Friday, February 24, 2012

A Worthy Question: 'Why Do You Judge Your Brother?'

A sincere person sent me a question after my post on singer Whitney Houston: "I wonder how you accept her as a believer, seeing her life appeared to not align with the Lord?"

I responded to my friend's question with an answer I believe to be biblically spot on. I am providing it here because most readers of this blog will have faced similar questions from well-meaning Christians. My answer is probably opposite of what you have been taught most your Christian life, so lay aside your bias and presuppositions--and read slow. You are called to be a Berean and "search the Scriptures for yourself" (Acts 17:11) to see whether or not what I say is of the Lord. 

The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Spirit, asks this questioon, “Why do you judge your brother? (Romans 14:10). It is a worthy question. Why do we make a decision about sinners who profess faith in Jesus Christ that they are, in reality, sinners lost and without hope, without God's grace, and not 'true' believers in the first place? Great question. Now, ask yourself why Paul was asking such a question. What was his purpose?

It seems to me that in Romans 14, the chapter from which this question arises,  Paul is driving home the point that the only thing that makes people righteous and able to stand before Christ on judgment day is CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. Those sinners without His righteousness FALL before Christ. What makes a sinner righteous before God and separates him or her from others sinners is "faith in the person and work of Christ." It is this faith that brings Christ's righteousness to a sinner, called by theologians imputed righteousness. The difference between sinners being accepted by God and sinners being rejected by God is not personal righteousness but Christ's righteousness. Some sinners (believers) have it, other sinners (unbelievers) do not. That's it. That's the difference. To whatever extent you and I discount the faith in Christ of a sinner struggling with addiction (like Whitney Houston), or a sinner caught up in immorality (like some televangelists), or any other 'brother' whose behavior is less honorable than ours, then we are making the mistake of judging a person's right standing before God based on his or her personal obedience and not Christ's obedience.  Listen to Paul's argument against making a judgment against a sinner who personally professes faith in Jesus Christ:

(1).  Realize that God has accepted your brother in Christ.  Paul says  “For God hath received him” (14:3). and that “God is able to make him stand” (14:4).  This is what we call the doctrine of “justification by faith.” A sinner is made right with God by the righteousness of Christ “reckoned,” “accounted,” or “credited” to him by faith. It is vital to remember that the righteousness of Christ is freely and fully credited to sinners and  not personally infused in sinners. In other words, I will always be a sinner (till heaven), but I am deemed a righteous person ('saint') by God now, because of Christ's righteouesness credited to me. God measures me by the righteousness of Christ and what ties me to that perfect measurement is my faith in Christ. For anyone to measure another person's righteousness before God based upon personal character and/or moral success on earth, and not personal faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, is directly counter to the teaching of the New Testament. Whitney Houston unashamedly professed her faith in "my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." I deem her a sister in Christ.
(2). Realize that we (believers in Christ) will all stand before the throne of Christ.   “For we will  all stand before the (judgment) seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10).   This verse is one of the most twisted, misinterpreted verses in all of Scripture. Pastors use this verse to hammer Christians with a future "judgment" for their not performing as they ought to have performed during their Christian lives on earth. Preachers raise the specter of a divine film of your life being projected and reviewed by God so that every action you have ever taken can be 'judged' by God. THIS IS NOT WHAT ROMANS 14:10 IS TEACHING. In fact, this verse teaches just the opposite.

The word “bema” in Greek is wrongly translated with the two English words "judgment seat" in most English translations of the Bible. This is a very unfortunate translation. Bema simply means podium or throne. Nowhere is the idea of  judgment even associated with the word bema. In Nehemiah 8:4 the Bible says that Nehemiah “stood on a pulpit of wood (bema)” to read the Word of God to the people of Israel. Bema is an elevated position of authority, or a seat of honor.  Believers will all one day stand before the throne of Christ. The Bible reminds us continually that "The unrighteous shall fall" (i.e. shall not stand) (Psalm 1:5). Standing before the throne of Christ on judgment day is comforting promise of the power of HIS righteousness, not a fearful threat to compel you to change in your personal righteousness. Believers are righteous because we have received Christ's righteousness. That is why we stand before the throne of Christ and that is why the unrighteous fall before the throne of Christ.

