“Judging”: Hypocritical vs. Biblical

May 14, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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“Judging”: Hypocritical vs. Biblical

 

Judgement-Hypocritical_vs_Righteous

A contrast of opposites: The “hypocrite” on the left is wearing a dark suit to demonstrate his dark character, and looks away from the light to admire his “white mask” of pretense and hypocrisy. The righteous man looks to the light, and has taken a firm stand for truth. Which are you, when it comes to “judging” others? (Click to enlarge)

Donna and I have been very blessed by all the encouraging comments and correspondence that we receive for our ministry efforts here on this website, as well as our several other online outreaches (the list of which is in the column to your right under “Rich’s Other Websites”).

The outpouring of gratitude from those who have been set free from lying doctrines and false “wolves in sheep’s clothing” has been so fulfilling to us, and of course, a great source of motivation to keep going in our efforts — even in the face of persecution and opposition.

Yes, it may surprise some (though certainly not to many others) that we do get some very angry correspondence too from time to time. Most of the time, those are filed away (without being fully read) in a special folder which we have entitled, “Fools and Blind,” based on the use of that phrase by Jesus Himself:

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

(Matthew 23:16-19, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

The thing to note about Jesus’ use of that phrase above is that He applied it specifically to a group of people who invented their own doctrines in OPPOSITION to the Truth of God’s Word. Similarly, many of those who contact us have either invented their own twisted doctrines, or alternately, have embraced the twisted doctrines of others. So in their “folly” and “blindness” they consider themselves “experts” on the subjects that they address — just like the “fools and blind” that Jesus rebuked above — while all the while, their doctrines are unbiblical and full of logical fallacies.

So rather than bother reading that tripe (since we are so often busy and would rather invest our time into responding to those with either sincere questions, or are in genuine need of ministry), these “fools and blind” comments and emails simply get tossed into the folder we have set aside for that purpose…once we see which way such notes are going. This is especially true with those that are openly hostile and/or contain the use of profanity — however, those typically get deleted before being fully read, instead of merely being “filed.” ;)

From time to time, however, I consider it helpful to our readers if we make examples out of some of these absurd correspondences by dissecting them within a full article. This allows us to have some “case studies” intermixed into some helpful teaching, whereby our readers can learn true biblical practice/doctrine — AND even get some “ammo” to use in response to similar situations whenever they may face such things themselves. (Besides these benefits…these are just flat interesting and funny!)  :D

Of course, numerous people were made “examples” in the Bible by God — many of which were surely NOT funny to behold at the time. For example, there was. Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5, and Simeon the Sorcerer in Acts chapter 8. Paul wrote about heretics and their false doctrines (“Hymenaeus and Alexander” in 1 Timothy 1:20, and “Hymenaeus and Philetus” in 2 Timothy 2:17).

Even the apostle, John — who is often called the “Apostle of Love” because of his frequent use of the Greek words “agape” and “agapao” (Strong’s #s 26 and 25 respectively) in his writings by the Spirit — took the time to rebuke a man BY NAME in one of his own letters, promising to do it again IN PERSON should he come later to that town:

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.

(3 John vs. 9-12, NKJV, emphasis mine above, and in the Bible quotations that follow)

It is interesting to note that not only did John stated that the behavior of Diotrephes was “evil,” but he explicitly told the man to whom he was writing (Gaius) that he should NOT follow such evil people — and even suggested he stop attending that evil guy’s “church” !!! (And when we do that very same thing today, it STILL gets false pastors upset…because such “evil” men STILL always “love to have the preeminence.”) John then went so far as to name a good man of God (Demetrius) whose congregation Gaius would do well to attend.

Nevertheless, my main point in citing that passage above is to point out that “naming names” and calling their behavior “evil” (or unbiblical, ungodly, or any other such term justified by the facts at hand) is quite biblical and appropriate.

Consequently, I have taken a couple of the correspondences that were sent in to us in the past, and made examples out of them on this website. For instance, in When Wolves Remove Their Clothes I cited the identity and comments made by an alleged “minister” (who actually dared me to post his comments…chuckle), and then proceeded to dissect his fallacious tripe in order to reveal its heinous and unscriptural nature.

Similarly, in Why Do Glenn Beck’s “Fans” Hate Him So Much? I dissected the foolish comments submitted by an alleged “Christian” who tried to defend Mormons, despite admitting that they believe bizarre doctrines not found in Scripture (that is, the BIBLE only…excluding all the demonic heretical Mormon books that Joseph Smith, Jr. pawned off on them by deceit). Therein we revealed that the man was NOT truly “loving” those people, as he supposed — but HATING them instead, as he obviously could not care less if they went to Hell or not. As I said in that article, “If ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk’ [as the old TV commercials used to say], they certainly do NOT let them go to Hell for eternity.” I believe that to still be true today, don’t you too?

Nevertheless, since we have gathered a few more since those articles were written, I thought it was about time to once again make examples out of a couple more emails. These will serve wonderfully to reveal how hypocritical those people are who profess to believe that we are not to “judge others” — for they obviously do not have any problem judging others fallaciously and erroneously, when they attempt to make that very point. Hereby, we can also clearly see — by both precept and example — the difference between “judging” hypocritically verses doing so biblically.

Let’s begin by exposing an alleged “pastor” who surely is not a genuine minister of Christ…

 

A False Shepherd

This first guy was intriguing, and a marvelous example of pure hypocrisy in regard to “judging others.” He said his name is “Stephen Garrepy,” and he was writing me from a location in Plymouth, Wisconsin (though I have no idea where his alleged “flock” itself might be located). See if you can detect the self-contradiction in what he wrote in this note dated March 6, 2012, before I elaborate upon it myself:

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Everything on your website is very entertaining. As I often tell my sheep, “We don’t need to be a Holy Ghost Junior, God is able to take care of those who are leading the sheep astray.”

Please, sir, get a life and stay the course and concentrate on the Gospel.

___________________________________

 

Do you see the self-contradiction above? This guy begins by referencing his “doctrine” (if you can call it that, as it was something he obviously made up or learned elsewhere, for it is NOT found in the Bible — which fact, of course, qualifies him as a “fool” and “blind” as Jesus stated further above). He defines his absurd thesis both explicitly and implicitly to contain the following points:

  • That people are not to oppose those who are leading God’s people (sheep) astray.
  • That God Himself will take care of such “wolves in sheep’s clothing” Himself.
  • That anyone trying to interfere with such false ministers and heretics is trying to play “Holy Ghost Junior,” i.e. that they are trying to do the job of the Holy Spirit…
  • … and thus, that such people have NO BUSINESS criticizing those they feel are in error.

