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From an interview with Tom Schreiner asking about how he deals with academic criticism and misunderstanding or misrepresentation of his position:

Receiving criticism is part of the process of discipleship. It is one of the ways God makes us more like Jesus, so that we live for his glory instead of the praise of people. I don’t enjoy being criticized, but I recognize how the Lord has used it to help me become more like Jesus (though I have a long way to go!). Criticism is also helpful in that I see how others understand and respond to what I wrote. In reading criticisms I often see how I could state something better. I want to be open in reading a critique to correction. I could be wrong! So, I read a critique and think about how to respond well to what is said and consider whether what I wrote needs to be adjusted.

For thoughts on how this relates to the gospel, see this good post from Jared Wilson, who argues that “We will commend the gospel when we can give and receive criticism with charity and humility.”

I’d also commend Alfred Poirier’s article “The Cross and Criticism,” which defines criticism broadly as “any judgment made about you by another, which declares that you fall short of a particular standard” and then argues that at the cross we agree with God’s judgment of us and we agree with God’s justification of us—both of which have a radical impact on how we take and give criticism in Christ.

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One thought on “Receiving and Giving Criticism before the Cross”

  1. Luma says:

    Thanks, Justin, this is helpful. This is actually true even when our children come to us with a grievance or what we see as their criticism—it’s true all the way around in every relationship.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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