"Criticism of other churches has no place in Christianity"

Question:

To whom it may concern,

I just read a response to a question regarding Mark 9:38-40, and I was disappointed that the last paragraph contained the following:

"This passage also shows that the concept of succession, where a denomination claims to be the "real" church because it can trace its heritage from one church to another all the way back to the apostles is nonsense."

It is such a shame that the author could not resist making a vague negative criticism of other churches. Surely the mark of a Christian is love. Such remarks have no place in Christianity.

Thank you.


Answer:

It would appear that the statement was not vague since you took exception to what it stated. It expressed a corollary to the point that Mark 9:38-40 shows that churches can start by people reading the Bible and putting into practice the teaching found in its pages. The necessary conclusion is that the claim that there must be a line of succession of one person teaching another back to the apostles is not true. Perhaps truth is hard to face at times, but it does remain truth.

If pointing out false teachings was wrong, then you've condemned John who condemned Diotrephes for his improper control of a church (III John 9-11). You've condemned Paul who pointed out the false doctrine of Alexander (II Timothy 4:14-15) and warned that there were some claiming there was no resurrection (I Corinthians 15:12). You've even condemned Jesus for exposing the false teachings of the Pharisees (Matthew 23).

"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 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, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (I Timothy 4:1-5).

Dear Jeffrey,

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

Yes, I believe the statement was vague because it appeared to be a veiled attempt to criticize other Christian churches. Your reply seems to support this. And, secondly, because you pronounce that something is 'not true' does not mean that is not true. It is just your opinion. 'Truth' seems to be a fluid commodity these days, especially in America it seems.

I believe Christians should work together and take every opportunity to support other Christians, regardless of their denomination, in spreading the Word of Jesus. Otherwise, we run the risk of being labelled hypocritical when we speak of the universal love of Jesus.

I wish you every blessing in your Ministry.

Let's see:

  • I cited passages and explained my reasoning. You provided none; yet, somehow I'm merely expressing an opinion in your opinion.
  • You claim "vagueness" because you see it as a veiled criticism; yet, for a second time you are ruffled by that criticism. Clearly nothing veiled or vague here.
  • You accept all denominations, while I accept none. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10). You cannot reach this goal by claiming every difference in teaching is acceptable. "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).
  • Love does not equal acceptance of false teaching or sin. "Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off" (Romans 11:22). You are not doing anyone a favor by leaving them ignorant of what God teaches.