Question: If this guy REALLY believes what he said he teaches…THEN WHY was he writing me? Is he not playing “Holy Ghost Junior” according to his own stated doctrine? Why did he not leave me to God for Him to “take care of” instead of trying to get in the way of what God wanted to do?

In short, this man does NOT believe his own professed doctrine, because he acts directly in opposition to what he stated that he teaches others? What does that make him, therefore? Note:

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….

Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

(An excerpt from Romans chapter two, NKJV)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

(Matthew 23:25, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

Mr. Garrepy stated what he teaches OTHERS, but by so doing, demonstrated that he does NOT follow that false doctrine himself. He seems to have no problem teaching “his sheep” (which nasty phrase we will address shortly) to essentially “mind your own business,” while he himself seems to easily to the opposite. He has refuted himself through self-contradiction, and thus, completely negated his criticism of me.

However, since I will address the essence of this type of hypocrisy further below in detail, let me turn to what I wrote him as I utterly refuted his alleged “doctrine” directly in my reply. Before you read my rather blunt reply, however, please keep in mind the following passages from the Bible:

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

(James 3:1, NKJV)

Those [elders] who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

(1 Timothy 5:20, NKJV, bracketed note added)

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

(Galatians 2:1-3, NKJV)

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My Rebuke of a False Shepherd

In short, by identifying himself as a [false] pastor in his correspondence, his hypocrisy demanded a VERY stern response in “stricter judgment” as I opposed his absurd notions very bluntly. With that in mind, here is my reply to him:

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[Mr. Garrepy,]

I gather from your email that you do not know it, yet; but you have just insulted Jesus, the apostles Paul and Peter, Jame and Jude (the half-brothers of the Lord), and EVERY prophet of the Old Testament. Here are only a few examples from the New Testament of how utterly absurd your stated doctrine really is:

Jude v. 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ….22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Now, pay attention to that last passage above in particular: Jesus was ANGRY with the Church in Pergamos because they “allowed” false teachers (heretics) in their midst. What do you think the Lord’s attitude might be towards the way you are instructing people to essentially do the SAME THING? You said below that you TEACH “YOUR” sheep not to interfere with others, when the NT clearly says otherwise!

Um…and let me fill you in on something…they are NOT “your” sheep, you foolish man:

1 Peter 5:1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

I normally do not resort to “ad hominem” on the rare occasion that I reply to such ignorant emails, but in your case it is clearly justified by the facts at hand. Thus, it is not fallacious ad hominem but warranted because (1) It seems to be factually true; and (2) Certainly relevant to your email’s content. It is also a biblical term:

James 2:20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

I would suggest to you in reply that you REPENT of claiming God’s Blood-bought sheep for your own, and for teaching them absurd doctrine that is so blatantly contrary to the Bible’s message.

Then learn to read your Bible and how to form good theology instead of that tripe that you were so brazen to send me. Your “Holy Ghost Junior” doctrine might be cute in your eyes, but it is flatly unbiblical — and ungodly. You could NOT care one bit about a MAN’S SOUL? How can I call you ANYTHING but a “foolish man” when you are so blind to your own state?

Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!
-Charles Spurgeon

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

[End of my reply to Mr. Garrepy]

___________________________________

 

Of course, this man — who is biblically qualified as a “fool” according to his own behavior in the light of many Scriptures — never did reply with any further correspondences (and that reply above was sent to him over two months ago). His “doctrine” was profoundly unbiblicaland easily proven to be so — and his email hypocritical. So it is no wonder he thought best to keep his “Holy Ghost Junior” opinions to himself from that point forward. ;)

 

Another Hypocrite

About a week ago, someone else used our contact form to send a note to Donna and I about her post Lifting Up Their Faces (Surgically). Like the false pastor’s note above, this one was also strikingly hypocritical.

However, instead of being indignant within my reply to this second person, I had a hilarious time responding to them as I attempted to explain the difference between biblical judgement of others, and the hypocritical variant which he (or she…I’m not sure which they might be) was demonstrating in their email.

Once again, you are about to see how silly the people we deal with are at times. More beneficially, however, you will also see how sometimes I deal with such unbiblical, fallacious , and self-refuting people (though, again, most of the time I merely ignore them). Moreover, as we progress through this article you will discover how such a hard-line response is clearly biblical and appropriate, if we truly love such people (i.e. not in human affection, but in the “agape” covenant-love in which Jesus commanded us to walk, see John 14:15). In other words, I will demonstrate biblical “judgement” (and confrontation of error) in contrast to the hypocritical “judgement” that they demonstrated through their self-contradiction.

Here is what “Lineo” wrote us, from a location in South Africa, Gauteng, Pretoria (with his/her typos corrected):

 ___________________________________

Guys, guys, guys! Opinion is one thing but lambasting other Christians? What about the scriptures where JESUS says we are NOT to judge?

What makes your opinion so right? Are you holier than Gloria Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Paula White and those you are lambasting?

Please! REPENT!

___________________________________

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I am quite sure the self-contradiction of “Lineo” should be clear to most of my readers by this point. Yet, how I handled it in my reply, should prove to be very interesting to those of you who have run into similar “judge not” opposition from others who claimed that you were doing the “wrong thing” by trying to oppose heretics and evil people.

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Of Myths and Fables

Now before we get into my reply, let’s once again begin with some introductory remarks. Please notice that this person has swallowed one of the most common MYTHS in Christendom: That Jesus told us to “not judge others.” Actually, the OPPOSITE is true. Not only did He condone it…He actually COMMANDED us to judge the “fruit” of others:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

(Matthew 7:15-20, NKJV, Words of Christ in Red)

Jesus clearly explained that “trees” are known by their “fruits” as He used a metaphor to explain how to know true ministers from false “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” But how can you “know the fruit” if you did not JUDGE the fruit? Obviously, you have to use your God-given intellect to make a “judgment” about the nature of the “fruit” in question, in order to properly discern true and false ministers.

