Answering Critics

Answering Critics

If we strive to be a Christian, we can expect criticism.   Some criticism is good.  I call this constructive criticism.  This is to be appreciated, especially if it is done in kindness and with the right motive.  Paul wrote:  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).   Paul defended himself by writing:  “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?”  (Gal. 4:16).   Yes, sometimes the truth hurts, but it is needful.  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Pro. 27:6).   Sometimes criticism is bad, having no object to correct or instruct in righteousness, but rather, is designed to tear down the individual.  I call this destructive criticism.   But even destructive criticism can be useful to our growth as a Christian (see James 1:2-3).

One such very blunt, critical note was E-mailed to me recently in response to my article entitled, “Is The Bible Allegorical.”   I was chided strongly for disagreeing with Bill O’Reilly over his calling the Bible allegory.   This writer declared that we were both wrong, because Christians should never criticize other Christians which only causes division.  He declared that I was flat wrong and hoped that God was easier on me than I am on others, because no one has the right to judge.  Hmmm.   That sounds a little bit like he is contradicting his own definition of judging!   It is always a bit humorous when people contradict their own logic.   I might add that most responses to the article were very positive.   But I am using this particular response to write about how to answer critics.

Anyway, I tried to get some dialog going with this individual, but he refused.  He wrote that I was flat wrong but refused to get into any details of why he thought I was wrong.  Such discussions might prove to be a bit messy.  After all, we don’t want to get our hands dirty fooling around with these bad, judgmental people.  It is much better to just “hit and run.”  

The Tactics of Humanism

That response reminded me of first time I really started studying the philosophy of humanism.  At that time I learned the different techniques they used in dealing with those who professed to be Christians.  They advised that when Christians start to criticize you, all you have to do is tell them that it is wrong to judge, and they will fold up like an accordion.   Yes, indeed!  Those Christians are surely easy pickings for the humanist!   Just use their philosophy against them.  You can slap them up one side and down the other, and they just have to take it.   They are not allowed to answer back or they will be guilty of judging.  Turn their own religion against them.  Yes, and did that philosophy ever invade the churches that had no spine to stand up to them.  Now the tentacles of humanism are seen everywhere, not only in universities and government schools, but in the churches.  That does not sound anything like New Testament Christianity to me.   It has always been hard for me to understand how one can pull a passage out of context and that becomes the answer to everything!   Since the early 80’s and even before that time,  I cannot count the times even religious people have used that same argument against me if I question anything they were teaching.   The real enemy of Christianity is the wide spread ignorance of the Bible coupled with an “I don’t care” attitude.   The real enemy of Christianity is Christianity itself.  However, if anyone would allow me, I will give a Biblical answer. 

Judge Not That You Be Not Judged

First, “judge not that you be not judged” is found within a particular context.  Here is what Jesus actually said:  "Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?   You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).   Jesus is condemning hypocritical judging, but he was not condemning all kinds of judging.  For us to judge others when we practice the same things or worse is to by a hypocrite.   See what Paul wrote in Romans 2:21-26.  Even in this context you can see the truth.   Jesus taught that it was OK to take the speck out of your brother’s eye once you take the “log” out of your own eye.   He also said in the next verse, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matt. 7:6).  Does it not require judgment or discernment to realize that someone in a spiritual sense is a “dog” or a “swine”?    Here Jesus is referring to those who have absolutely no appreciation for the gospel.   In fact, disciples are required to “judge righteous judgment” (see John 7:24).   To be able to discern between good and evil is to judge.  Proverbs is packed full of judging, that is, learning how to distinguish between good and evil (see Pro. 1:2-5, 2:3,5, 9, 11; 3:21; 5:2; 7:7; 8:12; 11:22; 14:7).  To discern is to judge between things that differ.  If we don’t learn to discriminate, then our thinking is going to be very fuzzy.

