The tiny Black Spot on a Large White Screen
No leaders are perfect.
It is a huge undertaking to strive to fully proclaim the full counsel of God from the pulpit (https://wwwpilgrim.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/the-whole-counsel-can-we-really-be-complete-and-balanced/) and (https://wwwpilgrim.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/the-boiling-pot-and-the-poisonous-stew/).
Either there will be a small blot or stain on the entire white screen, or it could be a few tiny holes. Understandably it hurts the ego when flaws and faults in the teaching or ministry are pointed out (https://wwwpilgrim.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/bible-policemen-or-a-berean/). So we can naively sympathise when a leader lament that he is being victimised over a tiny black spot in his teachings instead of ignoring the flaw and be concerned with the generally large white screen.
I wondered (during an actual scenario as above) – can we really gloss over such flaws when it pertains to doctrinal truth and teachings? No we definitely cannot. This morning, my pastor even pointed out how Martin Luther erroneously discounted the book of James from the Canon of Scriptures as Luther believed that it was not consistent and square with the Gospel of Grace. However, my pastor rightly credited Luther as being a good man, as his comments on the book of James stemmed from incomplete and faulty interpretation.
Wrong teachings has to be exposed and explained. The tiny flaw on the large screen has to be pointed out.
Pointing out errors in teachings must be upheld as the scriptures instructed. And we cannot assert on being victimised for our errors because it is merely a tiny blot. It might draw sympathy, but the support is misplaced. In doing so, we have wrongly ascribed negative connotations (evil) to a good and positive initiative and response (to wrong teaching). We have to be concerned, careful and circumspect not be minimise the black spots.
In a way, instead of admitting our error we have turned around and incorrectly suggested and alluded that the person who pointed out the black spot is the antagonist. Pointing out the black spots (by being a Berean?) stems from a love for the truth, contends for the truth, and serves the body of Christ to be perfect in the knowledge of Christ. To discredit those who points out the black spots is to attribute evil to good. And while we deride those who nobly point out the black spot, have we not ourselves been guilty of pointing out (and wrongly) of the good intention (undeniably not a black spot) of the Bereans.
I will never forget how a group of believers in 2005 gave a 10 point response to the criticisms and critiques leveled against them. The response has become a “template” for me in relating (not reacting) to those whose preferences, persuasions and convictions differ from mine.
I fully encourage all to read the classic response. I must qualify that while I am so much taught by their example in responding to criticism, I do not fully support the persuasions and teachings of the Emergent movement. A sample is appended below
First, we wish to say thanks to our critics for their honest feedback on our books, articles, speeches, blogs, events, and churches. We readily acknowledge that like all human endeavors, our work, even at its best, is still flawed and partial, and at its worst, deserves critique. We are grateful to those who help us see things we may not have seen without the benefit of their perspective. We welcome their input.
Second, we have much to learn from every criticism – whether it is fair or unfair, kindly or unkindly articulated. We pray for the humility to receive all critique with thoughtful consideration. Where we think we have been unfairly treated, we hope not to react defensively or to respond in kind, and where we have been helpfully corrected, we will move forward with gratitude to our critics for their instruction and correction.