ABOUT ARROGANCE IN THE MINISTRY: A SPECIAL WORD TO PREACHERS

Eric Greitens, former Navy Seal and current governor of Missouri, has written in his in his very fine book, Resilience, that “Arrogance is the armor worn by hollow men.”

How true, how pathetically sad and how all-too-obvious. You can see this being verified in pulpits and pews and throughout the public at large week after week. Arrogance really is the armor of hollow men; men who try to compensate for, and cover-up, their own personal incompetencies and insecurities with an air of superiority and a colossal rudeness towards and mistreatment of other people.

Now and then an arrogant man can be found “serving” as the pastor of a church. Generally speaking, such men are pompous and petty; supra-authoritarian and hyper-critical. They share in common a certain hard-heartedness, soft-headedness and thin skins. Such men are an aberration relative to the gospel ministry that is described in Holy Scripture. They contradict the biblical definition and description of a pastor.

Arrogant pastors are hollow men. The fear of God and a humble and a sacrificial spirit is missing in them ((Ecc. 12:10-13;1 Pet. 5:1-3; 2 Cor. 12:15). They do not have a heart for their people (Phil. 1:7). The “mind of Christ” is missing in them too (1 Cor. 2:16). Such men, more often than not, do irreparable and long term damage to individuals and families who are subjected to their personalities and their “ministries.” Experience teaches that it’s difficult to help men like these, and that it’s dangerous to try.

Arrogant, hollow, men in the ministry are the way they are either because (1) they’ve always been that way, which seriously puts into question the genuineness of their calling, or (2) they have become that way, which means they are backslidden and need to cease and desist from the ministry until they repent and change their ways. Arrogant, prideful, hollow men do not belong in the ministry. They are a bane to it and a blight on it.

Those who do the work of the ministry, pastors especially, need to be “hollow” only in the sense of being empty of pride, self-centeredness and the self-seeking spirit, while they are full of the spirit that marks real Christian manhood and ministry. May what was said of Barnabus in Acts 11:24 be said of all who labor in the gospel ministry — “he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord” (Acts 11:24).

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