The very next verse in Romans 14 proves that the standing before Christ's throne on the Day of Wrath is a comforting promise and not a controlling threat. “For it is written: As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; and every tongue will confess to God” (v.11).  Paul is quoting from the prophet Isaiah.  Notice that God is swearing on Himself ("as I live"),  the greatest of all oaths! He swears there is coming a day when every person will give an account (confess). What is it that they confess? If you go back and read Isaiah 45, the portion of the Scripture Paul is quoting from, there is a particular thing that will be confessed: “I have sworn by myself that every tongue shall swear (confess) that in the Lord alone there is righteousness and strength' (Isaiah 45: 24).  This is the confession of those WHO STAND.

Those of us who STAND before Christ will, according to Romans 14:12, give an account as to WHY we stand.  "Every one of us shall give account”  (v.12).  The word 'account' is the Greek word “logos." Logos is used ELEVEN times in its verb form in Romans 4 to describe the action of God reckoning or crediting righteousness to the believing sinner. The LOGOS or ‘account’ we believers give as each one of us stands before the THRONE of God is simply this: In the Lord alone there is righteousness and strength.

However, sinners who fall before Christ, those who do NOT STAND,  give a different account to God. The unbeliever will swear on his own righteousness. He will point to himself and request that God to be merciful based upon his works. He will plead his personal righteousness, and according to the same prophecy in Isaiah 45, he who gives an account before God in this manner and has "raged against Him (Christ) will be ashamed" (Isaiah 45:24) The sinner without faith in Christ will be judged by God according to his deeds done in the earth (Romans 2:6). It is a dreadful and terrifying thing for this sinner to fall into the hands of the Living God.  Every sinner depending on himself will fall. God's judgment of him is just. God's retribution is holy. God's judgment is always right. God's wrath is meted out in proportion to the nature and quality of the actions of the sinner in this life. And as we all know, there are some very, very ugly things being done. Sinners who reject Christ do NOT escape God's wrath. Sinners who violate the boundaries of their Creator by harming others, destroying creation, and living a selfish, lustful life without a heart of love toward God and their fellow man, even if all the aforementioned is done in the name of God or religion, will one day be righteously judged by the true God. It's a terrifying thing to fall into His hands.

But Whitney Houston did not reject Christ. She professed faith in Christ and is free from God's wrath and judgment, and she should be from yours as well. The evidence that we are Christ's is our heart of love for others, even our enemies (see John 13:35). Christianity is distinctive from all other religions in the knowledge that the judgment and wrath of God is completely and totally gone for those who trust Jesus Christ! When a sinner realizes the generous gift he's been given by the grace of God (even while he was yet an enemy of God), he can' help but be generous, kind and loving to others, even his enemies!

Any judgment for a sinner who professes faith in Christ should be gone in you like it is gone in God. The sinner who professes faith in Christ will STAND before CHRIST and proclaim Him as the only righteousness there is. Therefore, when you pass judgment on a brother in Christ,  you may be indicating a poor understanding of the basis for your own righteousness before God. Your righteousness before God is ALL of Christ. In the Lord ALONE there is righteousness and strength.


Anonymous said...

I'm old enough to remember when THIS was what the Baptist church preached.

Of course we were also taught what behavior honored the Lord and what dishonored Him. Of course we were taught that the behaviors that dishonored Him also led to pain and suffering for us in this life.

But our salvation--no matter how great our faults or sins--was secure in HIS righteousness.

Our songs testified to that--"faultless to stand before the throne, dressed in HIS righteousness alone."


I think we decided we could control people more with a works based theology of salvation, and sold ourselves for a mess of power pottage.


Wade Burleson said...

"I think we decided we could control people more with a works based theology of salvation, and sold ourselves for a mess of power pottage."

Linda, you kind woman, have received the golden apple award for the best comment ever. :)

Bob Cleveland said...

Sound theology, it seems to me. But the most condemning thing, to me, is the question in the first half of verse 4:


Please forgive the caps but that's exactly how I read it to myself. And I know modern translations say "another man's servant" but in the original, it's just a servant belonging to another.

There's just so much in that verse that nails me whenever I pass judgment on another believer.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Ephesians 3 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Anonymous said...

The reason Judgement is reserved for God alone is because He alone has all the facts.

Our best attempt at judging others always falls short because our verdict is based on our incomplete,and most often non-existant, knowledge of the facts.

