Blog Archive


Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Here is an excellent post on the need for self-effacing humility on the web, particularly among Christians.
I am a man divided against myself; I want to be the centre of attention because I am a fallen human being; I want others to know that I am the special one; and as long as the new me and the old me are bound together in a single, somatic unity, I will forever be at war with myself. What I can do, however, is have the decency to be ashamed of my drive to self-promotion and my craving for attention and for flattery and not indulge it as if it were actually a virtue or a true guide to my real merit. I am not humble, so I should not pretend to be so but rather confess it in private, seeking forgiveness and sanctification. And, negatively, I must avoid doing certain things. I must not proudly announce my humility on the internet so that all can gasp in wonder at my self-effacement. I must make sure I never refer to myself as a scholar. I must not tell people how wonderful I am. I must resist the temptation to laugh at my own jokes. I must not applaud my own speeches. I must deny myself the pleasure of posting other people's overblown flattery of me on my own website, let alone writing such about myself. I must never make myself big by clinging to the coat-tails of another. In short, I must never take myself too seriously.
Like this writer, I too have noticed on some sites an obvious lack of humility, particularly among "Emergent" bloggers. But when it comes to humility, pointing out the logs in the eyes of others is not the job of Christians, nor is it the point of the above post. As with all other sins, contemplatively looking inward must be the default mode when addressing pride, not finger pointing at the tax collectors in our midst. Pride is the sin that is ever before me, the thorn in my side, as it were. I long for acknowledgment from others, I pine for people's approval, I hope that someone will hear about that time I did something nice for a needy person. I find that at every turn, when I want to selflessly do something good for another, pride is standing nearby, waiting for a chance to sing my own praises. I constantly try to earn grace and approval from others, rather than just accept it undeserved from my Father. As the writer above says, I am NOT humble and should not pretend to be. May we recognize the truth of Romans 7:24-25 and echo John the Baptist's wish that Christ become greater while we become less.


Chris A said...

Let me offer some comments here. I, like anyone else, Christian or otherwise, have the potential to be prideful or to sin. No one in his right mind would ever deny that. And if I wrong someone, I want to be the first to make it right.

That said, I have problems with how some folks define humility. Constantly talking down about yourself isn't humility; it is false humility. People hide behind this all the time, and use their being "fallen" as an excuse for not being who God intended them to be in Christ.

Humility results from being in a state of truth about oneself; a humble person neither thinks more highly nor lowly about himself than he ought. The problem with using Romans 7:24-25 to be applied to Christian humility is that it wrongly presupposes a perpetual and inescapable pre-conversion state of mind.

Any theology that fails to readily and adequately emphasize the differences between the children of darkness and the children of light is doomed to produce in the children of light the same works as the children of darkness. When Christians say that the only thing that separates them from unbelievers is forgiveness, they usually have a weak concept of grace, as is often evidenced by their lack of confidence in approaching God in prayer.

One thing to understand is how Romans 7:25 relates to verse 24. I think many people read verse 24 like it is a rhetorical question, without realizing that verse 25 is the answer to the question posed in verse 24. Who shall deliver us from the body of this death? Jesus! That means that we ought not live as though we are slaves to sin, because guess what, we're not anymore! Don't take my word for it. Go back and read Romans 6.

6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Then many Christians will retort, "Yeah, but that just means we are forgiven." Wrong! Keep reading the rest of the chapter. Because if you do, there's no way you can logically come to that conclusion.
Here are a few choice verses:

11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

We are not to let sin reign in our mortal body because, through grace, the authority rests with us. Otherwise he could not have rightly instructed us not to let sin reign. So if we go around saying, "I'm such a worthless sinner. I sin every second of every minute of every day", that isn't humility. That's stupidity, in my humble opinion.

Chris A said...

Alright, now I want to make another comment. I agree with Darius that there is a lack of humility with some people on the internet. In fact, there has been a lack of humility in me at times. I'll admit it. The Bible says to confess your faults one to another, and I'm no more without fault than anyone else.

