Apologetics Index



According to the Bible, Christians are to apply scriptural principles of discernment regarding beliefs, teachings and actions.

A brief but helpful introduction is the article, ''Two Kinds of Judging," which concludes:

God judges in the temporal arena, and the eternal. In this life God will judge a person's actions, but always (except when the person has irrevocably rejected Him) holds out the chance for turning back and repenting. Only on the Last Day, at the great white throne judgment will God pronounce eternal judgment on a person, forever determining his or her destinies. From this judgment, there is no appeal or second chance.

The Christian, on the other hand, is never given the right or the responsibility of eternally judging anyone (unless they have clearly rejected Christ permanently). Christians cannot correctly weigh action, motives, opportunities, nor know all things about any individual: God alone is capable to do so.

However, Christians are to make decisions (appraisals, discernments, and even take corrective actions). But even judging in this aspect is intended to be remedial, and leaves the door open to the person for repentance and reconciliation. Any judging on the part of a Christian which does not, is a false aspect of Christian judgment. We are called upon to ''judge righteous judgment'' (John 7:24) and failure to do so is to be negligent in a crucial aspect of our Christian calling.


Christian Accountability: The Way To Touch God's Anointed Often, criticism of certain Christian teachers is condemned by those who claim Christians should not ''touch God's anointed.'' Clete Hux, of Watchman Fellowship, uses scripture to show where this argument goes wrong.
Christian Are "God's Annointed" Beyond Criticism? Do Christians who judge "touch the Lord's Anointed"? By Hank Hanegraaf, of the Christian Research Institute
Christian Is Judging Always Wrong? - A Closer Look At Matthew 7:1 by Eric Johnson, Mormonism Research Ministry.
Christian To Judge Or Not To Judge by Richard Fisher, of Personal Freedom Outreach
Christian Who are we to judge? by Lewis B. Smedes, professor emeritus of theology and ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Published in Christianity Today, Oct. 1, 2001
Christian Who Are You To Say? by Greg Koukl
The "Who are you to say?" challenge is used by non-Christians and Christians, especially by those who deplore the "heresy hunters" in the church. This rejoinder, though, deftly sidesteps the real issue.

See Also

For most Christians today, the challenge of learning how to discern orthodox from heretical doctrine has apparently not been faced. Either they treat doctrine as minimally important and so regard charges of "heresy" as rude and unloving, or they treat doctrine as all-important and so regard anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest as a heretic. In short, most believers seem to think either that there are almost no heretics or that almost everybody outside their own little group is a heretic.

The cause of doctrinal discernment, then, is in serious jeopardy. Although anticult and discernment ministries are mushrooming everywhere, many of them operate on the basis of an excessively narrow understanding of orthodoxy. Consequently, such groups are charged deservedly with "heresy hunting" and discredit the practice of doctrinal discernment. At the other extreme — and often overreacting to such heresy hunters — are those within the Christian community who reject any warnings of heresy among professing Christians.

In this two-part article I will attempt to set forth a balanced approach to the issue of doctrinal heresy. In this first part I will present a biblical case for the practice of discerning orthodox from heretical doctrines. In the second part I will offer guidelines for doctrinal discernment.
» What is Heresy?