Some who read this title may immediately feel that these terms are contradictory: Christian and critic. I would answer- may it never be!
We Christians are called to examine first of all ourselves, not to the point of morbid introspection, but to the point of getting at the Truth. Secondly, we are instructed to adopt the view that Christ in God takes of the world, and this includes all things in and of it. Now, this would necessitate the application of our critical thinking skills at whatever level that we are able to employ them.
I am certainly not suggesting that we behave in a manner that is unbecoming of Christians; harping on the negative, maintaining a harshness of spirit, cultivating a divisive attitude. I am suggesting that we carefully consider our own character, and that of the church, to determine moment by moment whether or not it is in keeping with the character of God in Christ.
We cannot expect from the world anything other than a life lived in sympathy with sin. Those who do not live within the Faith, will live outside of it. They will live according to the standard dictated by their own nature to sin. They will make decisions based upon their own rule of truth, which is the dictate of the sin nature. When they do good, it will be based in their own idea of good- in other words, their motives will be some other than the glorification and enjoyment of God (i.e., in obeying a law of traffic, I may do so because I do not wish to die or to injure another, but only due to reasons pertaining to my own convenience to self).
However, from ourselves and from our brothers and sisters, we can and should expect a great deal more. We are The Bride of Christ! We are never to live in sympathy with our sin nature. Instead, we are to live in triumph over it! Now this will not be the case in every moment; as we are being sanctified, as we are struggling in our physical constraints, we will stumble on occasion, and it is then that we must in the spirit of Christian criticism call one another to account.
And we should welcome that calling to account, as it is our path home! It is our way out of our flesh and back into His Spirit! Now, this is not to say that His spirit is ever separated from us, once saved. We are able though, to quell His Spirit within us by our nature to sin- still present, but dominated most often by His Spirit. Truly, one great and compelling evidence of our own salvation is the immediate desire to return home, once we are confronted and are made to acknowledge the error of our ways.
The one who is lost- is really lost. He has not merely stumbled and slipped off the right path for a momentary excursion into pleasuring self, and is then able to be shaken out of his stupor to be set right again, rather he is completely misguided and may even believe himself to be on the most direct route to where ever it is he considers himself to be going. Thus, an awful struggle will many times ensue as an attempt is made to convince this one that he is quickly traveling the road to his own demise.
Yes! I believe we should all be Christian critics, and yet in the Spirit, thus in the prevailing attitude of loving consideration for God Our Father, for brother, and for sister. Most importantly, we should begin with ourselves, with our own motives, and we should be delighted if other members of the body love us enough to question our lives.