Previous posts in the series on pastoral qualifications
In this post we’ll consider the negative character qualifications for a pastor. The usage of “negative” character qualifications could be misunderstood. I am using this terminology to signify character traits that are not to be present in a pastor’s life. These are undesirable character traits that should not be found in the pastor. Thus, in the Scriptures, all of these begin with “not.” Some of these are listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and others are listed in Titus 1:5-9. There are 7 negative character traits.
Not a Drunkard. This should be fairly self explanatory. The pastor cannot be a person who habitually drinks too much alcohol. The Bible does not say that the pastor must be a total abstainer of alcohol. The issues of total abstinence and moderation are issues of wisdom and restraint of rights, not issues of Biblical commands.
Not Violent. Pastors generally don’t have a problem with physically assaulting people. But often pastors can be eager to argue, quarrel, or fight to get the things they want. This is nothing but the flesh showing through. We cannot get things done in the flesh. We must get things done in prayer, on our knees.
Not Quarrelsome. The pastor must be a man of peace. He must be disinclined to fight. This would be in reference to the strife that arises from our passions, desires, and preferences. We cannot fight over these things. However, there are times when we must fight. Things like the doctrinal purity of the church, issues of holiness within the church, etc. These demand that church leadership take a strong and unmovable stand.
Not a Lover of Money. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” The pastor is not to be a greedy man. But please notice that “not a lover of money” does not equal “must be poor”. Pastors are to be an example of faithful stewardship of everything that God gives. But, most of all pastors are to be lovers of God, not money.
Not Arrogant. Arrogance is a form of pride. Arrogance is extremely self-centered. Self-centered would be the opposite of what a pastor is to be. Pastors are to be God-centered men in all things. We’re not supposed to be self-assured. We are designed to have confidence in God, not in self. Rather than arrogance in our own abilities, let us have great faith in God’s abilities.
Not Quick-Tempered. In the positive character list we saw that pastors are to be gentle. A man who is inclined to anger and quickly boils over will not serve well as a pastor. The sheep do not need a beating from the shepherd; they need the gentle touch of the shepherd.
Not Greedy for Gain. This would go hand-in-hand with not being a lover of money. The picture of a man who is greedy for gain is that of a person who has no shame in the means that he uses to acquire money or the place from which his money comes.
As I wrote at the end of the previous entry, this list should serve all Christians and not just pastors. This is not something a man starts living by once he becomes a pastor. It is a list of things that is true of him and the church identifies him as a potential pastor.