Question: I’ve heard you on radio and read your newsletters, etc., and wondered whether you might be too sharp with the tongue and too quick with the pen when it comes to acknowledging the deeds and misdeeds of others in the faith. Didn’t Christ say, “Judge not, that ye not be judged” (Matthew:7:1)?
Response: I am particularly sensitive to that sentiment, which often translates into admonitions to be more careful about “wounding our brothers and sisters in Christ.” However, I think the notion that we should not tell the truth because it can be painful has become “too gracious” by at least half. It is not wrong to wound brothers: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs:27:6); and “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Revelation:3:19).
Beyond that, I am not in the business of condemnation but of correction. It is much easier to ignore or gloss over error than it is to correct it. One doesn’t gain friends or become popular by engaging in the necessary ministry of correction, which all too few are willing to involve themselves with in spite of Paul’s admonition: “Preach the word; reprove, rebuke, with all long-suffering and doctrine; for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine....” It takes much love to be willing to correct. It would be far easier not to do so, and I would really prefer not to have been called by the Lord to this ministry. Yet Jesus said, “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.” I would consider it a favor and a help, not a condemnation, were you to point out any doctrinal error in my teaching and practice. If you could show me from God’s Word where I have been wrong and have not followed my Lord, it would be a kindness. Paul wrote that the Bible itself is to be used for doctrine, correction, instruction in righteousness.... I have sought to be faithful to that admonition.