Foreword by David Wells.
Most of us value humility . . . especially in other people. But Jesus taught that humility is central to the Christian life. Author Christopher Hutchinson invites the church to follow Christ—both individually and corporately—in this high calling.
A systematic and comprehensive treatment of this core tenant of Christianity, Rediscovering Humility is structured around the three times Jesus addresses the topic in Scripture—how it is found, embraced and applied. This insightful resource should be required reading for all seminary students so they can understand the pitfalls of leadership before they begin to pastor. Current pastors and church leaders will find Hutchinson’s critiques and suggestions helpful as they seek to create humble and healthy churches. Individuals who have lost an appreciation for humility as a central Christian virtue will be reminded of its value as the best way to grow closer to and more like Jesus.
Humble Christians create healthy churches, but in today’s world of celebrity pastors and widening platforms, our churches are more than ever imitating the prideful methodologies of our culture. Through his critiques, Hutchinson also offers suggestions for how Christians can better practice and promote humility in our time.
Offering a fresh and updated application of humility to our day, Hutchinson calls for a return to the path of humility as the one pilgrimage most necessary for Christian faith and life. By showing humility in in all its truth, beauty and goodness, it becomes a value worth seeking—if never fully found—on this side of heaven.
Christopher Hutchinson is the senior pastor of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg, Virginia, and a graduate of Duke University (AB) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MDiv). Prior to entering the ministry, Chris served in the US Army, including a combat tour during Operation Desert Storm. Chris and his wife, Kirstan, have two grown daughters, one a collaborative pianist studying in Arizona, and the other an artist studying in South Carolina. He wrote Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up Is Down.
“In Rediscovering Humility, Chris Hutchinson serves as a gentle pastor, weaving together biblical truth, personal experience, and insights from poets and philosophers throughout history. This book will bless and challenge your soul. As you read, your love for Christ will grow—your love for his sacrifice to atone for your pride and for his enabling power to display true humility.”
Stephen T. Estock, Coordinator, PCA Discipleship Ministries
“In this engaging book, pastor Chris Hutchinson invites us to a rediscovery of a revolutionary, uniquely Christian virtue—humility. A masterful teacher, Chris shows how humility is at the center of the person and work of Jesus Christ and therefore at the core of the Christian life. Though humility may not come naturally to us (what Christian virtue does?), and though humility may be (in our North American context) radically subversive and countercultural, Chris adeptly shows how humility is evidence of the sanctifying work of Christ in our lives. My humble opinion(!) is that you will be challenged and inspired by Chris Hutchinson’s rediscovery of humility.”
Will Willimon, Author; United Methodist bishop, retired; Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC
“In stating his case that humility has become a lost virtue in the Christian life, Chris Hutchinson winsomely restores humility to its proper place as the highest of Christian virtues. If you want a book on humility with ten steps to achieve it, skip Rediscovering Humility; however, if you want a book on humility that targets the heart itself, look no further.”
J. R. Foster, Southeast Area Coordinator, Reformed University Fellowship
“Rediscovering Humility is a mind-enriching and heart-engaging study of a Christian grace that is as important as it is neglected. Pointing us to some of the Christian church’s very best hymnody and devotional writing, Chris Hutchinson reminds us how central humility is to Christian piety. Most importantly, Hutchinson shows us how that piety is rooted in the teaching of Scripture. I warmly recommend this book.”
Guy Prentiss Waters, James M. Baird, Jr. Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS
“Humility is a crucial and tricky topic about which to write. An author is expected to be an expert in his field, but humility eschews expertise. Only an author who recognizes his deep need for humility is qualified to write on humility. And for that reason I’m grateful for this book by Chris Hutchinson, a desperately needed study written by an eminently humble man.”
Joe Holland, Pastor, Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church, Culpeper, VA; Assistant Editor, Tabletalk magazine
“How do you properly recommend a book on humility when blurbs seem consciously designed to hype and pander? How best to commend its author for a job well done? Perhaps with Farmer Hoggett’s words to Babe after the pig carefully and confidently accomplished an equally unlikely feat and made it seem easy: ‘That’ll do.’”
