Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Should we give?

Below is some very interesting insight into giving.  I did an earlier post on this subject as well, this is somewhat of a continuation on this subject. After reading all this, I have to ask...how does a Pastor like John MacArthur justify his salary? I do not recommend this site, I refer to it because it points to MacArthur's nine hundred thousand dollar a year income. I don't see much difference in a lot of what labels itself as 'Reformed' or 'Calvinist' and that which is labeled as Word of faith; both seem to use God's word for personal financial gain. One gets by with it because they adhere to the 'right doctrine', the other doesn't. In the end, both are guilty of misusing God's word  'imagining that godliness is a means of gain' { 1 Timothy 6:5b}.  
The cost of R.C. Sproul's  Ligonier Academy, it's reformation bible college and ministry headquarters -  is simply mind boggling. They set a goal of 15.6 million...MILLION dollars! {source} Why do we NEED these extravagant type of ministries and 'learning centers'? Simple....we don't.... 



*Simon J. Kistemaker, who served for many years as professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, states:
 

In his [Paul] letters he discloses that he worked night and day with his own hands to support himself, so that no one would ever be able to accuse him of depending on the hearers of the Gospel for his material needs (compare 1 Samuel 12:3). He refused to be a burden to anyone in the churches he established. By performing manual labor, he provided for his financial needs. Paul received gifts from the believers in Philippi, as he himself reveals (Philippians 2:25; 4:16-18), yet he declares that he did not solicit those gifts... The Ephesian elders had observed Paul's ministry and physical work during his three-year stay. They were able to testify that he had never exploited anyone (2 Corinthians 7:2), but had always set an example of diligence and self-sufficiency, in the good sense of the word. He was a model to the believers and taught the rule: "If you will not work, you shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10)... It appears that Paul generated sufficient income to support not only himself but even his companions... In every respect, says Paul to the elders of Ephesus, I taught you to work hard and with your earnings to help the weak... He exhorts them to follow his example and to labor hard (New Testament Commentary: Acts [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990] pp. 737,740).



  It is quite possible that 1 Timothy 5:17 has nothing to do with a salary or wage. Once again, Atkerson and Svendsen write:
The word "honor" in this verse (time in the Greek) means just what it is translated as--honor, not pay (unless we want to conclude that we should give some elders "double pay"!). If Paul had intended to teach that elders are to be paid, he could have used the Greek word misthos, which means "wages" (which he used in v.18). In v.18, Paul simply says that, just as an ox deserves to eat because of his work, and just as a worker deserves to be paid because of his work, so an elder deserves honor because of his work (v.19 gives an example of such honor--see also 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). This same word (time) is used in 1 Timothy 6:1; are slaves to "pay" their masters? (The Practice of the Early Church, p.42).
 It is generally assumed that the elders were paid for their services in the apostolic churches. We are convinced that this assumption is not tenable. The probability is that none of them were paid. The elders of the synagogues were not paid or salaried. Each synagogue had a number of elders, too many to have a payroll that would be large enough to support them. The apostolic congregations imitated the synagogue in this respect. Our passage speaks of "twofold honor," not of twofold financial pay or salary. Paul's two quotations support the injunction relating to according due honor to diligent elders; such honor is to be their reward just as the ox treading out grain is accorded the privilege of eating as he tramped along, just as the worker is accorded his pay. The tertium of the analogy lies in the worthiness and not in the identity of what the three are worthy of: the elders worthy of what naturally should go with their office--honor; the ox worthy of what naturally goes with the task for which he is employed--wisps of grain; the workman worthy of what naturally goes with his work--pay for his work (Commentary on Saint Paul's Epistles to Timothy [Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1937] p.683).

Commenting on Acts 20:33-35, Roland Allen, author of the classic work, Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1962), notes:
When I wrote this book I had not observed that in addressing the elders of Ephesus, St. Paul definitely directs them to follow his example and to support themselves (Acts 20:34-35). The right to support is always referred to wandering evangelists and prophets, not to settled local clergy (see Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:1-14) with the doubtful exceptions of Galatians 6:6 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18, and even if those passages do refer to money gifts, they certainly do not contemplate fixed salaries which were an abomination in the eyes of the early Christians (p.50).

