Church Critics (C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters 16)

I once met a man who told me his spiritual gift was criticizing the church. He said he couldn’t join any one church
because there were too many problems with them all.

I met another man who told me he was a better Christian by avoiding commitment to church. He said he didn’t need it.

I had a conversation with a former student who used to be so ministry minded but, when she moved away to college, she said she couldn’t find a church. I asked her why. She said none of the churches were really what she was looking for. She had her list of what a church needed to be and none of the churches lived up to the list. I noticed that service was not on her list. She was looking to take, not to give. So I asked her, “Are you asking what can I give to this church?”
She said she had never thought of it that way.

In the 16 letter of The Screwtape Letters, the demon Screwtape tells his understudy Wormwood that he must get his man to become “a critic” searching for a “suitable church.”
The greatest problem of current church hoppers is that they are critics, looking for what the church is going to do for them. They shop for churches the same way they shop for a car or clothes.
This is not to say that we should not evaluate the church in general, or our own specific church. But, it does mean that we should be part of the solution, not lob criticisms from a distance.
Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a leader in a church he pastored that demanded each criticism come with a solution. No criticism was allowed if it was not coupled with a solution. Otherwise we are critics without any value.


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