John Pearrell

“My God isn’t like that.” How many times have you been confronted with that statement? Have you ever noticed it is brought out every time someone wants to excuse their aberrant behavior?

Here’s another one I hear all the time, “Didn’t Jesus say that we aren’t to judge anyone?” That also is a common objection that one hears whenever they say something with which the person who raises the question disagrees.

So, let’s look at these two common objections. The fallacy with the first one is simple: we don’t get to define God. For Christians, we believe that God has revealed Himself to us in a number of ways. First, He has revealed Himself to us through His Creation. Theologians call this general revelation. Any thinking person who looks around knows that there must be a God. The Psalmist put it beautifully penning these words, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1—3, NIV84).

Knowing that perverted men would take issue with this general revelation, the Apostle Paul wrote, “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, evil men who push away the truth from them. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts. Since earliest times men have seen the earth and sky and all God made, and have known of his existence and great eternal power. So they will have no excuse when they stand before God at Judgment Day.” (Romans 1:18—20, The Living Bible).

Second, God has revealed Himself to us through special revelation. Special revelation is His written word (the Bible) and His living word, Jesus Christ. Jesus was the embodiment of God for us. Of course, the “My God isn’t like that,” crowd will disagree with both of those statements. That certainly is their prerogative, but it doesn’t make their objections valid. The problem many people have today is they want a God who will answer to them rather than a God to whom they one day will be accountable.

That brings us to the “no judgement fallacy.” All of us, every day, make judgments. We have to. Without the ability to judge life would be intolerable. The judgement Jesus warned us against was false judgments — the very judgment those who claim we shouldn’t judge are guilty of! Jesus never says, “Don’t judge!” He does warn us against false judgment and He does remind us that when we give an account to God (like that or not), the judgment stick we used will in turn be used against us! But He never tells us not to judge.

In the story of the woman who was caught in an immoral act (see that’s a judgment), Jesus who doesn’t condemn her still makes a judgement when he says “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He doesn’t condemn, but he doesn’t condone either! He makes a very clear judgment in this story. (You can find it, by the way, in John 8:1-11).

Now, the idea that we have no right to judge something because we have our own issues is like arguing that a person who lied can never condemn another for murder. That is ridiculous. Based upon both natural revelation and special revelation, I can and must at times clearly identify as sin what God identifies as sin! When I do that I must never do it from a sense of superiority because I recognize my own sin. But when I do it I do it from the sense of not wanting to see someone condemned in the long run but rescued from a sin that in the end will harm them.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit www.gatewaycommunity.org or email john.pearrell@gatewaycommunity.org.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.