Requiring elders to be self-supporting would free large sums of money currently designated for professional pastors to be used instead in support of missionaries or to help the poor. It would also place a pastor's motives above reproach in an era of religious shysters who purposely fleece the flock in order to finance their exorbitant lifestyles (Ezekiel 34:1-6). In addition, creating a class of salaried ministers tends to elevate them above the average believer and fosters an artificial laity/clergy distinction. Finally, salesmen tend to be extra nice toward those to whom they hope to sell something. Hiring a career clergyman puts him in a similar salesman-customer relationship, and this, no doubt to some degree, affects his dealings with significant contributors (money talks) [ed. Steve Atkerson] (Toward A House Church Theology [Atlanta, GA: New Testament Restoration Foundation, 1996] p.87).
"I have coveted no one's silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'"
(Acts 20:33-35)
"For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God
(1 Thessalonians 2:9)*


*Source 


Finally, in my own simplistic mind, I read from the book of Acts, "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. " I am not implying that we all should sell off our goods, however, if a great need came about, we certainly should be willing to sell all for the sake of our brethren. The point is the necessity of willingness, and following through on that when needs arise. The truth is, we do have many brothers and sisters who are struggling financially and spiritually; are we giving? Are we helping to meet their physical needs? Are we offering our support and prayers to those who've been hurt by the 'church', abused and oppressed by men who are leaders? Abuse is a need as well, God help us if we fail to see the importance of those hurting in that way.
  I read Acts and see the true purpose for giving, and what brotherly love really looks like.  How many of us would give all we had for the sake of a brother or sister in Christ? Unfortunately, we do not see this in our day; we see certain men living rather comfortably. Men who continually promote their own writings, ministries, study bibles, conference appearances, speaking engagements, etc; all for a price. The internet is bombarded with ministries everywhere seeking donations; tweets, videos, facebook. Everybody wants a piece of the pie! 
I once read where A. W. Pink and his wife  usually rented a small two room apartment, they never even owned a car. They were not enslaved to debt. I found that to be very admirable, especially when looking around at Christian 'leaders' today.  I'm also reminded that our Lord had no place to lay His head, and yet, today men think they have some sort of entitlement to large salaries, huge ministries and teaching institutions. They may claim it's for God's glory, but is it really? God is the Judge, and He is standing at the door.

20 comments:

Diane said...

It doesn't look very much like Jesus, does it.

lyn said...

There isn't much today that calls itself Christian that does look like Jesus. The racket these men and their ministries have going is simply jaw-dropping.

Anonymous said...

amen

Anonymous said...

It is a shame when able body men will not work... when it is clear the apostle to the gentiles left a clear example to follow. There is very little humbleness in most like James White, JD Hall, and Brannon Howse... they even send there wifes out into the work force to cover in worldly needs they may seem entitled to. If you listen to them some, you will here what they watch on their televisions... it would grieve my spirit so to put the things they watch before my eyes... much less appoint them some kind of position
and support them with any kind of monies. As you said God will judge. Men of God go to work, support your wife and families... give your gifts freely to the lost and the brothers and sisters as out Lord has instructed us to do!

lyn said...

Tony Miano is another one who demands donated $$, he insists women should not speak to men, or be very wary to speak. These types are quick to oppress women, and even quicker to let them support them!
Apparently these same men have no conscience, for they break the commandment given by God " But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 1 Timothy 5:8
They think preparing a sermon on Saturday and delivering it on Sunday is 'working with their hands'. They use God's word as an excuse to sit at home, or do this and that, and live off donated $$. They willingly marry the Gov. with their 501c3 tax exemptions, only so they may bring in the big $$ from those huge donations they collect. -"Churches do not have to apply for 501(c)(3) federal income tax exemption.
To be clear, churches are presumed by law to be exempt from income taxes, even without applying for exemption. (This is not the case for ministries, which are required to apply for the exemption.) However, churches should strongly consider applying for exempt status, in order to receive written documentation of 501(c)(3) income tax exemption from the IRS. Often, donors intending to give large gifts will require proof of a church’s 501(c)(3) status, in order to verify the deductibility of the donor’s gift. State and local government will often also request written verification of a church’s exempt status, when the church applies for property tax exemption, sales tax exemption, zoning variances, etc."

http://uschurchlaw.com/legal-services/501c3-tax-exemption/

lyn said...

Then, as if all that isn't bad enough, those who give want to be able to write off their giving on their taxes!! Good grief, don't they see the absurdity of this? They want to get something in return for their giving; I sure do hope they don't think there will be a reward for them in heaven. They've already received their reward and it is in this life. We do not give to get tax breaks, we give to help meet the needs of others; God will reward us NOT the Government!! How much more insane can it get?!?

