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A Christian should be judgmental, forceful, demanding, and threatening when sharing the message of salvation in Jesus Christ

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With 1 vote and 3 points ahead, the winner is ...

Fruit_Inspector
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I claim this is an incorrect approach which should never be used. To begin, I would humbly ask the PRO to justify this approach in the face of:
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:15 ESV

Round 1
Con
I'll start short and ask, from the description, 


To begin, I would humbly ask the PRO to justify this approach in the face of:

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:15 ESV

Pro
It seems that your intention was to argue against a Westboro Baptist type approach to evangelism in this debate. I do not approve of that particular approach either. However, I specifically accepted this debate because of the terms you used in the topic sentence: judgmental, forceful, demanding, and threatening. While there are negative connotations often associated with these, the words themselves are completely legitimate in describing a biblical approach to evangelism. I will provide definitions from Merriam-Webster but I am not tied to those specific wordings. I will then explain how these terms are biblically acceptable, then end with a brief interaction with 1 Peter 3:15. My goal here is not to nitpick in semantics. I just hope to show that using words such as these in a limited way can create a negative view of biblical evangelism by equating it with groups like Westboro Baptists. I hope this doesn't vary too far from your intention for this debate, and I hope it is a fruitful discussion for both parties.

Judgmental
Definition:
  1. of, relating to, or involving judgment
  2. characterized by a tendency to judge harshly

The second definition of this word is somewhat imprecise since it is only referring one particular type of judgment - harsh ones - as opposed to speaking of judgments in general as the first definition states. Biblically speaking, Jesus actually calls us to "judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24 ESV). It is unjust judgments that are condemned here. But making judgments about a person, when done honestly and justly, is both acceptable and necessary. Evangelism requires judgment. We must determine whether a person is a follower of Christ or not. We discern this through verbal profession and examining one's fruit (hence the name "fruit inspector"). If we are going to call sinners to repentance, we must judge if we are speaking with an unrepentant sinner.

Forceful
Definition
  1. possessing or filled with force: EFFECTIVE

The negative connotation carries the picture of a crass individual shouting religious slogans at people. That is only a limited use of the word though. The general use of the word does not require it to be negative. Other definitions include words like vigorous or assertive. These are the words I would use to describe the preaching in the book of Acts. I would not hesitate to say that the preaching of Peter and Paul was forceful. The message of the Apostles was delivered with force and power from Jerusalem to the rest of the world.

Demanding
Definition:
  1. requiring much time, effort, or attention
(Alternate term) "Demand"
Defintion:
  1. to call for something in an authoritative way : to make a demand

The definition of “demand” seemed more appropriate with what I assume was your intention, but I included both. Again, the negative connotation seems to allude to a person carrying a "Turn or Burn!" sign through the streets. While I think the motivation behind this type of behavior is misguided and I would discourage this particular activity, the fact remains that the gospel is a call to repent and be saved from eternal punishment (Acts 2:38-40). Jesus issued a call to discipleship in Luke 14:25-35 that was perhaps more demanding than any other call. "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). If we convey a gospel that is less demanding than the one Christ proclaimed, it becomes a gospel of our own making.

Threatening
Definition:
  1. expressing or suggesting a threat of harm, danger, etc.
  2. indicating or suggesting the approach of possible trouble or danger

I could be wrong, but I do not think even Westboro Baptists make personal threats of harm or violence against others. There are perhaps few Christians, even nominal ones, who would do so today. However, we are to indicate the approach of possible danger to unsaved people. Jesus warned of the threat of impending doom for the unrighteous in Matthew 13:40-42:

"Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

There is even punishment for the one who refuses to warn others when God has pronounced judgment:

"If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand" (Ezekiel 3:18).

If we are going to give people a message that they can be saved through faith in Christ, we must also tell them what they are being saved from. Now we cannot know the hearts of individuals. However, we can say with divine authority that if a person does not repent of their sin and place their faith in Christ, they will go to a place of eternal torment for their wickedness. That was Jesus’ message. I can’t think of anything more threatening than that.

1 Peter 3:15
I will only briefly address this verse here to emphasize my point that evangelism can and should be done in the definitional sense of the aforementioned terms. We can discuss it more fully in later rounds, but the key word in this passage for our context is “gentleness.” It is actually the same word translated “meekness.” This is important because it does not simply mean to be nice or inoffensive. The gospel is an offensive message and will be opposed and rejected by many. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Thus, our methods of evangelism cannot be derived from how well people receive our message. Our methods come from Scripture.