Pege' said...

Wade, Such powerful words. Such healing words. How they humble me to show love mercy and forgiveness to others. When I was struggling in my own life I was shown this by so many others.Instead of condemnation and rejection I was shown mercy, patience and grace that ultimately lead me to restoration. I was so determined to produce sanctification by what I did and did not do (as i was taught as a young believer) and add to that deeply ingrained legalism... I was one holy mess!! God placed people around me who knew this, who lived this, who learned this from struggles in their own life and in that humility were willing to reach out to me and love me through some very dark days.Instead of people who kicked me when I was down and rejected. They brought me the balm of Gilead and the grace once shown to them and filled my life with unconditional acceptance and love. I am a changed person because of believers who knew these truths. It is all because of Jesus. Thank you for reminding me over and over and over ITS ALL ABOUT JESUS!!!

Mars Hill Refuge said...

I really really appreciate this post. I have always felt this but never been able to back it up with scripture.

My question is, how does this apply to celebrity pastors who are leading people and hurting people (like in my situation)? Do I not judge him? How about the group leader? This is where I struggle for answers.


Wade Burleson said...


Ultimately, if the gospel of God's grace in Christ is not being shared (and lived), then you don't have a gospel church--you have a religious church.

Nothing wrong with leaving a religious church for a gospel-centered church. I could give you example after example of some wonderful men and women who refused to attend church when they could not find one that taught the truth of Christ.

So... to answer your question. I say you lovingly speak the truth, and if you are condemned or 'disciplined' for pointing out the gospel is missing from the teaching, then find a place where you can worship and the glory of Christ is exalted!

Aussie John said...


What a joy to read! Your award to Linda is most deserved!

Anonymous said...

1) "Nowhere is the idea of judgment even associated with the word bema."
I call foul on this one.

You did a nice job explaining bema in regards to non-judgment situations but omitted the examples in the Bible where bema is indeed used to describe a judgment seat:

"But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat [bema]"

"I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal [bema], where I ought to be tried."

Your statement, "Nowhere is the idea of judgment even associated with the word bema." is incorrect.

Now, do I disagree with your conclusion? No, John 3:18 and others make it clear we are not under condemnation. However your support of your belief, based on bema, is erroneous and invalid.

2) "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
"If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth."
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Would Whitney be characterized by this?
The purpose of 1 John, we are told, is: "...that you may know that you have eternal life."
1 John is written to tell me, as a believer, if I am truly saved or not. To test myself. Do I make a practice of sinning? Do I walk in darkness and simply say that I walk in the light? Do I love my brother, or do I hate my brother? Are fleshly desires my king? Or is Christ my king? Were drugs Whitney's king, or was Christ her king?

I could go on and on here, but the point is simply this: The Bible gives us examples to test the legitimacy of our faith. “Do you say, but do otherwise?” Did Whitney pass these tests? Did she fail them? I don't know, I did not know her. I question if a pastor in Enid, OK that never met the woman would know this, either.

It's as equally folly to claim "I deem her a sister in Christ" as it is to say “I deem her a sinner condemned to hell”.

Wade Burleson said...

"I question if a pastor in Enid, OK that never met the woman would know this, either."

Because this pastor in Enid has a very strong confidence in the righteousness of Christ, and very little confidence in Whitney Houston's personal righteousness or my own.

Whitney unashamedly and publicly proclaimed she trusted Christ.

That's enough for me, and as proven in my post, it should be enough for you.

Anonymous said...

In my mind salvation boils down to "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved." To me it's that simple. Ultimately, God is only true judge of my salvation and all others.

Steve Mills said...

When God called me to the ministry, it was right after I had lived a life steeped in sin and debauchery. He did not call me because I had lived a righteous and holy life. He called me because He called me. I have come to realize that any success in ministry is simply due to His work and righteousness. I am free in His grace to love and serve, I am free in His grace to care and comfort. I am free in His grace!

Christiane said...

This is the one of the most important prayerful hymns in all orthodox Christendom:

'Holy God
Holy and Mighty
Holy and Immortal

Have mercy on us.'

The complete child-like trust in this prayer is biblical, arising out of the parable in St. Luke's Gospel of the Pharisee and the tax-collector, where the tax-collector spoke the prayer that God heard and honored:

“But the tax collector stood at a distance.

