It should not come as a surprise to hear that the Bible condemns pride. It is one of the most oft-denounced sins in Scripture.1 As a result, it might sound holy to denounce all pride in any accomplishments whatsoever, whether they be achieved personally or by a relative—but, ordinarily, the intuitive permissibility of enjoying achievements is unsuppressed. Such intuition notwithstanding, pseudo-pious resistance to sinless pride can yet manifest itself.
Particularly, given the West’s colossal indoctrination on the subject of race, an endless number of Christians will infallibly and immediately oppose any idea of racial pride. “That is a concern of the flesh,” they might say. “We need to boast only in the Lord.” But in so arguing, such objectors are misunderstanding the Scriptures on this issue, which I intend to explore.
Clarifying the Doctrine of Sinful Pride
Pride might be viewed as the fountain of all other sins. Pride was and is the essence of Lucifer’s rebellion (Isa. 14:12-13), and it can be properly identified as the fundamental nature of every single instantiation of sin. To sin is to transgress God’s law (1 John 3:4), and in order to transgress God’s law with some modicum of justification, the sinner must view himself as owning sufficient authority to circumvent it, or, in other words, as being God Himself (cf. Gen. 3:5). And what can this purported self-deification be called, other than a hyper-bloated ego—other than extreme pride?
Because of the foundational and extensive nature of this vice, it might be easy to multiply words in exploring all its facets. But for now, it will suffice to cover only a few. In the first place, a good understanding of pride (or rather, humility) emerges when we consider God as our ultimate Benefactor, the sole repository of all gifts and goodness (James 1:17). We ought not to be prideful in the sense of valuing our own abilities, as if they were not entirely the gift of God (1 Cor. 4:7). To not recognize God as the Giver of all gifts is to see them as properly belonging to and dependent upon oneself, which is equally as psychotic as believing oneself to be God. To refuse to recognize the Lord as the source of all blessings natural and supernatural, besides being obviously evil, also presupposes a demented picture of reality.
Nonetheless, while we should recognize our Father as the ultimate root of all good, there is no impropriety in also recognizing that good does exist in us. Romans 12:3 commands us to think not minimally of ourselves, not with as low a view of ourselves as possible, but according to the measure of faith God has dispensed to each of us individually. By implication, it would be lawful to take pleasure, or pride, in such divinely dispensed gifts. (We should be proud to be Christians.) There is no other course we could take: should we not take pleasure in our personal gifts? Should we pretend they do not exist? Should we acknowledge our gifts so we hate them? No, the only reasonable position is that it is lawful to acknowledge and be pleased by our gifts—so long as we reverence and thank God back of them. We should avoid the pride of life (1 John 2:16), but nevertheless we may boast within limits (2 Cor. 10:13). We should not be hypocritical and self-glorifying as the infamous Pharisee was (Luke 18:9-14), and we should be willing to esteem others above ourselves (Phil. 2:3), yet it is important to recognize that God permits us to take pleasure—pride—in our own gifts.
While sinful pride can take root with respect to gifts, a particularly insidious manifestation of the ancient vice is with respect to salvation. All who reject the gospel of Christ are anathema (Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Cor. 16:22); those who attempt to justify themselves by the law, rather than trust in Christ’s full merit by faith, stand condemned. The famous pride passage, Proverbs 16:18-19, contrasts the plummeting prideful with the lowly in spirit, and it would be fitting to see these words as replicated in the Beatitudes, praising the “poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3). The doctrinal import of the passages is that it is flagrantly prideful to not acknowledge one’s spiritual poverty, one’s total depravity, one’s utter need of a Savior. Yet, while needing to acknowledge our lowly spiritual estate, we are nevertheless exalted sons of God (1 John 3:1-2) who may approach the Father’s throne room with confidence (Eph. 3:12). Of ourselves, we have no spiritual privileges and deserve only perdition, but in Christ we have “every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3). This is analogous to the pride we may take in our gifts: of ourselves we have no gifts at all, but by God’s grace we may properly boast, and take pleasure in, those gifts with which He has graced us.
These facts are very relevant when it comes to the execrable ideology of egalitarianism. Worshiping that wretched whore Equality, most Christians today are staunchly averse to language of superiority and inferiority. They think such speech cultivates pride and is not becoming of a Christian. As with anything, there can be abuses in speaking of certain people or things as superior or inferior, but in itself there is no error with the terminology.
If egalitarian “Christians” believe that language of superiority and inferiority is automatically sinful, then, implicitly, they must believe that the only way to avoid pride is to deny that any distinctions of value exist. This is obviously wrong. It is good to recognize God’s created distinctions, so long as we see all distinctions as due to His decree, and all superiority as due to His grace. Viewing sexual and racial distinctions as man-made (i.e., socially constructed) is not only false but wicked, as is viewing any talents as properly and ultimately belonging to and originating from man.
Therefore, it is fitting to speak of several things as superior or inferior; gradation is not prideful. Christianity is superior to unbelief, intelligence is superior to stupidity, and civilization is superior to savagery. To attribute sinful pride to those who have such beliefs is to malign the very God who created the distinctions. “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?” (Ex. 4:11). Far be it from us to deride those who say “Amen” to God’s created distinctions.
Having a clearer idea of sinful pride, it becomes evident that pride in human accomplishments is not intrinsically wrong. Fortunately, most Christians do not have this distorted view of pride, though a few Anabaptists may. This is good, for such a view would be in many respects gnostic.
To view taking any pleasure in one’s accomplishments as sinfully proud is to essentially deny that we can appreciate the goodness of anything produced by human action. This is a way to lack appreciation for things of God’s creation. If I try to avoid taking pride in the civilization that my white forefathers built, then I would be refusing to thank God for this natural blessing He imparted. Or, if I were to thank God for Western civilization, but not express any gratitude for all the men God employed in constructing civilization, then I would deny that God even used such men—which not only is false, but promotes ingratitude for all human deeds.
