Pastoral Traps: Rationalization and Unaccountability

I know a minister who began to live a lifestyle of sensuality. He got around it by preaching the doctrine of “privacy.” I’ve never seen anything near the doctrine of privacy in Scripture, but he found it. (I should say he forced it!) And it became one of his major messages.

When black-and-white facts are whitewashed, when wrong is justified with a defensive spirit, when inappropriate actions are quickly glossed over and/or denied—watch out. Something’s wrong. Rationalization is occurring.

As pastors, we have to be careful that we don’t exchange our role of teaching what the Word means with a dogmatic deciding what it means. Scriptural truth must never be altered to fit the pastor’s lifestyle; it’s the other way around.

We are to be accountable—not isolated islands of independence. Sustaining unaccountability in a pastor’s life is like moral quicksand. Beware of becoming a secretive and untouchable man. And by all means, don’t rationalize your way around it by claiming, “I am God’s anointed.” Please . . . don’t go there. Don’t even think it! You are the Lord’s servant. So am I.

No matter how eloquent or how competent we become, none of us is above accountability. It’s good for us. We need it. Otherwise, rationalization may worm its way into our pulpits . . . or, worse, into our hearts.


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