He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said,

‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man,
rather than the other,
went home justified before God.
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled,
and those who humble themselves
will be exalted.”

There is in the rich tradition of Chrsitianity, a place for people like the tax collector. They are not self-assured, not smug, not relying on their own strength of character before men and God.

No, instead they have looked upon Him who was slain, and their own hearts have been pierced with sadness. They come to God in humility, and with great trust in Him, they call out to the Holy One for mercy.

The 'Trisagion' is a very old prayer, one of the oldest in Christianity. But it echoes to us the teachings of Our Lord in a parable about the MERCY of God towards the humble sinner.

May God receive the soul of Whitney Houston, who was a weak sinner, as are we all,
but who trusted in His Mercy to save her.

wrath? she was already suffering, already in pain

I hope she with God now and at peace. I believe she is.

missional girl said...

I marvel at the ridiculously mean comments from some Christians that have been spewed over the last week and a half since Houston's death. Whatever her struggles, from everything I have heard from believers who KNEW her, she always named Jesus as her Savior and Lord.

Did her struggles and her behavior contradict the character of Jesus Christ? ABSOLUTELY!

But so have mine and so have the actions of those throwing stones. The difference is that there was no TMZ following us around to tape our every move.

Some seasoned saints who should KNOW better have whined that Whitney's struggles as a Christian clearly prove that she wasn't really a Christian.

But what do we say of someone like Samson who died with his enemies by bringing down the house on them?

Or what of Israel's greatest king David who AFTER his rule had been established committed adultery, made sure the husband Uriah died, and did nothing to address the horrific violation of his daughter Tamar at the hands of her half-brother?

Thank God for His grace and mercy.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog as I searched for Whitney Houston and Jesus Christ.

Many Christians' opinions over the internet suggest Whitney Houston had head knowledge of the gospel but not a heart felt conversion. They surmise Houston did not produce good fruit and had shown no evidence of salvation.

These comments have deeply troubled me. Houston obviously struggled with relentless demonic forces and influence. Evidence shows she earnestly tried to overcome and gain control over substance abuse issues. She said she had nowhere else to turn but to God. I think she took one step forward, two steps back and another step forward...

I can relate to Houston's struggles. I, too, deeply struggle with issues which have been attached to me since I can remember. It is a never ending battle.

The judgements toward Houston are what I've heard all my life and I have often questioned about myself what they say: Is my salvation genuine or just head knowledge?

Anyway, thank you for this post. It is what I needed to read at this time. I pray something good comes out of Houston's struggles--perhaps Christians will realize that that there are those who need to be lifted up and not pushed out of the body of Christ.

I have not found compassion to be a strength of Christianity. This is unfortunate because Jesus showed the ultimate in compassion as He laid down his life.

Your post on the other hand is gentle and compassionate.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wade,

Forgive me if I am misunderstanding your logic. Under point 2 in paragraph 5 you say, "Sinners who reject Christ do NOT escape God's wrath. Sinners who violate the boundaries of their Creator by harming others, destroying creation, and living a selfish, lustful life without a heart of love toward God and their fellow man, even if all the aforementioned is done in the name of God or religion, will one day be righteously judged by the true God. It's a terrifying thing to fall into His hands." However, in the next paragrah you say, "But Whitney Houston did not reject Christ. She professed faith in Christ and is free from God's wrath and judgment, and she should be from yours as well."

Did she not not violate the boundaries of her creator by harming others(mainley those who loved her by her reckless behavior), destroy creation(herself through drugs and alcohol), and live a selfish and lustful life all in the name of God (professing her faith in Jesus Christ)?

I agree that we don't have freedom to judge others, but I don't think that everyone who says they have faith in Christ has faith in Christ. The Lord says we will be known by our fruit. I take that to mean the fruit of the Spirit that we possess in Him. That fruit should change the behavior of a professing believer.

Kristen said...

Personally, I find the juxtaposition of these words from two different posts, both made within a week of each other, somewhat perplexing:

Whitney unashamedly and publicly proclaimed she trusted Christ.

That's enough for me, and as proven in my post, it should be enough for you.


After Metaxas delivered a speech for the ages, the President followed with his own speech, amply illustrating with his words Metaxas' mantra that "A dead religion uses the words of God to do the opposite of what God does. It’s grotesque when you think about it. It’s demonic. Keep in mind that when someone says ‘I am a Christian’ it may mean absolutely nothing.”

