I had heard the name here and there but never actually read anything by him or listened to anything preached by him. But now, after reading “Who Are You to Judge?” I can safely say that Erwin Lutzer will be someone whose teaching I will return to in the future. Lutzer is the Pastor of Moody Church, Chicago, Illinois and has written more than a few books. Some of his titles include “Slandering Jesus”, “One Minute After You Die”, “How Can You be Sure You Will Spend Eternity With God”, “Seven Snares of the Enemy” and, of course, “Who are You to Judge; Learning to Distinguish between Half Truths and Lies”.
If you were to ask me to describe this book in one word I would say “Fantastic!” It really is. Without a doubt we live in an age when Christians really don’t know their Bibles adequately enough. Mass Media communications such as television and the internet have, by in large, distracted Christians from diligent study of their Bibles but more worryingly it has also paved the way for false teaching and secular humanism to reach the masses at an alarming rate. The situation is now ghastly and is bordering on calamitous. Call Erwin Lutzer. In this book Lutzer will equip you to be able to distinguish between the half truths and lies that are sweeping through the evangelical scene today. Lutzer remarks “The church is to be in the world as a ship is in the ocean; but when the ocean seeps into the ship, the ship is in trouble. I fear that the evangelical ship is taking on water. The world is seeping into the church so rapidly that we might well wonder how long the vessel can stay afloat. The church, which is called to influence the world, finds herself influenced by the world”
It is in this spirit of genuine concern and love for the church and God’s people that Lutzer writes this book. There is no name-calling, naming and shaming or false ideologies included. Instead Lutzer simply and extremely effectively sheds light on movements such as Signs and Wonders, False Doctrine, Neopaganism, False Prophets, Ghosts, Angels and Shrines, Christian Conduct, Character and finally “secular” Entertainment (Holywood). He critiques each of these using the truth of Scripture, highlighting the sufficiency of Scripture alone in dealing with all things pertaining to Salvation and God. Lutzer rightly confirms that God has revealed his truths in Scripture in order to show us who he is and who he is not, what he loves and what he hates, what is true and what is false. The Book is easy to read and Lutzer is clear in his analysis
However, whilst the Bible is sufficient in helping us test and examine all these things, one must know how and why we are to do that. It is here that I think this book hits the proverbial “nail on the head”. Lutzer spends the first two chapters explaining and defining what it means to judge biblically and critiquing why the church today is afraid to judge. I concur with his remark that “Judge not lest you be judged” is one of the most misunderstood verses spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ. He states his belief that one of the reasons for this is that we are turning Christianity into a private faith. You know what I mean; the “Jesus is my bestest bud and personal Saviour”. This is all well and good but it is leading to a viewpoint that says “I am not to judge or rebuke or exhort anyone- all that matters is where I stand before God”. This insular, intrinsic view is of course not Biblical and it must be rectified. The church is to be “the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) and the only way it can be so is if we submit to the truths of Scripture and clearly adhere to and live those truths out. How can a group of saved sinners grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ if they are not encouraging, rebuking and exhorting one another? “As iron sharpens iron, so too people improve one another” (Proverbs 27:17).
This has been a quick and somewhat superficial review of Lutzer’s book because I no longer have it in front of me, to extract specific references. That’s because I read this book, or should I say devoured it, and immediately gave it to my friends to read and then hand round to others. So let me just conclude by encouraging you to purchase a copy. R.C. Sproul aptly recommends the book as being “a treasure of Biblical Wisdom [that] will equip the reader with desperately needed discernment of our time.” This is a much needed book. Get it!