Affectionate Anger

Daily Reform, Day 195

Galatians 2:21 & Ephesians 4:25-27

From the Reformer

Paul reproves the Galatians rather sharply when he calls them “fools, bewitched, and disobedient.” Whether he is indignant or sorry, I cannot say. He may be both. It is the duty of a Christian pastor to reprove the people committed to his charge. Of course, his anger must not flow from malice, but from affection and a real zeal for Christ.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

There is a concept: affectionate anger. Society dictates against anger (unless it is anger at people who disagree with cultural correctness). Yet here is Paul being angry with his charge and Luther being his cheerleader. What is a pastor to do but ignore modern culture and follow the Apostle’s example? Real love rebukes when necessary. Correction is always needed (semper reformanda) in the life of the church but must each time fall along the lines of, “What is written?” This is the loving check built in to any correction. Pastoral criticism must be rooted in the scriptures. When it is, it may at first be perceived as anger but may soon enough be understood for what it actually is: affection.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

Leave a Reply