Gregory the Great Indictment of Pastors’ Who Are Soft on Sin

Great quote from Pastoral Rule by Gregory the Great indicting of softness of church rulers toward sin, it reminds me of Tim Bayly’s rebuke of “grace, grace, grace” preaching:

For from love of himself the ruler’s mind is inclined to softness, because, when he observes those that are under him sinning, he does not presume to reprove them, lest their affection for himself should grow dull; nay sometimes he smooths down with flatteries the offense of his subordinates which he ought to have rebuked. Hence it is well said through the prophet, Woe unto them that sew cushions under every elbow, and make pillows under the head of every stature to catch souls Ezekiel 13:18; inasmuch as to put cushions under every elbow is to cherish with bland flatteries souls that are falling from their uprightness and reclining themselves in this world’s enjoyment. For it is as though the elbow of a recumbent person rested on a cushion and his head on pillows, when the hardness of reproof is withdrawn from one who sins, and when the softness of favour is offered to him, that he may lie softly in error, while no roughness of contradiction troubles him. But so rulers who love themselves undoubtedly show themselves to those by whom they fear they may be injured in their pursuit of temporal glory.

Gregory the Great, Pastoral Rule , Book II, Chapter 8.


Great quote! Thanks for sharing. We are reading (slowly!) this together as a staff. I’m really enjoying it.


Yeah! I read it over the summer, and more recently re-read some parts for my history class. So good!

It’s up there next to Baxter’s “The Reformed Pastor.” Straight line from Gregory to the Puritans. This is the sort of work we teach pastors to give themselves to at New Geneva Academy. Any of you helping us spread the word would be much appreciated. We try to do a lot, but we can’t spread the word as well as you others can. Love,