Judging: When? Why? How?

by Derek Prince, 2001
Judging: When? Why? How?

Judge not, or you will be judged is often quoted by Christians (particularly those in authority) who wish to avoid being called to some form of accountability for their actions, as though there were no legitimate place for evaluation and correction in the body of Christ.

However, it was Jesus who also said, Judge with righteous judgment. Derek Prince examines this apparent paradox and offers Biblical guidelines for judging rightly.

  1. Scriptures against Judging — Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:1-3; Romans 14:1-4, 10-13; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; James 4:11-12
  2. Scriptures Advocating Judging — John 7:24; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 11-13; 1 Corinthians 6:1-4, 6-7; Matthew 18:15-17
  3. The Resolution of the Paradox — Judging is a function of ruling. Proper exercise of authority must administer justice. The primary function of judging is to protect the righteous.
  4. The Delegation of Judgmental Authority — God delegated the authority to judge to Jesus so that the Son of God would be honoured just the Father is honoured and because Jesus is the Son of Man.
  5. Judging without Authority — Some Biblical examples of men faced with opportunities to judge without the authority to do so.
  6. Judging and Ruling — In every area where men are given the responsibility to rule, they must also be given the authority to judge. Judgment is limited by the measure of authority a person has been given.
  7. What We Are Not Responsible to Judge — God alone is responsible for the final evaluation of every person’s character and His ultimate purpose is not to condemn us but to praise us and reward us for everything good we have done.
  8. The Judgment Seat of Christ — The judgment of believers is not one of condemnation, but an evaluation of our service.
  9. What Are We Responsible to Judge? — We are responsible to judge our personal conduct and our relationships.
  10. Judging Others — We are responsible to judge the conduct of those that we have been given the responsibility to rule.
  11. Those in the Church — A church is a governmental assembly. Without the leadership of appointed elders there is no church, just a group of disciples. Matters in the church are not judged individually by the leader(s) but collectively by the members.
  12. Moral Standards — Within the church, moral standards must be maintained (according to the righteousness of God that comes by faith, not by works of the law).
  13. Disputes between Believers — Believers should be able to settle their disputes one-on-one. In cases where they cannot, they are not to go to worldly courts. The matter should be submitted to the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the discernment of the church.
  14. Doctrines and Ministries — The church is also to guard against divisions over doctrines. (It should be noted that most divisions do not come over false doctrines, but over Bible truths that run contrary to religious traditions.)
  15. A Warning to Dumb Dogs — The welfare of the entire body of Christ takes precedence over resolution of personal differences.
  16. How to Identify False Ministries — The decisive criteria provided by Jesus Himself: you will know them by their fruit.
  17. Spiritual Gifts and Manifestations — The spirit behind a gift or manifestation must be judged according to its attitude toward Jesus.
  18. Whom Are We Not Responsible to Judge? — Practices that we consider to be strange or unusual are not ours to judge unless they influence us to do something unscriptural.
  19. How Are We to Judge? — We are to judge with righteous judgment, according to the facts, with the accused facing their accusers, on the testimony of two or three reliable witnesses.
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