In Is it Ever Right to Judge? posted on Christianity.ca Stan Fowler, professor of Theology at Heritage Theological Seminary talks about an argument sometimes used against Christians who speak against homosexuality and presents a rebuttal to that argument. The argument is drawn from Matthew 7:1,
Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
and assumes that those who speak negatively of the actions of Homosexuals are contradicting the teachings of Christ. Without re-stating what Stan already pointed out I merely want to draw attention to his conclusion – which I think is right on. He says,
Wherever the Church of Jesus Christ exists in the world, it faces unique pressures from the surrounding culture. In contemporary Canada, one of our greatest challenges is the assumption by much of our society that tolerance is the greatest virtue. But to adopt this common definition of tolerance would be to fail to follow Christ in His commitment to truth and goodness. If we are going to express negative judgments, we must first judge ourselves, and if we judge others it must be with kindness and respect. Nevertheless, we must not bow to the argument that Jesus taught His followers that they should never judge others. He said no such thing.
Once again, this demonstrates the importance of interpreting scripture through scripture. When looking at a particular verse in the Bible the context surrounding that verse, and throughout other texts in scripture must be considered before drawing any complete conclusions in interpretation. This is something that Stan has done.
Also – although Stan is using the issue of homosexuality as the touch-point for his article, the conclusions he draws are applicable to any case in the church where “judgement” must be considered.
Finally, one thing I might add that might have been outside of the scope of Stan’s article is the truth that in cases where judgement must be used there should also be in place a path of reconciliation. Yes, it is important that we understand the reality that some things in this world must be judged (albeit after judging ourselves, and then with others in kindness and respect) but the judgment should not be devoid of opportunity for reconciliation and ultimately healing. Certainly this is at the core of the gospel message where we are made aware of the God’s judgement on those with sin (which includes all of us [Romans 3:23]!) along with the opportunity for forgiveness through the grace and mercy of God (Romans 6:23). The judgement is there but so is forgiveness if one will receive it. I believe the church should not downplay, or be “tolerant” of things that the Bible teaches are sin but in the same vein the church must present love, hope, healing, and a reconciliation for those en-trapped in the very sins condemned.