Anonymous said...

lyn, I am not very computer savy, do not have an account set up on anything really, I am anonymous, the last couple of post... my name is David. Wanted to point you to Rick Frueh blog "Following Judah's lion" if you haven't already followed. He is writing some good things. He is not calvinistic, but he speaks of God's sovereignty in salvation. I was 32 when the Lord saved me, now 46. Was outside of organized religion my whole life, tried to find fellowship with people who where picking up there cross and dying daily... hard to find many where the Lord Jesus is precious ... their every thought! Still looking in here in West Monroe Louisiana. Thank you for your blog Lyn... your in my prayers

lyn said...

Hi David,

Thank you for the referral, I will check it out.

I truly do understand your struggles to find true, blood bought believers who understand dying to self, walking in humility and love - DAILY.
Organized religion is very dangerous, a lot of do's and don'ts. It's legalistic in nature and only oppresses. Christ came to free us from sin and bondage, that would include the dead religion we see everywhere. Honestly David, you are better off NOT being in a church like that.
There is another dear brother who comments here, Darrel. I believe he may be in the Baton Rouge La area. Perhaps the two of you can exchange e-mail addresses and have fellowship, or even have fellowship here. Darrel has blessed me with his God given wisdom. As of late, your comments have been a blessing as well.

It is very disheartening, and sadly, it's becoming more common. We have a sister in Christ who lives in Iowa, she and her husband have been w/o a church for a bit. They've had the some problems you describe in your comments. Let's always remember, Christ does have His remnant. Much of what identifies itself as 'Christian' really is not. Diane, the sister from Iowa, has opened my eyes to many things...for that I am thankful.

Feel free to come here anytime David, you are in my prayers as well.

Darrel said...

As for those pastors that lead a local church there seems to be no prohibition for them to be supported financially by the church-1Cor. 9:9-14. Those making the big bucks would find it impossible to justify their income especially in light of Scriptural warnings about the love of money and the evils that come from such a love. It seems to have gotten to the point that "controversy sells" hence the conferences, books and lecture circuit. Sound doctrine is out the window, for that does not sell books to the unregenerate, nor does it grow a church in numbers since most in the current day "church" (social club) are not saved in the first place. Philosophy rules the day, not the Gospel. Thanks to decades of seminary taught false prophets, the church of our day is over run with every sort of lie, other gospels, and endless parades of ego motivated, money hungry charlatans that know not (nor do they care to know) the true Gospel.

The solution? Sit back and watch the judgment of God on the western "church" and seek His face EVERY DAY to keep one's self unspotted from the world. Read, read, read the Scriptures EVERY DAY in order to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Eagerly wait for His return, for He will return to redeem His own. "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due time."

Lyn, I would be happy to talk with David from West Monroe. You can give him my email.











lyn said...

Very well said Darrel, excellent comment. American 'Christianity' is anything but...Christ has His remnant that He lovingly watches over, refines, and protects. May we all be much in prayer and in His word.

Prayerfully, David will see your response Darrel. Either one of you can reach me by e-mail at laurielynbern@hotmail.com to exchange your own e-mail addresses. If you both want to give them here publicly, that's fine too.

lyn said...

Darrel,

I did update the post after being sent this from a sister in Christ, what do you think?

1 Corinthians 9:14

Let us move onto the next verse, 1 Corinthians 9:14…
So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
Well, this is pretty damning evidence, is it not? No, not really. Let us consider the some of the context surrounding the verse, 1 Corinthians 9:9-18 (bolded to illustrate my point)…
For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
You have to realize, Paul (the author of this letter) repeatedly says that although they have the right to receive money for their work, they did not pursue this right. They did this so they would not hinder the gospel. Oh, and there is also an often ignored smoking gun in this verse. Do you see it? This verse has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with pastors or elders! This is about missionaries. Paul was not an elder or a pastor, he was a missionary. He was travelling from town to town as a missionary spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Now, I would be the last person to argue that we should not support missionary work, but Paul here says it is ideal for a missionary to find their own work and support themselves! But we cannot deny the fact that in this context, those who proclaim the gospel get their living from the gospel is talking about people who are leaving their home town and travelling far away to share about the Christ. In other words, these are people who would, in any normal situation, have a hard time finding employment and supporting their own physical needs.
http://lewayotte.com/2013/01/10/there-is-no-biblical-support-for-paid-pastorselders/

Diane said...

