I. THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF CRITICISM:

A. Constructive.
1. This is valuable suggestion.
2. It is offered by experienced, qualified judges.
3. It will be appreciated and carefully considered.
B. Reprehension, fault-finding, censure.
1. This is frequently worthless.
2. Usually offered in poor spirit, sometimes in anger.
3. Frequently engendered by baser motives.
C. Critical analysis:
1. Was/is the artist, speaker, writer, or producer qualified by knowledge, experience, attitude, intention, and
  effort?
2. Was/is the critic qualified by knowledge, experience, attitude, intention, and effort?
3. Was the intent of the critic to be helpful or spiteful?
4. Was the critic self-serving, or promoting the “common good?”
5. Did the criticism compound the issue with a damaging result, or did it rectify a problem situation?

II. PREACHERS HAVE OFTEN BEEN CRITICIZED FOR THEIR PREACHING:
A. John the baptist had preached against the sin of adultery committed by Herod and Herodias because Herod
  had taken Philip’s wife and married her. (Mark 6:17-28; Matt. 14:1-11).
1. “For John had said, “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18).
2. Herodias was infuriated by John’s teaching, and would have killed him; but she could not (Mark 6:19).
3. On a later occasion, when Herodias’s daughter, Salome, danced what must have been a very provocative
  dance before Herod, he rashly and stupidly offered to give the young woman anything she wished, up to
  half of his kingdom (Mark 6:22-23).
4. The young woman requested her mother’s advice as what to ask, and was instructed to ask for the head of
  John the baptist (Mark 6:24-25).
5. Herod was exceeding sorry but, true to his word, ordered an executioner to behead John and deliver it to
  the daughter who in turn delivered it to Herodias (Mark 6:26-28).

B. Jesus Christ often condemned the sins of some people, especially those of the hypocritical Jewish leaders.
1. Jesus became very popular among the common people who lived around the Sea of Galilee and in the
  province of Galilee (Matt. 7:28-29; 14:34-36; Mark 6:33-34; 53-56; et al).
2. Conversely, the Scribes, Pharisees, and some others sought to diminish Jesus’ popularity by asking Him
  hard questions, tempting Him, or seeking to divide his followers (Matt. 12:23-24; 15:2; 19:3; 22:15-21,
  etc.)
3. Perhaps the sternest of all Jesus’ words were directed toward the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew,
  chapter 23, where He concluded the chapter by saying that their house was being left to them desolate and
  they could not see Him until they changed their attitude and said (as did the multitude in Matthew 21)
  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (verses 38-39 NASB).
4. In the end, they crucified Jesus, and even Pilate recognized that the Jewish leaders had delivered Him up
  because of envy (Mark 15:10.

C. Stephen, the apparent first Christian martyr related the history of the Jewish nation in Acts, chapter 7, and
  charged, “You men who are stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy
  Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did” (verse 7:51).
1. The critical response of these men follows: “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and
  they began gnashing their teeth at him” (verse 7:54). Verses 57-59 reveal that they rushed upon him with
  one impulse, drove him out of the city, even as Stephen was calling upon the Lord and saying, “Lord
  Jesus, receive my spirit.”

  D. Paul, the apostle, often was opposed, criticized, and persecuted, both by Jews and gentiles, and sometimes by
  false brethren.
1. After his conversion, Paul immediately began preaching in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God .
(Acts 9:19-24) “19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days
  with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues,
  that he is the Son of God. 21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed
  them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them
  bound unto the chief priests? 22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews
  which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. 23 And after that many days were fulfilled,
  the Jews took counsel to kill him: 24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the
  gates day and night to kill him.
25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.” KJV
2. Thus, a pattern of opposition against Paul’s preaching quickly developed. Back in Jerusalem, “he was
  talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death” (Acts 9:29
  NASB).

