Updated: Mar 14, 2022
This 20/20 investigative report covers what the Bible has to say about the sinful practice of partiality and respect of persons. This perversion of justice is rampant today. Though the last place it should be perverted is in the local church, the house of God, the pillar and ground of the truth, it is rampant their as well. Though it be a very common practice amongst people today, practically written into churches constitutions on how to deal with dissenters, the practice thereof is inherently evil. It contradicts scripture in a big way.
De 1:17-18 commands:
“Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.”
1 Tim 5:21, which is specifically referring to those in leadership positions in the local church:
“I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.”
And then we have James 2, of which verse 9 says,
“But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”
Earlier in the chapter, verse 4 it says,
“Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”
What is partiality? Judging or behaving with partiality means to show bias, prejudice, favour, and expressing unjust, unfair, and false judgment, and inequity towards targeted people. It is behaviour that contradicts the reception and product of godly wisdom, “To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;” (Pr 1:3). I have been the unwilling scapegoat of this detestable behaviour but Gods eyes aren’t hidden from it. The perpetrator(s) shall have their reward. Gods Word is clear that the behaviour of the godly, especially leaders, is to be “without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” (1 Tim 5:21).
James 2 speaks against the sin of having respect of persons, a term related to partiality, which is treating people different due to their status in society, position in a church, or favouritism in some form. “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” (Jam 2:1). This is a false and evil judgment that we are warned against; it’s not judging righteously (Jn 7:24; 1 Cor 2:15; Pr 21:3, 15; Mt 7:1-5). These are false judgers. They don’t judge according to Scripture, righteously, but according to their own opinions and ideas. Such people will typically not crack the Bible to discuss and judge a matter. Their extraBiblical judgment takes the place of God’s judgment. In so doing, their partial balance is false and diverse, but “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good. A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” (Pr 20:23; 11:1). They live and act like they are above God and He won’t deal with them, but they should heed Jobs words: “Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.” (Job 32:21-22).
It’s no coincidence that respecter of persons are also compromisers. “To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” (Pr 28:21).
The Bible makes it crystal clear that impartiality and respect of persons is sin (Jam. 2:1-10). We are not to have double standards, which is the way of lost.
The partial, imbalanced, and skewed “pastor” unsurprisingly takes the position of being above reproof. A pastor doesn’t have more leniency to what he can say or do or behave. In fact, he is held to the highest standard of all, and thus requires even greater testing and judging. And that is what we also see in Scripture with the apostles. Paul commanded all believers to judge (1 Cor 2:15; 5:1–6:5) even him (1 Cor 10:15; Phil 3:2, 17-19; etc), which is judging righteously by the Word of God, and he commended those as noble and wise that did (e.g. Ac 17:11; 1 Cor 10:15).
Judging and behaving impartially and without respect of persons is an evidence of salvation. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (Jam 3:17). Justice is extremely important to God. It’s more important than your sacrifice. “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Pr 21:3). Justice and judgment go together. Righteous judgment (Jn 7:24) is very important to God, it’s also behaviour of saved people. Is it grievous to judge, as many appear to imply today? That’s not what Pr 21:15 says, “It is joy to the just to do judgment”or 1 Cor 2:15, “He that is spiritual [saved] judgeth all things.”
The Bible establishes the meaning of justice through the usage of the word, related words, and an explanation of a justice system laid out by God for Israel. Our system of justice is based upon what the OT teaches. It's been called a Judeo-Christian ethic, ethic being a representation of what's right. A right understanding of justice buttresses the gospel. God is just. He defines justice. God gives the laws for His creation. The just, the right, is found in God's laws, and He requires their adherence, because of His nature. He expects justice of His created beings. He alone is righteous. His laws are right and He is lawgiver and judge. His nature also demands justice for the breaking of His laws.