If we are to extend grace and the benefit of the doubt to Whitney Houston (who confessed Christ), can we not do so for the President (who also confesses Christ)? Is it the unforgiveable sin, to disagree with us on political issues? I don't think Jesus taught that.

Wade Burleson said...


Great point!

If you listen to the context of Metaxas'message, he was speaking of living out the life of Christ in LOVE for one's enemies. To say "I am a Christian" WITHOUT this love, is dead religion.

The argument against Whitney is NOT that she didn't LOVE people (as the testimony about her says just the opposite), but that she struggled with various addictions.

Religions built on hate - hate for one's enemy, hate for people who are different, hate for people in general - are dead religions. When a sinner realizes the truly incredible gift he has been given by God - the gift of the righteousness of His Son - that sinner can't help but be as gracious, as loving, as kind, and as generous to other people.

So ...

Thanks for making a very good point and helping me to spell out my argument (from Scripture) even more clearly! :)

Wade Burleson said...


You and I, too, voilate God's boundaries. We both, just like Whitney, are sinners. All three of us professed faith in Christ, and the evidence of His grace in our lives is His love flowing through us to others.

My point is - when you start "judging" A BROTHER based upon the violation of perceived boundaries - you are taking the position of God. God knows which boundaries are Christ and HE FORGETS THOSE CROSSINGS (Hebrews 10:15-18) when the righteousness of His Son covers them.

The ONLY thing we should look for IN OUR LIVES FIRST, as evidence of His grace, is our love for people - our enemies, people who struggle, and particularly OUR LOVE FOR FELLOW believers.


Anonymous said...

"The argument against Whitney is NOT that she didn't LOVE people"

One can certainly make the argument that she did not: living a life of drug abuse is certainly not loving to anyone around you.

"as the testimony about her says just the opposite"
This is your proof of it? What testimony? At her funeral?
You can go to some of the most foul folks on earth's funerals and they'd be spoken of as loving individuals.

Additionally, just "loving" people, how our society views love (IE, what is "testified" of by people speaking of her) is not enough:

"On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

A "love" for people, without the heart motive being in the correct place, is no evidence of Christ at all.

Who can judge the heart motive other than God at this point?

It is stepping just as far off a cliff to say certainly "she was saved" as it is "she is going to hell". As a guy that spent a blog entry condemning the judgement of others saying she is going to hell, you are sure quick to judge her as sister in Christ.

Wade Burleson said...

"As a guy that spent a blog entry condemning the judgement of others saying she is going to hell, you are sure quick to judge her as sister in Christ."

I'm delighted to see you recognize the difference between condemning a judgment and condemning a person.


Kristen said...

Wade, I agree with you completely on that. Jesus said they would know us by our love. What I can't figure out is what you are saying Obama said to prove his "hate" and the lack of Christ in his religion. Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding you?

I recently read the transcript of an interview where the President confessed to having entered into, in his exact words, "a personal relationship with Jesus Christ." When asked if he was born again, he said, "Yeah." He also said he tried to live his life in accordance to that commitment.

And I also saw videos of Christian leaders proclaiming his villainy, unwilling to believe that he is really a Christian-- because they don't agree with his politics. It's as if they had added "and has the correct stance on the issues" to the requirements for salvation.

I cannot understand why Christian people despise and villify Obama, as a person, and refuse to accept his salvation-- all politics aside. It is this that seems to me to be contrary to Christianity.

Christiane said...

President Obama is more in sync with the Catholic social justice doctrines that are politically rejected by many Christian conservatives. I think that he is not going to lie to anyone about something as important as faith, in order to get a vote, no. That is actually something that says some good of him.

I think Catholics are the ones who recognize his claim to Christianity more easily than do evangelicals . . . you can see how Obama's policies are more in line with this document that was prepared under the leadership of John Paul II

Perhaps the 'spirit' of wanting to stand with the marginalized and the oppressed is not without some Christian influence?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Religions built on hate - hate for one's enemy, hate for people who are different, hate for people in general - are dead religions.

Wow and Amen(I believe it).

