1. Your “Judge Not” point reminded me of something funny. I got a review for my teen book Quicksilver once that said something like, “I thought this book was very well written and would have enjoyed it except for one terrible, gratuitous and unnecessary thing that the author put into it. I thought the author was a Christian. I don’t know what reason she had for putting this thing in the book but there is no excuse for it.”

    Since then I have racked my brains to imagine what this horrible thing was in the book that caused the reviewer to conclude I was not a Christian. I even, sneakily, begged a Christian friend (who was equally mystified) to leave a comment asking what aspect of the book this reviewer found so offensive. But the reviewer never replied, so to my dying day I will never know what they were talking about!

    • R. L. Copple says:

      R. J., that only points out the problem with judging. Everyone’s list of “unforgivable sins” tends to be different. Likely something in their tradition (like no alcohol) is a big no-no that makes something or someone suspect. But we are judged by God, not man.


      In my case if I were to get such a review, it wouldn’t be what are they talking about, but which bad thing are they talking about. lol.

  2. sparksofember says:

    #2 can be a struggle. Being honest and yet trying to couch your words so they won’t be hurtful to the author. I’ve recently seen #3 done in an opposite way – reviewers taking revenge in defense of an author. Not having read the book but giving it 5 stars because they think the author has been unfairly attacked.

    • notleia says:

      #2 is easier if you’re not worried about being nice. You can worry about being fair, if you like, both to the author and audience, but it should be a requirement to publishing that authors can separate criticism of their work from criticism of themselves. It’s also easier if you use specific descriptors and not just “this was bad.” Like “this was slow,” “this was too cliche and predictable,” or “if I knew this character in real life I’d be tempted to hit him with my car, except my car has done nothing to deserve being crunked up by this mofo.”

    • R. L. Copple says:

      Yes, I’ve seen that before too. Goodreads is famous for their review wars when fans of authors take on critiquers of authors. Woe to any author caught in the middle of that.


      Also note, yes sometimes it can be a fine line on #2. That’s why I stated it is a “possible” sinful review. Because whether it really is in large part depends upon the heart of the reviewer and their motivations. As per #1, we can’t judge whether a specific reviewer is sinning by their review, even if it comes across dishonest to us. Rather, these are cautions for us to judge ourselves when we write them.


      Additionally, I’ve been guilty of judging a reviewer’s review of my own book before. To the point of questioning whether he was a Christian or not. I publicly apologized for that, even though he had no idea I’d done that. I did good enough he ended up making me a regular contributor on his blog until he shut it down.


      So I’ve been guilty as charged myself. No stone throwing here.

  3. Tiribulus says:

    1st John 3:
    See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

    4Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (NASB)

    A flagrant, unrepentant practitioner of sin is not only not a Christian AND a child of the devil , but easy to spot as well or John is a liar.  The NASB is perfect. ‘Through this, clearly visible AREhttp://tiribulus.net/pix/pix1/1john3_10.JPG (estin is in the PRESENT active indicative. They ARE obvious right now)  Except they put the phrase at the end of the sentence so it flows better in English. Just about every translation does. That’s actually a very simple and straightforward Greek sentence. 

    • Tiribulus says:

      My above post was held for moderation because the verse numbers pasted in as links 🙁 Next time I’ll have to first paste bible verses into an editor that removes the formatting, and then here.

    • R. L. Copple says:


      John’s general warnings here–to evaluate whether we are “practicing sin” and thus in danger of Hell, and/or knowing what types of activities to avoid–don’t contradict what I said. We are still not to use this kind of thing to judge another’s spiritual relationship with God. They might give us cause to warn them of the destructive nature of such activities, but the final judgment is in God’s hands, not ours.

      That is because there is this little thing in the Bible about God being merciful and being saved by grace, not by following a law.

      Additionally, whether or not an author sins by having their characters sin is not a cause/effect relationship. All depends upon the author’s heart, which we can’t know from characters in their stories. But God knows.

      So, when Jesus doesn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery, is He excusing the practice of that sin? Obviously not since He tells her to go and sin no more. She already knew she was sinning a sin unto death. Instead of offering judgment, Jesus offers mercy and forgiveness and an opportunity for her to turn her life around (which according to Church history, she did and became a saint of the Church).

      John gives us those guides for our own benefit of knowing what to avoid to foster a healthy relationship with God. Not to condemn others with it.

      Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
      1 Cor 4:5

    • Agreed with R. L.

      Amen. As John writes, no one born of God makes a practice of sinning. (This means, by the way, a lifestyle of intentional and unrepentant sin; John is clearly writing to people who unfortunately do sin sometimes because he points them to Christ the Advocate.)