That is to say, the conflation of sinless pride (taking pleasure in human accomplishments) with sinful pride necessarily leads to the idea that we cannot admit or appreciate any human accomplishments whatsoever—only that which God has Himself created apart from human volition. This does not lead to full-blown Gnosticism, for it is consistent with a regard for God’s beautiful creation, but this skewed outlook on pride does cut off all products of human activity from being appreciated.
The practice of showing no thankfulness for human achievements, in an effort to prevent pride from flourishing in others, is in fact a form of sinful pride itself. There is a false holiness to taking no appreciation in the human-created components of natural revelation. If one does not thank men for such things, then neither can one thank God back of them. If one refuses to compliment others, for fear of causing them to sin, then one must also reject the compliment, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23).
Though the issue of gnostic pride is generally avoided in the church today, there are yet the aforementioned sheeple who have a visceral reaction to the idea of racial pride. To them, taking pride in personal accomplishments might be permissible, but taking pride in the accomplishments of our own race is an overt assault on God Himself, an idolatry of our own people.
Not too long ago, I heard a pagan comedian denouncing nationalism.2 One of the things he saw as hypocritical and stupid was the idea that “we saved the French.” In his joke, he asks his hypothetical friend, “Was that us?” and then recounts of how they got drunk rather than save any Frenchmen. His main point was that nationalism is a mere excuse to take credit for other people’s accomplishments.
Obviously, it is not correct to take credit for other people’s accomplishments, but that is not what racial pride entails. Christian racialism involves recognition of the genetic realities which God has imprinted in our world. He has not created us as severed individuals, but as individuals in a network of covenantal realities. Consequently, there are real, objective relations between us and other people: there are real, God-created connections between modern Americans and the older Americans who saved the French. The connection is not such that we can claim direct ownership for others’ actions, but it is such that we may take pride and pleasure in the accomplishments of our people.
To deny this principle of racial pride is to likewise reduce all of reality to a chaotic and anarchic tumult. If we can take pride only in personal accomplishments, but not in the accomplishments of any people related to us, then not only racial pride, but all familial connections, are dissipated. If we deny that there is anything fundamental or meaningful about ancestral relations, then we must likewise deny the meaningfulness of fraternal and parental relations. This hatred of God and the fifth commandment is to be expected from the crude comedian, who also disparages tradition and heritage as “dead people’s baggage.”
Another error spawned by a distorted view of pride, though it might not be captured by an “-ism,” denies that we may take pride in certain types of personal accomplishments. Out of a false idea of selflessness, which reasonably accompanies a false idea of pride, arises the notion that we ought to ceaselessly be helping others. To not be in a state of constant self-sacrifice is sinful. Charity is the only deed in which we may take pride.
Of course, there is some truth to the idea of love as self-sacrifice (John 15:13), but even the typical scenarios of self-sacrifice we envision (such as a father drowning to save his son) are extraordinary and rare. What we do not imagine, for instance, is a father killing himself so that some random foreign child, separated by several continents and oceans, may have a second course for dinner. We are not obligated to actually sacrifice ourselves as part of the ordinary manifestation of love, or else everyone following God’s law would perish. True, we ought to always be “sacrificing” ourselves in the sense of perpetually serving and aiding others (Phil. 2:3)—including dying for them, if the situation requires—but there is no mandate in God’s law for men to kill themselves so that others may be marginally improved. On the contrary, the sixth commandment would forbid such meaningless suicides.
A general set of principles emerges from the consideration of proper and improper self-sacrifice. In ordinary circumstances, we ought to direct our attention to our own (1 Tim. 5:8), including not only our own family, but our nation and race. To aim all of our efforts for aliens and strangers, at the expense of our own, empties us and splinters our people. In fact, we cannot properly extend charity to others in the first place without providing sustenance for ourselves: an overemphasis on charity is a death wish (cf. Prov. 8:36). Hence, to avoid these suicidal extremes, it is incumbent that we also take pride in, or recognize the goodness of, our accomplishments done for ourselves and our people. We ought not to overemphasize and idolize our own people, of course, but the substance of idolatry today is alien-worship.
Though idolatrous forms of pride ought to be mortified within us (Rom. 8:13), it would be sinful to suppress all that is called pride. We ought to show a love for what God has performed using human instruments, and we ought to thank God for placing us within larger people-groups. Following the Anglo-Saxon metal band Forefather, we should be “Proud to Be Proud”:
Heroes past, unto ye we give hail
Mighty men without fear, without shame
Some will say that our pride is a sin
But in their name we’ll unite and we’re proud to be proud3
It is permissible and even obligatory for us to be proud of our nations or families, so long as we recognize them to be flawed, as well as gifts of God. There are many factors of consideration when it comes to comprehending proper, biblical pride, but many mistakes to avoid as well.
- For instance, see 1 Sam. 2:3; Neh. 9:29; Job 9:13; 35:12; 40:11-12; Ps. 10:2-4; 31:18, 23; 36:11; 59:12; 73:6; 101:5; 119:85; Prov. 8:13; 11:2; 13:10; 14:3; 16:5, 18-19; 21:4, 24; 29:23; Eccl. 7:8; Isa. 2:11; Dan. 5:20; Amos 6:8; Obad. 1:3; Hab. 2:4-5; Zeph. 3:11; Mal. 4:1; Luke 1:51; Mark 7:22; Rom. 1:30; 2 Cor. 12:20; 1 Tim. 3:6; 6:4; 2 Tim. 3:2; James 4:6. ↩
- Due to his astounding (and unfunny) crudeness in language, I will not provide a link to him. ↩
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_582Dl5n64 ↩