God's justice requires punishment for sin. The penalty of sin is death. Everyone deserves that penalty, because all have sinned. Jesus paid that penalty. He died for us. Justice is represented by scales in scripture and people have understood the scales of justice, which is a balance beam sitting on an apex. Very often doctor's scales still operate on this principle. In the idea of justice is equality. The penalty matches the crime: life for a life, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. The punishment on one side of the scale equals the violation on the other side of the scale. People can be cheated in commerce in an unjust trade by tricking the scale, for example by putting imbalanced weights on the scale. This is to make things not equal and, therefore, not just. In scripture, this brings in the idea of weights and balances. “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight" (Pr 11:1). Justice requires just compensation. Someone gets what he worked for and receives what he paid for. Gal 6:7-8 speaks to this as well, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” That passage by the way in comparing the lost and the saved, not two conditions or nature’s that exist in one individual person.
Within the definition of justice in the Bible is impartiality. Partiality, as noted already, means unequal treatment, which is injustice. Impartiality is a principle of justice, because partiality is an origin or source of wrong judgment. Scripture presents varied motivations for partiality, but the biggest by pastors are sources of bias or prejudice such as envy, leading to injustice. An unconverted nature may also be the cause. Rich people might have the resources to bribe the judge, affecting his partiality. The blindfold was the component of lady justice to portray impartiality and hence the motto, justice is blind.
Justice requires the same rules for everyone. It also expects impartial and equal enactment of justice, justice done in a just manner by Scripture. It requires witness or corroboration of an accusation of a violation of God’s law. Someone cannot be convicted and punished without Biblical proof of wrong doing. What frequently happens, woefully, is the law is corrupted (like saying it doesn’t exist anymore or we don’t abide under it and fulfil it, contrary to much of scripture including Rom 3:31, or that Jesus nailed it to the cross, etc), or God’s law is superseded by personal opinion and ideas, or selfish ambition and hateful envy, which forces respect of persons.
The terminology "kangaroo court" traces to the idea of jumping to a conclusion without proper evidence, making a large leap like a kangaroo. The main perpetrator in mind of unbiblical judgment and partiality, is a champion of this. He is judge, jury and executor in the kangaroo court. Convicting someone without sufficient evidence and without the presumption of innocence is unjust. This practice very often proceeds from the perversion of equal outcomes. Pr 18:13 speaks against it: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Foolishness and shamefulness. Leaven that’ll leaven the whole lump (Gal 5:9).
Since judgment is false and imbalanced, and God’s Word not obeyed, the natural conclusion is further unjust and unBiblical action (such as casting out those they disagree with, one for instance that contends for the faith). In the end, vast majority of partial judgers and respecter of persons will expose they’re in fact unsaved and exemplar apostates of Diotrephes, who acted very partial and rejected those that stood and contended for the truth, casting them out (3 Jn 1:9-11). If you’re guilty of this, you must repent and examine yourself, whether you are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). True salvation depends on having a right, true and accurate comprehension of justice but perversion of justice muddles the knowledge necessary for someone to be saved.
The respecter of persons pastor, whom I will refer to as a partial pastor, has his own ideas and agenda typically motivated by nepotism, even if they run in opposition to Scripture. Let’s consider some characteristic points of this pastor, using examples that I have personally encountered and not so long ago either, that of pastor_______________. I will leave out his name, even though I wouldn’t have to Scripturally (e.g. 1 Tim 5:20; Rom 16:17), as purely an act of mercy and grace. I will leave it to your imagination though I think some of you reading here, could fill in the blank.
The pastor who rules and dines at the buffet table of sinful partiality and respect of persons, indulges in his carnal appetite and gratifies his love of dominion and self-preservation.
Only those who meet the personal criteria and qualifications of the partial pastor, not the criteria of God’s Word mind you, are allowed positions in the church and preaching opportune.
Partial hirelings have special clubs like “The Original Five” (these are not necessarily deacons, or teachers, or holding any position in church), who alone have secret meetings with the Grand Master of the Club.
This hireling also has no issue with lying or ignoring people if it helps to further his cause. He is a master in fact of giving out the cold shoulder treatment, also known as ghosting, which is an evil and ungodly form of separation. His practice of ghosting is so pervasive and contagious, his spouse and congregation follow lock-step and do as he says, in spite of the blatant opposition to God’s Word.
He exercises judgment according to partiality. Not according to righteousness (which is according to Scripture) but according to appearance (in contradiction to Jn 7:24). Gods Word doesn’t typically dictate his response but who the person is or what the majority embrace or some other carnal reason.