      But the idea of “seeing someone else sin = you are committing the same sin” must itself be evaluated by Scripture. I’ve never seen such an equivalency proved. Only assumed.

      (Some sin-images often lead to temptation in most Christians. But that’s all we can say.)

      And as Rick said, there is no biblical cause to judge or break fellowship with another biblical-professing Christian because he/she has different beliefs about his/her strength or weakness of faith — or because he/she has a different understanding that holiness comes from looking to Jesus and imaging Jesus, not merely by separatism and avoiding “the world.” The holiest Entity ever is the one must involved with this sinful age (including sin-stained cultures) and the least worried about “contamination.”

  4. Tiribulus says:

    RL says: “We are still not to use this kind of thing to judge another’s spiritual relationship with God.
    John says, let no one deceive you… the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious. That seems to cover the credibility of their present relationship with God.  In 1st Cor. 5 we are commanded TO judge those in the church and to remove practitioners of sin from our midst. I never got an answer from you on that in the other thread btw Stephen.

    RL says: “the final judgment is in God’s hands, not ours”
    Absolutely. I would burn myself at the stake before ever pronouncing final judgement on anyone. Only God knows His elect. I must however tell practicing theological and or moral heretics that they have no presently credible claim upon new life in Christ according to New Testament standards. For the reasons Paul gives in 1 Cor. 5. Hopefully their retrieval from death and the purity of the church. The fact that pretty much nobody does that anymore is not my fault and I will not be one of them.

    Lazarus is the perfect illustration of the relation between justification and sanctification. Both gifts of grace.  I certainly don’t believe that Lazarus played any part in raising himself from the dead, but once raised he did obey his masters voice and walk outta that tomb. Had he laid there stiff and stinking with no pulse, nobody would have believed he was alive. And quite rightly so. There are regenerate vital signs that EVERY saint displays. No vital signs, no life. I will not watch people die in their sin in the name of an unbiblical hesitance to tell them their words and their life betrays the deadness of their heart.

    RL says: “Additionally, whether or not an author sins by having their characters sin is not a cause/effect relationship”
    I have read exactly one single fiction book in the last over 40 years. I am neither an author nor a reader of fiction. Unless otherwise stated, I am not addressing those topics.  My issue is that, yes we ARE to judge and we DO know in a large % of cases who is a child of God or a child of Satan. Sometimes we can’t tell. I’ll get there in a minute.

    So, when Jesus doesn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery, is He excusing the practice of that sin?
    The best manuscript evidence indicates that 7:53-8:11 was most likely not part of John’s gospel. Assuming it was though, it has no bearing on this. I lived a life of BC sin that was probably worse on a few levels than this woman’s was. Jesus commands sinners, like us, to repent. When they do, they are no longer practitioners of sin. If they continue practicing sin, John says they were not truly converted and are in fact still children of the devil. Indeed the parable of the soils tells us this as well.  Definitions are required there for what “practicing” sin means though.  The prodigal was still his father’s son, even in the far country.

    RL says: “Jesus offers mercy and forgiveness”
    And bless His holy name for the fact that he does. How much mercy did he offer the pahrisees though? How much did Paul offer the Judaizers? Mercy is for hearts broken in sorrow for sin. Excommunication is for, again,  stiff necked, unrepentant moral and or theological heretics.

    RL: “John gives us those guides for our own benefit of knowing what to avoid to foster a healthy relationship with God. Not to condemn others with it.”
    It’s both. Certainly Paul and John were in agreement.
    1st Corinthians 5:
    9-I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10-I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11-But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12-For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13-But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (caps as per the Lockman NASB translation crew. OT quote.)

    RL quotes 1st Corinthians 4:5
    Paul is talking about himself being unrighteously judged by the Corinthian church as the context clearly establishes. It doesn’t appear he says this just because he as an apostle either. He’s saying that he is a person WITH a credible testimony and that if there actually were any charge against him, it is too well hidden in his heart and therefore their best knowledge does not provide a platform for judging him.

    In the very next chapter, which I quoted above,  he gives a living illustration of John’s principle.  Flagrant unrepentant sin DOES provide that platform and DEMANDS excommunication and shunning until the hoped for repentance is forthcoming.
    Stephen. Yer a blast man!! (that’s not as sarcastic as it sounds)

    I have no idea when I can help you with your comment 😉 But I’ll try as soon as I can.

    • R. L. Copple says:



      I think I mentioned that we are to judge in order to protect ourselves, and those who God has entrusted to our care. Not to judge the eternal destiny of the individual, but if a Christian persists in unrepentant sin, it threatens those who might be influenced by them, and ultimately the hope they will repent. That is the reason why Paul calls on them to separate from a sinning brother, but not from a sinning non-Christian. He is saying to judge the sin, not the person.


