In this Christian guidebook, debut author Klender offers 40 rules, or “keys,” to help fellow religious leaders guard against spiritual downfall.
Referring to an Old Testament king whose pride led to his ruin, the author uses the term “Uzziah Syndrome” to describe how some religious leaders start their ministries well but end them dishonorably, for various reasons. Klender puts forth “a biblical strategy for inoculating leaders against the spiritual malaise of the Uzziah Syndrome,” relying on biblical quotes and personal accounts of spiritual experiences, often drawing analogies from his own service as a U.S. Navy chaplain. Throughout, the author urges readers to take seriously the various threats that he believes Satan poses. He presents a wealth of advice in 40 chapters, including essays on avoiding selfish ambition and egoism, not allowing comfort to stunt spiritual growth, embracing a correct view of God, and forgiving oneself and others. One of his overarching principles is that one should maintain a keen awareness of one’s thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions, making course corrections when needed. He follows each chapter with meaningful review questions that invite both reflection and application, such as “Can you think of a time in your ministry where spiritual success or victory made you vulnerable to temptation?” and “Is there an offence that has been committed against you that you refuse to forgive? Explain.” Some readers may find 40 “keys” to guard against personal apostasy excessive. However, each one is unique, valuable, and well-developed. The author’s prose offers a pleasant balance of memorable stories, supporting quotations from the Bible, and a variety of other sources, as well as Klender’s own insights. His questions, in particular, truly evoke contemplation as they attempt to promote personal change. That said, there are occasionally distracting punctuation errors, and some readers may find that the occasional right-leaning political opinions feel out of place in the spiritually focused text.
Thorough, articulate, and astute advice for Christian leaders.