What Pragmatism Has Caused
There's diminishing interest in holiness and godliness among this generation of younger pastors because of pragmatism. There now have been several decades of basic pragmatism invading the church so that success is more related to style, methodology, creativity, and sometimes natural gifts—an effective communicator, a winsome personality, and all of that.
There's a measure of superficial success when you're a good communicator, when you're a cool guy. You can affect people, you can impact the crowd, and you can hold them and keep them entertained. So, you can be “successful” in a human sense without godliness. But that's a superficial kind of success.
A Demise in Godliness
One of the legacies of this move toward pragmatism has been the demise of an interest in godliness and virtue. It's related to the fact that instead of men spending hours and hours and hours in the word of God to prepare to preach and speak, they spend hours reading other things, learning culture, and figuring out clever ways to communicate.
You can be “successful” in a human sense without godliness. But that's a superficial kind of success.
Again, it's about style. It's even about preaching antics. So, pastors are not products of the deep understanding of the word of God. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by thy truth. Thy word is truth.” Unless you're embedded in the word of God consistently and regularly, there's not going to be the production of the kind of holiness that God blesses in real, supernatural ways.
John MacArthur is the author of Sanctification: God‘s Passion for His People.
Pray your pastor would love God, and you, so much that he would be willing to disappoint you for God’s glory.
Seasoned pastor, John MacArthur, reflects on what it takes for a pastor to persevere through the challenges of a long and faithful ministry.
John Piper discusses God's sovereignty, pastoral burnout, and the sin of racism.
We need to rely on the gospel like this throughout our lives. Remember, Christ is both the means and the goal of counseling.