"The Better Way

All in all, Paul expounded and lived what we could call, “the better way”. We know from other Scriptures that Paul was not lazy as are so many so-called “pastors” today. He was not a nosy busybody poking around in everyone's personal business, meddling in things that are none of his concern. Within his God-given calling, the Apostle Paul was not like so many modern day pastors who operate outside of their scope of pastoral authority (which is supposed to be to care for the flock by watching, warning and preaching the truth from the Bible – not creating or upholding man made doctrines and commands). Paul did not have too much time on his hands. He was not someone who had nothing better to do than bedevil the church with his own peculiar ideas and legalisms. No, he upheld God's wishes and commands.

That said, even a brief perusal of the New Testament Epistles shows that Paul worked hard to support himself, to be generous and have something to share with others (not to take from others as is so common today). It is also clear that he only accepted sporadic financial or material help from the brethren when he was in serious need or where his work in preaching the Gospel truly required some extra help. Paul exemplified poise and balance in the area of receiving money or material assistance as a Christian minister. Paul was a rare man of God in his own time and such committed men are even rarer in modern times.

So although there is a power or right to accept a sporadic or regular income from the Gospel, the good minister, the most faithful and trustworthy among us will simply not use this right unless there is a dire need and only after they have exhausted every other means of support at their disposal (such as getting a real job, working with their own hands or tapping into personal resources).

In our day and age we see men “going into the ministry” as a church career with a regular income in mind! And as if this is normal! Well this might be very normal as far as the modern church is concerned, but this is far from normal for a good minister according to what the Bible teaches, a minister who wants to present Christ in the best light and not hinder the Gospel.



In Conclusion

So instead of isolating verses such as 1Cor 9:14 out of context, as if this were some kind of mandatory “command” for pastors to receive an income from the church, Christians need to read the whole passage in context. And if they have eyes to see, they will hopefully understand that this is not the case at all, but rather that those who preach the Gospel have a right of support under certain special conditions or extenuating circumstances, and that to abstain is the better way so as not to hinder the Gospel.

Also, none of what I am saying here is to give the impression that churches should not financially help a genuine pastor in times of genuine need. I am arguing against incomes and REGULAR salaries based on the teachings of Scripture and Paul's excellent example.

It doesn't take a genius to figure this out. Here we have the heart of God on the matter - Jesus speaking through His Word and basically saying (in so many words) that He loves us so much that He is not going to allow those who preach the Gospel to starve, even at the cost of hindering the precious Gospel (which their collecting an income will cause), but that He greatly prefers abstinence instead. Love can see this view. Greed cannot. This is one of the reasons it is so important for Christians to approach the Bible from the right perspective or they risk deceiving themselves."

Read more here:

http://www.truthguard.com/Articles/has-god-really-commanded-that-pastors-be-paid-a66.html

Diane said...

"The bottom line is this: If a pastor quotes 1 Corinthians 9:14 as a way to demand that the people he minister to should pay his salary, he is using 1 Corinthians 9:14 in exactly the opposite way that Paul was using it. Paul writes 1 Corinthians 9:14 in the context of explaining why he does not take money from the people he serves."

Read more here:

http://www.tillhecomes.org/get-paid-to-preach-the-gospel/

Darrel said...

All of the arguments put forth in favor of a non-salaried pastor seem to ignore the very verses used in support of their claim, 1Cor. 9. They want to qualify the receiving of money to missionaries, but that is not specified in the text. They say Paul was not a pastor, yet he began almost all of the churches in the Gentile world, staying for months to years to establish the churches on a firm foundation, but somehow this does not qualify Paul as a pastor (?). Paul did support himself as he had opportunity, but this is not said to be a constant thing with him anywhere in Scripture that I can find. It is said Paul accepted money on occasion of some special need with no support whatever from Scripture, nor is it said what qualifies as a "special need".
"So also there is the power or right to accept sporadic or regular income from the Gospel (which is it? you can't do both and be true to the teaching put forth here) the good minister, the most faithful and trustworthy among us will simply not use this right (so it IS a right, even though the writer is trying to persuade us otherwise) unless there is a dire need (again, what constitutes a 'dire need' and who is the arbiter?), etc."
Then he speaks of 'context' which he then ignores by saying that "as if the is some kind of 'mandatory' command for pastors to receive an income from the church". When the text says: "Even so the Lord has COMMANDED that those who preach the Gospel should live from the Gospel" V.14. He then compounds his error by saying "... those who preach the Gospel have a right to support under special conditions or extenuating circumstances..." Neither the writer of this article nor Scripture spells out what these conditions or circumstances would be making this whole exercise a massage of the Scriptures to fit the end game of the writer.
He then shoots himself in the other foot by saying that financial help is ok, but a regular salary is not, this is not to be found in Scripture. He is arbitrarily excluding salary when Scripture does not say to do that. To top it off he shoots himself in the third foot by saying that "He (Jesus) is not going to allow those who preach the Gospel to starve, even at the cost of hindering the Gospel". Where he came up with that idea is a mystery. Here is a classic case of having your cake and eating it, too.
I fully understand and appreciate the writer's frustration with money hungry, charlatan fake "pastors", but this is not going to help, nor is it mandated in Scripture that a pastor is to fend for himself, especially when the opposite has been mandated. Paul did what he did out of choice, not command. If the first century church of Acts is to be followed to the letter, then none of us should own anything to our self. Acts 5 should be followed to the letter 2000 years after the fact. Anybody up for that?