Note also how Jesus addressed the subject of confrontation of personal offenses:

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

(Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV, Words of Christ in Red)

Do you see the section I underlined above? The Greek word translated as “tell him his fault” is elegchō (Strong’s #1651), which The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament Edition, explains as meaning:

To shame, disgrace, but only in Classical Greek. In the New Testament, to convict, to prove one in the wrong, and thus to shame him. (I) To convict, to show to be wrong…to convict of error, refute, confute. (II) By implication, to reprove, rebuke, admonish…. to reprove by chastisement, correct, chastise in a moral sense….”

So we can easily see that to “tell him his fault” is more than just a quick comment about the matter. Rather, the picture painted by this Greek verb is to expose their error (Thayer’s Lexicon; see its use in Ephesians 5:11 & 13) through very direct confrontation, as one PROVES that the other person is clearly wrong, and thus, brings them to a point of shame about what they did.

Does that sound like you should “not judge” them? How absurd! You cannot possibly bring that level of confrontation to bear against a person’s behavior UNLESS you have not only personally “judged” them AND their behavior. Moreover, you have to actually go so far as to “build a case against them” by which you are intending to “convict” them of their faults!

 

Of Hypocrisy Condemned

But what did Jesus condemn if not judgment against others in general? Well, let’s look at the main passage in question and find out:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

(Matthew 7:1-5, NKJV, Words of Christ in red; compare also Luke 6:41-45)

Please note that Jesus clearly stated NOT merely “judge not” but “judge not that you be not judged.” In other words, the myth that Jesus condemned all judgment of others is based on quoting HALF a verse — and ignoring the next four verses too!

Jesus said that when YOU judge another person, you are inviting scrutiny of yourself on THAT point — and even related issues. Thus, “with what judgement YOU judge, YOU will be judged; and with the measure YOU use, it will be measured BACK to YOU.” So Jesus continues with a metaphor about a “speck” in relation to a “plank,” ending it with the CLEAR admonition, “HYPOCRITE! First remove the plank from your own eye, and THEN you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

In other words: We are SUPPOSED to removed the “specks” (and “planks”) from our brothers’ eyes — but NOT until we have examined ourselves first to ensure we are NOT being hypocrites when we do.

So Jesus ONLY condemned HYPOCRITICAL judgement…but at the very same time, clearly articulated the need to be concerned about our brothers and sisters in Christ — which, of course, requires us to “judge” that SOMETHING is “in their eye,” when we do address their faults.

 

My Reply

So what was my response to “Lineo’s” note? Well, first I had to point out very blatantly that “Lineo” was being a hypocrite. Why? Because with the “judgment” he (or she) judged us, I had to judge him (or her). And with the “measure” he (or she) used against us, we had to measure against him (or her).

So here was my reply (with a few minor edits for additional clarity, and my own typos corrected as well):

___________________________________

“Lineo,”

Please forgive me for being rather frank in my reply, but you are hilarious! Do you realize that you just “judged” us, and then told us to “repent”…which is exactly what you are criticizing us for doing???? You don’t even believe your own doctrine! LOL!

;)

Of course, by hypocritically doing the VERY thing that you accuse us of doing, you have negated your “correction” — and demonstrated that it is in error. You negated it, by “correcting” us for what you are doing — which means that either what we are doing is actually RIGHT (and thus, that is why you are doing it too) or what YOU are doing is equally wrong (and thus, you have a plank to remove from your eye).

However, your doctrine is in clear error, because Jesus NEVER said what you think He said:

** Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Note: Jesus said that we ARE to remove the “specks” from our brothers’ eyes…but ONLY after ensuring that we are NOT hypocrites, doing the same things ourselves! (See also Romans chapter 2.) Thus, your doctrine is FALSE, and you actually violated the very passage you professed to be exhorting us to follow. Here are a few other passages that clearly indicate your doctrine is wrong, and thus, why — in your heart — you do not even believe the silly “do not judge” doctrine that you profess:

** John 7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

** James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

** Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed…

What do these passages above demonstrate? That we are to TRULY judge people according to their deeds and actions, and to bring godly correction when they are in error — even REBUKING them when necessary:

** 2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

The Greek word translated as “convince” in the NKJV above is Strong’s #1651, and means “to convict, to prove to be wrong, to the point of bringing them to shame” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary, NT edition). Sometimes it is translated as “reprove” or “rebuke,” but “convict and prove to be wrong” would be the best phrase to use, with “convict” being the best one-word equivalent.

It is used in many places of the NT in regard to confrontation of sin and error in others, to include this passage in 1 Timothy 5:20, “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” In other words, such “convicting” is often done even publicly. Here is another place (in bold) where that word is used:

** Titus 1:10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Oh, wow! Paul sure is being “judgmental” is he not? He even told Titus to do the same thing!

Obviously, your professed doctrine is silly, because the New Testament (NT) is FULL of people “judging” other people ACCORDING to God’s Word, and trying to do something about their error — even PUBLICLY confronting them! In fact, from Genesis to Revelation, TRUE men and women of God have done that throughout ALL of history!

Moreover, the Greek word translated as “rebuke further above in the 2 Timothy 4 passage is Strong’s #2008, and means simply a REBUKE regardless of the effect on the other person (i.e. regardless of whether it brings them under “conviction,” which the first Greek word emphasizes). So we are to REBUKE people (i.e. perform the act) and do our best to bring “conviction” upon them for their error when we do — but regardless, we are to confront their sin and error in TRUE biblical love, if we are to “turn them away from their error” as James said above. (See also 1 John chapter 3 in its entirety.)

ALL OF THIS requires us to first “judge” the fact that their behavior is CONTRARY to biblical precepts. Thus, your professed doctrine is VERY unbiblical, but also ungodly — and you do not even believe it yourself anyway.

I hope you will appreciate the fact that I took the time to reply and to point out your hypocrisy — which, by the way, is true love for me to do, as I just explained above. So my behavior in replying to you so bluntly is not only biblical — but it is without hypocrisy.

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Let me insert a note here to emphasize what I said immediately above in my reply to “Lineo”: Namely, that this very reply to him (or her) was a demonstration of consistency in my practice and doctrine. In other words, I am not only articulating what the Bible REALLY teaches on these subjects, but actually acting upon that very doctrine in replying to this individual. Thus, my demonstrated behavior was consistent with my professed beliefs. However, in contrast, “Lineo’s” email professed to believe something that his (or her) actions clearly denied. Now back to my reply…

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As Paul said in Romans 2:1, “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.” So I would suggest that you re-evaluate your OWN behavior before attempting to tend to our behavior any further (see again Matthew 7:1 above too).

