Engaging Culture

When (If Ever) Is It OK To Criticize Other Christians?

I’m not sure if this puts my salvation in doubt, but here’s a link that’s absolutely must see.  It’s a compilation someone posted on the “5 Worst Christian Videos on the Internet.”  Now these are truly award worthy. I’ve seen some terrible things – and you could probably add a few more – but these are really bad. So while we hate to criticize other believers, the question becomes – when someone puts up a performance (or anything else) online for the public, is it OK to evaluate it?

Granted, in some situations it’s a case of a style that may have been popular in the past but just isn’t anymore.  We’ve all been embarrassed by things we did early in our career.

On the other hand, most of my readers would agree that there are plenty of really poorly produced Christian radio, TV programs, movies, and websites. In fact, I would dare say that some of these are driving more people away from the gospel than drawing them in. But at what point do we raise the bar? When can we call people to a higher standard? When can we state the truth that something really stinks?

I would love your thoughts on that subject.

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21 Comments

  1. The way we will grow and become more effective is by honest evaluation and critique. There is a difference between making fun of other’s work, beliefs, style, presentation etc., and in offering positive critiques. Love edifies and uplifts– even when its critiquing things that need improvement or change. While my personal opinion may be that some (if not all) of those videos were not good for various reasons, what separates me as a Christian from the world is how I respond- in love. It’s easy to be condescending to others who appear less sophisticated, less educated or have questionable style and taste. Let’s just guard our own hearts- speak the truth in love, and not get hung-up on differences that ultimately don’t matter. We should try to remember that just because we have an opinion doesn’t mean we need to share it– at least publicly. At the same time, when it’s warranted we do need to speak out, encourage positive change, and do so from a place of love- not as the world does with snobbery and bullying. Let’s not hurt each other for a laugh- there’s enough offense inadvertently. I’m opposed to political correctness- say what you need to say- but check your motive and heart before you do. My .02.

  2. There are two main things here that I want to address.

    1. Yes, its’ ok to provide constructive criticism, but it must always be professional not personal. It must be private, not public.

    2. Samuel 16:7 is key to knowing our audience. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”

    – Our Audience looks at the OUTWARD APPEARANCE
    – They do not look at our hearts and excuse our horrible media and neither do we.

  3. As a radio and TV station, we receive a lot
    of material and there’s a significant proportion which will probably never go to air. If we’re asked for feedback, we’ll offer it and try to be as constructive as possible. We reckon it’s important to be honest with people, but at the same
    time, nothing is achieved if someone ends up humiliated and hurt. If an artist doesn’t want honest critique though, the music/media industry might not be the one for them. : ) Even if we choose to be kind and diplomatic, plenty of others
    won’t.

  4. It seems the most impactful constructive feedback is feedback that wants to be received. I know a lot of people, Christians and non-Christians alike, that have never asked any peers or audience, how/what can I do better. It’s a shame as they are not growing as much as they could.

  5. I saw one of those videos in the last year or so and was making fun of it to my family; unbelievable; I don’t know how I even saw it. lol

  6. Are you people kidding? Video #2 is genius! And why would you waste your
    precious derision on amateurs? I’ve got bigger fish than these to fry.

    1. Yes, I agree… And keep in mind that some are also very old… I would wager there are many mainstream MTV videos that were popular in the 80’s but look a tad ridiculous now. But, I have to admit the “bonus” video was painful. One last thought, If we’re going to be serious about “evaluating” we should keep it to current work and do our best to keep the comments instructive and do our best to avoid snarky. Although I know for myself, that can be hard.

  7. Bad is bad, good is good. If it’s bad, let ’em know. If no one ever does then they’ll continue to produce the bad.

  8. I think its more important to focus on making the best you can to outshine the bad ones. We do enough discussion on whos right and wrong.

    The same is in our lives. There are claiming Christians who do horrible injustice to God. We’re meant to be the light of the world and shine through any darkness (even bad media!)

  9. I had seen several of these a number of years ago. I wish I had forgotten them and not seen them. I read the comments and do agree we need to say something and in private. But what if the person has deaf ears and does not see? What if nothing is said at all and we allow bad “art” to continue as though it is good? I suspect the radio station guy could attest to people disregarding how bad they are told they are. Sort of like the early demo/elimination of American Idol, etc. Bad art is bad art and I’m not sure there is a redemptive element in it.

  10. Yes, it is put out there for public consumption it should be able to handle scrutiny. There has to be thicker skin. The world produces better quality because they do not expect to be coddled or hold what they want to hear. God didn’t allow Solomon to hire poor or average craftspeople to work on thd temple did he? Even he doesn’t like mediocrity.

  11. I have always lived by the fantastic motto in one of the 1 Minute Manager (Ken Blanchard & others)…

    “feedback is the breakfast of champions”

    If we dont know we’re going wrong, how do we get better?

  12. …Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. …
    … An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. …
    … A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. …
    … To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! …
    …Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid…
    …Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion….

    No, I don’t see a problem with criticising Christians if what they are doing is defective or bad. If they hate reproof, they are stupid. If they are wise, they will thank you for it – they will love knowledge and want to gain intelligence. What really matters here though, I think, is how criticism is delivered. We should deliver it as one delivers joy to someone, or a kiss on the lips – i.e. with loving intent – and we should deliver it appropriately, and with discretion. Making a public scandal of something is not criticising with discretion; nor is shaming or poking fun.

  13. Baby Got Book! Oh man, the only thing to complain about here is “And if you’re Catholic, there’s even more.” It’s great, like Twinkies are great, like Three Stooges are great, like playing solitaire on your computer is great! It’s LOL funny, and that’s because it’s so true.

  14. Many of those are made as jokes. Not serious. The “Sunday “one says it’s a parody in the title, for instance. The others… just embarrassing.

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