Our gentleness - or meekness - is based on the fact that we have no authority over the individual, nor can we change the message we are to preach. We have no selfish motives in evangelizing. We are not trying to exalt ourselves or our own wisdom; we are exalting Christ. We have no room to boast because we are in need of the same grace and salvation. We are simply ambassadors who are under the full authority of Christ to bring His message. But this message has power, so we deliver it forcefully. The grace of God is free, yet He demands of us everything. We are to make righteous judgments about the individuals around us, as well as their actions for the purpose of calling them to repentance. And for those who are living in unrepentant sin, we lovingly warn them of the threat that faces their soul.
Round 2
Con
It seems that your intention was to argue against a Westboro Baptist type approach to evangelism in this debate. I do not approve of that particular approach either. However, I specifically accepted this debate because of the terms you used in the topic sentence: judgmental, forceful, demanding, and threatening. While there are negative connotations often associated with these, the words themselves are completely legitimate in describing a biblical approach to evangelism. I will provide definitions from Merriam-Webster but I am not tied to those specific wordings. I will then explain how these terms are biblically acceptable, then end with a brief interaction with 1 Peter 3:15. My goal here is not to nitpick in semantics. I just hope to show that using words such as these in a limited way can create a negative view of biblical evangelism by equating it with groups like Westboro Baptists. I hope this doesn't vary too far from your intention for this debate, and I hope it is a fruitful discussion for both parties.
This is fantastic. I'm excited. Both that you agree and for your proposed discussion. Let's do it!  Also, yes you're spot on with your assumption. That'll be a useful addition if I start another like this in the future. I have a feeling I'd likely be bringing up a lot of the same points you're about to make. 



The second definition of this word is somewhat imprecise since it is only referring one particular type of judgment - harsh ones - as opposed to speaking of judgments in general as the first definition states. Biblically speaking, Jesus actually calls us to "judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24 ESV).
- Yes I agree, contrasting with the (don't judge a book by it's cover) appearance based judgements. 
But may I offer an alternative consideration here? My only nagging thought, but it's God's place alone to judge.

The verse preceeding gives an example:

If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?
John 7:23 ESV

Could this perhaps moreso refer to don't make a judgment of the status of another's heart with God based on appearances. Not necessarily judgement regarding specific actions. I think we'd then want to move into verses about how to correct another believer. But as for the unbeliever, I think again that's not saying hey, go get right with Jesus. And here's why I think you need to (the believer correction model) but instead (generally) you sinned you need to go find Jesus. 

Either way we simply are stopping and offering an arrow to Christ, not ourselves.


It is unjust judgments that are condemned here. But making judgments about a person, when done honestly and justly, is both acceptable and necessary. Evangelism requires judgment. We must determine whether a person is a follower of Christ or not. We discern this through verbal profession and examining one's fruit (hence the name "fruit inspector"). If we are going to call sinners to repentance, we must judge if we are speaking with an unrepentant sinner.
-- I think my last response supports a conflict with this idea. I think your mention of fruit is for a believer not unbeliever. The Holy Spirit has not transformation the unbeliever to bother looking for fruit. My understanding at least.
I do want to further call out "we determine whether a person is a follower of Christ or not". I disagree and mentioned that above. I think this is important and so if you disagree with my logic, would you mind taking our time and fleshing it out? I guess my ask, in the face of these verses how can we as believers justify a position of inferring another's salvation status with God as a means for deciding with whom needs the Gospel?

“If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemy besieges them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways ( for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our fathers.
1 Kings 8:37‭-‬40 ESV

Specifically "( for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind)"  

And then
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 4:11‭-‬12 ESV




The negative connotation carries the picture of a crass individual shouting religious slogans at people. That is only a limited use of the word though. The general use of the word does not require it to be negative. Other definitions include words like vigorous or assertive. These are the words I would use to describe the preaching in the book of Acts. I would not hesitate to say that the preaching of Peter and Paul was forceful. The message of the Apostles was delivered with force and power from Jerusalem to the rest of the world.
-- I definitely was referring to the first case. Everything else about vigor and assertiveness I completely agree. Well said and Amen!


