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Joined: 2009/12/12
Posts: 592

 A Response to Contacting of Ministers before Criticizing their Teachings by Paul West

This is a compiling of wisdom by Paul West from a [url=]thread[/url] on critiquing ministries a while back. There is great wisdom here that has blessed my heart. I have just re-read it today to refresh these principles in my heart.

A Response to Contacting of Ministers before Criticizing their Teachings by Paul West

I can only share with you what I believe is the heart of God and the mind of Christ. I myself spent years as a watchdog and a sword-wielding sentry for the church and thought it my duty to ruthlessly expose all error, heresy, blasphemy, word of faith, charismania, antinomianism, et cetera in a broad, public way. Any person or ministry who didn't fit the pattern I found to be scripturally and theologically correct was sent directly to the firing squad without appeal.

However, I found myself increasingly bitter and judgmental throughout it all. I found that the more people I condemned to the proverbial heretic's stake, the more would then appear, and it became easier and easier each time to pronounce judgment on the next batch.

As I embarked upon my self-imposed heretic-rebuking fest, I found my own walk with Christ and devotion begin to wane. I noticed that I stopped hearing the still, quiet voice of God speak into my life. I was going so full-charge into battle with warning and rebuking that I couldn't hear the voice of my own Captain when He began to warn and rebuke me. One day, however, I heard a clear trumpet call that I've never forgotten:

"Leave them alone"

I heard that every tree my Father didn't plant would one day be uprooted; and that the blind following the blind would both fall into the same ditch. These were the words of the Captain, and I decided to follow Him in this instruction. I saw that while on earth, my Captain mentioned no names, never went on a tirade or a diversion against one particular person. He spoke instead against general hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of the scribes and pharisees, and to beware of their leaven. He didn't mention the individual religious leaders in detail with specifics of their character or ministry that caused them to be damned. Even if you notice with Judas Iscariot, Christ never mentioned his name as the betrayer of the Son of Man publically.

I chose to obey what I read and follow what I noticed as a pattern in Christ's ministry. It seemed He never had time to write any letters to the Sannhedrin or to the Herodians or scribes and lawyers -- He was too busy ministering to the sick and mute and blind and maimed and preaching the Kingdom to the poor to write a letter to those who were bent on scattering instead of gathering. In fact, when brought before them, He never even opened His mouth to either justify His ministry or rebuke theirs.

So I too stopped publically rebuking others, and writing letters of criticism to ministries I had no business meddling with. When I spoke to other believers about these things, all God told me was to warn others not to follow them, and "not to do as they do", and I have found time and time again this to be totally sufficient. If we are careful to walk before God with a clear conscience and in a spirit of humility and meekness, the Holy Spirit will lend power and authority to our admonitions and warnings which will automatically vindicate the truth...and confirm that which is false without us so much as lifting a finger or launching into a vitriolic tirade.

I hope you pray about what I've written here. It will save you from a lot of headaches and embarrassment and further your growth into hearing the finer whisperings of God's voice to your spirit.


Wisdom is everything - wisdom and discernment. The hardest thing with all this is just keeping silent. People will doubtless think you are a coward, or indifferent. Can you imagine the scene of Christ before Herod and all his decorated men of war, them ridiculing, provoking and spewing forth all sorts of wicked, ugly blasphemies at Him? The false witnessing? Throughout it all, He never once opened His mouth to criticize or defend. He never answered any of the false charges, never spoke a word against Gamaliel and his elite school of Rabbis and how wrong they were.

He kept is mouth shut and everyone, including the Procurator of Judea, marveled. I tell you, people will also marvel if you will desist in joining in with all the popular heresy hunting and preacher critiquing going on these days. Modern Christianity is full of criticism: one group criticizing another, arguing over words and doctrine. One side says the other is Babylon, and the other side calls its accusers "legalists". It's never ending, it engenders perpetual conflict like a bad soap opera, and whoever indulges in it suffers in their walk.

