What Makes Someone Humble?

January 31, 2011 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

The other day, a new commenter joined us and posted this:

Josh Harris is one of the most humble, honest pastors ever and God has anointed him to preach and teach us from the Word…He always points us to Jesus and not to man…you guys really need to stop trying to dig for stuff to support your “cause” whatever it may be…

The first part of that statement – “Josh Harris is one of the most humble, honest pastors ever” – prompted reader “work-in-progress” to post the following response:

How do you know this? Do you know Josh personally? How many pastors outside SGM have you compared him to? How much of his life are you privy to that you know how honest he is with the church, or how humble he is?

Very, very few people are allowed to get close to the pastors, much less to pastors of Josh or CJ’s prominence. The vast majority of CLC members only ever have a few minutes of casual interaction with Josh on occasion. Perhaps you are one of the “privileged” few, but I doubt it. I’m guessing that you know very little about Josh’s personal life – probably just what you’ve heard from the pulpit or read on his blog.

If you’re the typical CLC member, the only reason you believe Josh and CJ are so incredibly humble, honest, and anointed is because they and the other pastors are constantly telling you how humble, honest, and anointed they are. Think about it.

The idea that leaders are humble has been a fairly common refrain that we hear from those who are happy with their Sovereign Grace churches.  SGMers often cite Josh Harris’ or C.J. Mahaney’s humility, or the humility of the other men who lead them…as though the fact that they believe their pastors are “humble” somehow solves everything.

I began to wonder, what do these people even mean when they tout their leaders’ “humility”? 

What makes someone “humble”?

It seems to me that it’d be a whole lot more accurate for SGMers to say that their pastors make self-deprecating comments during their sermons…or that their pastors seem willing to entertain feedback…or that they preface any bold statements they might make with a half-dozen disclaimers or exceptions…or that they don’t seem to have a problem laughing at themselves…

Or really, that their pastors are appealing people.  Charming.

But “humble”?

Would truly “humble” people be comfortable perpetuating a system where they have no real formal accountability to the people whom they serve?

© 2011, Kris. All rights reserved.