The definition of “demand” seemed more appropriate with what I assume was your intention, but I included both. Again, the negative connotation seems to allude to a person carrying a "Turn or Burn!" sign through the streets. While I think the motivation behind this type of behavior is misguided and I would discourage this particular activity, the fact remains that the gospel is a call to repent and be saved from eternal punishment (Acts 2:38-40). Jesus issued a call to discipleship in Luke 14:25-35 that was perhaps more demanding than any other call. "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). If we convey a gospel that is less demanding than the one Christ proclaimed, it becomes a gospel of our own making.
-- Again, very well said. I agree completely. 




I could be wrong, but I do not think even Westboro Baptists make personal threats of harm or violence against others. There are perhaps few Christians, even nominal ones, who would do so today. However, we are to indicate the approach of possible danger to unsaved people. Jesus warned of the threat of impending doom for the unrighteous in Matthew 13:40-42:

"Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

There is even punishment for the one who refuses to warn others when God has pronounced judgment:

"If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand" (Ezekiel 3:18).

If we are going to give people a message that they can be saved through faith in Christ, we must also tell them what they are being saved from. Now we cannot know the hearts of individuals. However, we can say with divine authority that if a person does not repent of their sin and place their faith in Christ, they will go to a place of eternal torment for their wickedness. That was Jesus’ message. I can’t think of anything more threatening than that.
-- once again, well said. I would only offer that perhaps I think of it less as a threat and more as filling you in on the ramifications of your free choice to reject God. If you see what I'm saying, which you've been remarkably accurate at my intended meanings so far. That's rare, my brain works weird haha 


1 Peter 3:15
I will only briefly address this verse here to emphasize my point that evangelism can and should be done in the definitional sense of the aforementioned terms. We can discuss it more fully in later rounds, but the key word in this passage for our context is “gentleness.” It is actually the same word translated “meekness.” This is important because it does not simply mean to be nice or inoffensive. The gospel is an offensive message and will be opposed and rejected by many. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Thus, our methods of evangelism cannot be derived from how well people receive our message. Our methods come from Scripture.

Our gentleness - or meekness - is based on the fact that we have no authority over the individual, nor can we change the message we are to preach. We have no selfish motives in evangelizing. We are not trying to exalt ourselves or our own wisdom; we are exalting Christ. We have no room to boast because we are in need of the same grace and salvation. We are simply ambassadors who are under the full authority of Christ to bring His message. But this message has power, so we deliver it forcefully. The grace of God is free, yet He demands of us everything. We are to make righteous judgments about the individuals around us, as well as their actions for the purpose of calling them to repentance. And for those who are living in unrepentant sin, we lovingly warn them of the threat that faces their soul.

-- agreed. See every God fearing sermon on whats actually meant by turn the other cheek. Awesome. That was great!







Pro
I was just able to get this done. I am glad there is much that we are in agreement on, and I would be interested to see you debate someone on this topic in the future. I don't know if there are many of those types of people here but it would certainly be an intriguing debate if you found one. You have brought up some excellent points worth digging into.

Forceful
Since we seem to have found some common ground on this particular term, I would propose perhaps using a different one to clarify the attitude you were describing. I think "belligerent" would be a good substitute, but I'm sure there are others you could find. I believe this would still convey that "in your face" aspect you were going for.


Demanding
As with the previous term, we have again found some common ground. I would propose another word change. To be clear, these suggestions simply reflect my preferences so do with them what you will. I do believe these suggestions would help distinguish the misguided approach of the Westboro Baptist types from the biblical approach. I believe the word "coercive" would be better suited to capture the overly aggressive approach you were referring to. But again, there are other terms that would also fit.

Threatening
I am not as concerned about this term. I do think it is justified in its use to describe one aspect of the gospel. I also agree that a word such as "warning" might be better suited than saying judgment is a "threat," at least from our perspective because we are not the one carrying out said judgment. I will take a neutral position on this specific term.

Judgmental
I saved this term for last because it deserves the most discussion. I agree that we are not to make final judgments on people's salvation in the sense that we are the determiner of whether a person is condemned. That is God's role.

But "judgment" also refers to distinguishing between certain types of people such as true and false prophets. Jesus said we can know them by their fruits: "A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit" (Matthew 7:18). We can see here that fruit is a general term for outward results of an inward condition that is not limited to believers. The fruit of the Spirit is a very specific use of the general meaning. So we can and must identify false prophets based on a judgment of their actions/fruit.

