Was Phil Robertson Guilty of Judging?

Phil.Robertson

During my self-imposed holiday hiatus ThePreachersWord missed out on the whole Duck Dynasty flap!

While I was away, Duck Commander, Phil Robertson, was put on suspension by the A & E network for his comments in GQ magazine regarding homosexuality.  Every news show, talk show, cable TV host, call in radio show and about anyone involved in media opined on Robertson.   Duck Dynasty.  Free speech.  Freedom of religion.  And homosexuality.  

People were quacking on facebook and all over social media about it. Many on facebook  were posting “I Stand with Phil.”  Now, Robertson has been reinstated.  A & E continues to show reruns of the show.  And the controversy has simmered down.

However, a question was brought up numerous times by liberals and conservatives alike, that I’ve never heard  addressed and answered Biblically.  Was Phil Robertson guilty of judging?

Robertson quoted almost verbatim 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

One popular cable TV host said Robertson was guilty of passing judgment or condemnation.  To prove his point he quoted Matthew 7:1 “Judge not that you be not judged.”

It’s interesting that when someone dares to condemn sin, they’re charged with judging.  Is this so?  And is that fair?

To answer the question, let’s first look at the context of Jesus’ statement.

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.

Meaning of “Judge”

The word “judge” means “Primarily denotes to separate, to select, to choose, hence to determine, and so, to judge or to pronounce judgment.” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary)

Jesus is saying that we ought not to assume the office of a judge, in the sense of the Lord’s judgment. Jesus is condemning harsh, censorious judgement. We are not to be hypercritical or hypocritical. As Max Lucado wrote, “It’s one thing to have an opinion. It’s quite another to pass a verdict. It’s one thing to have a conviction; it’s another to convict the person.”

Jesus uses a humorous illustration of someone who has a log in their eye trying to remove a shaving from someone else’s eye! Ridiculous! Absurd! And wrong! First remove the glaring fault from your life before you try to correct others for their minor flaws.

Bible Usage

However, the Bible uses the word “judge” in several different ways.  Consider these three.

1. Jesus commanded, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (Jn 7:24). The Gospel reveals God’s standard of righteousness (Rom. 16:16-17). Of morality.  Of right and wrong. When Phil Robertson quoted 1 Corinthians regrading homosexuality, he was doing what Jesus approved, but not violating Matthew 7:1.

2. When brethren took their legal problems before pagan judges, Paul rebuked them.   “Is there not a wise man among you…that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” (1 Cor 6:5).  That kind of judgment is appropriate. Helpful.  And needed.

3. Regarding the sexually immoral man at Corinth, Paul said, “I have judged him” (1 Cor 5:3). This was not a violation of the Mountain Message, but a proper application of John 7:24. When moral righteousness is ignored, Christians should apply God’s Word and condemn sin.

Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” 

So, did Phil Robertson judge others?  Yes, but not in the way condemned by Christ . He didn’t pass sentence upon others, but applied the Gospel to a moral issue.  May God give more Christians the courage to “judge righteous judgment.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

25 Comments

Filed under Judging, Morality

25 responses to “Was Phil Robertson Guilty of Judging?

  1. DON PIPER

    HI KEN, I AGREE A HUNDRED PERCENT TO YOUR THOROUGH AND DETAILED APPLICATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. I WOULD LIKE TO ASK THOUGH IF WE CAN APPLY THE OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGE FOUND IN
    EZEKIEL 33:1-11 ABOUT THE WATCHMAN AND HIS MESSAGE, WHEREBY
    HE IS CALLED TO BLOW THE TRUMPET AND WARN THE PEOPLE OF THE INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCES BOTH TO THE WATCHMAN AND THE WICKED, WHERE WATCHMAN’S FAILURE TO BLOW THE TRUMPET WOULD COST HIM HIS OWN SOUL WITH THE WICKED DYING IN HIS INIQUITY?
    SHOULD THIS GROUP OF TEXTS BE APPLICABLE TO US AS CHRISTIANS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BLOW THE TRUMPET THAT THE WICKED MAY
    TURN FROM HIS WICKEDNESS AND LIVE? ‘AS I LIVE’, SAYS THE LORD GOD, ‘I HAVE NO PLEASURE IN THE DEATH OF THE WICKED, BUT THAT THE WICKED TURN FROM HIS WAY AND LIVE. TURN, TURN FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS! FOR WHY SHOULD YOU DIE……?’

