CPRC Men’s Bible Study
Chapters 17 and 19
Judgmentalism and sins of the tongue
First of all regarding Bridges comments on worship we noted he failed to address the Regulative Principle when it comes to the content and means of worship (p142). He does not seem to understand the meaning in context of Matthew 7:1-5 which is about hypocritical judging (p144). His definition of one aspect of slander (p161) we thought very good.
- People generally quote Matthew 7:1 as it’s one of the few Bible verses they know and they do it when they feel judged or genuinely believe are being judged wrongfully. They think this verse prohibits all judging when in fact it was levelled particularly at the Pharisees who were judging Christ and others hypocritically and wrongly.
- We judge righteous judgment according to the standard of Scripture and the Creeds. We judge all that the Bible condemns. The Pharisees’ thoughts and actions were out of hypocrisy, hatred and wishing Christ’s destruction.
- We should judge sin in society, serious sin in family, friends and brethren and wisely, when appropriate sin in unbelievers. We must judge all teaching we hear preached or we read in written form.
- If we fail in this area false teaching and serious sin will enter our churches and divide and destroy them. This is why the believer, the consistory, the classis and the synod all have their place in church discipline.
- Personally we apply Matt.18 when sinned against and James 5:19-20 when we observe serious or public sin. If personal exhortation fails we take it to the consistory.
- Judgmentalism is based on pride and self-righteousness. It is externalism and denies human depravity. It seeks to exalt self in the eyes of others or God and issues in repeated criticism of things that are indifferent (adiaphora of Romans 14).
- Applying the NT exhortations regarding speech we will avoid blasphemy, gossip, slander, putting people down by name-calling, expletives and questionable jokes.
John Gill on Eph.5:4,”Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting”
The former of these may include all filthy gestures and behaviour, every indecent habit and attire, and all actions which have a tendency to excite lust; and also all impure words, these discover an impure heart, and are the means of corrupting men’s minds and manners; filthy speaking, is a verbal commission of the things that are spoken of; and it may include all impure songs and books, and the reading or hearing of them; this is what the Jews call (hp lwbn) , “filthiness of the mouth”, obscene words; which they say they do not use on feast days, as the Gentiles do F9: “foolish talking” does not so much design every imprudent thing that is said, as that which is wicked, corrupt, unsavoury, light, vain, idle, and unprofitable; and takes in all fabulous stories, and mimicking of fools in words and gestures: and “jesting”, when it is with wantonness, and excites unto it, and is inconsistent with truth, and when the Scriptures are abused by it, and not our neighbour’s edification, but hurt, is promoted by it, ought not to be used:
which are not convenient;
are disagreeable to the will of God, and unsuitable to the characters of the saints, and are very unbecoming them to practise:
Finally Gill on Matthew 5:22, ”
But I say unto you whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in
danger of judgment.
By “brother” is meant, in a large sense, any man, of whatsoever country or nation: for we are to be angry with no man; that is, as is rightly added,
without a cause:
for otherwise there is an anger which is not sinful, is in God, in Christ, in the holy angels; and is commendable in the people of God, when it arises from a true zeal for religion, the glory of God, and the interest of Christ; and is kindled against sin, their own, or others, all manner of vice, false doctrine, and false worship: but it is causeless anger which is here condemned by Christ, as a breach of the law, “thou shalt not kill”; and such persons are
in danger of judgment;
not of any of the courts of judicature among the Jews, but of the judgment of God, as in the preceding “verse”, it being distinguished from the sanhedrim, or council, in the next clause.
And whosoever shall say to his brother Raca, shall be in danger
of the council,
or “sanhedrim”. The word Raca is expressive of indignation and contempt; it was used as a term of reproach. The word signifies “empty” and “vain”, and denotes a worthless, empty headed man; a man of no brains; a foolish, witless, fellow:
but whosoever shall say thou fool, shall be danger of hell fire.
The word “fool” does not signify a man of weak parts, one that is very ignorant in things natural; this the word Raca imports; but a wicked reprobate man; in which sense Solomon often uses the word. There is a manifest gradation in the text from causeless anger in the breast, or reproachful words; and from thence to a censorious judging of a man’s spiritual and eternal estate, which is what is here condemned. “Thou fool”, is, thou wicked man, thou ungodly wretch, thou graceless creature, whose portion will be eternal damnation. Calling a man by such names was not allowed of by the Jews themselves (yet they attributed Jesus’ miracles to Beelzebub!-JK).