But how do we determine who to share the gospel with? To reiterate my previous point, evangelism requires me to deduce that someone is a sinner who is under condemnation. It gets trickier when we are dealing with false converts. What if someone claims to be a Christian, yet denies essential doctrines while living in perpetual sin? Do we still take them at their word? I believe this conundrum shows the wisdom of God in laying out a process of church discipline in Matthew 18.

I would argue the process of church discipline requires us to make judgments (not final condemnations to hell) regarding that individual. The necessity of multiple witnesses compensates for our fallibility in making these judgments. But what is the end result according to Matthew 18:17?

"If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

Treat them like an unbeliever who needs the gospel.

It should also be noted that while James 4:11-12 does condemn pronouncing damnation on a person as though we were God, it does not condemn calling out individuals over sin. We are commanded to do so.

To summarize this point, we do not get to make a final pronouncement over an individual's salvation. But we must use discernment founded upon Scripture in order to make certain non-salvific judgments about individuals. This is especially pertinent to identifying false prophets. We must also show great diligence and care when confronting sin in the church.

Challenge
To keep the spirit of the debate going, perhaps we could focus in on the term judgmental. Given the route of our discussion, I would be interested to hear your response now as to why a Christian should never be judgmental in their approach to sharing the gospel, especially given the varied usage of the word throughout Scripture.
Round 3
Con
Thank you for what's thus far been a engaging and thought provoking conversation!

Quote 

"I was just able to get this done. I am glad there is much that we are in agreement on, and I would be interested to see you debate someone on this topic in the future. I don't know if there are many of those types of people here but it would certainly be an intriguing debate if you found one. You have brought up some excellent points worth digging into.".
-- Well thank you. I appreciate that. Same to you brother. 

Quote
"Forceful
Since we seem to have found some common ground on this particular term, I would propose perhaps using a different one to clarify the attitude you were describing. I think "belligerent" would be a good substitute, but I'm sure there are others you could find. I believe this would still convey that "in your face" aspect you were going for."
-- I love that suggestion and agree!


Quote
"Demanding
As with the previous term, we have again found some common ground. I would propose another word change. To be clear, these suggestions simply reflect my preferences so do with them what you will. I do believe these suggestions would help distinguish the misguided approach of the Westboro Baptist types from the biblical approach. I believe the word "coercive" would be better suited to capture the overly aggressive approach you were referring to. But again, there are other terms that would also fit."
-- love it. Agreed. 


Quote
"Threatening
I am not as concerned about this term. I do think it is justified in its use to describe one aspect of the gospel. I also agree that a word such as "warning" might be better suited than saying judgment is a "threat," at least from our perspective because we are not the one carrying out said judgment. I will take a neutral position on this specific term."
-- Good with that too. Let's just agree to some fluidity and specification if this comes up again later?


Quote
"Judgmental
I saved this term for last because it deserves the most discussion. I agree that we are not to make final judgments on people's salvation in the sense that we are the determiner of whether a person is condemned. That is God's role."
-- agreed. I would also say we should have no expectations of identifying any persons sins. More, noticed is fair to start from?

Quite
"But "judgment" also refers to distinguishing between certain types of people such as true and false prophets. Jesus said we can know them by their fruits: "A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit" (Matthew 7:18). We can see here that fruit is a general term for outward results of an inward condition that is not limited to believers. The fruit of the Spirit is a very specific use of the general meaning. So we can and must identify false prophets based on a judgment of their actions/fruit."
-- I'm with you. I dont have a fully formed concise idea here yet and am curious to think through a little further. Whats the context that follows these tests? Like is there a format of here's the test to help you discern (requires wisdom, supplied by God alone). Now that you've discerned... what's next? Jesus gave calls to action following something. For example, now that you've been saved, go make disciples by spreading the Gospel. The message of hope.