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Let me insert another note to point out that I just told “Lineo” to remove his (or her) “plank” from their eye, in order to clear their vision. This is, of course, what Jesus commanded in Matthew 7:5 above. Back to my reply, as I turn my attention toward my concerns about their eternal welfare…

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I also encourage you to also consider soberly the warnings of Paul in 2 Corinthians:

** 2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

His warning above, was in the light of the SINS of the Corinthians that he had just described in chapter 12 previously, and his concern for their OWN eternal destiny. This, of course, is perfectly congruent with Jesus’ teaching LATER in Matthew 7, in regard to making sure that you are truly SAVED, and not following “wolves” down the “broad way that leads to destruction.”

** Matthew 7:13 “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. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

In the light of your email, I have the same concern for YOU that Paul did for the Corinthians. So please be prayerful about that, for your eternal welfare depends on you getting through the “narrow gate” that leads to the “difficult narrow way” which itself leads to “eternal life.”

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This is another important point to emphasize: It is of little value to refute the person’s hypocrisy if you do not also turn their attention toward the possibility that they may NOT actually be saved — especially when the person’s doctrine is so poor, and so obviously influenced by false teachers.

Note in Matthew 7:13-14 above that Jesus said that the TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ is a “narrow gate” that FEW find…and that the “way” (or “road”) behind that gate is both “narrow” (i.e. specific, and constrained by the Bible to certain specifications) and “difficult” (i.e. contains persecution, problems, and other things which result specifically from the fact that one is on that “path of righteousness”…see also Psalm 23). In contrast, Jesus further explained that “MANY” find the “broad gate.” What is that? ANY alleged “plan of salvation” (or “blessing”) that does NOT conform to the VERY SPECIFIC one given by Jesus to His apostles, and handed down to us through the New Testament (see also Galatians chapter one, 2 Peter chapters two and three, and the entire book of Jude).

Behind that “broad gate” is a “broad way” (or “broad road”) that leads to “destruction” (i.e. damnation). Thus, in Matthew 7:21-23 above, Jesus explains that “MANY” (i.e. the same quantity that He previously stated will find the “broad gate”) will discover — to their HORROR, and TOO LATE — that despite their profession of faith in His Name, that they were never born again. Thus, “MANY” such people will hear the terrifying words, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

Oh, the HORROR! We must “evangelize in the pews,” my friends, because “many” sitting there are on the “broad way” that leads to eternal damnation, while only “few” are truly born again through the “narrow gate” of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ! (And to read more about this, please see my article The Supreme Value of Righteousness here on this website right away, to ensure you and your loved ones are not counted among this terrified number.)

Now back to my reply, to see how I addressed “Lineo’s” closing question about our “holiness”…

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Oh, and in answer to your question at the end, “Are you holier than Gloria Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Paula White and those you are lambasting?” Yes, we are. And the documents that detail the sins of these people on that article about them, as well as on KennethCopelandBlog.com (in regard to Gloria), attest to that fact.

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Let me also note here that we are much holier (biblically speaking) than Joyce Meyer too, which is obvious by the fact that she is teaching Masonic doctrines about the “all seeing eye” of Freemasonry, which is demonic heresy. We are also MUCH holier (biblically speaking) than Paula White too, given her wolfish behavior in general, coupled with her propensity to be caught in extra-marital affairs (and click here for more about her ungodly behavior). Now, back to my reply…

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Just like Titus was holier than the Cretans, and needed to rebuke them for their error, we are ourselves much holier than these wolves — in the biblical sense of the word — for we are not “wolves in sheep’s clothing” as they demonstrably are. Thus, we are not being hypocritical in our analysis of them (i.e. as you were regarding us). And, in fact, we are demonstrating TRUE LOVE toward them, as we “convict, prove to be wrong, and shame” them for their many sins PUBLICLY — in hope that they will eventually repent of their error (and in further hope to warn others to stay way from those wolves…as TRUE ministers of Christ are supposed to do).

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

[End of my reply to "Lineo"]

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Jesus’ Attitude

Now, some reading the above replies might be tempted to “judge” them as being unloving (and please note the appropriate pun that was intentionally made in this sentence). In response, let me first point out that the “Fools and Blind!” passages quoted at the top of this article clearly indicate that Jesus was not always “nice” toward those He corrected when walking the earth two-thousand years ago.

However, to further avert the potential of someone defaulting to such an erroneous opinion, let me ask you a direct question: What was Jesus’ attitude toward hypocrites? Let’s find out by consulting the Scriptures:

Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips,but their heart is far from Me.’”

(Matthew 15:7-8, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.

(Matthew 16:2-4, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?… Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of Hell?

(Matthew 23:12-17, & 33, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

One thing is VERY clear from the above passages: Jesus HATES hypocrisy, and was VERY confrontational about such behavior when He ran across it.

Consider this also: Jesus walked the earth as “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16) because He is God Himself (e.g. John 1:1-4 & 14; Hebrews 1:8-12; Colossians 1:13-18; etc.). Furthermore,”God is love” (Greek, agape, Strong’s #26; a covenant-love that is NOT based upon emotions, but upon covenant relationships; which “love” can also be hostile toward those OUTSIDE of that covenant, as Psalm 136 clearly attests, as does Revelation 21:8). THEREFORE, since Jesus was “Agape manifest in the flesh” then TRUE agape-love is NOT the emotional “touchy, feely” kind of affection that people falsely assume, but a very specific kind of “love” that will kill people (Psalm 136, which uses “agape” in the Greek translation of that Psalm for the Hebrew word “chased,” which is translated into English as “mercy”); AND such covenant-love will even throw people into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8) if they are OUTSIDE of that VERY critical covenant that offers them eternal life (the benefits for which are listed in the previous verse).

So if you want to know what REAL love is toward hypocrites, then you need to study and emulate the example that Jesus gave us — which surely includes NOT being “nice” to such people any more.

(But first, of course, make sure you are NOT a hypocrite yourself! Look for both “planks” and “specks” in your own eye, BEFORE looking for those same things in the eyes of others…Matthew 7:5.)