Joel White, Lecturer in New Testament, Giessen School of Theology, Germany
“As a woman in a church, I worry sometimes that the voices of the lowly are too often dismissed without a good listen. It takes a robust humility for leaders to not merely tend to the needs, but also attend to the thoughts of those on the margins. Chris Hutchinson’s intelligent, often funny, and truly accessible treatise on the central virtue of humility ought to be required reading for all of us.”
Paige Britton, Curator of the Grass Roots Theological Library
“Humility? We know we should desire this Christian virtue, but it comes at a steep cost—to self-love, self-fulfillment, self-promotion. Informed by much wisdom from the church’s past and fueled by careful interaction with Scripture, in this helpful book Chris Hutchinson reminds us that pride is idolatry. Humility, by contrast, is essential to the gospel, for it accompanies God’s grace shown to us in Christ. If you are Christian, you need this book. Take up and read.”
Shawn D. Wright, Author; Professor of Church History, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Pastor of Leadership Development, Clifton Baptist Church, Louisville, KY
“In his timely new book, Hutchinson not only helps readers understand humility from a biblical perspective, he shows us our urgent need for it. In particular, he demonstrates why, in this culture that so cavalierly rejects truth, we need humility to discover it, embrace it, and then graciously declare it.”
Richard Doster, Author; editor of byFaith, the magazine of the Presbyterian Church in America
“My first thought in reading this book is that I haven’t read much like it for a long time. I’ve come to value books on the Christian life based on how much they’re immersed in the Scriptures. As it’s filled with biblical wisdom, this book delivers. It’s also steeped in the practical theology of earlier generations who gave great credence to the value of corporate humility in the life of the church. We would do well to heed the same counsel today, and this book is a good start.”
David V. Silvernail, Jr., Senior Pastor, Potomac Hills Presbyterian Church, Leesburg, VA
“I had the amazing privilege of sitting under Pastor Hutchinson’s faithful and humble preaching in college. Rediscovering Humility is a uniquely thorough and challenging appeal on the nature of corporate humility as God’s people. With each page, I found myself saying, ‘we need this.’ In reading Rediscovering Humility may we remember that in Christ the way up is down and the beautiful joy that comes with bold self-forgetfulness.”
SharDavia Walker, Author; Regional Women’s Director, Campus Outreach Lynchburg, VA
“Humility is the bedrock of Christian maturity. It is not a spiritual gift, though it is a mark of the presence of the Holy Spirit in life. Instead it is the product of gratitude. Here this truth is both endorsed and explored. With careful exegesis allied to practical understanding our minds are expanded and our hearts challenged. In this slender volume humility is restored to the place reserved for it by Jesus.”
Robert M. Norris, Teaching Pastor 4th Presbyterian Church, Bethesda, MD
“Chris Hutchinson offers a compelling case that humility is the chief of all virtues and at the center of God’s plan of redemption. Basing his expositions on Scripture and guided by some of the great expositors of the past, he provides rewarding practical expositions of what it means to make this often neglected ideal the central paradigm of the Christian life.”
George M. Marsden, Author; Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus, University of Notre Dame
“How could someone write a book on humility without becoming puffed up and self-congratulatory? You would write it as Chris Hutchinson has done by not pointing to yourself and your achievements, but by pointing and submitting to the precepts and exhortations in Scripture. We know the drill: If you want to be great in the kingdom of God you must become a servant of all; you must go the end of the line; you must wash the feet of others. The words come easily enough, but in actual practice true humility lags way behind. We readily see the application for others, but we fail to see it for ourselves. So admit the reality of your pride and humbly read Rediscovering Humility. You will be challenged to desire what Paul, the once proud Pharisee, deeply desired: ‘God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14).”
Dominic Aquila, President, New Geneva Theological Seminary, Colorado Springs, CO
“Christopher Hutchinson’s Rediscovering Humility fixes our eyes on Christ and the cross, arguing that, as we drink more deeply of Christ and Him alone, humility becomes our defining feature. Like the gospel itself, this seems at first almost too simple and unadorned to be true, but as Hutchinson ponders humility’s beauty and logic, its ethics and witness, our eyes indeed turn from ourselves and toward God’s glory. I pray this would be so, for all who pick up this book and for their churches.”
