Tim Challies
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January 2, 2023

Recently, I shared a review of Michael Kruger’s Bully Pulpit, a book that addresses the problem of heavy-handed leadership or spiritual abuse. And while that issue has received a lot of attention of late, it is important to acknowledge that the great majority of pastors are leading in love and serving their churches well. Hence, I wanted to draw your attention to Peter Orr’s new book Fight for Your Pastor—a book that encourages you to do exactly what the title indicates.

While it has always been difficult to be a pastor, it seems that there are some unique challenges today. “Think of the difference between climate and weather,” says Orr. “The ‘climate’ for pastoral ministry is constant. The world, the flesh, and the devil are long-term climate factors that remain between Christ’s first and second coming. But it feels as if—in the West, at least—there’s been a change in the ‘weather.’ There is now a general weather front of apostasy, secularism, unbelief, and so on that is making the life of a pastor—particularly a conservative, complementarian, and evangelical one—more difficult. Whether on matters of sexual ethics, gender, or the uniqueness of Christ, a faithful pastor who proclaims and stands for the word of God faces rising hostility from the world.”

That kind of pressure comes from outside the church but there is also pressure from within—pressure related to a rising awareness of spiritual abuse, pressure related to having to lead through a time of pandemic, pressure related to being commonly and often unfavorably compared to pastors whose ministries are so easy to see through the internet. Hence, “this short book is written as a call to more actively love and support our pastors. If you are reading this book, I am sure you love your pastor, but I want to nudge you to love him more intentionally. I invite you to pause and think about how you can support him more. In short, I am calling you to fight for your pastor.”

“In the end, this book sounds a call to abandon a passive, consumerist model of church. It calls us to abandon the notion that the pastor performs the ministry, which we evaluate according to how it benefits us. It is a call to reject the error that he is our once-a-week religious entertainment provider. It is a call to abandon the idea that he is our spiritual guru, who will drop everything any time we need him. It is a call for us all to be devoted to the work of the Lord. It is a call for us to love and support our pastor. It is a call to fight for him!” It is a call I hope many Christians will hear, accept, and obey.

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Tim Challies

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