This is very relevant to my life since I was recently castigated for expressing concern about the path a family member has chosen to follow.
C. Matthew McMahon on whether or not we can rightly judge if a heretic, God-hater, etc. will go to hell [color added]:
The point to all this is that Christ has told us that we would know good trees and bad trees. We would know them by their fruits. By what they do, say, act, teach, lead, etc., we will know them. Do you know them? Do you want to know them?
… These tests can be general and specific. Are they conforming to the true nature of the Christian? Do they love Christ and His commandments? Do they teach the Gospel? Tests are not hard. What Gospel do they preach? …We do not judge because we want to judge every soul or think we stand in the place of God. Rather, we judge because every tree is known by its fruit. We can, by Christ’s direction, know good trees and bad trees.
…You say, “But I don’t like to judge.” Then you need to repent. Christ desires His church to act in accordance with His word. If you reject Christ’s authority, and reject His word, then you are either on the road of apostasy, or you are not even a Christian… As a matter of fact, when we get to heaven, we will even judge reprobate angels… We will judge angels, but now, we are the midst of judging rightly as well in terms of those in and out of the church. Remember, Christ says that we must make judgments about good trees and bad trees. Not because we have an authority complex and want to be “judgmental”, but because we desire the glory of God to be reflected in our judgments, we desire to see the well being of sanctification grow, and we desire to see the church stand strong amidst ferocious wolves.
Now do not go and take all that had been said here out of context… Do not presume to be the Holy Spirit, or the “sanctification police”. However, be sure, and make no mistake, you should discern whether people are good trees or bad trees. Are they Christians, false teachers, God-haters, or heretics? The well being of the church depends on knowing such things… If you were not discerning and judgmental in this way, how would you ever know if something is to be believed or not? Christians are to make good judgments based on the word of God, not rash judgments based on their own haste. Calvin says, “There is a wide difference between wise caution and perverse squeamishness.” Christians should be wise as serpents in these things and harmless as doves.