There is a time to rebuke and a time to keep silent. Most of the rebukes you see in this forum - I'll say 99% of them - are done in the wrong spirit and out of season. The truth is, people are not content with God in their own walks due to various reasons (i.e. defiled conscience, unrepentant sin, hurt pride, unforgivenenss, etc.) and so they have no peace with God. Because of the lack of peace, they cannot be edified by things and topics that are lovely, noble, of good repute, full of charity and devotion, gentleness, kindness, peaceable to the soul, born of meekness, etc. These things are not conducive to their turbulent spiritual condition, and so they are drawn to fault-find and meddle in other men's affairs and ministries that rub them the wrong way. Since misery loves company, they relish in publishing their attacks in public forums in the form of libel and slander.

The thing is, however, many of their criticisms are correct and true! They may have the correct doctrine and their rebukes are foundationed on scripture and healthy theology; sadly, though, all this is often negated through a fleshy rebuke and a spirit of contention. The correction itself is true, but the spirit in which it is done is false, and thus God does not accept it; He does not anoint it or put His authority behind it...and all it ever accomplishes is the furtherance of more strife and contention.

As for me, I would rather be labeled a coward by other believers and accused as one who does not stand zealously for truth - and keep the anointing of God upon my life and ministry - than join the popular rebuking crowd of critiquing believers and lose God's anointing upon my life and ministry. The truth is that God very seldom calls us to publically rebuke another man. Most of what we see and the letters we read are but the spoiled fruit of believers out of touch with God and expressing what is only natural to them.


When I first came to SermonIndex I lacked discernment in this area. I too eagerly jumped on the bandwagon of what we are talking about. Consequently, there are threads and posts one can dig up in the forum archive that I am not very proud of. Little did I know that during these times, God was testing and trying me and challenging my pride at the inner heart level. His voice became more and convicting until finally I remember a thread popping up bashing Joel Osteen (if my memory serves correct) and as I got ready my flamethrower to torch the territory, I heard the Lord speak to my heart discreetly: "Let him alone"

I had no stirring in my spirit over the "other gospel" the man preached; I had no inclination to grieve over his probable demise and over those who followed him, heading into the ditch. What right did I have then to lambast? To defame, to rebuke and torch? My heart simply wasn't right, though in my head I knew he was preaching another gospel and leading millions astray.

It suddenly became a heart issue each time one of these heretic threads emerged, and I discovered that the verve to publically flay these men went away. It became sufficient instead to warn without condemning; I saw myself instead as a witness in court and not the judge. God sent His Son into the world not to condemn, and therefore God also sent me to SermonIndex not to condemn. The blind leading the blind both fall into the ditch irrespective of anonymous forum diatribes.

That all took place a few years ago, and I lost some friends because I've refused to take sides or support one camp over another. I just want to be on the Lord's side. I have also found that God honors those who honor Him, and if you humble yourself He will for sure exalt you in due time. The secret is in not giving up doing good before the harvest. If we are careful to keep a good, clear conscience and walk in the humility of what we know the Lord expects from us, He will show Himself mighty in our lives.

We also find that the more we submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, the more peaceable our lives become...and the more insight God lends us to see the compassion and longsuffering He has for all men. As we continue to look unto Jesus we learn these things, and much more, as we become more and more fashioned into His image.


 2010/1/27 12:08Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37395
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Re: A Response to Contacting of Ministers before Criticizing their Teachings by Paul

Amen. This is a tremendous article. Oh that we would learn the lessons of the commands of Christ such as not to speak evil of "any" man. That we would desire to be more like Christ and "consider others" better then ourselves.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/1/27 16:02Profile


Paul West said: So I too stopped publically rebuking others

hmmm...the beloved apostle who wrote most of the New Testement had no problem exposing heretics.

2Ti 2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: [b]of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;[/b]
2Ti 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

I think it can be a danger to take "what the Lord told Paul West" and to make it a law to everyone. Instead he should admonish people to follow the Lord. It might be different for different people.

So Greg, if I could ask you a question....was Paul speaking evil of these men?

edit: said Paul Washer by mistake..changed to Paul West.

By the way, I'm not trying to come against Paul West just wanting to see what the word says in all of this.

 2010/1/27 16:32

Joined: 2006/11/7
Posts: 1178

 Re: A Response to Contacting of Ministers before Criticizing their Teachings by Paul

Truly this is the heart of God. Thank you for sharing it.


 2010/1/27 16:34Profile

Joined: 2005/8/1
Posts: 19

 Re: A Response to Contacting of Ministers before Criticizing their Teachings by Paul

Thanks for this.

