Monday, August 6, 2012

Smart-Ass Pastors

Smart-Ass, according to the Free Dictionary online, "n. Slang. A smart aleck." Ok. So then over to "smart aleck." It says, "smart aleck" or "smart arse."

There is no real definition, just some synonyms. Like...
...nouns: know all, wise guy, smart arse. Then adjectives: cocky, arrogant, conceited, brash, swaggering, egotistical, cocksure, overconfident, swollen- headed.

Now. Should pastors, anywhere, be defined and characterized as such? Well let's see now what the scriptures say about Christians in general and pastors in particular.

For all Christians in general, as we are walking by the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)

As to pastors' qualifications in particular (which all Christians should seek to be characterized as such):

Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:2-7 ESV)


if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. (Titus 1:6-8 ESV)

May I also add,

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)


Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV)

Now why bring this up? Lately I have seen a good number of "smart-ass" pastors online in blog discussions. These men have demonstrated a "cocky, arrogant, conceited, brash, swaggering, egotistical and cocksure" attitude in their comments as they seek to argue their particular point of view. I dare say that if one of their church members conversed with them the way they converse with others online, these men of God (and I use the term loosely) would be shocked!

Let me quickly add that I know these men. Well, not really personally. I know them because I am them. I've done the same thing more times than I care to remember. I've repented of these kinds of attitudes and continue to struggle each day to interact with others in the way that the scriptures teach us. Haven't arrived yet. But I'm more and more conscious each day of the need to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh.

This is how bad it is out there. A conference of pastors recently convened to talk about how they can get along as they discuss their theological differences. Really. One person commented somewhere about having such a conference:

Has anyone ever considered how ludicrous it is that we are having conferences where we are telling grown men, most of them pastors, that we are to respect, love, and be at peace with one another? I mean, if you don’t understand that, why are you even in the ministry? What do you have to say to anyone? This is beyond basic – kindergarten stuff – and, we can’t grasp it. Maybe the problem is not in theological systems but I or own flesh that we refuse to submit to God so we can just be decent to each other. Some of this should be a given. Honestly, most every person I talk to I real life over this is civil and respectful, even when we disagree. Maybe we should talk more about how you handle yourself on blogs and the Internet and Facebook and Twitter?

God help our pastors (and all of us) to live out the gospel and the implications of that gospel (fruit of the Spirit and their own qualifications) each time they hit submit on a keyboard!

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