A few weeks ago, a gentleman had written to me. He both liked my thoroughness in my blogs and appreciated my desire for truth. He also gave me a word of caution on “calling out” preachers, explaining that what starts as earnest critiquing and prayerful thought can often turn into devout skepticism on anything and everything, really.
The gentleman’s feedback is definitely good feedback. Christians should always be cautious (and that includes myself) when critiquing (or “calling out”) pastors, preachers, teachers, conference speakers, conferences, the self-appointed apostles/prophets/prophetesses, etc.. Christians should definitely examine everything carefully and hold fast to that which is good, contending for the faith which was once for all entrusted to the saints (1 Thessalonians 5:21; Jude 3). When doing this, Christians should be maintaining an attitude of gentleness and respect, seasoning their speech with salt (1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 4:6). Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio has good insights indirectly pertaining to this matter at the eighteen minute mark of this video here. While Scripture does not really address how a Christian should conduct his/her writing per se, gentleness, respect, love, fairness (if at all possible) and even wholesome language (among other things) should dominate.
I had mentioned that 1 Thessalonians 5:21 states to examine everything carefully and hold fast to that which is good (the NKJV translates it as “test all things”). Last time I checked, everything means everything. This would involve examining even those pastors, teachers and the like that are nearest and dearest to us. This would also mean that anything I say, write, proclaim and the like should also be examined. I certainly do not want to be in error. If I am in error, I certainly welcome correction. There is a reason why I ask for comments on my posts; I want feedback. I welcome it. I have even contemplated putting my phone number on the page. I certainly would not dismiss feedback/criticism as tantamount to hating or scoffing as (sadly) some people have done. A person who has questions or feedback on my writings (critical or otherwise) is anything but a hater or a scoffer. The questioner is simply a person made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). Even though it is possible I may strongly disagree with the questioner, gentleness, respect, love and a desire to go for the truth (even if it means that I may be wrong) should dominate any and all dialogue that takes place.
Finally, a word on skepticism. I do not see anything wrong in skepticism as it pertains to what teachers, preachers and the like are saying, writing, etc.. After all, everything should be tested against God’s word. Furthermore, an earnest effort in examining as much evidence as possible (as opposed to just a side that favors or does not favor someone) of a teacher/preacher’s (and the like) teachings should be conducted. There will be times when such an examination may lead to very one-sided results (such as my book reviews here and here, to name a few examples). Other times (like in this post here), one can find various things about a person (and like I explain in that post, I am sure we all have some good, bad and ugly in us). This skepticism can become unhealthy and/or just plain bad if it has an agenda to tear down someone (and that is not the goal of any of my posts). The agenda, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, should be to go for the truth, irrespective of whether or not it shows me to be wrong, one’s favorite pastor to be wrong, etc.. That absolute truth is found in God’s Word, which is completely inspired, inerrant and profitable for many a great thing (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; Titus 1:2; 2 Peter 1:16-21; John 8:32, 8:40, 10:35, 17:17; Psalm 19:7-9; 119:9, 11, 15, 104; Ephesians 5:26; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:22; Psalm 12:6; Ephesians 4:21).
One should definitely exercise caution in examining (or “calling out”) one’s teachings. It is certainly quite the tightrope to walk. Above all, may gentleness, respect, love and a desire to go for the truth dominate any and all examinations that take place. I write this to myself as much I write this to anyone else.