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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Um Yes, Jesus Would Discriminate

Jul 8, 2015

There are so many clueless Christians out there who are peddling so much unbiblical nonsense that I despair greatly for the state of today’s church. While we expect worldlings to promote worldly nonsense, we don’t expect Christians to. Or at least we shouldn’t.

But on a daily basis we hear of all rather confused Christians simply regurgitating the wisdom of the world, when they should be sharing the wisdom of the Word. They have replaced biblical truth with the latest trendy clichés from the surrounding culture. And it is so very painful to behold.

The amount of errant foolishness found on the lips of so many believers is utterly staggering. They must have decided that their minds must be shut down and they are now on auto-emote. That seems to be all they do: emote from one thing to another.

One of the really ridiculous posts making the rounds in some Christian circles asks, “Would Jesus Discriminate?” Now, is that one of the most ludicrous questions a believer can ask? Of course he would! In fact he did so all the time. But since so many believers’ minds seem to have turned to mush, let me first remind them just what we are talking about when we use the word “discriminate”.

jesus 9Simply looking up the etymology of the word helps us out here. It comes from the Latin word discriminat meaning to ‘distinguish between’. The various forms of the word have to do with dividing, separating, distinguishing, etc. To discriminate then means primarily to make a clear distinction; to distinguish: to choose among the available options.

And guess what? Jesus did this all the time. He was always making distinctions. He was always making divisions. He was always bringing about separation. We find this of course everywhere in the gospels. Indeed, there is so much material here, that I will just limit myself to the Gospel of Matthew, and just offer a few verses – of many – from it.

These verses make it clear that Jesus was constantly making distinctions and bringing about divisions:

Matthew 10:14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
Matthew 10:22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matthew 10:34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Matthew 11:20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.
Matthew 13:57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

That there are different camps which people find themselves in, based on how they respond to Jesus, is also made abundantly clear. More discrimination at work here:

Matthew 6:24 No man can work for two masters. He will hate one and love the other. Or he will obey one and despise the other. You cannot work for both God and money.
Matthew 12:30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Matthew 12:32 Anyone who says anything against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But anyone who says anything against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Matthew 25:31-33 The Son of Man will be great and will come with all his holy angels. Then he will sit on his throne like a king. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will put them in two groups like a man who takes care of sheep. He puts the sheep on one side of him and he puts the goats on the other side of him. The Son of Man will put people who are like the sheep at his right side. He will put people who are like the goats at his left side.
Matthew 25:46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

No one can deny that Jesus was constantly discriminating. He was constantly making crucial distinctions. He was constantly separating the men from the boys. Let me offer just one more passage. This one has to do with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, and what he thought the core mission of Jesus was. As we read in Matthew 3:1-12:

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’?”
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Notice what John says about Jesus. He comes with a winnowing fork to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is discrimination. To separate one must first distinguish and discern which is which. The entire ministry of Jesus, according to John, is about making such distinctions. He is in the separation business.

John saw this as being at the heart of the ministry of Jesus. And it was. Wherever Jesus went he caused division, caused separation, and caused a strong reaction. Jesus had a way of doing that. Truth has a way of doing that. How can this not be the case?

So of course Jesus discriminates. He did all the time when on planet earth. And he will be doing this big time when he comes again. As we read in Revelation 20: 11-14:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Hmm, more discrimination.

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14 Responses to Um Yes, Jesus Would Discriminate

  • What we are seeing now is the sifting of the tares from the wheat in the kingdom of God and I Peter 4:17 in action.

    Bob

  • Correct, Dr Bob! And all that matters is that we are on the right side!

  • Amen. Preach it brother. I’m looking forward to standing before the Throne when the books are opened for the great and just “discrimination”.

    God bless

  • Facebook has been doing an incredible job highlighting the clueless wonder ‘Christians’ out there with their rainbow overlays!

    There are many more tares in the established church than we could imagine, even in conservative churches.

    David Clay
    Darwin

  • Matthew 23 is a massive chapter where Jesus discriminates against the religious leaders of the day and really has a go at them. It is no surprise that they wanted to get rid of Jesus after that tirade. But for some reason people want to believe in the socialist Jesus and not the Jesus of the Bible.

