Complaints Concerning Condemnation

From time to time we receive complaints concerning condemnation. People from the community will write or call to tells us we should quit condemning others and just try to reach the lost. We invite all, especially those who are want to complain, to read and carefully consider the following thoughts.

First, if condemnation in general is what turns you off, then may we suggest that you never read the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, where the Lord condemns the religious leaders of His day (scribes and Pharisees). Please don't ever glance at 1 Corinthians in which Paul condemns an entire congregation. Further, never bother with the inspired letter to the Galatian churches, because the writer condemns Judaizing teachers who wanted to blend the gospel of Christ with the Law of Moses (much like those who, in our time, advocate instruments of music and/or observing the Sabbath). Likewise, if condemnation is what offends you, then you will want to remove the second and third chapters of Revelation. There, the Lord Jesus Christ condemns several churches for their toleration of sin and false doctrine, lukewarmness, loss of love for Christ, or deadness. Many, many more examples could be given (2 Peter, Jude, Matthew 15, etc.). Do you object to these? If not, why object to one who compares the practice of modern religionists to the Bible, and finding them lacking in faithfulness to the word, exposes that error?

Second, allow us to explain where we are "coming from." We have the firm conviction that the only way to be a New Testament church and New Testament Christian, is to go back to the inspired New Testament. If it is not in there, then it is not authorized. If it is in there, then we need to believe, preach, and practice it. "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus..." (Colossians 3:17). "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11).

It is the truth that sanctifies and sets us free from sin and death (John 17:17; 8:32). This truth must be taught to all men (Matthew 28:19-20). Anything that is contrary to the truth is error, and must be exposed as such (Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 5:11). This is done, not for the sole purpose of upsetting people or stirring up strife, but for the salvation of souls and glory of God in heaven. "Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth" (Galatians 4:16)?

Thus, we are condemned for "condemning" others. Those who do such are hypocritical--they are engaging in that which they criticize others for doing. Of this, Paul said, "Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things...And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?" (Romans 2:1-3).

Moreover, we are told that we turn more people away than we "win over" by being "negative"--exposing the error of others. We agree! However, we are in good company. Jesus turned, and turns, away more people than He attracts. John 6:66, says, "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." Why did "many" turn away from the Lord of glory? It was because of the truth they found too hard, too difficult, to accept (John 6:60). The Bible tells us, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are MANY who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are FEW who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). There is nothing noble in being liked by everyone (Luke 6:26)! Remember, "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).

Finally, we take some issue with the idea that WE condemn others. It is a fact that we point out where others are not in harmony with the word of God. It is true that we compare and contrast what the denominations and doctrines of men teach and what the Bible teaches. This is simply what the Lord did in order to show people the prevailing error of His time and point them to the right way (Matthew 15:7-13; 16:5-12; cf. Mark 8:13-21). If others view this as US condemning men, then there is little we can do about it. However, we view it as sending out the light of truth which condemns men in their sin, not us, per say. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God" (John 3:19-21).