Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

God sanctioned arrogance

10/11/11

If we were to ask the average professed Christian if they thought arrogance was a Christian virtue, I feel pretty confident that the vast majority would say no. Interestingly, the word arrogance never appears in the KJV of the Bible. However, the word pride seems to often carry the same meaning as arrogance, and pride is condemned in various scriptures. Specifically in the NT, we see that Jesus condemned those who pridefully exalted themselves, especially religious leaders.

Given these admonitions against “pridefulness”, it is extremely incongruous that the same scriptures should command me to tell my fellowmen that they must be like me religiously in order to be accepted by God as worthy and thereby escape His punishment. To condemn my pride and arrogance on the one hand and then to command me to teach conformity with my understanding, actions, and standards is totally inconsistent. There is no way that I can be placed in such a position without being infected with a feeling of superiority over those requiring my instruction. That is especially and dramatically so, when the achievement of my superior status in God’s eyes results from my having performed as required. If my knowledge and diligence in applying that knowledge is necessary to my exalted status before God, then obviously I am by implication wiser and more diligent than those yet requiring instruction and diligence.

Any way you want to cut it, this scenario is the catalyst for the very pride which the Bible otherwise warns against. It is another inconsistency in prevailing theology, reminiscent of the conflict between the doctrine of eternal punishment and Jesus’ commandment to love your enemies.

If our efforts to reconcile conflicts like these involve nothing more than blithely dismissing the possibility that arrogance is the logical and even inevitable consequence of our evangelical doctrines, my conclusion is that we simply ignore a large portion of church history. Even if the evangelizer somehow manages to escape the feeling of pride and superiority which the teaching role so easily entails, we still must recognize the negative effect on the hearer of our message of demanded conformance. The humblest creature on the planet will be extremely challenged to make that standard story sound noble, charitable, and deferential, especially so when the detail of God’s pending wrath is fully exposed.

There is little mystery as to why personal evangelism, as promoted by so many churches, is shunned like the plague by the average Christian. It is a totally distasteful and downright ungracious exercise from start to finish. The heart recognizes as much even if our religious minds have been conditioned to accept it as essential.

 

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