How to be a Gracious Critic When You Love to Hate

Gracious Critic Wrecking Ball

Something has been weighing on me quite a bit lately. I was very gently rebuked recently for how negative I usually am. This wasn’t an attack from some wounded outsider. This was from my closest business partner and friend, Justus. Second only to my wife, I rely on him to keep me in check. He said, in so many words, “I don’t want the Nehemiah Foundation to be characterized by naysaying. And you are often very negative. It leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths.” Especially after my article on Left Behind, I wanted to take this opportunity to begin a public dialogue on (some of) my shortcomings, and to ask for help in developing a constructive and gracious program for the destruction of mediocrity and corruption in the church’s arts.

Demolition in God’s Kingdom Plans

First, demolition and critique clearly have a place in God’s redemptive plan. If you look at God’s commission to Jeremiah (Jer. 1:10), two-thirds of it is destructive:

Lecrae Addresses His Harshest Critics


Since 2004, Lecrae has been making Christian hip hop music. Even as his popularity has grown, his message has remained the same, based in Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe.”

But as Lecrae has gained acclaim, he has also received heightened criticism—not so much from the world for his shameless proclamation of the gospel, but (should it even surprise us?) from Christians. They accuse him of becoming worldly, distancing himself from the church, and “selling out” for money or fame.

The NFfCR: Five Loaves and Two Fish

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One of the most frustrating parts of my job as president of the NFfCR is the fact that we have very few resources and almost no support from the larger Christian community. In the six years of our existence, I have fought hard to get recognition from mainstream Christian reviewers and distribution giants. But to no avail. We have yet to have one breakthrough.

Even though almost every one of the Christians I have talked to agree that the Christian arts are in crisis, mainstream Christian producers and distributors have continued to pump out the same old cotton candy without a thought that anything might be wrong. And for many years, it was looking like all our work was for naught. But then things started to change.