Thursday, October 08, 2015

Talent's temptations

I'd like to make one last observation on the Wilson affair. I'm using this occasion to make a larger point. 

From what I've read, Wilson acts as if he's the victim, he's the one who was wronged in this whole dispute. 

In my observation, most pastors are pretty ordinary people. They aren't especially gifted. They don't have any great knack for what they do. And I don't say that as a criticism or putdown.

Because most pastors don't have a deep well of natural talent to dip into, they can't rely on their personal facility in the way a truly gifted person can. To be a good shepherd, the average pastor must rely one things which aren't based on his special endowments, because he never had all that to draw upon. Instead, he must simply be studious, faithful, prayerful conscientious, know his parishioners, visit the sick, &c. Plodding, mundane things that anyone dutiful person can do. 

However, Doug Wilson is a big talent. Talented people rely on their outsized abilities. And there's nothing wrong with that. Make the most of it. Put it to good use.

However, talented people are prone to a danger that average people are not: pride. Egotism. 

Because they have talent, because they rely on their natural talent, it is easy for a gifted person to be self-centered. And this is reinforced by the fact that charisma is a drawing card. People come to hear and see you. They read you for style as much as substance. You have starpower. You become the sun of that solar system. 

It's easier for a talented person to see himself in his work, because he did put more of himself into his own work. He's less dependent on the work of others. He has a personal flair for doing things. He plunges the big dipper into the well of his own overflowing talent. 

Hence, gifted people, including–or especially–gifted Christians, must make an extra effort to guard against vainglory.


  1. Again, I point you to the BaylyBlog for the best insight of what's going on here.

    1. Bayly's insights are trenchant.