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Blaine Allen: When People Throw Stones

 

Blaine Allen, When People Throw Stones: A Leader’s Guide to Fielding Personal Criticism (Kregel, 2005), 176 pages, ISBN 978-0825420146.

Blaine Allen’s book, When People Throw Stones, is important and necessary. The ugly truth is that Christian service has downsides. All too often, the chief downside is criticism.

The book is organized in ten chapters; “When You Can’t Take Any More,” “When You’ve Done Your Best,” “When God Doesn’t Defend,” “When Your Critic Speaks The Truth,” “When To Blow It Off,” “When To Take A Stand,” “When Survival Techniques Make It Easier,” “When Primed To Fire,” “When An Explosion Seems Inevitable,” and “When You Don’t Want To Forgive.”Each chapter speaks to a different aspect of criticism against Christian servants.

Pastor Blaine is careful to point out that not all critical comments are negative. Sometimes, a vital truth is painful to hear. You should assume the credence and credibility of some criticizers. Chapter 4, When Your Critic Speaks The Truth, speaks to this very circumstance.

Pastor Blaine carefully explains that truthfulness, empathy, and accuracy are some of the traits of good critics. With Scripture backing each point, the author draws a detailed picture of the men and women who should have your ear. Even when they do a poor job of delivering the message, even if they popped the bubble of your self-esteem, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”(Proverbs 27:6 KJV).

Even anointed, faithful servants of the Most High can be in the wrong. Or need a nudge in a better direction. “If there’s life after a word-walloping, you must embrace valid criticism.” Prayerfully, that will include embracing the Gospel brother or sister who brought the message.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Proverbs 27:6 KJV

Of course, some well-intentioned souls are plain wrong. What about those who have a more devilish motivation to criticize? There’s a chapter for them as well. Chapter 5 teaches you “When To Blow It Off.” Drawing from the example of Apostle Paul and the Corinthian church, Pastor Blaine explains how to ignore such critics and their unhelpful criticism. He points to the King, the One we really serve. And he backs his points, again, with Scripture.

The author directs God’s servants to face the Judge. Not a mere earthly court, but the Throne of heaven. If God approves of your service, why pay attention to any one else? In this way, Blaine teaches God’s servants to have confidence in themselves and in the God who empowers them. If a miracle working Apostle received criticism, you can expect to receive some yourself.

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2010

About the Author: Kirk Wesley Hunt, MBA, is part of Tucson Church International in Tucson Arizona. He is the author of Soldiers Of The Kingdom: Reclaiming the World for God (CadreMen Press, 2002) and Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals for Gospel Champions (CadreMen Press, 2015). He publishes a weekly devotional at: devotionals.cadremenpress.com.

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