For Matthew chapter 7, it goes on to say the bad trees are cut down and thrown in the fire (imagery for unsaved at judgement day). But Jesus doesn't add and the good trees tried to change the bad trees to good. But thats just a thought experiment. 
Interesting that the very next parable is the I never knew you one for false Christians. Again referencing judgement day and nothing about an expectation of believers. The next is build your house on the words of Jesus (rock). Then a bit about the ultimate authority of Jesus and the chapter wraps. 
I'm just thinking out loud but I see a model being shown. Perhaps the purpose of the bad fruit isn't to say, there's a non-believer, convert him! It's to say, oh this church is not showing good fruit. In fact, it's showing the fruits of the flesh, ill stay away. Or, man I really think this person should be my mentor, oh wait what fruit is he producing? As such we always are reminded to fix our eyes to Jesus and his ultimate authority and now have a test to potentially avoid getting sucked into something or someone who's producing bad fruit. So you can then build your house on the rock. And submit to the authority of Jesus, in the order Matthew records these actually. 




Quote
"But how do we determine who to share the gospel with?"
-- Based on what I'm thinking through above (literally in real time, so like go talk to your pastor about this before being like hey I think thats right. I will be for sure)

I would now argue everyone. It's the most important message ever brought to us and one that Jesus essentially reminds us to tell ourselves daily anyway:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9:23 ESV

Doesn't that basically say if you're a Christian (happens moment you say yes to follow) you should take up your cross. Acknowledge your sin (repent and place Jesus at #1) or the gospel. Then as believers we'd want to encourage each other by reminding each other too?

If that's true, I'm just spit balling here, but wouldn't it support that you just tell everyone. Don't stop proclaiming no matter who hears! Not just the non-believers. Because we don't just need to hear it once. We need to hear it every day. Thoughts on that rant?

Quote
"To reiterate my previous point, evangelism requires me to deduce that someone is a sinner who is under condemnation. It gets trickier when we are dealing with false converts. What if someone claims to be a Christian, yet denies essential doctrines while living in perpetual sin? Do we still take them at their word? I believe this conundrum shows the wisdom of God in laying out a process of church discipline in Matthew 18."
-- Yes but now we're at internal church leadership and members. A different topic. Timothy talks about having witnesses for elders. Theres always some kind of check and balance because we as humans are so often wrong. 

Quote
"I would argue the process of church discipline requires us to make judgments (not final condemnations to hell) regarding that individual. The necessity of multiple witnesses compensates for our fallibility in making these judgments. But what is the end result according to Matthew 18:17?"
-- but not individual judgements of individuals. And don't you do most if not all of your evangelism not in a group? Or wouldn't most non missionary believers? 
And for Matthew 18, actually check out the verse right before 17.

But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
Matthew 18:16 ESV

Never one on one judgement. And never without God. And always to point to God and His perfect Law. 


Quote

"If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

Treat them like an unbeliever who needs the gospel.

It should also be noted that while James 4:11-12 does condemn pronouncing damnation on a person as though we were God, it does not condemn calling out individuals over sin. We are commanded to do so."
- but again I think not as individuals ourselves. Woah. Just hit me. Doesn't God technically always have 3 unique persons as a witness?

Quote

"To summarize this point, we do not get to make a final pronouncement over an individual's salvation. But we must use discernment founded upon Scripture in order to make certain non-salvific judgments about individuals. This is especially pertinent to identifying false prophets. We must also show great diligence and care when confronting sin in the church."
- i laid out a lot. Ill let you respond rather than resummarize 

Quote

"Challenge
To keep the spirit of the debate going, perhaps we could focus in on the term judgmental. Given the route of our discussion, I would be interested to hear your response now as to why a Christian should never be judgmental in their approach to sharing the gospel, especially given the varied usage of the word throughout Scripture."
-- Given my responses above, I find I agree haha. This has been seriously awesome. 





Pro
I appreciate you being willing to let me vary slightly from the topic and turning it into more of a discussion than a highly contentious debate. We have found common ground in most of our discussion, but it has been helpful to bring up areas where we differ as well. I will address the points you brought up regarding the term "judgmental." I have summarized your points as fairly as I can, and I have placed them into separate headings to interact.

"Matthew 7 provides no call to action after identifying a 'bad tree.' Rather, it is only to help Christians know which teachers or movements to avoid."
Let's break down some issues related to this topic.

Matthew 7:1-5 addresses how to deal with sin among believers. It is basically saying not to hold others to a higher standard than you give yourself. Rather, ask repentance for and seek to eliminate a particular area of sin in your life (such as lying). Then you can address that area of sin in the life of someone else. Not to do so would be hypocritical.

