As a personal response...[see this]
On this topic, would it be a reasonable assumption that we (as participants in this discussion, even if just in thought) are using "judge" as synonymous to "rebuke", and that we are not using "judge" in the "Divine Judge" sense? [as in to clarify, that we are communicating with a communal belief that we know we are not to judge as God judges and will (ultimately) judge] -- rather than to discuss semantics of those words...
But another question is -- what does rebuke mean?
Checking "rebuke" in Strong's concordance...
In the Greek, occurrences of rebuke as "elegcho" in Greek [Strong's G1651] have been used as "rebuke", "reprove", "expose", "convict", or "fault". I find it extremely interesting that a modern dictionary for "reprove" indicates gentleness or with kind intent. Rebuke doesn't, on the other hand. It's interesting that this instance of rebuke appears practically always in the context of Christian teaching, discipleship, and mutual edification.
Even more interesting is that the occurrences of "epitimao" [Strong's G2008] in Greek is largely used as "rebuke" or "charged" -- and primarily by Jesus only. There were only two instances when the word was not associated with Jesus speaking, and that's when Jesus' disciples started rebuking the crowd when everyone wanted to bring their babies so that Jesus could touch them, and bless them [Mark 10:13 and Luke 18:15 -- same incidence in both gospels], and the second instance was one robber rebuking the other robber as they were being crucified by Jesus.
Clearly, in the Greek, there is a difference even in the single English translated term "rebuke", essentially as his position as the Judge. In any case, I don't think we're disputing this... it's just so interesting!
Anyway, perhaps we are segregating among components of questions, for example:
- are we questioning people's hearts in the act of rebuking others?
- are we discerning among acceptable and unacceptable communication styles; since, what we encounter as the one who is communicated to may feel a different response than originally intended...
- and with a realization of potential misunderstandings, should a rebuker realize an ineffectiveness that may come with a "thou shalt be this way" attitude (or at least, the perception of this attitude even if it's not there)?
On the question of grounds... I think the short answer is Ephesians 5:21 -- of mutual submission. Interestingly, Ephesians 5:21 in the NASB is a direct continuation (rather than a new sentence and hence thought) from the previous passage and thought (pericope), and the G1651 "rebuke" is used as "expose" in Ephesians 5:11 and 13. [It's another interesting discussion on the translator's interpretation of the placement of Ephesians 5:21. ; )]
But some other instances of G1651 rebuke are:
Titus 1:9 - refuting those who contradict sound doctrine
Titus 2:15 - The truth of the gospel / grace of God will reprove with authority.
Matthew 18:15 - showing a brother his fault
1 Timothy 5:20 - a public rebuke against sin -- as a deterrent for others
But I am reminded by recent discussions and by Pastor Daniel's sermon today... that we are all fallen and inadequate... made to be righteous, was tainted by sin, was made righteous again, and by the grace of God... He continues to make us righteous in sanctification. And as all of us, who are God-fearing, Bible-believing, and faith-seeking-understanding followers of Christ... we do need each other as we work out our faith.
Do we all have moral authority? Yes. Do we all need to submit to it? Yes as well! Will we get a more positive response if we're harsher or gentler? Depends on who you're talking to! Are people more responsive to gentle rebukes? Probably!
I like the translation of G1651 into "convict" because it reminds me that we're used as messengers of the Spirit. Ultimately, it is the Spirit that convicts us of our sin... and it is the Spirit that convicts us to approach people of sin. But this conviction to approach people would also convict ourselves.
Nice discussion topic -- to make me think -- even if I didn't necessarily answer anything... it is so amazing to study the Word of God. Thanks. =)
Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.