You know it’s not that hard, right?

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I don’t always do something stupid, but when I do, it’s usually reading comments on blogs.

Seriously. I’m very thankful for the helpful quality and tone of 99.9 per cent of the comments I receive on this blog. But, dang, you all are the anomaly, I think.

That or I’m just reading the wrong websites. (Anyway…)

One time I made this mistake was when I read a blog post talking about some of the blunders and buffoonery coming out of a now defunct megachurch in the Pacific Northwest (I can’t remember the site, which may or may not be a good thing). As I read these comments, some thoughtful, some obvious trolling and attempts at gaining some attention for their own blogs, I stumbled upon a statement I never expected to see:

“I don’t believe any pastor needs to be above reproach.”

I… What do I even do with that besides say: “Well, you should, because the Bible tells you so (1 Tim 3:2)?”

Here’s the funny thing about this blanket character qualification for a pastor/elder: it’s actually not that difficult to meet it when you really think about it. I mean, at a basic level, being above reproach could be summed up simply as being a person of good character—you’re the kind of person who, as Thabiti Anyabwile puts it, “no one suspects of wrongdoing and immorality” (Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons, 57).

This, in a nutshell means you’re someone who is actively pursuing Christ through the power of his Spirit. You’re not perfect, and you’re certainly not sinless. But your character is such that others would be absolutely shocked if you were accused of some wrongdoing or immoral behavior or speech. People would be surprised if you were accused of trolling on a website, swiping from other people’s sermons, letting the kids watch the prequel trilogy first, fudging your taxes, sexually harassing your admin assistant…

You know it’s not that hard, right?

When we no longer believe a basic character requirement—one that, at the lowest possible bar, means adhering to “Wheaton’s Law“—is actually a requirement, it’s kind of pathetic. When we no longer believe it’s attainable, something is dreadfully wrong. It’s a sign that we’ve given up trying, and that we’ve given up loving one another enough to spur build each other up to love and good works.

That we’ve given up on following Christ in favor of some other “god” who won’t be so demanding.

Let this never be said of us, friends. Though it’s tempting at times to let things slide, don’t. If someone trustworthy comes to us and sees something in our lives, pay attention. When the Spirit convicts us of those secret sins we may be harboring, don’t tune him out. Take advantage of opportunities to build up others. Pursue humility with the Spirit’s help. Strive to be the kind of person who is worthy of emulation.

In other words, be faithful and obedient.

Because that’s all God requires of any of us. And that’s something none of us can ever give up on.


Photo credit: __o__ via photopin cc

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books including the Big Truths Bible Storybook, Epic Devotions, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, and Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World. His next book, published by Lexham Press, will release in Spring 2023.

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6 Replies to “You know it’s not that hard, right?”

  1. Very well said Aaron. We are not perfect but we should strive to hold ourselves to a high standard. (Strive with the help of the Holy Spirit of course)

  2. Michelle Dacus Lesley August 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Ok, now on this “only allowing your kids to watch the prequel trilogy” thing– all of my KIDS have seen the whole series of movies, but I, personally, have only seen the prequel trilogy (in theaters when I was a kid). Do you find this shocking enough that it disqualifies me from women’s ministry? Must I force myself to sit through the other movies in order to be considered a person of sound doctrine? Enquiring minds want to know, lol :0)

    1. You mean… you’ve never seen the original Star Wars movies? *gasp!*

  3. I agree with all but the bit about the prequel trilogy remark, since doing otherwise would just be abuse.
    Thanks Aaron – always enjoy your blog!

  4. Bonus points for quoting Wheaton’s law.

    (Without wanting to start a protracted sub-argument, AFAICT the “latest stuff from Seattle” is actually a rehashing of “stuff that came from Seattle in 2000” and made me wonder whether or not things I did in 2000 would disqualify me from eldership now…..)

    1. Thanks. Regarding the parenthetical statement, unfortunately, there’s more than just the stuff from 2000. Great question though: do the things we said/did in the past disqualify us in the present? It’s one I’ve been mulling over a great deal as well…

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