Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Justin Trudeau, Judgment and the Angels

Waitasec ... who will judge whom?
Justin Trudeau wants to be prime minister of Canada.

This is not news. But campaigning for the highest office in the land tends to bring greater scrutiny than teaching high school; the occasional naysayer or critic comes with the territory.

No surprise then that the office of the Public Safety Minister said Trudeau showed an “appalling lack of judgment” for visiting a Montreal mosque in September. It turns out their imam teaches that stoning women and cutting the hands off thieves is necessary for a “healthy, pure and balanced society”. The minister is concerned that Trudeau’s visit lends legitimacy to the imam’s comments. 

So okay, maybe one little lapse in judgment. Nothing to make a big deal of, right?
You could make the case that Trudeau is a busy man these days. It’s not entirely his fault that his handlers failed in their due diligence — though truly, how many mosques don’t teach Sharia law?

Except that judgment thing keeps coming up where Mr. Trudeau is concerned: here, here, here and here, for example. If it were only the prime minister’s office or Sun News pointing it out, I might not even notice. But CBC, CTV, Canoe and the Whitehorse Star have all raised the issue.

Considering Trudeau’s popularity we may be seeing it for a while.

A Common Problem

To be fair, what politician COULDN’T we accuse of lack of judgment? It’s a common problem. Prime Minister Harper is regularly accused of it. President Obama? Check. The Arkansas Attorney General? Check. The Republican National Committee Secretary? Check. Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? (Wait, surely not Rob Ford!) Check.

I could go on all day.

And frankly, if you put me in the media spotlight I’m quite sure I would stick my foot in my mouth with comic regularity. When the cameras are not on and Ezra Levant is not paying attention, I suspect we all demonstrate lack of judgment with greater frequency than we’d like to dwell on. It’s not just politicians, though I bring them up because they’re the ones getting paid to make the big decisions. Lack of judgment in my house gives rise to consequences that are comparatively insignificant. Lack of judgment in the White House, on the other hand …

Judgment and Eschatology

Now of course Christians have good cause not to despair about our tendency to make the wrong call about, well, pretty much everything. We have plenty of scriptural reason to believe that in a fallen world failure is to be expected. And we look forward to a time (unless we have a very odd view of Bible prophecy) when errors in judgment in government will be very much a thing of the past.

Isaiah talks about what will “come to pass in the latter days”:
“For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples …”
(Isaiah 2:3-4)
At least for some on the earth during the millennial reign of Christ, having a perfect ruler will be a very desirable state of affairs. I find the idea of a global government run by men quite terrifying, but the idea of a global government presided over by an all-wise, all-powerful, incredibly loving King holds considerably more appeal. Isaiah says I will not be alone in that feeling: 
“Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ ”
Initially, at least, there will be a desire on the part of people from “all nations” to learn how to live from the Lord himself. That is not the reaction many of our current leaders inspire.

I’m not sure I’d be all that confident learning how to “walk in the paths” of Justin Trudeau.

Judgment and Me

But even more encouraging to me is the revelation through the apostle Paul that we, his servants, are to be equipped to administer the justice of Christ on this earth. That statement is a bit mind-boggling to me, but Paul seems to think it’s actually a rather obvious conclusion to draw from the teaching of the Old Testament:
 “… do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!”
(1 Corinthians 6:2-3)
To be honest, without Paul’s confidence on this front, I’m not sure I would have picked up this truth. It doesn’t seem intuitive to me at all. A omnipotent, holy monarch hardly needs my help, does he? Certainly he doesn’t need my help in judging another order of beings entirely. And yet, we are to judge angels. The mind reels.

But then, we are told that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in order to discern what is “good and acceptable and perfect”, because the Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth, lives within every believer. In other words, the Christian undergoes an ongoing infusion of unnaturally good judgment. That process begins immediately upon salvation, and on this basis Paul affirms that even the least of believers has access to a better, more truthful version of reality than the judge in any secular court.

That doesn’t mean Christian discernment is perfect, of course. But it does mean we should be getting better at it, day by day, month by month and year by year as we walk with the Lord in this life. That’s the theory, and I think most believers will agree they’ve seen example after example of this principle lived out in maturing saints of God.

After all, in the natural order of the world, a student is not above his teacher, but “everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher”. But in the un-natural order, the believer can say with his Lord, “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation”. 