      IOW, I can point out to someone that a certain activity is destructive to them (the definition of sin) and if not repented of, can lead to the second death, protect those who might be influenced by it, and make it known we don’t approve of that activity, but we don’t know in any one specific case if indeed that person will go to Hell for their sin. We base our judgment on outward appearances, but God judges the heart. Someone might appear unrepentant, but in their heart be so.  Like Abraham who is called righteous by God, yet was a polygamist. As far as what the Bible says, an unrepentant one.


      Again, while the Bible calls us to judge activities as to their spiritual benefit or harm both to us and those God has placed in our care, it is clear we are to leave the judgment of the person to God. Otherwise you’ll be throwing out Scripture.


      Note: this post about not judging others is in the context of judging an author based on what they have written in a novel. Judging whether an author is a Christian or not or their relationship with God because a character sins is a sin itself, according to the Bible.


      Okay, now what do you do with the verses that say judge not lest ye be judged? How do you integrate those parts of the Bible with the ones you are quoting? It sounds as if you are advocating regularly judging people when the Bible says not to.

      • Tiribulus says:


        In 1st Corinthians 5:12 both instances of the article, translated as “those” are in the accusative case (masculine plural) making them the direct object of the sentence. We are to judge THEM. That’s what it says. That’s why THEY are being delivered to Satan and denied fellowship. Not their actions. We are to treat THEM as unbelievers until the evidence changes.

        John’s concern in the 3rd chapter of his 1st epistle is not that we will be contaminated or that any particular sin is damning anybody. It’s that an unrighteous life in general EVINCES an unregnerate heart. That’s also what HE says. “This is how you tell who is a Christian and who isn’t” is his precise point. We don’t like this kinda thing today. Sounds arrogant to our post modern western sensibilities and we’ve heard the exact opposite for a generation now from a soggy squeamish church that has been psychologized and self esteemed to death.

        And yes we can know somebody’s heart. Just not as directly and comprehensively as God can.  The above doc is still not done LOL! (on the list) It’s from a few years ago to somebody else.

  5. Tiribulus says:

    RL asks: “Okay, but I still ask, how do you interpret the passages, many of them, that say not to judge? What do you think that means?”
    Not to sound oversimplistic or cliche, but context is everything.

    There are some things which we are NEVER allowed to judge. As in telling somebody that they WILL go to hell. Only God knows who WILL be in heaven and hell. That’s not the same though as telling them that they are on their way there now.

    We also are forbidden from judging others as regards “things indifferent” in themselves. (as the old reformers called them) Eating and drinking and holy days and festivals as in those passages. Along with their actual moral equivalents. Romans 14 most notably.  (1st Cor. 6 and 10 etc as well) The trouble with this is that the modern degenerate church has devised astonishing new and creative ways to extend this legitimate principle to all manner of wickedness. Especially in the areas of “art” and media entertainment.  To the point where one’s spiritual maturity is seen as a direct function of how much blasphemy, blood and pornography they consume.  Some of them who’s name’s I’m pretty confident you know. You may even be one yourself.  I don’t know. The vast majority of the church in that category now though.

    Along those same lines we are not to bind the conscience with precepts or principles that are not either explicitly stated or deduced by “good and necessary consequence”  from the scriptures. In chapter 4 of his epistle, James says that would be judging God’s law, by implicitly declaring it either wrong or deficient or both. A REAL no no.

    As is very strongly implied in your 1 Cor. 4 passage for instance, Paul tells them that where there is no objective evidence of one’s sinfully dead state, leave them to God.

    Before I spend another hour on this, please do read the above doc http://tiribulus.net/judge.html

    After reading this comment and that document, please give me passages which you feel are still troublesome for me in what I’m saying. and I’ll do my best to address them. There are eternal consequences as well ones right now for the church if we don’t take a stab at getting this right. I contend that we have been getting it wrong for quite a while now and been quite content in doing so.

    STEPHEN. I apologize. I must confess. I’m (kinda) pushing your buttons because I know it gets you all worked up. I honestly don’t mean anything malicious by it, AT ALL, but it’s still not nice.  I’ll make a concerted effort to be better.

    • R. L. Copple says:

      There are some things which we are NEVER allowed to judge. As in telling somebody that they WILL go to hell. Only God knows who WILL be in heaven and hell. That’s not the same though as telling them that they are on their way there now.


      Sounds like what I’ve been saying. So in principle, we agree. I think it may be in application where we have some differences.


      Allow me to state it a little differently to get across what I’m saying.


