it is not for me to judge. I have to diakrino, render a decision on whether it is morally right or wrong by biblical standards.
The founders of the Mormon cult and the Jehovah Witnesses were false prophets; they predicted things that failed to happen. The Roman Catholic nun, Lucia, from Fatima, in Portugal, is a false prophet; she predicted things that failed to happen. John Wimber and Paul Cain and Rick Joyner (as well as John Kilpatrick, Michael Brown and Gerald Coates) are false prophets; they predicted things that failed to happen. Do I have the “right” to say that? No, not the “right”, but the responsibility to say it, the command from my God in heaven to say it. That is not my judgment, it is what God says about these people.
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14;15) If we fail to diakrino, we are failing to keep His commandments. If we fail to diakrino, we will let these same people go on giving people “words” from their own flesh or from Satan. People like that should be brought to account.
Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, “Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countrymen, or the alien who is with him” (“Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him. (Deut 1:16)
That was not advice; that was a command.
Just look at what has happened to our secular society. Everybody is a “victim.” It does not matter that he got blind drunk and he was driving at 90 miles an hour through a village and killed a little kid on a bicycle. He came from a broken home, therefore he is a “victim.” It does not matter.
I tried to talk to a prostitute the other day. “I do this because my father hung himself.” That was her argument. “I came from a bad situation.” I said, “You just told me that your sister goes to university and she came from the same background, and she thinks that what you are doing is terrible. Isn’t she a victim, too?” Nobody is responsible for their own actions anymore in society. But how can we expect society to live up to God’s standards when the Church will not live up to God’s standards.
I myself came from a bad situation. My father drank. I was a drug addict by the age of sixteen and I have no doubt whatsoever that if Jesus had not intervened in my life, I would be dead by now or a destroyed person of some kind. It is only because of Him that I went to university and got married and did the things I have been privileged to do. Left to myself, I would not have amounted to anything. Nonetheless, I am responsible for my own life and my own choices.
If the church will not uphold God’s standards of responsibility, how can we expect our society to be any different? If we are not upholding His standards, how can we be salt and light to a society that has turned its back on God? No wonder there is crime! The main reason for the moral and social decline of our society is not because of the unsaved people, it is because of the lukewarm Church.
Krisis & Krites
There is a kind of judging that we are not called to do. The Greek word is krisis.
“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment [krisis] to the Son, (John 5;22)
The ultimate determination of heaven and hell belongs to the Lord alone. We never krisis; we are forbidden to krisis.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge [Krites] of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, (Heb 12:22-23)
God is the judge of all. Yes, there are people who are called to judge, but God is the ultimate Judge of us all.
If we are going to stand up and confront other people in the Church about something being wrong, we had better make sure we are not guilty of the same thing, because that is another kind of judging we are forbidden to do. Here the prefix hupo is added to krites, giving us the English word “hypocrites.”
This is what Jesus meant when he said:
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite [hupokrites], 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 7:1-5)
We do not krites and we especially do not hupokrites.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge [kritikos] the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Cells called erythrocytes are stored in the red marrow of big bones like the femur and the tibia. On the outside there is the bone and on the inside there is the marrow. But in between there is an area where, even with a microscope, it is very difficult to tell where the bone ends and where the marrow begins. The Bible says that the relationship between soul and spirit is like that. Take prophecy: was that from someone’s imagination or was it God’s Spirit speaking through their spirit? It is very difficult to tell the difference. Man is a three-dimensional being. We can separate a body from a soul, but we cannot easily tell where the soul ends and the spirit begins.
When people say, “The Lord showed me this” and “God told me that,” it is difficult to know if it is someone’s imagination or God’s Spirit speaking to their spirit. The mind is a good servant but a dangerous master. Many people are not overtly demonic, but they are prophesying from the futility of their own mind.
We are called to kritikos—to discern between the soulish and the spiritual. The Word of God enables us to separate the bone from the marrow, the spiritual from the purely soulish.
Judge not? What does the Bible say?
We never judge from our opinions.
We are commanded to anakrino—we always seek to discern: “Is this of God, or is it of the flesh, or of the devil?”
We are commanded to diakrino—to render a decision as to whether something is morally right or wrong.
We do not krisis—the Lord alone decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.
We are sometimes appointed to krites, but we are to remember that the Lord is the Judge of all and we are to judge righteously.
We never, ever, hupokrites. Before we take a speck out of our brother’s eye, we make sure we do not have the same speck in our own eye.
We always kritikos—we draw on the Word of God to discern between the things of the soul and the things of the spirit.