Monday, August 15, 2011

Responding to Critics

Over the last couple of years, my church has received various kinds of criticism. Here is a list of ways I have encouraged my flock to respond to that criticism.

1. Always be gracious. Treat the person with kindness and charity, assuming they have good motives. Throughout conversations, try to find things you agree on and emphasize those. Often those who criticize us are Christians who love Christ. Treating them with kindness is not optional!

2. Do not apologize for believing what the Bible teaches. Many of us when confronted tend to shrink back. This is a product of our modern relativistic age where everyone's opinion is supposed to be equal. Satan wants us to walk around doubting everything we believe. Do not back down from what you believe. Do not be mean, but be firm.

3. As you talk to people make them deal with the Bible. Often people have not actually looked at what the Bible says on an issue. Go to Scripture and discuss it. This means you need to know what the Bible teaches. If you have questions about the Biblical basis for what we do or believe then you can talk to the leadership.

4. Tell people about the work God is doing at Christ Church. Christ is clear that men shall know us by our fruit. (Luke 6:43-45) All of you spend hours each week with people from Christ Church. You see Christ being formed in your brothers and sisters around you. You see Christ presented every week in songs, prayers, confession of sin, preaching, at the Lord's Table, and as you are sent out. We are not a perfect church, but the fruit is there and growing. Bring these things up, not in a proud way, but simply to show that God is working.

5. Do not accept vague accusations from people about what they think we teach. Get specifics. Ask questions like, “So exactly what is it that you think we believe about…?” This is a fundamental requirement of Biblical justice. Biblical justice requires two or three witnesses. (I Timothy 5:19) This means if someone is going to accuse an elder of false teaching, it must be proven. Proving does not mean reading something somewhere about what someone thinks we teach. It means talking to the specific men involved and getting the facts. This is also the teaching of Matthew 18:15-20.

6. If someone brings up specific concerns about Christ Church, ask them if they have attended our worship service, talked to the leaders, or listened to several sermons which are available on our website. If they say, “No,” then tell them they need to do those things, especially the last two. If someone is not interested in doing some or all of the things mentioned above, then they are not really interested in the truth.

No comments:

Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8