  3. In Thessalonica, the Jews became jealous of Paul and the brethren sent him away by night to Berea
  where he found people to be more “noble” (Acts 17).
4. In Athens some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers called Paul an “idle babbler” and others said he “seems
  to be a proclaimer of strange deities” because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18).
  After hearing Paul’s doctrine of the resurrection some “sneered” and others just put him off (17:32). Paul
  spent three months in Greece where “a plot was laid against him by the Jews” as he was about to set sail
  for Syria (18:3). Despite these negatives in Greece, Luke says that “the word of the Lord was growing
  mightily and prevailing” (Acts 19:20).
5. Back in Jerusalem again, the Jews from Asia stirred up the multitude and arrested Paul, which led to his
  appearance before the Sanhedrin where Ananias, the high priest, commanded men standing nearby to
  strike Paul on the mouth. From this he was taken to Caesarea, and eventually to Rome, during which time
  he appeared before various officials and was finally executed for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts
  23-28).
6. In Paul’s later epistle to the Galatian churches, he reveals constant opposition from some of the Jewish
  converts who were reluctant to give up Judaism and the law of Moses (Galatians, chapters 1-6).

III. WHAT CAN A MAN PREACH WITHOUT INCURRING CRITICISM?
A. Probably little, or nothing.
1. Complex material?  This depends on who his audience might be.
2. Early in my preaching career, I had studied in a daily Bible class under Irvin Lee at Athens Bible School
  where we studied among other things, the work and qualifications of elders, the dangers of the immoral
  woman (Proverbs 7), and the glories of having a great marriage to a good woman whose price would be
  “far above rubies” (Proverbs 31).

3. On a trip back home in Georgia, I was invited to speak on a Sunday at Smyrna. I chose the subject of the
  virtuous woman of Prov. 31 and I Timothy 2:9-10; I thought I did a pretty good job, but I was criticized
  by some who said the “subject was too deep for a young man to teach.”

  B. Infidelity, Atheism, Skepticism, Evolution?
1. The infidel criticizes, laughs, scorns.
2. Says we don’t have enough scientific background to talk about such subjects.
3. Paul says “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
  who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-32 NASB).
4. Paul says the evidence of God has been available since the creation of the world! and is evident within
  men.

C. Denominationalism. Sectarians criticize; even some brethren criticize!
1. Jesus prayed for unity (John 17:17-23).
2. Paul rebuked division (I Cor. 1:10-13; 3:1-7; 4:6; Romans 16:17-18)
3. John warned against exceeding authority in religious matters (II John 9.)
4. Shall I quit preaching unity and exposing false teachers?

D. Church attendance?
1. Shall I quit preaching Matt. 18:20; Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:24-27)?

E. Shall I ease up on the plan of salvation? The Scheme of Redemption? Shall I ignore the Biblical answer to the
  question, “What must I do to be saved?” (Mark 16:15; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1,6; Luke 13;3,5;
  Romans 10;9-10; Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:4-6;
  5:25-27; I Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5?

F. Shall I ease up on the work and qualifications of the eldership? (I Tim. 3; Titus 5)?

  G. Shall I not follow the example of Jesus Christ our Lord, and try to relate the message of God’s word to how
  people live on a daily basis as in the Parables of our Lord in Matthew, chapter 13, and other passages?
1. We live in a changing world where evil men are “growing worse and worse.”
2. Is it wrong for me to make parents aware of the challenges their young children face every day in the
  world?
3. Is it wrong for me to try to help parents understand why they are sometimes losing the battle with their
  children when they can’t begin to imagine the temptations their children face in the ungodly world?
4. Is it right for brethren to criticize me and tell me I am not preaching the gospel, but am just “up there
  telling stories”?
5. Shall I not “reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:1-4; Ephesians
  5:11-17)?

H. Shall I not try to make people feel the power and depth of Jesus’ sacrifice and suffering as presented in such
  passages as John 3:16; Matthew 26:36-39; Matthew 27:26-54; Hebrews 5:7-10)?

IV. WHEN CRITICISM IS OFFERED, IT OFTEN REVEALS THE NEED FOR FURTHER TEACHING
  TO COMBAT THE ERROR THAT PROMPTS THE CRITICISM.
A. Paul asked the Galatians, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16).

V. BY NO MEANS SHOULD THIS LESSON BE THOUGHT TO ARGUE THAT THERE ARE NOT
  TIMES
  WHEN CRITICISM IS SORELY NEEDED!

VI. WHY CRITICIZE?
A. Is it constructive, motivated by a desire to help a situation?
B. Or, is it intended to cover up one’s own weaknesses, and punish the one who dares to point them out
C. Are angry responses motivated by our own inability to excuse our own ignorance or unwillingness to change
  and improve?

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