    FURTHER, IN THE SAME CHAPTER OF EZEKIEL, VERSES 12-20 DECLARE THE FAIRNESS OF GOD’S JUDGMENT.

    RECENTLY, THERE HAVE BEEN WHISTLE BLOWERS WHO WERE BOLD ENOUGH TO TAKE A STAND FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE TO BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO. I BELIEVE CHRISTIANS AS WATCHMEN SHOULD BE WHISTLE BLOWERS STANDING FOR THE TRUTH WHICH ALONE COULD SET AS FREE, THE TRUTH AS IT IS IN JESUS. I REMEMBER A QUOTE FROM A HUMBLE CHRISTIAN WHO WROTE, ‘ THE GREATEST WANT OF THE WORLD IS THE WANT OF MEN – MEN WHO WILL NOT BE BOUGHT OR SOLD, MEN WHO IN THEIR INMOST SOULS ARE TRUE AND HONEST, MEN WHO DO NOT FEAR TO CALL SIN BY ITS RIGHT NAME, MEN WHOSE CONSCIENCE IS AS TRUE TO DUTY AS THE NEEDLE TO THE POLE, MEN WHO WOULD STAND FOR THE RIGHT THOUGH THE HEAVENS FALL.’

    MAY GOD GIVE US THE GIFT OF BOLDNESS IN THESE LAST DAYS OF EARTH’S HISTORY, THAT WE MAY BECOME THE CHRISTIANS WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO BE AND GLORIFY GOD BY ACCEPTING WHAT HE HAS ALREADY GIVEN US IN CHRIST, TO BE AMBASSADORS OF CHRIST CONSTRAINED BY HIS LOVE TO VINDICATE HIS CHARACTER AND REVEAL HIS GLORY.

    • Thanks Don!

      Like all of the OT it waswritten for our ‘learning and admonition and example.” I would agree that the principle of the watchman is valid for God’s watchmen today–pastors, preachers and teachers. 2 Tim. 4:1-2; Ax 20:28-32; Heb. 13:7,17; Eph. 4:12-16and many other passages teach the need to reprove and rebuke sin and error.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts and observations

      Ken

      Ken Weliever 400 NW Highcliffe Dr Lee’s Summit, MO 64081 Home Phone: 816-600-5001 Cell Phone: 813-507-1726 Church Office: 816-761-2659 preacherman@weliever.net web site: http://www.weliever.net/ blog: http://www.thepreachersword.com/ Church web site: http://hickmanchurch.com/

      ________________________________

  2. mike fletcher

    further down in Matt. 7:20 Christ said “by their fruits you will know them”. It’s like a preacher long ago said, he’s not a judge just a fruit inspector. Thanks Ken.

  3. Larry Hafley

    Thanks for your fine article. My intention below is not to “one-up” your fine work. Rather, as an old friend and brother, I thought you might like to compare the parallel between Ephesians 5:3-6 and 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10. Place them side by sideand see what you think (cf. 5:7-12, etc., etc.).

    Again, not an addition, just something to think about. As a friend, Ken, may I give you a sketchy outline of some things I spoke on regarding this same topic? (A)In 1 Tim.1:3-11: –we must be right, sound in doctrine–a command to “teach no other doctrine.” This “doctrine” of v. 3is “the glorious gospel” of v. 11.

  4. Stephen Segrest

    Ken — I have followed your blog for years and value you as a Teacher of God’s Word. But today’s blog (and your other blogs like it) remind me that we always must place our trust in God, not man. I continue to pray for you (and others that share your attitudes).

    The problem has and continues to be with your heart in following Christ’s Second Most important Commandment. Are you very learned in Scripture? Yes — but so were the legalistic Pharisees which Christ admonished. Like the Pharisees, you define a “subject” by cherrypicking a specific “issue of sin”. Is homosexuality a sin? Yes, Scripture is clear on this. But the “subject” of homosexuality is much more than referencing the “specific sin”.

    Where Phil Robertson goes wrong in the interview (where of all of man’s sins, he chooses homosexuality to emphasize) is the demonization of homosexuals. He starts with a YUCK description of anal sex, comparing it with bestiality (sex with animals). Most conservatives go even a step further with identifying homosexuality with pedophiles and a major threat to our children.

    Words of this type in demonizing homosexuals have real world consequences. As discussed before the U.S. Supreme Count last year, over 600 examples of hurtful discrimination were identified towards same sex marriage people. The most hypocritical phrase used today by conservative Christians is “Love the Sinner, but Hate the Sin”. There is nothing “loving” when company health insurance is denied to a gay person’s partner or their children — when death survivor benefits are denied to a gay police officer’s partner who is killed protecting us — and we could go on and on.