He has a case of the majority syndrome. For instance, when the government says close your church doors, lock step there he goes. The doors remained closed until the majority of churches around him, in said community, open up, then he opens also, even though majority of those churches are heretical. Does he follow God and His Word or the dictates and actions of man, even heretical men?
This partial pastor judges evilly (Jam 2:1-4). He makes it a practice to judge motives, which is also evil (Jam 4). He doesn't like judging but when he does, its judging the motives of a person.
The partial pastor does not judge and deal with sin and error but with those who stand up for the truth, that contend for the faith, against the sin and error. He has no issue with hearing God’s Word twisted, misused and abused, and certainly would never say anything to the confused and ignorant preacher or heretic, since he is a respecter of persons and false judger, but watch out when someone stands up against the error as God’s Word demands. There we see the partial pastor finally stand up to something. Unfortunately he calls good evil and evil good.
The partial pastor is a slanderer and talebearer.
The partial pastor is actually quite weak and soft, kinda like pasta. The only time “boldness” is really noted by him is when someone critiques or criticizes his teachings. Or when some outlandish false teaching is present, that he can finally oppose. For instance, when multiple adherents of the false religion of Seventh Day Adventism showed up in this pastors church, he didn't approach them prior to the service and ask them politely in a godly and meek manner to leave (even though he is always using the "meek" card when opposing contending for the faith); No, he did it from the pulpit, in front of everybody. To him this was "boldness," but in reality it was cowardice.
There is a course of action that partial pastors really excel at, beyond what is mentioned above already. And what is that? Judging a matter before hearing it. He will never approach the offender who is being slandered against to hear his side of the story, especially if the offended is his bestie, maybe one of the “Original Five Club” or someone more original than that, at the very least someone who started attending the “church” before the offender. The partial pastor has no issue hearing the grievances of his favourites, nepotism par excellence, but has zero interest to hear the side of the one who contends for the faith, who reproves and rebukes in accordance to God’s Word, and he likely won’t even make any pretence about it either. At least one doesn’t have to dabble through deplorable deception. What does Gods Word say about this? “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Pr 18:13). This is one of the life verses of the partial pastor. Folly and shame is his game.
Partial respect of persons pastors are man-centred vs God-centred and frequently exercise lordship over the people, like lost Gentiles do (Mk 10:42). The lording over the flock presents itself in various fashions, some of which have been mentioned here.
This hireling type of pastor orientates to personalities and unscriptural and carnal philosophies instead of sound doctrine.
The Bible is allegedly the “authority” of the partial pastor, and he might even make much ado about it, exalting the 1611 KJV from the pulpit repeatedly as his sole authority, but when it comes down to conflict or issues collaborated by him, he has no issue contravening God’s Word and doing whatever his lust dictates. So how exactly is the 1611AV KJB his “authority”?
The partial hireling moves by envy. It consumes him. It causes skewed and hypocritical and false judgement. He can’t stand the idea that someone actually might know more about the Bible than him in the congregation, or someone would dare open his mouth to speak the truth and contend for the faith and fight the good fight of faith, as God’s Word commands us to. Because he can’t or won’t do that, he envies the one that can and will.
The partial pasta turns a blind eye to the sins and errors of his besties, so as to continue the personal attack on the one exposing errors and lies and sin. This is evil behaviour of a “lord” and hireling, one that isn’t actually interested in the truth at all or obeying God’s Word or pursuing God’s glory but looks to his own personal interests and will, and favouritism.
The end result of the partial pastor judging by respect of persons is groupies and cliques in the congregation. He will have his little groupie of favs. The “it” groupie. These are not necessary “The Original Five” but certainly his “yes” men, regardless of how out to lunch on sound doctrine they are or he is. They, along with their spouse, qualify by certain traits that he seeks out in a vigilant and diligent manner. They are like the SS who did whatever they were told. They don’t ask questions, they just jump. They certainly would never even dream about criticizing their master. Their allegiance is completely to the Führer.