Since we are commanded to do what He did (e.g. John 13:34 in comparison with John 14:15) and to walk as He walked (e.g. 1 John 2:3-6), then it necessarily follows that GENUINE ministry in the Name of Christ will consistently be doing just that. Again, we pointed about above that Paul COMMANDED Timothy by the Spirit to:

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

(2 Timothy 4:2-4, NKJV)

And again, the Greek word translated as “convince” in the NKJV translation of the passage above is elegchō (Strong’s #1651), which The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament Edition, explains as meaning:

“To shame, disgrace, but only in Classical Greek. In the New Testament, to convict, to prove one in the wrong, and thus to shame him. (I) To convict, to show to be wrong…to convict of error, refute, confute. (II) By implication, to reprove, rebuke, admonish…. to reprove by chastisement, correct, chastise in a moral sense….”

So Paul was NOT commanding Timothy to be “nice” but to be VERY DIRECT, and to the point — even bringing people to SHAME by proving their error. Moreover, Paul even explained by the Spirit to Titus that this is a requisite trait (i.e. required characteristic) for genuine ministers of Christ, in order for them to be QUALIFIED for ministry:

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you — if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

(Titus 1:5-9, NKJV)

Once again, the Greek word correctly translated as “convict” in the NKJV citation above is this same word, elegchō. (It is also interesting to note that in the passage above — as well as in 1 Peter 5:1-4 and Acts 20:17-38 — that the words “elder” and “overseer”…transliterated into English as “bishop,” are unused interchangeably to denote the SAME office. But that is another sermon for another time…)

Paul even told Titus, by the Spirit, to do that very thing a few verses later when he wrote, “

This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.

(Titus 1:13-14, NKJV)

And once again, the Greek word correctly translated as “rebuke” in the NKJV citation above is this same word, elegchō.

So to be a TRUE minister of Christ, a man or woman of God must be able to “convict” others of their error (even being rather rude about it at times), by the sound doctrine they themselves hold dear. In so doing, they are imitating the very attitude of Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 5:1-13) toward those manifesting evil and hypocrisy — as the quotes of Jesus provided further above clearly attest.

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The Even Bigger Picture

However, there is another thing that is very clear from Jesus’ statements to hypocrites:

THEY GO TO HELL!

Again, Jesus said things like, “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of Hell?“ when addressing people He had already called “hypocrites” and “fools and blind.” This is VERY serious, and to be pondered soberly!

(And for those of you who have used “hypocrites” as an excuse for not becoming a Christian…please keep in mind that you will spend eternity WITH those very hypocrites in torment, if you do NOT stop being a hypocrite, repent, and get saved YOURSELF. Again, please read The Supreme Value of Righteousness without delay.)

So which is more loving?

Hypocrite-masks-red_background

  • To act like Jesus, and VERY directly, boldly, and lovingly, confront a hypocrite in firm rebuke, in regard to  their error, sin, and the state of their souls?

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  • Or to “be nice”  in reply — and thereby perhaps allow them go to Hell because they were not boldly “convicted” beforehand by someone who loved them enough to confront them in righteousness?

Personally, I think the first answer above is the more correct. Please note again, in closing:

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

(James 5:19-20, NKJV)

Yep! Though unpleasant, both Mr. Garrepy and “Lineo” received very strong holy “dosages” of TRUE Agape-love in those replies. May they take that clear and irrefutable “conviction” to heart, come to their senses, and repent of walking on the “broad way” that leads to destruction.

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

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“Recommendations” Project Launched

March 5, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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“Recommendations” Project Launched

 

Announcing that our "Recommendations" project has been launched!After a tremendous amount of work, Donna and I are pleased to announce that a new resource has been added to RichVermillon.com. This new “Recommendations” project is intended to provide our website’s visitors with a handy list of the “best of the best” of the study materials and resources that we ourselves own—and which we have often recommend to others individually throughout the years.

The first phase of this project is complete. The Logic, Apologetics, and Evangelism materials that we most frequently recommend to others have been listed and explained upon one page. However, this is not a mere catalog of what we have on our own bookshelves. Rather, this robust resource contains also the following:

  • Introductory teaching on the subjects of logic, apologetics, and evangelism.
  • Some important teaching about the necessity of the Bible to the Christian faith.
  • Demonstration of the use of logic within several of the discussions.
  • Brief explanations of some powerful apologetic concepts.
  • A description of the ONLY biblical method of evangelism—i.e. the one that Jesus and the apostles used.
  • Detailed explanations of the materials that we most often recommend to others in these categories of teaching resources.
  • International links by which our readers from around the world can easily research these materials further and/or acquire them for themselves.
  • Some personal testimony, and thus, a unique “glimpse” into the Vermillion household that is not found anywhere else on the Internet.  ;)

There’s more to the first phase of this project than the simple bullet-list above (and those pages explain themselves more fully). But the items listed above will hopefully give you at least some idea of the benefit we expect that this project will provide for our readers—as well as the labor that was involved in preparing it.

We are hoping that this proves to be a VERY useful resource and reference for all our website guests—and most especially for our regular visitors, who frequent this website to enjoy the teaching that we offer on here free of charge to everyone.

Please feel free to share it with others if you deem it a blessing. You can do this by email, and by hitting the “Like/Tweet” buttons. We also have a “Share/Save” feature at the top and bottom of every page that is very handy for both bookmarking the page for easy future reference, as well as to spread the word through social media websites and other methods.

Other phases to this Recommendation project will be forthcoming as our time allows, and as reader enthusiasm for the first phase encourages us to create more pages. There are other categories of study resources and faith-building materials that we ourselves use and would like to recommend to everyone on here as well. :)

Donna and I have other various projects in the works also. So there will be more announcements in the weeks and months to come regarding those. If you are not already signed-up, please feel free also to subscribe to our Feedburner email list in order to be updated when those are released.

However, please avail yourself of this new Recommendations project resource in the mean time.

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

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Lifting Up Their Faces…Surgically

February 24, 2012 Posted by Donna Vermillion

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Lifting Up Their Faces…Surgically

by Donna Vermillion

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An introductory note from Rich: The following article by my wife, Donna, is an outstanding confrontation of an issue that seems to rarely get addressed. Namely, the difference between INNER beauty and OUTWARD beauty.

The Scriptures say it this way, in regards to women (but which would also certainly apply to men): “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NKJV). What Donna points out herein is that there are too many ungodly—but popular—televangelists these days running around trying to improve their OUTSIDE appearance (via cosmetic surgery) while their inward parts are “full of greed and wickedness” (Luke 11:39, NKJV). Just as Jesus is more concerned about our INSIDE purity, so should these people be primarily focused on dealing with their own hearts ABOVE AND BEYOND their appearance. After all, one’s appearance will not help them one bit on the day of judgement, when the Lord will speak to “many” those terrifying words, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work lawlessness” (see Matthew 7:21-23). Yet, these people are ignoring the critical issues of their heart while they focus on their external looks instead.