    In one of your most popular blogs last year, you heavily criticized President Obama in his denouncement of how homosexuals were being treated in Africa. You held up for admiration the “Biblical Principles” that these leaders in Southern Africa have — where laws have been implemented to imprison homosexuals from 14 years to life. In fact one of your “admired” African leaders has called for homosexuals to be put before firing squads — and also faces numerous charges from the World Court for crimes against humanity.

    The travesty is how Christians like you and Phil Robertson turn your back, ignore, shrug off these hurtful actions.

    I think Tony Campolo summarized it best when he said, “What Christ actually taught us was to love the sinner and hate the sin WITHIN US” — big difference from the phrase commonly used.

    As I’ve asked repeatedly, a much more constructive dialogue in your blogs would be “How do we (as Christians) hold firm in our beliefs but also follow Christ’s 2nd most important Commandment?” You can’t have a meaningful dialogue putting your head in the sand on the hurtful things towards gays going on.

    Note: I am “straight”, and YES! I was saved at 14.

    • William Hudson

      Their is nothing whatsoever hypocritical about the the sentence “Love the Sinner, but Hate the Sin”. And yes, we should all hate the sin within us as well as the sin within anyone else. However, you seem to believe that you are demonstrating love by ignoring the fact that yes, homosexuality is a sin. You are evidently willing to let others languish in the sin of homosexuality without speaking the truth. That is not love, friend–that enabling others in sin and leading them down the road to destruction. Phil Robertson did not demonize or demonstrate hate for those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle, he was demonstrating the Love of Christ by shedding light on the truth that homosexuality is sin, contrary to popular opinion, and a particularly vulgar sin at that and that anyone inlvolved in that sin is in need of repentance just like anyone involved in any other sinful lifestyle. Without acknowledgement of sin, there is no repentance. Without repentance, there is no forgivenss of sin, and if one dies without forgiveness of sin, there is only eternal separation from God in hell. Christ paid a terrible price for our sin, and if we attempt to justify our unrighteous behavior because we deem it not sin, we are trampling under foot his great sacrifice.

      • Stephen Segrest

        Dear William, Do you believe that it is a sin to imprison a person 14 years to life or to kill them (by firing squad) if they practice homosexuality? (as is occurring in Southern Africa) Is it a sin for a Christian to be silent when this happens?

      • William Hudson

        Of couse I do not, Stephen. Do you believe it is a sin for radical Islamic nations to behead Christians simply for rejecting Islam and declaring faith in Jesus Christ? I would think not. However, man’s inhumanity to man for a myriad of reasons has nothing to do with the fact that God says that homosexuality is a sin. Shoplifting is theft and a sin also, but I would disagree with chopping off the hands of shoplifters as is practiced in some Islamic countries, but that does not diminish the sinful nature of theft. You seem to be a caring person. Surely you care about the eternal condition of your friends.

      • William Hudson

        Stephen, I entered my first statement incorrectly in my last reply. I definitely believe it is a sin to treat anyone in an inhumane manner, those practicing homosexuality included. However, I believe it is particularly inhumane to withhold God’s Truth in order to be politically correct. You see, politically correct people do not care about their neighbor’s eternal condition. They only care about their ability to live their lives unrestricted by their Creator.

  5. Stephen Segrest

    This is a “picture” of the problem. Ken only sees 1 picture of sin. In reality, there are 2 pictures of sin — both very real.

  6. Duck’s wrong was mockery and refusal to empathise. He stands outside, comparing homosexuality to bestiality, and saying in response to the question

    -What, in your mind, is sinful?
    -Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there…

    Why start with a sin he claims to have no temptation to? Why not start with his own?

    • William Hudson

      Because the subject of the interview was his views on homosexuality. It is a particular sin that many (even some in “religious” circles) are attempting to deem a normal lifestyle, rather than sin, much like the murder of children in their mothers’ wombs. Phil was merely stating that if society and even some “clergy” places a stamp of approval on sin, the next logical step will be an attempt to justify these other sexual sins. He made it very clear that he loves everyone. If you disagree with what he said, you are merely disagreeing with God’s Word. The scripture that Phil quoted did not originate with Phil.

      • Have you read the interview? Its subject was his life, his business, his shooting, References to his childhood were what got him in trouble with NAACP.