The last song that Whitney sang was Jesus Loves Me. It's something she clung to when going through all the addictions and her physical and mental downfall. Hollywood is a if you are on top you are revered and loved, when you are down and out, you are also down and out in the industry. No calls, no invitations, no film or record deals.

In all her interviews she mentions the love of God for her and her trust and faith in Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the pointing of this out because as you say we all fall, we are all down and out, but we are not sinners in God's eyes if we have faith in Christ, we are saints. No matter the outer appearance and deeds.

Wade Burleson said...

"I can't figure out is what you are saying Obama said to prove his "hate" and the lack of Christ in his religion. Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding you?"

You are making a good point.

Let me see if I can't clarify. Whereas Whitney made no claim that the Koran was holy, that the Muslim faith is a legitimate road to God, and that there is little difference between Christianity and Islam, President Obama has said all the above.

To believe that it is THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST ALONE that makes a sinner right with God is to believe in the exclusivity of Christianity.

If someone is afraid or ashamed to say that faith in Christ is the ONLY way for a sinner to be made right with God, one must wonder if that someone possesses faith in Christ at all.

Kristen said...

All right, Wade-- but I'm not absolutely certain that "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me" and "If you are in another faith than Christianity, you can't be saved" mean exactly the same thing. C.S. Lewis did not believe so (see the salvation of the young Tash follower in The Last Battle), and no one questions his salvation.

I, too, think President Obama has been too conciliatory towards oppressive Muslim nations at times. But I don't think that negates his professed relationship with Christ.

At any rate, I think he deserves at least the same amount of gracious compassion we extend to Whitney Houston.

Wade, I do appreciate very much your James 3:17-type wisdom in listening to my points. Thank you.

Rex Ray said...

Batting 500 is a great game—one homerun and one strikeout—MHO of course.

Your homerun was:
“Whereas Whitney made no claim that the Koran was holy, that the Muslim faith is a legitimate road to God, and that there is little difference between Christianity and Islam, President Obama has said all the above.”

The strikeout:
Was your answer to Romans 14:10.

Jesus said:
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruits.” “Yes, just as you can
identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matthew 7:15, 16, 20 NLT)

Jesus said:
“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” (Mark 7:15 NLT)

With that in mind, all Paul was talking about in Romans 14, was saying not to Judge on what Christians put in their mouths.

Paul was fighting the three ‘food
laws’ that Gentiles were ‘required’ to be accepted by Christian Jews.

I believe Paul was JUDGING by their fruits when he wrote:

1. “If anyone even an angel from heaven preaches any other way to be saved than the one we told you, let him forever be cursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

2. “Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.” (Philippians 3:2)

3. “…false teachers…bring long letters of recommendation…” (2 Corinthians 3:1 Living)

4. “…so-called Christians there—false ones really…They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 2:4)

5. “…I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.” (2 Corinthians 11:26)

6. “…with tears in my eyes, there are many who walk along the Christian road who are really enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Philippians 3:18 Living)

Wade Burleson said...


Let me say to you that I understand precisely what you are saying.

Though I disagree, I could be wrong and you could be right!


Wade Burleson said...


Batting .500 is an ALL-STAR average! Smile.

Rex Ray said...


Good reply! I like that.

On another subject, did you follow your advice (‘leave’) to Sophia, when you wouldn’t leave the IMB but started a blog?

I believe I did much the same as you by comments I’ve made for years on your blog.

There’s been much ‘complaining’ by me, and in turn many of my words have been ‘reported’.

My latest complaint was being removed as a deacon because of a ‘rule’ of being 80 years old. It was a ‘done deal’ and a plan for a retirement party.

Remember when the IMB wanted to fire you but couldn’t because they didn’t hire you? It would take the SBC.

I also reasoned if I was ‘hired’ by the church, then it would take their vote to un-hire me.

I believe when that became obvious, at the next meeting I was informed after a search through the records no such rule existed and I would remain a deacon.

Guess who came out looking like a hero.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thread...please permit me a few questions:
o of Roman Catholicism?

3. Does a person's actions say anything about his/her faith, or are we simply whatever we confess?

I hope Whitney Houston was elect. She was a good singer, and seemingly a kind person.

Thanks for a thought-provoking, ever-entertaining blog, Pastor Burleson.

Trevor Davis
Olive Branch, MS

Anonymous said...