So Donna’s article here is about the NEED for these people to deal with the corruption found within their own hearts, which is evidenced to us all by their manifest “fruits” (see Matthew 7:15-20).

However, this article is NOT a denial of a person’s right to get a facelift if they want to—and Donna clearly states that fact, while even suggesting it is a good idea for some people. Nevertheless, some readers have gotten hung up on the outward issue, and missed the main point of her article—indicating, perhaps, that they were convicted by Donna’s message, because they themselves are not tending to their own hearts…or that at least, that they lacked good reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. ;)

And now on to Donna’s bold, but loving, article…


Woman marked for a face lift

Is it just me or do Gloria Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Lindsay Roberts, and so on, look very different than they did years ago? As a woman, I do notice these things.

When I first saw the “new” Gloria Copeland on the BVOV daily broadcast a few years back, I wondered about it. At the time, I was so duped by those wolves that I actually did not know if she had really had plastic surgery; or if her “faith” was just so strong that the years of confessing her youth being “renewed like the eagle’s” had finally manifested. I even remember saying that to someone.

Joyce Meyer? Well, I kind of agreed with her decision to “get a lift.” (The first time, anyway… I have no idea how many she has had to date, but her mouth is looking really weird to me now. Sometimes people need to know when to stop!)

How about Paula White? She was very pretty to begin with and was, in my opinion, nowhere near the standard “face-lift age.” Why in the world would she need to do such a thing? If you scan through her photographs on her website, you will see that her face looks so recycled that it is ridiculous. In an effort to obtain the most “perfect” outer beauty, she has actually ruined her appearance (in my opinion).

It is sad, really. In Gloria Copeland’s case, and in the case of some of her buddies, this “face lift fancy” seems to originate mostly from sheer vanity. I am not against a woman looking her best (especially for her husband), but these folks have an obvious Hollywood-like obsession with their looks.

In Paula’s and Lindsay’s cases, I see a lot of pain and insecurity that they are seeking to relieve only through superficial means. These two seem to be very messed-up women and clear examples of what Proverbs says that a woman should NOT be:

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.

(Proverbs 11:22, NKJV)

Paula was seen in very promiscuous looking circumstances with Benny Hinn in Italy. Lindsay was caught doing “questionable activities” with teen-age boys in Tulsa (download this court documentbut ONLY if you can stomach the details). There is certainly “no fear of God before their eyes,” to be acting this way (Romans 3:18). So it is very strange to me that these women think that multiple cosmetic surgical procedures could overshadow their seemingly “pig-like” character. For those who are discerning—i.e. read their Bibles and judge accordingly—the swine’s snouts of these apparent “church whores” should still be obvious, regardless of how far they “lift” their faces surgically.

What these women seem to not realize is that they are trying to achieve inner beauty by changing their outer appearance. At the risk of sounding cliche, we need to get back to Proverbs chapter thirty-one’s description of a virtuous woman. This is what it says:

Who can find a virtuous wife [KJV, "woman"]? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

(Proverbs 31:10-12, NKJV)

Well, I guarantee you that Paula’s ex-husband, and Lindsay’s current one, have not experienced a life of their “hearts” being able to “safely trust” in their wives. Verse thirty then says:

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

(Proverbs 31:30, NKJV)

As I said, there seems to be no fear of God in these woman’s lives. The Holy Spirit, through Peter, described where a woman’s beauty should come from:

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

(1 Peter 3:3-4, NKJV)

Notice that some of the scriptures which I have cited above say that the inner beauty of a godly woman is very valuable (e.g. “…far above rubies…,” and “…very precious”). From an economic standpoint, what makes something valuable? It is its rarity. Common things are considered “common” in value, but rare things are typically considered precious.

The fact of the matter is this: “Narrow-way” women (Matt. 7:14) seem to be a minority in church circles today in America. Notice, I am not referring to the unsaved people outside the church—I’m talking about “church women,” particularly the ones who are in the pulpits and on television.

For a male minister to lower himself to “dog” status by returning to his own “vomit” of sin (see Proverbs 26:11) is despicable, of course. We all know that sin is wrong for every person, regardless of their gender.

However, there is just something in every human being that says, “A woman just should not do that.” Even if all the men surrounding her have fallen, there is a standard of godliness that, for some reason, we all know that a woman should follow. When she does not walk with an exemplary moral standard, it is like “a gold ring in a pig’s snout” to behold. Nobody—not even an ungodly man—respects a whore.

So there seems to be an “unspoken” rule: If anyone in the family should take a stand for holiness and fidelity in the home, it should certainly be the “lady” of the house. (And I thank God that, in our house, my husband does, too.)

Just to clarify, let me say that I am not against all face lifts categorically. Like I said, I think it was a good idea in Joyce’s case.

The point I am expressing in this article is that—instead of ONLY outward face-lifting—there is an urgent need among the “piggish” women professing to be Christians, for them to lift up their faces to God in genuine repentance:

A Face Lift Nightmare

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

(Ephesians 5:5-6, NKJV, emphasis added)

There must be a stirring up of the fear of God in the hearts of women. There must be an emphasis on the eternal consequence of sinful behavior, some of which even many gentiles would be too ashamed to participate in (1 Corinthians 5:1).

After all, one day everyone will die…face lift or not. Whether God’s judgement is welcomed or ignored really doesn’t matter—it is coming anyway. Moreover, it will begin in His house:

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

(1 Peter 4:17-18, NKJV, emphasis added)

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all [even Christians] appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

(2 Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV, emphasis and bracketed note added)

This is true for EVERYBODY…even women preachers.

—Donna Vermillion

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Authority AND Responsibility: Two Sides of the Very Same Coin

February 23, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Authority AND Responsibility:
Two Sides of the Very Same Coin

Here is a very useful and important truth that I believe would be good to explain, in order to help people avoid being abused. Donna and I were discussing this topic the other night: Namely, the relationship between “authority” and “responsibility.” When there is a failure to understand that these two concept are merely different aspects of the same thing, abuse is the necessary result (to one degree or another).