The respecter of persons hireling is quite satisfied with fake and false unity. Unity to him really has only one criteria — a profession of faith, and if there was a second, allegiance to the Führer. He doesn’t actually like true unity, and like many who say they want unity, he actually wants fake unity, which isn't unity at all. He rejects true unity, while calling for it. He takes credit for some type of unity without even having it. True love and unity speaks out against error and false teachings, but the hireling calls it being “divisive” or “sowing discord” by the hireling. Fake unity is overlooking differences in doctrine and practice, which amounts to overlooking false doctrine and sin, in order to get along. Rather than saying he doesn't believe and practice biblical unity, he replaces it with fake unity and then says he is practicing unity. Worse yet, because of fake unity being considered or called real unity, the one who actually believes and practices biblical unity is portrayed as a purveyor of division. This is what the partial pastor does and creates. It’s evil, but it’s accepted evil.
The partial pastors respect of persons inevitably rubs off on the people in the congregation. After a while even their prayers are about lifting each other up in praise and exaltation, about how great they are and how wonderful the next guy is, even though they only recently slandered and talebeared and gossiped that same person behind his back. How horribly nauseating is that, of the face-in-palm kind. 🤮 This serious man-centred man-worship happens to fit their response to reproof and rebuke of their error and sin or public posting of error or encouraging error or sin. Instead of testing teachings by Scripture and confronting error as commanded, they despise the one that does this and then personally attack and argue logical fallacies, which are lies and bearing false witness. They would rather stand on the side of error, if it’s a pastor, then stand on the side of truth, if he’s not a pastor. This man-centred practice of picking a person over the truth is evil and opens the door wide for any and every sort of leaven. It is also closely associated with a disdain towards judging. They would even give bible studies on this, that its wrong to judge the decisions of the pastor, by misusing and abusing passages such as Rom 14. This false teaching is actually evil judging in itself, but because of the respect of persons and partiality, the hireling just sits there, soaks it in and says nothing. He doesn’t want to offend one of his “yes” men, and certainly not one who feeds the coffer. Like the Bible says, “To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” (Pr 28:21). The Bible on the other hand commands us to judge all things and all people, and that it’s a joy to the just to judge (1 Cor 2:15; Ac 17:11; 1 Th 5:11; Pr 21:3, 15). The only judging that occurs in such a camp is the evil judging of motives (Jam 2:4; 4:11-12).
What we see in the above points is a lot of hypocrisy and corrupt fruit, and partiality happens to be tied to hypocrisy and corrupt fruit (Jam 3:17).
At the conclusion and consummation of this partiality, this “pastor” will undoubtedly cast out those who he disagrees with, the ultimate act of partiality and behaving precisely like one Diotrephes (3 Jn 1:9-11). The writing is on the wall. Watch for it. And if you won’t go as he commands, he will send his “yes” men, his goon squad, his SS comrades, to help you out the door, head first. And that’s a promise.
I’ll leave it at that in my endeavour to keep this report at a decent length. Like God (2 Ch 19:7; 2 Pet 1:17), all preachers (De 1:17; 1 Tim 5:20) and wise men (Pr 24:23; Jam 2:1-9)—the saved—are to abhor partiality and respect of persons. Partiality is sinful and the mark of a compromiser (Jam 2; Pr 28:21). The Apostle Paul exposed this sinful behaviour and encouraged Timothy likewise, to “war a good warfare” (1 Tim 1:18-20). A man that wilfully exercises partiality and refuses to be tested and judged, doesn’t belong in the ministry and is acting more in line with a hireling, a heretic and a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He should expect public exposure. He might not like that but God does (Rom 16:17; Ze 8:16; Am 5:15; 2 Tim 3:5-9). Maybe at some point I will add his name in here. For now I will be merciful when I don’t even need to be merciful. He certainly doesn't deserve it, but isn't that what grace is.
Partiality and respecter of persons is a very serious and evil sin. It reveals a serious imbalance of diverse weights and measures. It does much evil and harm to the person they are partial against, but also to them who they treat with favouritism. There is a sense of deception involved whether done ignorantly or not. It represents a wisdom that is not from above but of the devil:
“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (Jam. 3:14-17).
“To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” (Pr 28:21)
“But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” (Jam 2:9)
“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1 Tim 5:20)