A few years ago, I was looking on a ministry website and actually got a lot out of some of the articles I read on it. However, I noticed the author (a pastor) did a lot of self-promotion and name-dropping. Not only does that stink of pride, but its flat obnoxious. So I wrote this brother an email, and I was like, "Do you not see a problem with all this shameless name-dropping and carrying on?" And he was like, "I'm just bragging on what the Lord is doing." I didn't respond to his response, but I was thinking, "Yeah, right. You're bragging on the Lord by telling everyone you have this famous preacher's seal of approval? Okay, whatever. And you have all these pictures of you with him, and you're peddling all these products from the viewpoint of being some dynamic, cutting edge, preacher."

This sort of thing disgusts me, frankly. Darius has pointed out that he has noticed this trend to be prominent among Emergent churches, and I don't have a comment one way or another about that. But I will say that this sort of thing is rampant like a disease among Charismatics, and I say that as a Pentecostal-Charismatic (or whatever title people want to pin on me) minister. I don't hate them. I don't hate anybody, but its the truth. I stay as far away from people like that as I can. They're headed for destruction, and I'm not going there with them.

By the way, has anyone else noticed the trend in Christian books, where there is a picture of the author smiling on the cover? What's up with that? There is no way in the world I would let a publisher put toothy grin on the cover of a book! I'm not saying everyone smiling on the cover of their book has an ulterior motive, but something about that disturbs me. Maybe its just me. I don't know.

Chris A said...

Okay, forgive me for taking up so much space, but I just have to post this. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. This is from a certain minister's web site:

"_____ was one of the best-kept secrets in the body of Christ, until his recent national exposure. He was featured on the national television network, MSNBC, in which they did an hour-long documentary on his ministry of deliverance, and they showed his success in dealing with the spiritually oppressed. People who saw it have said of ____, 'remarkable man', 'I like your style', 'You have an obvious love and compassion for people', 'You lifted up Christ', and 'You are performing as the Apostles did'. The El Paso Times has also featured his ministry of exorcism. His also appeared on a two-hour documentary on the History Channel and on ABC 20/20. He has now become one of the most famous deliverance ministers in the United States, receiving over 700 invitations a year...Tom is pastor and founder of a fast growing church in El Paso, Texas. He has hosted great ministers like _____, _____, _____, and others. He is author of several books including Healing Through Deliverance, How to Receive from God and his newest, Devil, Demons and Spiritual Warfare. His largest outreach is the internet; his site receives almost a million visitors annually, with hundreds of testimonies coming in every year. He is president of the world’s largest Charismatic and Pentecostal directory over the Internet. _____ has appeared on several different television shows. As of February 2008, his appearance on It's a New Day has been the second most watched show of all time. People who have heard him speak have commented that he is one of the finest Bible teachers, not only in El Paso, but around the world. Best selling author, ______, has said about Tom's teaching that it 'impacts to [what] I've heard by the leading teachers of our day. Tom Brown incorporates practical Bible teaching along with logic and humor.' He's called Tom's message on You Can Predict Your Future 'a masterpiece.' _____ calls ____ 'the bread basket of El Paso.' Just as Jesus took a little boy's lunch and fed a multitude, God has taken _____ ministry and has fed tens of thousands of people the Word of God..."

It goes on and on, but I think you get the picture.

Darius said...

Regarding that last comment... his first mistake was focusing on exorcisms and healings rather than the Gospel. "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?"

Chris A said...

Personally, I think his first mistake was focusing on himself. But you're right about that too.

Darius said...

That's true. The self-centeredness undergirds it all. "Lord, look at what I did" rather than "Thank you Lord for what you did."

Chris A said...

Exactly. I do think that the deliverance from spiritual oppression is central to the Gospel (Luke 4:18), but being the world's foremost exorcist is not. Obviously Jesus and the Apostles cast out devils, and Jesus said in Mark 16 that believers would do the same, but he did not say that we should promote ourselves as exorcists. In fact, as you pointed out, he essentially said that we shouldn't do that sort of thing.

But unfortunately people have developed a bad habit of selectively reading the Bible. Some will want to do away with the passages dealing with believers casting out spirits altogether or they will relegate those Scriptures to the an earlier age, as if humanity has graduated past that degree of depravity. (Although I think if they ever saw someone profusely foam at the mouth and take on superhuman strength, they'd reconsider.) Then another group will take it to the other extreme and teach that everyone (including Christians) needs something cast out of them, and will build their ministries on this. Both extremes are wrong, and both carry with them extreme consequences.

Recent Comments


Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »