Critique — done well — is a gift to the one being criticized. We should welcome the opportunity to have our thinking corrected and clarified. We see through a glass dimly, and God has gifted the church with teachers who often see things more clearly than we do at present. In God’s providence and through the gift of common grace he may also use unbelievers to critique our views, showing our logical mistakes or lack of clarity.
Critique done poorly — whether through overstatement, misunderstanding, caricature — is a losing proposition for all. It undermines the credibility of the critic and deprives the one being criticized from the opportunity to improve his or her position.
It’s impossible in a blog post to set forth a comprehensive methodology of critique — if such a thing can even be done. But there are at least three exhortations worth remembering about criticism.
His three exhortations are:
- Understand before you critique
- Be self-critical in how you critique
- Consider the alternatives of what you are critiquing