The Cross and Criticism

Criticism in the ministry is as much a given as is death and taxes. At times, the criticism can become so heavy and so often that it can become quite debilitating.

When I served as a youth pastor in Fullerton, CA, Howie Long, the minister of music, used to quote to me all the time, “Seldom is heard an encouraging word.” This is so true not only in ministry but also in marriage, friendships, church relationships and family relationships (especially Fathers to their children).

How does the Gospel apply to criticism? The guys over at First Importance have given some great isight (The Cross & Criticism). Be sure to check it out.

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One Response to The Cross and Criticism

  1. cath says:

    Hello,

    I’m just reading my feeds before logging off for the night (yes i check feeds obsessively :) ) and won’t be back online till Monday – but i have a question about this link, if you don’t mind me raising it.

    In what sense is the cross a criticism of the sinner? The quote talks about “God’s criticism of me in Christ’s cross” and God’s “judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ” – what does that mean?

    It seems to me that although the cross was a time of judgment (justice poured out) and ‘criticism’ (altho it seems a mild word for what was going on in that transaction) – yet it was that for the sinner’s Substitute, not the sinner himself/herself. The sinner is *not* judged, because at the cross Christ was judged instead.

    There is an allusion in the quote to ‘being crucified with Christ,’ but it seems to me that whatever that involves, it can’t involve anything like condemnation for the sinner – surely that would be running counter to the ‘tenor of the gospel’ which i so much appreciate your blog for valuing ? :)

    Maybe i could suggest instead perhaps that a more ‘gospel driven’ way of dealing with criticism would be to recognise that, in and of myself, i have nothing at all by way of defence against any criticism that can be raised against me, whether by God or (what’s in some ways more difficult to deal with) by other people – but that in Christ there is no condemnation *because* he not I bore the judgment that is rightly due for all my sins and shortcomings. And the need for a clear conscience before God is a good way, perhaps, of keeping the criticism of other people in perspective (easier said than done i know).

    cath

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