A Twitter thread from Cincinnati pastor Michael Clary is gaining attention, as he publicly repented of his condescending attitude toward “conservative, uneducated, backwoods fundies who still read the KJV.”

Clary underwent a change of heart, as he realized that his “spirit of elitism” was toward his own forebears – like his grandfather and great grandfather who were country preachers in Appalachia, in “the hills of West Virginia.” He began to see that he was “standing on the shoulders of giants,” men who “stayed true to the Lord and his calling” for decades.

Clary, who is a church planter and the pastor of Christ the King Church, starts out with these tweets that describe his condescending sense of superiority because of his education and “ministry success”:

Though he came from the hills of West Virginia, “Appalachian, born and bred,” Clary felt he “had moved on” and “was better than them.” He wrote, “I was more learned and cultured. I had ‘seen the world’ and they hadn’t.”

Clary’s heart began to change, however, as he realized the character and scriptural depth of his grandfather:

Similarly, he describes the commitment and endurance of his great grandfather:


Clary saw the faithfulness, generosity, commitment to God’s people, and love for Scripture that was deeply rooted in these men. He writes:

So I repented. I repented of my arrogance. I repented of my self-righteous attitude towards “that old time religion” that sustained my grandparents who had so much less than me. I repented of looking down on faithful, older Christians who had passed on a legacy to me.

How easy it is to believe we’re somehow superior to the believers who came before us, viewing them as narrow or parochial or illiberal or unprogressive.

C.S. Lewis called this “chronological snobbery,” which he defined as “the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited.” Lewis’ remedy was “to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds.”

For Lewis, “This can be done only by reading old books.” But surely another way is to listen to those older than us, consider their lives and learn from them.

Clary, for example, heard a story about his great grandfather from his mother:

When he was filling out paperwork or writing something and didn’t know how to spell a word, he would remember where that word was in his KJV Bible, then look it up to see how it was spelled.

What a deep knowledge of Scripture and a desire to grow and learn.

It’s unwise to have contempt for our fathers and grandfathers (just as it’s unwise to have disdain for the next generation – those “young whippersnappers”). Scripture commands us to “honor your father and mother,” and the Apostle Paul reminds us that “this is the first command with a promise.” We are admonished to demonstrate this respect so “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Such pride and arrogance is not just bad practice, but also a sin, which Proverbs reminds us is “an abomination to the Lord.” But it seems every generation – I include myself – is afflicted with this disorder, an unwarranted sense of superiority toward those who’ve gone before us.

Kudos to Clary for modeling humility and repentance, fturning from pride and showing a better way – respect and gratitude for our forebears.

His whole thread is well worth reading and thinking about.


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