A very common error...
I've said before that the evangelical church hates discernment. And although in theory we agree that the body has many parts and that the eye ought not to say to the hand, "I don't need you," the spiritual gift of discernment seems about as useful as an appendix or tonsils.
Not infrequently, then, a comment is posted on this blog in which some good fellow accuses David, me, or one of our readers of judgmentalism, discrimination, or some other variety of sinful behavior.
Here's a classic example of this genre that was submitted to our blog earlier today, followed by my response. The comment was posted beneath a post I did some time ago on Pastor Rick Warren.
Paul no-last-name's criticism:
Only the Lord knows Rick Warren's motives. To impugn him by suggesting he is prideful is being guilty of the sin of Pharisaical judgmentalism that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:1-5.
Paul taught, "I do not allow another to judge me and I care very little if you judge me for judgment is from the Lord."
Speaking the truth in love is virtuous. Learning to disagree while remaining loving is pleasing to God. But trying to play the role of God by insisting that you have all the facts of Rick Warren's motives puts you in a dangerous position of being judged by God. (Romans 2 and James 2)
So, Paul, I read what Pastor Warren has to say, I come to the conclusion that Pastor Warren is arrogant and that his arrogance is dishonoring our Lord, and I write that up and post it here on this blog. Then you read what I've said publicly about Pastor Warren's arrogance and you come to the conclusion that Pastor Bayly is guilty of "Pharisaical judgmentalism," and that my pharisaical judgmentalism is dishonoring our Lord. Then you write that up and post it here on this blog.
Precisely how do you know that I am guilty of pharisaical judgmentalism except by reading what I've posted here? And what specific aspect of what I've written here has brought you to that conclusion? Well, to quote you again, because you judge that I am "trying to play the role of God by insisting that (I) have all the facts of Rick Warren's motives." But are you sure?
I mean really, are you sure-sure or only just kinda-sure? And if you're sure-sure, how do you know? Judging that a man has been corrupted by pharisaical judgmentalism and condemning him for it publicly is no small thing, right? But then, am I right in observing that it seems like you yourself are "trying to play the role of God by insisting that you have all the facts of Tim Bayly's motives?"
Now I don't mean to tie you up in knots by sophisticated word play, brother. But you must see that I have a point. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. After all, it would not be fair if you demanded that I live by a standard that you, yourself, were unwilling to live by, would it?
So let me make another proposal: that you stop lashing out at the exercise of discernment thinking that it's sinful, and that you embrace it for the glory of God and the protection and building up of the Church. Of course discernment can be misused, and of course I have been guilty of that here on this blog any number of times. But here in this piece--have I been guilty of that here?
I think not. Rather, I find it incomprehensible that anyone could read Pastor Warren's words without concluding that Christians who know God and His Word need publicly to repudiate such public displays of pride by one who is such a prominent shepherd of God's flock.