Should We Criticize Others?
by Kent Heaton
The nature of truth is that it exposes error. In a world fueled by a politically correct presentation of non-offensive language, criticism is not accepted. This is especially true when this criticism speaks of religion. To challenge the teachings and beliefs of others is perceived as a personal attack upon the moral character of individuals. We should never attempt to justify our actions by motives of specific personal abuse upon others because they believe in something contrary to our own beliefs. The examination of truth must be based upon the measure of what is truth. Jesus said, "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth" (John 17:17). This is the only truth there is.
The character of truth is that it will come in conflict with what someone believes when that doctrine says something different than the truth established by God. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). This truth is narrow. Jesus said He was the only way to the Father. Jesus said He was the only truth there was. He also affirmed that life could only be found in Him and in Him alone. His conclusion was the only way - the only way to the Father was by Him. This would leave out Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, the Pope, Kent Heaton, Bob, Sam, Doris and every person who ever lived and ever will live.
Jesus excluded Moses, David, Peter, Mary, Joseph and every character of scripture - He is the ONLY way to the Father. Should we criticize anyone who would suggest otherwise? Yes! If I believe that Jesus is the Son of God I will have to make a stand of judgment against those who deny such. Jesus said, "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). What if a religion does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Are we to understand they are right or wrong? What Jesus said is that if a person does not believe that HE is the Son of God, they will die in their sins. If a Buddhist, Islamist, Jew, Gentile, male, female, young or old does not believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God, they will die in their sins! Why? God said so!
If men choose to practice things not found in the pages of God's word, we are obligated by love to admonish them to hold fast to the pattern of sound doctrine (II Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:10-14). Jesus criticized the religious leaders of His day (Matthew 23). John the Baptist admonished Herod about his marriage (Matthew 14:4). The apostle Paul told the people of Athens to give up their idols to serve the true and living God (Acts 17).
There is a single body of truth and that truth is the word of God. "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God" (I Peter 4:11). The only way we can know the truth is to abide in His truth (John 15:7). The words we speak cannot be of human wisdom (I Corinthians 2:12,13) but only the words of truth from the mind of God. "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).