I will discuss this especially in regards to ministry, but the principle is universal. What I will explain here applies just as much in the business world, families, and the military, just as much as it does in the Church. Thus, in multiple facets of your life, this short lesson will prove to be very applicable — and will probably clarify issues that you have dealt with in times past yourself, and/or might even facing now.

Let us begin by noting what Jesus said about this topic. This principle was revealed by the Lord within a parable that addressed both His Second Coming AND what He expects of His Own leaders within the Church:

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 24:45-51, NKJV, words of Jesus in red)

Here we have a contrast given between two different kinds of “servants.” It is interesting to note first that the word used here in the original Greek language of the New Testament (NT) is doulos (Strong’s #1401), which means “a slave, bondman, man of servile condition” (Thayer’s Lexicon). So we are certainly talking about people who are “under authority.” But the passage clearly says that these two contrasting types of “subordinates” have also been GIVEN a responsibilitydelegated to them by his or her ultimate Superior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Along with that responsibility is clearly given an accompanying amount of suitable authority over the “food” that they are to distribute, as well as over the people to whom it will be distributed. This authority over people is specifically in regard to the assignment that they have been given — but not beyond that. In other words, this authority is limited in scope.

Now let us look at the two types of “servant” that Jesus described…

The first type of servant is one who is given authority, but UNDERSTANDS that it is given to him for a SPECIFIC PURPOSE: To carry out a delegated responsibility. This person realizes that what they have been given to them in terms of “power” was intended merely to supply them the ability to carry out the assigned task. They are diligent to “feed” the people to whom they were assigned, and to be faithful with the “food” entrusted to them. They are simple servants, who wish only to please their Master:

So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.”

(Luke 17:10, NKJV, words of Jesus in red)

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

(2 Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV)

The second type of “servant,” on the other hand, is one who appears to be nothing more than a self-serving wretch. They seem to think that “authority” is a “free pass” to voluptuous living at the expense of others. This second “servant” utterly fails to carry out the delegated responsibility, but also ABUSES those to whom he or she was assigned to “feed.” Consequently, this second type is soundly judged by his or her Master when He returns:

the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 24:50-51, NKJV, words of Jesus in red)

In Jesus’ simple—but profound—parable, I believe that we can identify two very important truths:

  1. ALL authority is delegated FOR the purpose of fulfilling some specific responsibility, to which it is attached.
  2. All responsibility REQUIRES an appropriate amount of delegated authority in order to get the job done properly.

This is a universal principle, of course. A police man needs the necessary authority in order to “keep the peace” (which is their responsibility). Parents are endowed (by God…and NOT by any earthly government) with authority over their children for the purpose of raising them “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). And, of course, ministers are endowed by God with a certain amount of authority for the purpose of tending lovingly to God’s people on His behalf:

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

(Hebrews 13:17, NKJV))

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

(1 Peter 5:1-4, NKJV)

I have seen cases of absurd abuses of both aspects of this principle. I am fairly confident that you have as well:

CASE ONE: I have seen some person given a “responsibility” by some paranoid “leader” who retains all the authority to themselves. They refuse to delegate that necessary “ability” to the person because they are afraid of “loosing control.” In such an instance, the “responsibility” itself turns into an “abuse” of the subordinate, because they are expected to accomplish something that they are NOT properly equipped to do.

Without the necessary accompanying authority, it is only a matter of time before the “responsibility” either gets away from them, or it refuses to respond to their efforts. In either case, the subordinate is blamed for the failure to fulfill the assigned responsibility — but in reality, they were never truly ALLOWED to carry out that task, because they were not properly equipped. Thus, the “job” given them amounted to nothing more than being ABUSED by the so-called “leader.” It was an exercise in futility, with both the superior and subordinate suffering the ill results…but the subordinate suffering the abuse.

To use a military metaphor: The subordinate was like a foot soldier, placed in front of the charging enemy army — with a command to stop the oncoming assault. However, they were put there WITHOUT any weapons or ammunition! They were made “cannon fodder” — but then were blamed for being blown up in the battle.

CASE TWO: We have ALL seen cases where, as in the parable by Jesus above, an arrogant person comes into “authority” and utterly fails to understand that they are supposed to DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE with that authority — i.e. to carry out a specific responsibility. This could be an arrogant supervisor at work, or a superior in the military whose “rank” has gone to their heads. In the Body of Christ, “wolves in sheep’s clothing” prowling around looking for prey (see Matthew 7:13-23), ALL come under this category. Consequently, we can understand the extreme irritation express by God toward false shepherds in Ezekiel chapter thirty-four in the light of this point:

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”

‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

(Ezekiel 34:1-10, NKJV; but that entire chapter discusses this same theme)

So to quickly recap the short lesson above:

  • Responsibility delegated without corresponding authority, always constitutes a form of abuse of the person to whom the task was assigned.
  • Authority accepted (or worse, usurped) without regard to fulfilling the corresponding responsibility of that “position” or “office,” always results in abuse of power (to one degree or another).

This principle, therefore, is one that should be understood by all people — whether supervisors or subordinates — because failure to understand these things will result in someone being abused.

In THE CHURCH, this concept needs to be clearly understood even more, because “abuse” seems ALL too often to be “the norm” in many places these days. These things ought NOT to be so, but be sure of this: Such abuse will SURELY be judged by the Lord. Thus, a healthy fear of God is always advised — even among Christians — and especially among leaders.

Even the apostle, Paul, had a VERY healthy dose of the fear of God guiding his behavior within his own ministry. And he advised that ALL Christians adopt that same attitude:

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

(2 Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV)

Your thoughts? The comments section is open below for discussion.

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

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Of God, Rocks, and Infinity

January 14, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Of God, Rocks, and Infinity

The Biblical Principle of Infinity

Have you ever run into the question, “Can God make a rock that is SO BIG… that He cannot lift it Himself?” Perhaps you have when out evangelizing or witnessing to someone. It would seem to be a very difficult question, would it not?

In some instances, this might be a sincere inquiry from someone who has pondered this question because they are considering the Christian faith. Perhaps some “intellectual” used this question with them—a professor in college, for example—and now they find this to be a stumbling block to be overcome before embracing the truth of the Gospel.

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However, in many other instances, the person simply thinks that they “have you.” They are using this inquiry in an effort to refute your faith, or perhaps simply to get you to leave them alone.

So what is the explanation for the sincere inquirer? What is the appropriate “come back” that should be used for a skeptic? Well…I will explain that for you now. I will show you that theirs is actually a self-refuting question, because it is self-contradictory.