But this is a voluntary process. We are told to “be transformed”, which means the ball is very much in our court. The Holy Spirit will guide me to the extent I make myself familiar with his word and seek his direction. The renewal of my mind will take an awfully long time if I decline to meditate on the word of God.

Our Canadian readers will breathe a collective sigh of relief to know that I have no designs on the prime minister’s office. But whether we live public lives or very private ones, considering our future roles in the millennial kingdom and the way in which we have been equipped for service, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that the lapses of judgment we read about in the news almost daily should not characterize the lives of believers.

Should they?


  1. Fun time. Hmm, I like this post's musing but, thinking of myself as a practical kind of guy who likes and preferes common sense explanations, I think there is something odd here.

    You may have noticed that I am often disconcerted by the fact that people are not seeing the forest for the trees. In other words, we are often incapable, it seems, to draw the obvious and beneficial conclusions for living our lives even with the facts and logic staring us right in the face.

    Now, it looks to me that you are suggesting, that this will be going on ad infinitum, just that the people, the judges, sorting out the mess will change. And, by the way, even angles who are supposedly already in heaven, will need to be judged? And, we still won't be able to figure out as individuals what the correct course of action is, because disputes and disagreements will continue and, it seems, forever require arbitration.

    Now, how would you sort this type of world out and how does it differ from ours? Could it be that, as an imperfect being, it is simply the natural order of things, even in a place we call heaven, that our imperfections and relative ignorance still need to be addressed on an
    ongoing basis forever? It's who we are, because only God is perfect. So, he doesn't mind dealing with our continuing squabbles, forever, and even in heaven? Now, this is all speculative, but my extrapolation from what you are speculating and proposing.

    1. I suppose it's how I read prophecy in scripture that may be confusing, Qman (one or two earlier posts on the Millennium may shed some light on those views).

      When I was growing up, my mental image of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ on Earth was almost indistinguishable from that of the Eternal State. I couldn't really see a reason for it, and wondered why it was prophesied at all. As I have studied the Bible since, it has gradually dawned on me that the purpose of the Millennium is similar to that of the Law (which was a schoolmaster to show mankind through the Jews that Good Rules don't make Good People).

      That is to say, the Thousand Years are intended to teach another lesson about man in his fallen state: this time it's that a Perfect Society does not make Good People. This is a lesson the Left consistently fails to learn. Communist theory is that man is perfectible by means of social engineering. God says "Not so". And one day, that will be made very clear.

      Sorry, back to the "judgment" angle. But it is clear there will be unsaved individuals on earth during Christ's millennial reign that will rebel at the end of it when Satan is loosed from the bottomless pit. It is these individuals who will be in need of our judgment and the Lord's during that period.

      I think our life on earth is a process of growing in grace and in the knowledge of the ways of the Lord Jesus, basically acquiring through our life experience superior judgment, to the extent that we lean on the indwelling Holy Spirit to teach us. The experiences of this life, combined with being united with Christ at his return and receiving our glorified bodies like his own, will equip us to serve him during his millennial reign as judges over some portion of the earth on his behalf (I think of the parable of the talents in Luke 19: "ruler over 10 cities", etc.)

      At least, that's how I read prophecy and the New Testament. As to the angels we will judge, I suppose it's possible Paul meant we will judge the 'good' angels currently in heaven with respect to their service, but I think it's more likely we will be asked to judge the wicked angels who serve the Prince of this World.

      Of course after the Thousand Year Reign, there will be a new heaven and a new earth where "righteousness dwells". I don't expect at that point there will be any squabbling or bad judgment at all, as Christ will be all in all. But during the Millennium there may be quite a bit of squabbling, though I don't expect that under the Lord's guidance you or I will be exercising a whole lot of poor judgment in his service.

      Does that clear anything up at all?

  2. Was watching the elections here last night. So responding now.

    OK, I understand now and realize that you are referring to Millennialism (had to look it up since I usually think about more immediate time scales :). Also, learned the Catholic Church thinking is more along the lines (but not entirely) of Amillennialism.

    As far as those time scales are concerned, I just hope that God gives us a crack at exploring that entire beautiful Universe he gave us using warp drive and meeting aliens (have always been a SciFi fan, my latest favorite movie - Guardians of the Galaxy). In the meantime, I take Christ literally that he and the Holy Spirit are indeed continually active in our hearts and minds and that he is already in the process of creating his earthly kingdom starting in the hearts of mankind.