Thomas Gardner, Author; Alumni Distinguished Professor of English, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
“In the chest-thumping, opposition-shaming, attention-grabbing ethos of today’s popular culture, poverty of spirit is despised, meekness is confused with weakness, and humility is associated with losers. Chris Hutchinson’s detailed study of humility is just what the church needs if Christians are to avoid ‘losing our virtue,’ borrowing David Wells’ phrase, in the tsunamis of self-promotion that is our contemporary world.”
Terry L. Johnson, Author; Senior Minister, Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah, GA
“I need all the help I can get in cultivating humility. I am, therefore, glad for this book that helps me better understand it, want it, and apply it. Chris Hutchinson has mined Scripture, church history, and his own soul to find nuggets to share with proud, struggling Christians in the twenty-first century. ‘It takes one to know one,’ and because he knows himself well, he helps us a lot.”
David A. Bowen, Assistant Minister, Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis, TN; founding pastor, The Church of the Good Shepherd, Durham, NC
“Having worked in pastoral ministry with Chris Hutchinson for seven years, I observed in his life much of what he has written in this book. Pride and self-exaltation grow naturally out of man’s fallen condition. Genuine humility is the by-product of grace. Chris has done us a great service by reminding us that God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Roland S. Barnes, Senior Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Statesboro, GA
“My brother has been working on this book for close to thirty years, and I have seen the beauty and impact its truths and themes have had on Chris’ family, friends, congregations, and I hope myself, for decades now. This book helps us to see that where there is humility there is kindness, courage, and integrity. And laughter. Lots of joy and laughter, even in suffering.”
Jeffrey D. Hutchinson, Coordinator of Church Planting, Mission Anabaino; Assistant Minister, Christ Presbyterian Church, New Haven, CT
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Convicting yet gentle, thorough yet simple. Helpful for believers at every level of maturity.
This book was transformative. Not because it had any new revelation, but because it reminds us of the most basic truth of the old revelation. The gospel is a message of undeserved grace, one that does not leave room for our own conceit and vanity, yet these are constant companions. Pride manifests in so many ways, and here Chris reminds us to search the corners of our hearts and hand them over. He isn't offering quick soundbites or small morsels. This is a journey that isn't meant to end, an invitation to remind ourselves to come to the table with the proper posture. I spent two years reading this book off and on since it was released (including a restart partway through). Filled with wisdom from the saints who came before, personal stories from Chris' pastoral experience, and practical advice, there's a lot to chew on. Some parts were more filling or easier to read than others, and some parts were specific to practical advice for pastors and church order, but all of it was good. Humility is a hard subject to write on without betraying yourself, but even so Chris approaches the subject with a humble honesty, readily admitting where his experience has revealed his own pride. As a personal disclosure, I was a member of Chris' congregation for a number of years, during which time he preached faithfully and embodied the word shepherd, helping guide my wife and I through some difficult years in our young marriage. I believe the concepts in this book are vital for any Christian and the pastoral care and personal humility that I have seen Chris demonstrate reinforce my recommendation.
“The one thing I take pride in is my humility.” I have used this statement before, tongue-in-cheek, to ensue laughter from the people around me. Yet, I know such a statement reveals more of my heart than I care to admit. I can put up a humble persona when I am honestly a prideful person. One of the places where I see this reality exposed in my heart is in the church. That is because community is where either humility grows or pride is displayed. For those called to proclaim the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, the church is the last place pride should reign. Following the example of the suffering Savior, the church should be the place where the display of humility is a witness to a world taken by pride. The picture of this humility is found in Christopher A. Hutchinson’s new book Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up is Down. Humility for the Church Throughout the book's four sections, Hutchinson defines the concept of humility by laying out gospel motivations for humility, finding, embracing, and applying that humility into the life of the church. While the majority of Christian books written on humility focus on the individual, Rediscovering Humility tackles humility in the church as a whole. Hutchinson chooses this as his focus because he believes, “Humility has lost a central place in today’s church” (Hutchinson 4). Looking at the culture and inside the church, Hutchinson’s assessment seems on point. That said, while his diagnosis is correct, some will not be convinced or may take issue with some of the symptoms he lays out of this problem (some of these symptoms of the problem as Hutchinson sees it are found in chapter 1). Still, that is what makes this book on humility bold. Bold and Biblical The bold convictions and corrections found throughout the book are coupled with biblical truths how the gospel calls for humility in the life of the church. The appendix itself lists out 100 verses that pertain to living with humility. Each chapter ends with a prayer, sometimes by the way of a quote or of a formal prayer. The book’s aim is to rediscover the definition and importance of humility for the church and to apply the virtue of humility into the life of the church. Rediscovering Humility is a book that needs to be read church-wide. If you desire for your church to be characterized by a humility motivated by the gospel, then pick up Rediscovering Humility by Christopher A. Hutchinson and let his biblical convictions and corrections be your prayer and practice. I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.