(By the way, please do not let the “infinity” title be a concern to you at all. This is actually one of the shorter articles that I have written on this website.) :)

False Dilemma

This particular question is actually a logical fallacy known as a “false dilemma” (also called, “bifurcation”). It it presents in such a way that it appears that there are only two possible answers:

  1. Yes, God can create a rock so big that He cannot lift it (implying clearly that He is NOT omnipotent, because He cannot lift it).
  2. No, God cannot create such a rock (implying essentially the same thing; that He cannot create something that specific, and thus, He is not omnipotent).

Such a situation appears to be what is called a “dilemma.” This term can be defined as, “a situation requiring—by necessity—a choice between two equally undesirable alternatives; a perplexing predicament.” (Note: This was my own definition, assembled from more than one dictionary source).

In other words, whichever “choice” you pick, you seem to have lost the argument before you even began.

A “false dilemma,” however, is a fake dilemma. It is a deceptive “sleight of hand” (so to speak) that appears to force you into choosing one of two choices—when there might actually be a third one that is unspoken or unidentified; or even that the question itself is self-contradictory, and thus, self-refuted without choosing either of the “choices” that they offered.

This latter criterion is what is the case with the “false dilemma” question about God creating rocks. It is self-contradictory. But to see that fact, we need to explain a concept called “infinity” first.

Infinity as a Principle

If you have studied math to some degree beyond basic addition and subtraction, you have probably run into a term called “infinity.” It is represented in mathematics by the symbol “∞” (which looks like the number eight laying on its side). This English term in its simplest form means “to be without limit”… but it can mean much more than that.

“Infinite” is originally derived from the Latin word, infinitus, which is itself formed by two other Latin roots:

  1. The inseparable particle in-, which means, “without, not.”
  2. And the word finis, which means, “boundary, limit, border…end…” (from Cassell’s Latin Dictionary)

Thus, something that is truly “infinite” is without a boundary, limit, border, or end. In short, it is eternal (which is another possible definition for the word “infinite” within most English dictionaries).

So with this term in mind, let me ask this simple math question: If a value is expressed as infinite ( ∞ ), what number is larger than that? The correct answer is: The question itself is absurd, for it is self-contradictory.

  • The phrase “larger than” implies logically that the first term is NOT infinite. In order for something to be “larger than” it, the first term must be “finite” — i.e. “capable of being completely counted, NOT infinite or infinitesimal” (Dictionary.com).
  • However, the word “infinity” is BY DEFINITION infinite, and thus, unable to be counted or measured.
  • Thus, the question contradicts itself by imposing a finite value upon an infinite term.

The Law of Contradiction

The most basic and core law of logic is often called, “The Law of Contradiction.” It states simply that an object cannot be simultaneously “A” and “not A” at the same time.

To use an example, one cannot say that the same exact car is in the garage and NOT in the garage at the same point in time, for that statement is self-contradictory. Or using our math example above, one cannot say that something is “infinite” and “finite” (i.e. “not infinite) at the same time, because that contradicts itself. The two terms cancel each other out, and the result is a logical absurdity:

Absurdity (noun): 1. at variance with reason; manifestly false. 2. Ludicrous; ridiculous.

(World English Dictionary)

An Infinite God Upholds the UniverseNow what about the question, “Can God make a rock so big that He cannot lift it?” It falls into the same category as the absurd math question above, of course.

God (i.e. the God of Christians and Jews, Who is revealed to us through the Bible) is by definition infinite. In using that description, we are acknowledging that He is without limit, boundary or end; that He is eternal. We can say this:

  1. Because it is self-evident, in that He created all time, as well as all matter and energy within the universe.
  2. Because as Christians, the Scriptures themselves clearly tell us that this is the case:

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The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’”

(Deuteronomy 33:27, NKJV)

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…

Romans 1:20-22, NKJV)

Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

(Revelation 21:6-8, NKJV)

“…then I prayed to the LORD, saying, ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, who shows lovingkindness to thousands, but repays the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His name; great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; who has set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and You have made a name for Yourself, as at this day.

(Jeremiah 32:16-20, NASB)

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& etc, & etc…

In fact, even the person asking the question, “Can God make a rock so big that He cannot lift it?” is clearly IMPLYING that they are discussing this same Holy God of the Bible in most instances. This is because that is the very God you were discussing with them when they decided to ask you this question. So it is self-evident that they must be talking about our infinite God when they make this inquiry.

But in the second part of their question, the person is asking if the rock can be so “heavy” (or “big”) that God cannot lift it Himself.

Thus, he or she is talking about the INFINITE Creator when they ask if He can create something “bigger” than Himself. So it is clear that they have logically contradicted themselves: They have asked if INFINITY Himself can create something “larger” or “heavier” than INFINITY. In other words, the person has just logically implied that infinite is really finite, i.e. that it has limits, boundaries, etc..

Rephrasing this analysis in the same bullet-point manner that we did in the math example further above:

  • The phrase “cannot lift” implies logically that the object is “bigger” or “heavier” than the first term. This implies that the first term is NOT infinite, for it must be “finite” in order for something to be “larger” than it in regards to  its mass or size.
  • However, the word “God,” BY DEFINITION, is infinite. Thus, it is absurd to assert that He is capable of having limits or boundaries.
  • Thus, the question contradicts itself by imposing a finite limit upon an infinite Person.

I hope this short article “Of God, Rocks, and Infinity” was a blessing, and answered an importation question for you. If you were struggling with this concept yourself, then please let me encourage you that I was not insulting you in pointing out that this false dilemma is logically absurd. Rather, I am actually endeavoring to direct you toward eternal truth, by simply steering you away from logical error.

If this is the case, let me also recommend to you that you read my conversationally warm article The Supreme Value of Righteousness next. Within that post, you and I will have a good chat about the things of eternity—as if we were talking over a cup of coffee or tea somewhere. I believe it will be a blessing to you in many ways, for it will probably answer many more questions that you may have.

By the way: Are you interested in learning more about logic and biblical reasoning? Then let me recommend that you spend some time studying that particular sub-page of our new Recommendations section, which entitled Logic, Apologetics, and Evangelism.

Lastly, the commentary section is open below for those with an interesting thought to add. Please also feel free to use the Twitter and Facebook buttons, or the “Share/Save” menu below, to let others know about this article. Thanks.

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

-Rich Vermillion

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