The Withertongue Emails: Part XXVI


My dear Filthpit,

Pride comes before the fall, Filthpit. That means your young pastor is a step away from self-destruction. Even though his heart continues to stagnate in self-righteous suicide, he still thinks too much of himself. He holds up his talents, skills, and handling of the Enemy’s holy things as a measure of his own worth. He is ungrateful and refuses to ask for help. All his success to this point, he believes, is deserved. He takes all the credit. This pride leading to his inevitable self-destruction.

You have successfully managed to turn him from the Nazarene Carpenter and all his gifts to useless navel-gazing. He prays half-heartedly for what he needs. He has grown sluggish about praising the Enemy for what he has received. In fact, he rarely thinks to give thanks at all, because what he has is hard won and well-deserved, even if it is from the Enemy.

He will soon enough find himself alone. Your client has turned from the Enemy. He has rejected grace alone as the means of peoples’ salvation. He does not believe it is through faith alone in the Enemy’s savior that people are saved from sin and death. 

Better yet, the congregation has grown tired of his antics. They cannot stand his smug, "me first" attitude. His religious pride, more than anything, leads him to stand apart from the church. He will soon fall alone and die alone. He piles sin onto sin and it will destroy him while his own church spectates.

He is blind to the only safeguard between pride and the Enemy’s grace. Gratitude. He is so lost in his own pious imaginings, he has even begun to question whether the Enemy’s Spirit actually calls sinners through the gospel. Note well, Filthpit, how your young pastor has restricted the congregation’s access to the Enemy’s gifts through his restriction of the gospel. He strangles their access to true faith. He does not believe they deserve constant forgiveness of sins.

His pride has perverted all the Enemy’s gifts. His sin twists the things that come from the Enemy so they no longer act as a means for the Enemy to express his love for them. This is a manifestation of your young pastor’s lack of charity for the souls under his care. He has bought into the myth that because the people at his church are undeserving of mercy they are therefore unworthy to stand in the shadow of the Nazarene’s cross.

Your young pastor even insinuates from the pulpit that a Christian’s identity and all he has is not given by grace alone, but through his cooperation with the Enemy’s Spirit. 

His ingratitude prevents the Enemy and his gifts from coming into focus for the congregation. Your client has become an unrepentant navel-gazer. His ingratitude has set him up for a terrible fall. Thank the Dark Lord below that your young pastor has no sense of irony, otherwise he might recognize the absurdity of his current state and repent. Then everything you have worked for would be destroyed in a moment, Filthpit. 

But, have no fear of that. Your client is too far gone to turn back now. His pride has carried him so far way from the Enemy, he has become grotesque; nearly unrecognizable.

Your proud teacher,

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Director for Higher Things, a contributing writer at 1517 Legacy Project, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. Pastor Riley co-hosts the podcast: 'The Higher Things Simul Cast'. He is pastor of Saint John Lutheran Church in Webster, MN. A graduate of Concordia Universities in St. Paul, Minnesota and Portland, Oregon, Pastor Riley received his seminary and post-graduate education at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He colloquized into the LC-MS from the ELCA in 2008. He is married to Annie, and is the father of four children: Owen, Alma, Hoshea, and Hallel.
Twitter @DonavonRiley