      The judging Jesus said not to do is that which originates with pride. Much like the Pharisee who judged the publican, “I thank Thee, O Lord, that I am not like that publican.” This is the kind of judging that is designed to make one feel better about themselves. Who want to validate that, “I’m right! I’m holy!” and by inference, “You are not.” No matter how right we are in whether the other person’s sin is leading them to Hell or not, the result of that kind of judgment is condemning to the one who judges just as surely as the one who is in sin.


      Judging that comes from love is concerned about the person. That is, with warning them and doing so in a supportive role, not a condemning role. By reaching out a hand to help pull them up, not by pointing a finger as they inch toward the cliff. The later does no one any good. It is one thing to say, “Watch out, you’re about to fall to your death,” and another to shout, “You’re going to die!” Not that God cannot use the later, but it is the difference of the heart giving the warning.


      The bottom line is that too often Christians use the verses you’ve been giving as a way to justify their prideful legalism, to take their interpretations of what is sin and promote it as if God descended from on high and gave them His blessing. (I’m not saying you are doing this, I don’t know you or your heart.)


      For example, the denomination I used to be a part of was against any kind of alcohol. The general sense of things is that if you drank it, you weren’t a Christian. Holy Christians simply didn’t do that “sin”. Now we both know that the Bible has no prohibitions on drinking alcohol. Indeed, actually promotes it in places. The only thing it does list as a sin is getting drunk. Like anything, alcohol can be abused in excess. But there are people out there who upon finding out I occasionally drink a beer or glass of wine, will consign me to the pits of Hell. Or at least feel a need to warn me I’m on the fast track to it.


      Likewise, my Reality novels, which have people drinking ale, and in one instance a main character gets drunk, would believe I’m not a Christian, because a Christian wouldn’t put that in his book (even though it is clear in context that getting drunk was a bad move on her part).


      A review that points a finger and says the author is not a Christian because he or she put X in their novel, does nothing more than point a finger and say, “You’re going to die.” “You’re going to Hell.” That does little good and puts the judger’s soul in jeopardy, per Scripture.


      Now sometimes God can use that, as in the case of Jonah. Jonah didn’t call for Nineveh to repent. He just said something along the lines of “Get ready! God’s gonna kill you all.” But that didn’t stop God from dealing with Jonah’s prideful attitude that was more concerned about his own reputation as a prophet than he did about the people of Nineveh. He wanted them to die and prove he was right.


      Pride vs. humility. Hate vs. love. One can judge from either perspective, but the fruit of one side of the equation looks a whole lot different than the prideful side. If we’re as comfortable with God judging us as harshly, judge away. As Jesus said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”


      • Tiribulus says:

        The publican and pharisee were on my next list of things to bring up. I only have a minute here. Lemme start by saying that a heart that takes glee or self righteous satisfaction in declaring the judgement of others is itself highly suspect at best. Even if the assessment is correct.  NObody who truly understands their own sin and gracious redemption can be anything but grieved over the observation of somebody’s else’s damning attitudes and actions.

        In the famous list of things God hates in Proverbs 16, those that are an abomination to Him? Topping off that list is not homosexuality, or adultery or murder or even direct blasphemy. Number one is “haughty eyes”. The heart of the pharisee.

        Indeed there is no doubt here. ANYthing, whether judgement or whatever else that is motivated by self satisfaction is by biblical definition one of God’s most hated attitudes.

        The exact tone taken in carrying out the pronouncement of sin is determined on a case by case basis. A floundering person who recognizes their sin as sin, but yet refuses counsel and correction is dealt with more gently than someone who is openly condoning and promoting pornography as a righteous Christian liberty for those who are “mature” enough to partake. For instance.
        The latter is a dangerous tumor upon the body. The former is not actually embracing sin or trying to convince others that when mature enough they can too.

        Another thing NO person, male or female, young or old, who is fighting the Romans 7 war should EVER be abandoned to fight it without the support of the body. The mere presence of even the worst and most heinous sin is not grounds for excommunication if they are seeking God, counsel and accountability to defeat it. Even if it goes on for years. THAT is when they need their brothers and sister most.  Let’s understand that too.

        Oh shoot. Gotta go 🙂

        As far alcohol? Please see here: http://tiribulus.net/wordpress/?p=296

  6. Tiribulus says:

    Ok. What’d I say? Do I have really bad breath or something? 😉 Everybody disappeared.

  7. Alex Mellen says:

    Let this be a kind, honest review of commentors in general 😉 : If the comment is longer than a screen-length, I tend to skim or skip ahead. Sometimes this is because one person and the author have gotten into a detailed conversation–not a bad thing, but it doesn’t always interest me. Maybe emails would work better in some cases?

What do you think?