  • So when we are out in the world confronting such things as homosexuality which Jesus do we follow? The discriminating one or the “judge not let ye be judged”, “whoever is without sin cast the first stone”, “love thy neighbor as thyself”…etc Jesus?
    How I have personally chosen to deal with it is this: It is a sin. It doesn’t hurt anyone else and it is a decision between them and God. I have no right to stick my nose in it or interfere and I will love them as God commanded and treat them like a human being. If they came into my shop I would most certainly bake the cake for them. I also see, and support, the decision by those aren’t comfortable making a cake for them because they believe it is a sin to participate (more or less) by making the cake.
    This has been a very troubling issue for me especially with everything going on lately and I do have gay people in my life and I want to handle everything the righteous way.

  • Thanks Brandon. But it seems you are having some trouble here thinking fully biblically about this issue and related matters. For starters, only a very faulty view of what Matthew 7:1 is talking about makes it seem to compete with loving your neighbour. Of course we are to judge. We are commanded to do this over and over again in Scripture. Even Jesus told us to do so (as in John 7:24, etc.). It is only hypercritical judging that Jesus refers to in Matthew as being wrong. See more detail on this here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/10/08/thou-shalt-judge/

    The most loving thing we can do for any sinner is tell them the truth. Refusal to do so is not at all loving – it really tells us we care nothing about the person. To warn a sinner of his wrong direction, or to warn a believer who is living in known sin, is biblical love in action. Sorry, but have you picked up a bunch of worldly wisdom, while overlooking or forgetting some clear biblical teachings here?

    And how in the world can sin not hurt anyone? It obviously hurts the person committing the sin, and unrepeated of it is sending him to hell. And sinful activities always impact on others. How can they not? Of course you have a right and a biblical obligation to speak truth into the lives of others, especially those claiming to be Christians.

    And you seem confused about cake baking as well. All the Christians who have been sued, attacked and lost their businesses over this have been quite happy to make a cake for anyone – even homosexuals, Where they have drawn the line is to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple, thus becoming complicit in this official, public wedding ceremony, endorsing their sin in a public manner. I speak to this more fully here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/04/01/indiana-homosexuality-and-hypocrisy/

    In sum, to answer your question: we of course are to judge with righteous judgment, warn the sinner of his way, and in so doing, we love our neighbour as Jesus commanded us. That is the righteous way – and the biblical way.

  • “Discrimination” is one of those words stolen by the politically-correct. As you say, in its ordinary sense it simply means- well, discriminating! I remember doing a major topic in psychology long ago called “discrimination” and it looked at the ways we discriminate virtually every waking second. Those who say they want no discrimination in choosing who can marry don’t really mean it even in their sense- they tell us they still want it confined to two people, to adults, to people who are not already married, and so on. That’s discrimination, and of course we couldn’t live without discriminating all the time.

    It’s interesting trying to discuss this sort of thing on online forums (sorry- fora!) and seeing the way so many people, including Christians, are incapable of genuine argument.

  • Mr. Muehlenberg – Very well spoken. And very timely indeed. Thank you for truth and right division of the Word of God.

  • Everyone discriminates…
    We discriminate when we choose the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the programs we watch/listen. I’m likely to be discriminated against if I walk into a female toilet. This “discrimination” that is used by the left is only to serve their agenda, and the people that support this agenda just to not discriminate just shows how incredibly deceived people can get.

    I might try and get a job interview for a 7 figure salary, even though I’m not qualified for it… and then file a lawsuit if I don’t get the job. “We shouldn’t discriminate”, remember? 😛

  • Forget Arnie the Terminator, Jesus is the Discriminator.

  • Simeon foreshadowed the effect Jesus would have on every human being in Luke 2:34. I believe discrimination has 2 separate stages if properly executed. First we need as you said to distinguish between things, in the biblical sense mainly between good and evil and the next action is to choose the good. But it is the first that these agitators try to obscure by saying all is equal which it isn’t. Therefore we must learn to be Heb 5:14 christians.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • What does Matthew say about teachers who don’t discriminate? Here’s Matthew 5:17:20
    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

  • Today’s Christian clueless-ness begins with regard to basics like love and forgiveness. https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/love-basics-heresies-divorce-homosexuality-church/

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