I don't know what I was expecting when I picked this book up, but it certainly wasn't the wonderful, in-depth non fiction that I found! I thought that the message was wonderfully written and so timely. The world teaches us to promote ourselves, but God calls us to go against the norm and become as a servant. This book is an excellent resource to use in that journey. I received this book from the publisher. All thoughts on it are my own.
Humility is not a popular concept in the American Christian church. The humble mind-set no longer exists in Christian culture, Hutchinson says. (339/5784) He recognized the centrality of humility in his new life shortly after his conversion to Christianity. (219/5784) He encourages us to return to that ancient path of humility, both individually and as the corporate church. Humility is not some personality trait we add on to our Christian life. Hutchinson writes, “I believe humility to be at the very heart of Christian faith and even to be the best paradigm of all proper thought regarding God, oneself, and others.” (283/5784) Hutchinson explores what true humility is and is not. He helps us understand how we grow in humility (suffering is a part). He gives the characteristics of humility (speak only to bless, for example). He also looks at what humility means to the corporate body, including leaders, unity, doctrinal issues, etc. I really liked the first part of the book as it concentrated on what humility is and how one grows in it. The latter part of the book dealt more with the church and would appeal more to pastors and church leaders. Laypeople might find that part of the book tedious, as I did. This is a very important book and I highly recommend it. I agree with Hutchinson that American Christians seem to have lost humility as a core aspect of the Christian life. Reading this book is certainly a challenge to follow the example of Jesus and the teaching of the New Testament. Food for thought: Be a bold nobody. I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Humility is the call of the Christian life but a great challenge to live out. What is true humility and what does it look like? What would it mean for our church gatherings to be humble in their message, practice and outreach? How about with the wider church and how we live in the world? Christopher Hutchinson’s insightful book Rediscovering Humility builds a convicting case that humility is key to the believer’s life. He starts with Christ who shows us what true humility looks like, and we that we receive the grace of the gospel only by coming humbly to Jesus. He exposes the prevalence of pride and challenges us to consider being “bold nobodies” for Christ. We display personal humility through how we love others, and need to be willing to settle at the bottom of totem pole. More broadly, he challenges the church to consider how a humble body of Christ could look. Addressing church gatherings, wider denominational relationships and how the church interacts with the world, he brings a compelling case that humility has been lost in many areas and the church should urgently seek to find it again. Hutchinson has included numerous quotes, as well as some wonderfully Christ-exalting responsive prayers, expanding the book’s overall impact. He has given the Christian community a valuable, biblical insight into the humility of Christ and our humble response as part of the body of Christ.
Humility is an important subject, and a difficult quality. Christopher Hutchinson, Senior Pastor of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg, Virginia, has given us some help in thinking about the virtue of humility in his new 252 page paperback, "Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up Is Down". This volume is an easy-to-read, devotional approach that is friendly and thoughtful, and meant to be useful for most anyone. Hutchinson spends three chapters introducing humility, and then allows faith, hope and love to guide the rest of the discussion. His approach is exegetical, theological, pastoral, and devotional. "Rediscovering Humility" is chock full of timely quotations from Puritans and pastors, and swimming in stories. The author mainly hopes "that this little work will jump-start a dialogue on what humility should look like in today's church" (xviii). I think his book may well do just that. All told, "Rediscovering Humility" should be snatched up in bulk and handed out to those you know. It needs to find a place on your church's book table. And it would make an ideal resource for adult classes. It's a book I happily recommend for all, and especially my fellow ministers.