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JOE’S NOTEBOOK: The Coming Church Split, part 3

June 20, 2021

3. Churches That Embrace Versus Churches That Judge

Switching gears a little, another emerging line centers on the attitudes church leaders have toward the community they’re trying to reach.

So let’s start here: Judged anyone lately?

Sadly, the answer for most of us (including me) is… yes.

From the guy who cut you off in traffic, to the off-beat person who’s not picking up the social cues you’re sending, to your weed-smoking neighbor… it’s so easy to judge as the culture becomes more and more post-Christian.

And judgment just gets worse from there. It’s the basis of racism, sexism and almost every other ‘ism’ you can think of.

Churches that embrace the people they’re trying to reach will have a much better future than churches that judge them.

Judgment is also fundamentally incompatible with authentic Christian faith.

Jesus said Christians should be known for how deeply we love. Yet for years now, studies have shown that in the eyes of many non-Christians, we’re known for how deeply we judge, not for how deeply we love.

The problem in many cases is not that unchurched people don’t know any Christians. The problem is that they do. And they don’t like us—for good reason.

A Barna study revealed that 62% of lapsed Christians said the #1 quality they look for in a person with whom to discuss faith is ‘non-judgment.’

Only 34% said they know any Christians who possess this quality.


In the evangelical church today (and, yes, despite the reputation, I consider myself an evangelical), the hard edge of ‘truth’ has crushed many. And one of the most frequent expressions of loveless truth is found in judgment.

The presence of judgment almost always guarantees an absence of love.

I try to remember this rule: If I’m judging someone, I’m not loving them. You can’t judge someone and love them at the same time.

Pastors who love the people they’re trying to reach have a much better chance of reaching them than pastors who judge them.

— Carey Nieuwhof

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