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Townhall
Townhall
24 Feb 2024
Scott Hogenson


NextImg:The Problem With Pride

LGBT Pride Month isn’t until June, but planning is well underway. This concept, which began to formalize itself in 1970, has been recognized by presidents from Bill Clinton to Joe Biden, issuing proclamations recognizing this observance. It commemorates a series of riots in New York City in 1969 following police raids on a popular gay bar in Lower Manhattan. 

Where I live in north Texas, LBGT activists are gearing up for the Dallas June Pride observance. According to Dallas Voice, which promotes itself as ‘The premier media source for LGBT Texas,’ Dallas Pride Executive Director Sherrell Cross said, “Pride is not just once a year. We don’t want to be like corporations that show up once a year for Pride Month and then disappear on July 1.”

It’s been suggested that Christian Pride become a counter-weight to LGBT Pride. “Time for Christians to take pride in their Christianity and go loud, go proud and go bold,” opines one commentator. It may be a tempting proposal, but I don’t think it’s something to pursue for a very simple reason: Nothing good ever comes from pride. 

“Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind,” wrote Oxford scholar and Cambridge Professor C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity. If you think that’s a harsh assessment of pride, Reformed Christian theologian, R.C. Sproul, Jr. took the issue back to its biblical core. “Pride is what brought the devil down in the first place. It is then the root sin of sin, both for him and for us.”

Many Christians believe pride is the single worst sin, and in truth, we all suffer from it. It’s a spiritual affliction that’s impossible for us to cure or escape. “There is nothing into which the heart of man so easily falls as pride,” said 19th-century pastor Charles Spurgeon. Regarded by many as the Prince of Preachers, Spurgeon observed, “There is no vice which is more frequently, more emphatically, and more eloquently condemned in Scripture.” Philosopher and Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton went so far as to declare, “If I had only one sermon to preach, it would be a sermon against Pride.”

This is probably why we don’t see efforts to coalesce around Christian Pride events in the style of LGBT Pride. Setting aside whether one agrees or disagrees with LGBT theology or Christian theology, either (or both) are equally problematic in that they promote a cancerous weakness that spawns all manner of bad behavior.

Pride can be tricky. On one hand, the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes tells us “Nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works.” On the other hand, Jesus Christ taught that pride is among the “evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” How does one reconcile rejoicing in their accomplishments while defiling oneself with evil? It’s a difficult circle to square. 

The crux of the matter is the sort of pride one has and why one has it. Personal fulfillment in an accomplishment or being recognized by others for a job well done isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Neither is the pride we might feel in our admiration of someone for what they have done. On the surface, good achievements may seem to arise from talent, perseverance, and other traits. But Bible-believing Christians know the attributes that bring success are given to us by God; He gets the credit. 

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association notes, “This kind of pride isn’t boastful or self-centered, but is a feeling of satisfaction over what we’ve accomplished.” Pride becomes a problem when it is “self-centered and boastful, and makes us take credit for everything we are and everything we do. Instead of realizing that we are dependent on God, in our pride, we ignore God.” 

Eve ignored God when her pride prompted original sin. The biblical account of the fall of man teaches that Eve believed the lie that her “eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” if she disobeyed and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and pride’s been a problem ever since. 

I’ve never been ashamed of the Bible or my belief in it, but I don’t think Christian Pride is the answer. I am proud of how Christianity has fostered civic liberty - our Constitution is infused with many Reformed Christian principles - and I’m proud of how Christianity has brought countless people closer to God through its works. But I don't see myself marching in a Christian Pride parade. I’m a lowly, corrupt sinner whose only chance for anything good in this or any other world resides solely in the grace of God through my faith. I think the answer is a little less pride and a little more quietude.