Pride and Pastor #4

“I need to remember that my weaknesses are not in the way of productive ministry, but my delusions of independent strength are.” (Paul Tripp)

So true. In my twenty years in ministry I’ve seen many pastors and wannabees (young and old) who display sign of giftedness, but demonstrate their unfit for the office of episkope. Perhaps the biggest reason is due to their character, namely the perpetual demonstrations of pride. It’s true that pride comes in many forms, but I’m speaking specifically about being unteachable, untouchable, and having a transcendent view of self.

Tripp writes:

The fact of the matter is that there is never a day when you don’t demonstrate somehow, someway that you are weak. There is never a day when you don’t reveal that there are still pockets of foolishness in you. In fact, God will use the responsibilities, opportunities, burdens, and temptations of ministry to reveal to you and those who love you how weak you really are. He reveals your weakness to you so that you will continue to seek the help of his grace, and he reveals it to others so that they can be instruments of his grace in your life. Paul didn’t resign his ministry because he became convinced he was the foremost of all sinners. No, you could argue that it is your admission of weakness that protects your ministry from becoming all about human reputation and kingdom building. And it is your weakness that protects you from the dangers of self-righteousness and self-reliance.

It is your delusions of perceived strength and maturity, which you actually lack, that have the potential to derail and ultimately destroy your ministry. This is because when you think you are strong, you think you can live independently of the grace of Jesus and the ministry of others, although you may not know that this is what you’re doing (underline mine, from Dangerous Calling, 206-207).

Unfortunately, those who are unteachable, untouchable, and have a transcendent view of self would fail to discern these God-ordained sanctifying means. Even more tragically, at the end, they may destroy the very character and credibility they try to protect.

Let us take heed. May God help us all, especially, those of us who are called to the office of episkope.

Pride and Pastor #3

Pride and Pastor #3

Proud people tend to talk about themselves a lot. Proud people tend to like their opinions more than the opinions of others. Proud people think their stories are more interesting and engaging than others. Proud people think they know and understand more than others’. Proud people think they’ve earned the right to be heard. Proud people think they have glory to offer. Proud people, because they are basically proud of what they know and of what they’ve done, talk a lot about both. Proud people don’t reference weakness. Proud people don’t talk about failure. Proud people don’t confess sin. So proud people are better at putting the spotlight on themselves than at shining the light of their stories and opinions on God’s glorious and utterly undeserved grace.

(From Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, 175-76).

Let me add some of my observations:

Proud people (including pastors) are unthankful. Proud people are too proud to say, “I’m sorry. It’s my fault. Will you forgive me?” Proud people are unteachable. Proud people are arrogant with what little they know and boast of their little/limited knowledge. Proud people are easily offended. Proud people easily discount or belittle suggestions. Proud people resist doing what’s right. Proud people are stubborn. Proud people are unruly. Proud people have authority issue. Proud people are suspicious of others. Proud people have self-entitlement issue. Proud people are people pleasers. Proud people show favoritism. Proud people play double-rules. Proud people are hypocritical. Proud people compete for God’s glory.


Pride and Pastor – 2

Entitlement always seems to follow pride. If you think you’ve earned _______, then you will think you deserve _______. Then, carrying around not only pride but also entitlement, you will tend to turn blessings into demands and gifts of grace into what is to be expected. We must never forget that we have earned neither our standing with the Lord nor our place in ministry. Each moment that he accepts us and each situation in which he uses us are the result of one thing and one thing alone: grace. We have no right before God or others to self-assuredly stand with our hands out. We are independently entitled to nothing but his anger; it is only grace that entitles us to his accepting love. The smug expectation of blessing will cause you to question not only the appreciation of the people around you but also the goodness of God.

Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 161-62.

Pride and Pastor

I am afraid that there is a whole lot of pride in the modern pulpit. There is a whole lot of pride in the seminary classroom. There is a whole lot of pride in the church staff. It is one of the reasons for all the relational conflict that takes place in the church. It is why we are often better theological gatekeepers than tender and humble spokesmen for the gospel. It is why pastors often seem unapproachable. It is why we get angry in meetings or defensive when someone disagrees with us or points out a wrong. We are too self-assured. We are too confident. We too quickly assess that we are okay. We too quickly make heroes out of ourselves and others. We too often take credit for what sovereign grace produced. We too often assess that we don’t need the help that the normal believer needs. We are too quick to speak and too slow to listen. We too often take as personal affronts things that are not personal. We quit being students too soon. We don’t see ourselves as needy often enough. We have too little meditative-communion-with-Christ time nailed into our schedules. We confidently assign to ourselves more ministry work than we do. We live in more isolation than is spiritually healthy. Pastor, there is ample evidence all around us that we tend to forget who we are and that we allow ourselves to be defined by things that should not define us.

Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 153-54.