Thinking Critically in Faith

By Vladimir Savchuk | February 8, 2024 | 5 mins

Thinking Critically in Faith

In our walk with God, it’s important to think deeply and live based on God’s principles instead of focusing on finding faults. Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher, once said that the church isn’t perfect, but we shouldn’t enjoy pointing out its flaws.

I believe that the Church must learn to develop critical thinking instead of a critical spirit. We are called to point to the Truth which is Christ, not to whatever we believe to be the truth. Here are a few things we should consider.

Learning to Think Well

The Bible teaches us to think critically, which means to ask questions, try to understand, and think carefully about ideas or actions. It’s driven by humility, curiosity, and a unifying purpose. 

A critical spirit on the other hand, is negative, fault-finding and seeks to tear down rather than build up. It’s marked by pride, indifference to people, and seeks to divide rather than unite. 

As followers of Jesus, who is the ultimate Truth, we’re called to look to Him as the Source of our truth and not to other believers.

Understanding Our Biases

I was listening to Craig Groeschel’s podcast recently and he mentioned something that stuck with me. In the podcast, Craig mentions cognitive biases, which are like mistakes in our thinking. These biases can stop us from thinking clearly because we see things based on our own experiences and preferences. He points out three common biases:

  • Confirmation bias: Liking ideas that agree with what we already believe.
  • Status quo bias: Preferring familiar things over possibly better new options.
  • Anchoring bias: Giving too much importance to the first piece of information we hear.

It’s important to recognize these biases to keep our thinking balanced and in line with Biblical principles. We must never be quick to speak and slow to listen. I want to encourage you to have wisdom and discernment in all areas of your life. Not everything that comes through our televisions or to our ears is true. We must be willing to critically think and research to find the truth.

As people of the Truth, we cannot be moved by what’s “hot” and “trendy.”

Facing False Accusations

Jesus tells us in Scripture that His followers would be falsely accused (Matthew 5:11-12). In fact, the Bible is full of examples where we see this to be the case.

  • Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph (Gen 39:11-15)
  • Naboth was framed by Jezebel (1 Kings 21)
  • People (even prophets) lied about God (Jer 5:12)
  • The exiles rebuilding Jerusalem were lied about Ezra (Ezra 4:4-7; Neh 6:1-14)
  • They said John the Baptist had a demon (Luke 7:33)
  • Paul was falsely accused, arrested, and imprisoned (Acts 16:20; 18:13; 21:28; 24:5-6)
  • Rome accused Christians of atheism, cannibalism, and sexual orgies. 

We also see throughout the New Testament that Jesus was also lied about and called:

  • Destroyer of the temple (Mark 14:55-59)
  • A glutton and a drunk (Luke 7:34-35)
  • Having a demon (Luke 11:14-15)
  • Demon-possessed and insane (John 10:20)
  • Out of his mind (Mark 3:21)
  • An evildoer worthy of death (John 18:30-31)
  • Blasphemer (Mark 14:61-64)
  • A perverter of the nation and forbidding people to pay taxes to Caesar (Luke 23:1-2)

These stories remind us that lies and deceit are tools used to cause harm. As Christians we must learn to grow thick skin because often, we may have to live being misunderstood. But, through faith and the power of our testimonies, we can overcome these challenges (Revelation 12:11).

Prone to An Autoimmune Disease

Sometimes, like in autoimmune diseases where the body attacks itself, members of the church community turn against each other. This causes division and hurt. The Bible encourages us to seek peace, unity, and to build each other up (Romans 14:19, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Ephesians 4:2-3, Philippians 2:2-3).

The family of God must fight, but not each other.

We should focus on facing challenges together, not fighting among ourselves. Remembering the story of the first murder in the Bible, we’re reminded of the importance of unity. Jesus prayed for us to be one, just like God is one (John 17:21). Scripture tells us that it is Satan who is the accuser of the bretheren. We are not called to fight one another, but stand united against the real enemy–the devil (Ephesians 6:12).

As Believers, we must remember that God can do His perfect work through imperfect people. While some may misuse their gifts (Matthew 7:22-23), we should never demonize nor idolize men of God. And we should always be slow in speaking; our response to someone’s sin can also be a sin.

Disagreements on minor issues don’t make someone a false teacher (Acts 20:27), and the Bible outlines characteristics of false prophets in the Old and New Testaments.

According to Peter, false teachers are those who: 

  • Deny Christ (2 Peter 2:1)
  • Exploit believers for personal gain (2 Peter 2:3)
  • Abuse Christian freedom, neglect duty (2 Peter 2:10, 19)

Choosing What to Listen To

Mark 4:24 tells us that whatever we listened to we will conceive in due time–“Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

By thinking critically, recognizing our biases, and choosing to support and unite with each other, we can strengthen the body of Christ. Let’s hold on to what is true and help each other grow in love and understanding.

Read: How to Lead People Effectively

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