Previous post was mangled by my iPad & just too difficult to re-type - please disregard.

Trevor Davis

Christiane said...

"If someone is afraid or ashamed to say that faith in Christ is the ONLY way for a sinner to be made right with God, one must wonder if that someone possesses faith in Christ at all."

"A Worthy Question: 'Why Do You Judge Your Brother?'"

I suppose we judge one another because we cannot help ourselves in our inability to understand one another. Perhaps the antidote to being judgmental is to know that Christ Himself understood us all, and all around Him when He was here among us,
and, that in understanding, He Himself refrained often from judgment,
replacing it with patience, and with great kindness and forgiveness for those who 'knew not what they did',
and great compassion for those who were 'lost and harassed'.

God is more forgiving of a humble sinner who asks for mercy,
than a learned person who looks down on the ones who are not 'like him'.

It has always been so.
In Christianity, it remains so.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how many christian people completely miss the point about God's grace! Salvation is not based on what we have done or not done. It is based on what CHRIST has done. To those who still want to base a person's salvation on their "fruit" in this life remember this: Man's righteousness is "filthy rags" compared to CHRIST. The most righteous person that has ever lived on this earth will still die and go straight to hell, if they did not profess Christ. The vilest sinner, no matter what the sin, will have a place in heaven, if they profess Christ. This makes so many people uncomfortable, because they can't keep score if it's not based on anything we do. It's almost like they don't trust God to pick the right people. They are afraid that some real bad sinners might make it in to heaven. NEW FLASH: Heaven will be filled with real bad sinners and so will hell, because that's all God has to choose from. If God only picks the good people, heaven will be empty.

Anonymous said...

"Let me see if I can't clarify. Whereas Whitney made no claim that the Koran was holy, that the Muslim faith is a legitimate road to God, and that there is little difference between Christianity and Islam, President Obama has said all the above."
Alright, so apparently, in the case of Obama, simple profession is not enough. Yet:

"Whitney Houston unashamedly professed her faith in "my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." I deem her a sister in Christ."

Here it is.

Anonymous said...

(Follow up thought to last post)

I would assume that you'd go the route of:
"Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.(Matthew 7:20)"

But, are you not JUDGING her fruits as GOOD, while some JUDGE them as BAD?

What makes your JUDGEMENT of them as GOOD any better than others' JUDGEMENT as BAD?

Judgement is still judgement.

You might think you're right in YOUR judgement of her fruit, but so do the people that think her fruit was not legitimate.

Anonymous said...

One brief thought on judgment. The purpose of a judge is to render a verdict when there is not clear evidence to support either guilt or innocence. Where there is overwhelming evidence the verdict is self evident. No one would question the status of Billy Graham. The fruit of his life and ministry overwhelming supports his claim to be a Christian. On the other hand, Larry Flynt (creator of Hustler Magazine) also professed Christianity. The fruit of his life overwhelmingly disputes his claim. We make judgments when there is no clear evidence. Whether we voice our verdict or not we all make judgments. It is human nature to do so.However, in so doing, we must not become so closed minded that we rule out the possibility of being wrong. (Just my humble opinion)

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

Christ, Who spoke in the very Person of God,
Himself has said, this:
""If anyone loves me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."

If sinners fall, and everyone does, we who love Christ will try to stop any repetition or any involvement that would lead us into another occasion of that sin. Why? Because we have looked upon Him Who was pierced, and we know that what our sin, OUR SIN, has done.

This thought:
"We are sinners, but we do not know how great. He alone knows Who died for our sins."
(John Henry Newman)

Christiane said...

There is a huge difference between a person who knows they are weak and 'little' in the Eyes of God,
and yet are profoundly trusting of Him and wanting to rest, as a little child, safe in His Arms;

and a person who says 'Lord, Lord' and treats others poorly,
believing that just to acknowledge Christ before others was 'enough' and that it was not necessary to honor His Commands and follow His Teachings, especially His Royal Law.

I cannot see a person knowingly, willingly continuing to commit the same sin over and over, unrepentant, and believing that because they 'believe' in Christ, God will not see that sin anymore.

Christ is NOT a 'get out of Hell free' ticket for the unrepentant 'believer' (satan himself would fall into the category of 'unrepentant believer');

Christ is THE Kyrios, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, of all that is seen and unseen, the Lord of the Cosmos.