I remember taking the time to look into false teachings and getting my heckles raised in the process. I then remember praying about it and hearing the words Jesus spoke to Peter after he asked if John wouldn't die in JOhn 21... "What is that to you? You follow me."

I think the heart of that is reflected in this post and is fantastic.

sscott... the passage you're referring to Paul used them as an example. Obviously something the church could see and refer to. Take some time to reflect on and wrestle with this post. It's worth while.

God bless y'all

Mikey Revis

 2010/1/27 16:40Profile


Sure...I'm not saying people are to be "heresy hunters" but Paul named heretic's "by name" to warn others. I don't believe Paul was speaking evil but was simply speaking the truth.

I've just noticed people have a tendency to jump from one extreme to another. The answer is to be led by the Lord in all things.

 2010/1/27 16:52

 Re: The other side of shepherding. The brother's keeper.

Titus:1, 10-16

If we are shepherds, or our brothers keepers, there is a time and place for rebuke and confrontation upon deceivers.
"For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.

15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

"Whose mouth must be stopped..."..."therefore rebuke them sharply."

Deceivers will kill and destroy God's people. It is the shepherds duty, and ours as good brothers and sisters to protect and feed.

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

"Therefore watch."
"Take heed to yourselves, overseers."

2 Peter 2
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.

Destroyers in the midst of the flock.

Rev:2, vs. 6...and 15 and 16

Jesus speaking;...vs:6 "Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.'

15. "So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

16. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth."

Jesus himself despises deceivers, and controllers, and indeed makes war with them. every heresy and deception that entered the holy church ever, to defile her... Satan's motivation...], BEGAN WITH SMALL HERESIES AND LIES, AND WERE NOT CONFRONTED, AND SPREAD LIKE CANCER!

I do appreciate Paul's article, and especially the idea of the critical spirit, and know personally how quickly it can devour you , and rob you of Peace....[ and destroy fellowship ...]; we must however, judge according to the bright mirror of the Word...the Bible, and judge what a man DOES...His DEEDS and His teachings...what he writes and holds to. It is our duty, for the wolves are in the majority today, for the lack of the protective shepherd.

Let us be gentle, and "if a brother is overcome with a fault...

"you who are spiritual"...RESTORE such a one..."

If at all possible...then, as Matt. 18 says...your out without repentance.

I believe the moderators here have done a very good job displaying patience and fairness.

 2010/1/27 17:37

Joined: 2006/11/7
Posts: 1178

 A Response to Contacting of Ministers before Criticizing their Teachings by Paul West

I think it is correct that there is a time for rebuke and correction, but where the problem comes in is carrying it out in an unbiblical way. The word say to go to your brother and talk to him and if he doesn't receive it take one or two others and then if he doesn't receive it take it before the church. There is a order in God's book.

How many of those that we talk about on this forum were ever talked to by any of us? Not many I bet. A lot of what we share is heresay and probably false and we are in danger of harming someone God is maybe using.

Acts 5:36-39
36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. 37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God

I think that the first post is correct if we speak out against unbiblical teaching, like the unbalanced prospertity doctrine, and don't attach names to it, the readers will understand what we are saying and will be warned, but we won't be in danger of slandering someone God is using. If we know for certain that someone is in error we should follow correct biblical procedure in our approach.

About 15 years ago someone started sending me newsletters about all the "error" in the church, hitting this on and and that one. I guess he was the only one that could rightly divide the word of truth, because surely everybody else was messed up. I finally felt the check of the Holy Spirit about even reading it and canceled my subscription. I felt peace return to my heart. You can't accomplish anything positive by focussing on the negative.


 2010/1/27 19:27Profile

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732

 Re: A Response to Contacting of Ministers before Criticizing their Teachings by Paul

You can't accomplish anything positive by focussing on the negative.

The point of this thread, is to recognize that we can become more zealous about error then about truth. Most of us can admit to stumbling in this area, so the point needn't be a condemnation, or a controversy, but simply a caution.



Mike Compton

 2010/1/27 21:12Profile

Joined: 2005/7/20
Posts: 671
Los Angeles, California


Amazing words form the Lord through brother Paul West!!! This is also the testimony in my life - thanks so much for these encouraging words!


Patrick Ersig

 2010/1/27 22:28Profile

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