Matthew 7:6 actually places a limit on the extent that we share the gospel with a hostile unbeliever. How we apply that principle goes beyond the scope of this discussion, but it does show we do not have an obligation to keep giving the gospel to a particular individual in the face of their continual rejection. How we determine when that point comes requires wise judgment. This is also a call to action once a judgment has been made in that situation.

Matthew 7:7-11 is a call to action for prayer. This will probably sound like foolishness to most people who may read through our discussion, but prayer is likely the most essential thing we can do when dealing with important issues like this one. I pray for wisdom and discernment when interacting with people because I know that these things are blessings from God. I would never want to rely on my own wisdom, so I ask for it from our gracious Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:12 can be applied here as well. If I were not a Christian, how would I want a Christian to treat me? By telling me that I am a sinner bound for hell, with only one way of escape. That fact helps guide my actions toward unbelievers in a loving way, knowing I was once a slave to my sin as well.

I agree with you that this chapter helps us to identify dangerous teachers and movements. But it also does provide calls to action. We must also not neglect other calls to actions regarding unbelievers, false teachers, and false religion found elsewhere in Scripture.

"We should share the gospel with everyone indiscriminately."
You are right in saying the message of the gospel is for everyone. However, the way in which we share it, and selecting which parts of the gospel we share is not the same between believers and unbelievers. We all should be reminded of the seriousness of sin and our need for repentance on a daily basis. But repentance for a believer is different than for an unbeliever. An unbeliever must repent of their rejection of God as Lord, die to the lusts of their flesh, and turn from their love of sin to a love for God.

Reminding a believer of the truths of the gospel does not call for a new call to receive Christ as Lord. A believer cannot become enslaved to sin again after being freed, so there is no need to die again to their flesh because they have already done so. The believer has also already turned to a love for God.

We will waver in our walk with God and must ask for forgiveness when we sin at those times. The gospel promises God will forgive those sins when we ask Him. But that call to repentance is far different than the call to repentance for a hellbound sinner. This person needs to hear that a failure to repent and place their faith in Christ will result in the just punishment of eternal torment as a penalty for sin.

We must judge between believer and non-believer because you would not tell a Christian they must repent and be saved from hell. Nor would you tell an unbeliever that they have already attained salvation through their faith. We must make a judgment who we are speaking to, and that affects how we speak to them.

"We should not make individual 'one on one' judgments of others. However, these judgments can possibly be made with multiple witnesses."
The church discipline process in Matthew 18 does require multiple witnesses, except for step one: approaching the person in private. What does that look like?

I notice that my fellow believer is taking part in a particular sin. After evaluating my own heart and making sure I am not taking part in that same sin ("take the log out of your own eye"), I make a personal judgment that I need to approach that individual to confront their sin. That is an individual, one on one judgment that happens. Again, not judgment in terms of pronouncing damnation, but judgment in discerning that my brother needs his sin addressed for the purpose of restoration.

It is only after I have made my individual one on one judgment - as well as no repentance resulting from this first confrontation - do I seek out fellow witnesses to confirm my judgment.

"Since we become Christians as soon as we say yes to follow, we can simply keep preaching the same gospel of repentance to everyone all the time."
I have addressed this point partially in a previous section, but let me expand a bit on who the Christian is. Regarding your statement, "we become Christians when we say yes to follow," I would just like to add some clarification. As Luke 14:25-35 lays out, discipleship (literally being a follower) is not easy. It is the most costly thing a person can do.

To be clear, no amount of good things we do will ever earn our salvation. All of us have acted wickedly against a perfectly good and just God. He would not be just if He did not punish us for that sin. Yet He made a way for us to be saved from this punishment. He sent His Son Jesus - being fully God Himself - to die in our place. But we must turn from our wickedness and trust in Him alone to make us right with God and be freed from our slavery to sin.

That part is key because it defines the true nature of every single person in the world. They are either a slave to sin or a slave to Christ. There is no in between. What's the message for slaves to sin?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30


There is hope for the one enslaved to sin who has a burden of condemnation upon them. But compare that to the message for believers:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23


I would love for anyone who isn't a Christian to have that confidence in their eternal destiny. But it would be a lie to say that to anyone who has not placed their faith in Christ. So when I speak with someone whom I have judged is not a Christian to the best of my ability, my delivery of the gospel will be to warn and to plead with one message: come to Jesus.