Three Respectable Sins of Pastors

By Tim Challies - Posted at @challies:

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of attention given to the ways that pastors may abuse their parishioners. Such attention is appropriate and every pastor ought to prayerfully guard himself against such abusive behaviors. Every church leadership structure ought to build rigorous systems of accountability and follow biblical guidelines in the event they observe abuse among themselves or are accused of it by others.

My interest in this article, however, is related more to the misuse of the office than to the outright abuse of it. Having considered churches I have been part of through the years, having observed many pastors locally and at a distance, and having gazed into the sometimes ugly depths of my own heart, I’d like to offer three ways in which pastors may be tempted to sin against the people they are called to serve. We might consider these “respectable sins,” to borrow Jerry Bridges’ term—sins we can easily dress up as virtues.

(Note: I am a firm believer in a plurality of elders who have equal authority, and though I write this in the singular, it applies equally to a board or team of elders. That said, one of the benefits of a plurality of elders is that it ought to mitigate some of these concerns by placing a church under the leadership of several men rather than one.)

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