Jesus said this to his disciples concerning any city that would not receive them: 4 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.  Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.  Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves”  (Matt. 10:14-15).  Was He not judging and teaching his apostles to do the same?   When John the Baptist said to the disbelieving Jewish leaders as You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt. 3:7), was he not judging?    Yes, we reject hypocritical preachers who say one thing and then do another and those who are “speck” inspectors and fail to recognize the “logs” in their own lives.   But if we fail to grow in the ability to discern between things that are not equal, then we are in bad shape and have set ourselves up to be deceived over and over. 

The prophet Isaiah speaks of a great time when people will be able to judge righteously.   All who love truth read these words and rejoice:  “Behold, a king will reign righteously and princes will rule justly.  Each will be like a refuge from the wind and a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry country, like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land.  Then the eyes of those who see will not be blinded, and the ears of those who hear will listen.
The mind of the hasty will discern the truth, and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak clearly.  No longer will the fool be called noble, or the rogue be spoken of as generous.  For a fool speaks nonsense, and his heart inclines toward wickedness: to practice ungodliness and to speak error against the LORD, to keep the hungry person unsatisfied and to withhold drink from the thirsty.  As for a rogue, his weapons are evil; he devises wicked schemes to destroy the afflicted with slander,  even though the needy one speaks what is right.  But the noble man devises noble plans; And by noble plans he stands” (Isa. 32:1-8).  I hope you go back and read this carefully.  This scripture points to the coming of Jesus Christ and His message of truth and righteousness.

It looks like the apostle Paul was very judgmental when he wrote this about some who were teaching in the churches :  “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).   I do not know that I have ever used such strong words against a corrupt teacher as did Paul, but I am quite certain that these words were well deserved.

Yes, the Bible can be used for reproof and correction.  “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  Doesn’t that sound rather judgmental?  And my, my, read what Paul told preachers to do:  “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). 

I assume that most people are sincere and desire to know and practice the truth until proven otherwise by their fruits or actions.   So as a normal approach, I really appreciate the words of the apostle Paul when he writes: “The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,  with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,  and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).

Does God Receive All People Unconditionally?

Another teaching that is commonly taught and believed is that God loves everyone unconditionally.  It is argued that since God loves all people unconditionally, all people are accepted unconditionally regardless of what choices they may make.    If we oppose ungodly behavior, then we are guilty of being judgmental and do not love people like God does.   We can even be accused of using “hate speech”.  According to this teaching, the love of God nullifies all standards of righteousness.  God receives all people everywhere without regard to religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or any other factor.  I do not know of any teaching that is more misguided than this.

That God loves all men is not disputed by me or others who believe the Bible.   He has demonstrated His great love by sending His Son to die on the cross.   “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
But the clear choice God gives man is to repent or perish.   “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).   Men are lost due to their own sinful conduct, and God throws out a life preserve for those drowning in sin.  This life-preserve is Jesus Christ.   "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (John 8:24).  Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). The idea that God accepts all men unconditionally is nowhere taught in the Bible.

Folks, I stand behind my writings, but if anyone thinks that I have been unjust or have misrepresented the truth, then you would be my good friend to point this out.  Please do not use general accusations, but judge righteous judgment.  Thanks so much for reading this.      – Lindy McDaniel       To be posted in June, 2013.

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If you know of others who would like to receive advanced copies of Pitching For The Master attached to E-mail, please write to me at:  1095 Meadow Hill Drive, Lavon, Texas 75166.  Or contact me at my E-mail address:   

In writing these articles, I am not seeking  for a wide readership but a quality readership.   Some people are just not interested in the Bible and have no or little interest in spiritual matters.  I try to appeal to those who are genuine seekers and want to know more about the Bible.   I am also interested in encouraging those who are fighting the good fight of faith.  From time to time I will write about my experiences in Major League Baseball, but these stories will be related in one way or the other to practical Christianity.   If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from sports, then I will try to make the connection.  If my writings connect with people who have an appreciation for sports as well as the Bible, then this is an added motive.  But as you know, Jesus Christ is first, last and always the focus.


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