      • William Hudson

        I understand that the interview covered a lot of ground, however, the portion that has caused such a firestorm among those promoting the sin of homosexuality concerned homosexuality, which happens to be the subject of this article on which we are commenting.

  7. Stephen Segrest

    I have family members who are gay. A couple of years ago a story here in Tampa piqued my interest. A female police officer was killed in a bank robbery. She was gay. Her partner had children that lived with them as a family. The surviving Partner and children were denied any Death Survivor Benefits. This will always “stick” in my head. What if she was unsaved and in the course of a conversation of her plight and bringing her the Good News she was told: “Christ loves you, I love you, but I can not support secular laws (death benefits to gay partners) which encourage your type of sin”.

    Millions of Christians are really struggling with this: “How do we hold to principles of our Faith on sin, but also follow Christ’s 2nd most important Commandment to others?

    Its interesting that Tony Campolo (who Ken has cited in the past) has an “exact” blog on this topic today. I sure don’t know the answer to this very difficult question, but at least Mr. Campolo is having a dialogue on it:

    http://www.redletterchristians.org/hearing-im-gay-change-straight-christian-life/

    • William Hudson

      It would be better that one not attempt to share the Good News if that person is unwilling to share the truth, that we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, but the Gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. And how is that gift recieved? Through acknowledgement of sin, repentance (turning from sin) and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord of our lives. Supporting a person in any sin, even homosexuality, rather than sharing God’s Truth is not love but rather causing that person to stumble.

      • Stephen Segrest

        Dear William, Thanks for at least being honest with your response “It would be better that one not attempt to share the Good News if that person is unwilling to share the truth”. You have “defined” the problem. Your approach is the opposite of Christ’s who hung out with the outcasts of society. If we “set prerequisites” that a person must admit and turn away from sin before we can bring them the Good News we wouldn’t be talking to anybody. Only through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can a person overcome sin.

      • William Hudson

        Your thinking is convoluted, Stephen. The very essence of the Good News is that Christ came to save that which was lost. That is precisely why He dines with us sinners. No one has said that a person must repent before receiving the Good News, however, in John 8:3-11, after showing love and forgiveness to the woman caught in adultry, Jesus instructed the woman to go and sin no more. He demonstrated that her sin was no greater than the sin of her accusers, but He, in no way, diminished the gravity of her sin. That is precisely what our society today is attempting to do–declare homosexuality a normal, God created state, rendering it a non-sin when God’s Word states the exact opposite. Withholding the truth is not only a sin that affects us but also the eternal state of our fellow man.

  8. Jason Dukes

    It seems to me that this has nothing to do with judging but more to do with the standard. It’s not a judgement of whether or not those practicing homosexuality are practicing homosexuality, rather the question is whether the standard says that practice is wrong. If someone decides to drive 80 mile per hour in a zone where the limit is 55 mile per hour and they admit they are driving 80 mile per hour. There is no judgement on one’s part in stating the fact that the limit is 55 mile per hour and doing 80 would be above that limit.

    God has set the standard. It is not passing judgement to share that standard.

    None of the discussions I have heard or seen have discussed whether or not God’s standard speaks against homosexual behavior, for obvious reasons.

  9. Larry

    Thank you Ken for your love of our Lord and His righteousness. We must speak where the bible speaks and not allow what was become accepted by man to thwart our way.

  10. Stephen Segrest

    Dear William Hudson and Others — Please remember the fundamental question I’m asking: “How do we hold to principles of our Faith on sin (e.g., 1st Cor. 6), but also follow Christ’s 2nd most important Commandment? On this subject of homosexuality, “conservative” Christians emphasize “Truth” and “liberal” Christians emphasize “Grace”. To me, I don’t think the Bible is either “conservative” or “liberal”, it’s just God’s Word. In “walking the talk” of our Faith we need to balance both “truth” and “grace”. I sure don’t know the answer to my question, but we as Christians need to have better dialogue on this subject among ourselves.

    Currently I’m taking a distance learning course from Harvard University on the writings of St. Paul. The emphasis of the course is a better understanding of the “culture and language” context that existed 2k years ago. One thing they do is “Role Play” — how different societal groups (e.g., Jews, Gentiles, Slaves, Free men, ect.) would probably have been reacting in “House Churches” to Paul’s letters. We need this today in Christ’s Church.

  11. Reblogged this on ThePreachersWord and commented:

    As we close the final 12 days of 2014, we are reblogging the top posts of the year. Based on reader views this one came in at #7)

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