I just read a post from a believer that brought up this issue. I immediately resonated with what was being discussed because I realized that until the last year or so, I have been more (maybe solely?) judge of all things than witness of Christ. Many who read this, if you truly look at your life, would most likely say the same thing. Here is why. How often, since you have become a believer in Christ, have you judged rather than witness of Christ? For example, how many discussions have you entered into (that maybe have turned into arguments!) where the end result was stipulating differences and judging those differences, rather than it ending in unity and peace? How many became apologetic arguments that were more about being right, or using your latest argument for your belief, or at the least, seeking to destroy your opponent AND his argument to show them how empty their beliefs are? How many times in Sunday School have you had the “arguer” step in and monopolize the teaching to show how much they know and to deride those who don’t believe exactly the way they do, that particular church does, the pastor does, etc? How often does your church, leader at church, teacher, pastor, whatever seek to differentiate you and yours from theirs and them (other believers in other denominations or home church or other professing believing body)?
If you hear more about separation within your church walls than you do about unity in the Spirit, then most likely you are more a judge than a witness. We are called first and foremost to be witnesses of Christ. Paul taught that we should witness of Christ and be united with those who profess Jesus as Savior. If we would be more focused on witnessing the love of God through Jesus’ sacrifice and death and resurrection, we would probably be having more of a hearing with those who stand opposed to the church, organized religion/Christianity, fellowship, worshiping God, etc. Calvinists have the reputation of being calloused and uncaring because they believe in God’s election of some and not all. This is viewed as a very judgmental spirit, and it is! They use scare tactics to “find” the elect through the threat of forever punishment in hell. The Arminian has the reputation of upholding the will of man as more sovereign than God’s will, meaning God is doing all He can to save people, but some just don’t want to be saved and there is nothing God can do. They judge man’s will as more powerful than God’s will, thus judging God as impotent. They are seen as caring but use scare tactics to bring people to faith (threat of forever punishment in hell). I have been in both camps and know what I am speaking about. The commonality is the threat and the disunity this causes. This makes everyone out to be judges rather than witnesses, no matter what each group says. The proof is in the results.
Overall, the Christian church is, and has been, in decline for many years. Threats no longer work for bringing people to church and keeping them there. Threats don’t explain life and the questions life brings, merely excuses. I choose to be a witness now, rather than a judge. A witness shares the GOOD NEWS of Christ and God’s love for all His image bearers. A judge threatens punishment and follows through with punishment. Which would you rather be? Which will you continue to be? I have got to rush off for now. I hope you will understand the intent in this quickly typed post. If not, leave a message and I will clarify what I mean.
Blessings to you!