What’s the difference between
a critical spirit – and the Apostle Paul’s Pauline criticisms (or Berean thinking). When is criticism okay?
When is criticism biblical, and when is it not?
What is legitimate criticism, and what is unbiblical criticism?
Are you thinking like a Berean – or do you have a critical spirit?
Pointing to a specific person and what’s on the record as to what they have actually said or taught, is what the Apostle Paul did. He did that. He was teaching and warning believers to be aware of false teachers: beware of what that person was doing or teaching.
What do the Apostle Paul’s criticisms teach us about legitimate criticism and unbiblical criticism? This is whatsaid, in defense of his criticism of Eastern Orthodoxy:
“This… though written from the perspective of an evangelical Protestant, is not intended to simply discredit the faith of all Orthodox believers.
Yet, in the spirit of 1 Thessalonians 5:21,
I want to [a] “examine everything carefully”
and [b] “hold fast to that which is good”.
(a) “Examine everything carefully”
The world wants everyone to be intellectually willy-nilly and have a worldview characterized by, “It’s all good.” The big scheme of the Evil One is: be accepting of all beliefs (the new “tolerant”). Their intolerant one exception: don’t accept Christian thought.
19 Do not quench [subdue, or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit. 20 Do not scorn or reject gifts of prophecy or prophecies [spoken revelations—words of instruction or exhortation or warning]. 21 But test [a]all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw and keep away from it].
Berean thinking. Contrary to the Thessalonian example (Acts 17:11) – Berean type peoples want to carefully examine beliefs and statements and sermons all the time. They maintain a mind that is open to examination of what they are told. They don’t just accept the authority of the person or of the religion, but – they put it to the test of Scripture. They ask: What does Scripture teach about this? Is what they are saying – true to Scripture, or not?
For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled,
they will accumulate for themselves
teachers in accordance to their own desires
– 2 Timothy 4:3
We Berean types expect: reasoning, explaining, and evidence given. We want to compare Scriptures with what is said – “to see whether these things [are] so“. Who wants to follow what is NOT so!? Apparently many did then, and many do today. I guess as humans – some just accept what they are told, and others want to ask, “Why?”.
2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 [a]explaining and [b]giving evidence that the [c]Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying…” – Acts 17:verses 2-3
11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, [k]for they received the word with [l]great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed – Acts 17:verses 11-12
Some wrongly call this Berean type thinking as “‘criticisms’ from a person with a ‘critical spirit'”. They in effect are condemning “reasoning, explaining, and evidence”. Come on! Discern the difference. Follow the example of Paul, and be discerning. Don’t be a dumbass lamb! Don’t be overcome by the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-18).
(b) “Hold fast to that which is good”
Excerpt from: Fight the good fight
Careful out there: a lot of walking shipwrecks. Many have “rejected [their moral compass]” – and their faith is a total shipwreck. What a total loss.
* Don’t waiver because of how the many phoney baloney believers live-out their faith …the “unrepentant” and confounded, the chaff, the weeds, the “tares” growing right alongside the good wheat, content in their wayward thought. [See: Matthew 3:12, Matthew 13:verses 24-30]
* Don’t waiver because of how the undercover, unfaithful teachers teach their false doctrines …the “false teachers”, ravenous wolfs teaching their own earth-fabricated system of belief instead of staying faithful to the God-made system of justice — what God established, what He shares with us in the Bible (1 Timothy 1:3b-4).
Don’t follow the ways of the tares, so worthless they will be gathered up and burned. And, protect yourself from the wiley false teachings out there — and in here, in our Christian churches. After all, they claim to be Christians. “Watch out for the dogs!” (Philippians 3: verse 2)
How to Understand and Approach Someone With a Critical Spirit – By: John Ankerberg Show