lyn said...

Thank you for your input Darrel, I appreciate it.

lyn said...

I read this commentary from Barnes on 1 Timothy 5:17, " Of double respect; that is, of a high degree of respect; of a degree of respect becoming their age and office; compare 1Th_5:12-13. From the quotation which is made in 1Ti_5:18, in relation to this subject, it would seem probable that the apostle had some reference also to their support, or to what was necessary for their maintenance. There is no improbability in supposing that all the officers of the church, of whatever grade or rank, may have had some compensation, corresponding to the amount of time which their office required them to devote to the service of the church. Nothing would be more reasonable than that, if their duties in the church interfered with their regular employments in their secular calling, their brethren should contribute to their support". Mounce's Expository Dictionary defines honor as 'hold in esteem, place value on someone or something'.

As for 1 Cor. 9:14, ' Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.' Here's commentary on this text - "It is not that they should grow rich, or lay up treasures, or speculate in it, or become merchants, farmers, teachers, or bookmakers for a living; but it is that they should have such a maintenance as to constitute a livelihood. They should be made comfortable; not rich. They should receive so much as to keep their minds from being harassed with cares, and their families from want not so much as to lead them to forget their dependence on God, or on the people. Probably the true rule is, that they should be able to live as the mass of the people among whom they labor live; that they should be able to receive and entertain the poor, and be willing to do it; and so that the rich also may not despise them, or turn away from their dwelling".- Barnes
Gill says "that continue to do so, that labour, and not loiter in the word and doctrine, who do the work of the ministry fully and faithfully, and not bear the name only of Gospel preachers: should live of the Gospel; not the Gospel itself, which is spiritual, and not corporeal food; but the sense is, that in consideration and because of their preaching the Gospel, they should be supplied with the proper necessaries of life". So, it seems those who truly labor for the word of God should receive some support, BUT, not to the extreme we see today. I like the way Barnes puts it, 'they should be able to live as the mass of the people among whom they labor live'. Does everyone at JMac's church live on a salary of nine hundred thousand a year? I highly doubt it.

Darrel said...

Thanks for the quotes from the commentaries.
dfd70816@msn.com for David

lyn said...

thanks Darrel. I do hope David sees it, or comments again so I can pass it along

Jon Gleason said...

Hi, Lyn, I've been thinking about commenting on this, and I'll go ahead.

First, I wish nothing I say here to be interpreted as supporting excess or celebrity pastors being paid very large salaries. Everything I say, I hope, will be understood in that light.

I'm an unpaid pastor, I earn my living in "secular" work. I would have no hesitation in receiving a salary, even in addition to my current salary, which covers our needs well, should our church be in a position to pay one.

I spent years studying the Word, at considerable cost, to be able to provide sound and effective teaching. I have taken a reduced salary (for years) to have time to pastor a church. It would not be wrong for our church people, who benefit from that labour, to share some of that expense as they are able. There are many good and profitable things I (or my family) could do and enjoy if we had more money, and it would not only be permissible, but good, for our church to provide them.

It is detrimental for a church to have a pastor who takes advantage of them financially, but it is also detrimental for a pastor to continually take the overwhelming share of the financial burdens on himself when it is unnecessary.

It is spurious to use I Corinthians 9 to say that pastors should not be paid. The entire chapter is about Paul's decisions not to use his legitimate rights / freedoms not being grounds to criticise his apostleship (verses 1-3).

Note verses 5-6. If Paul's decision to work means pastors should always do the same, should his decision not to marry also be emulated by pastors? Obviously not.

Paul, a church-planting missionary / apostle, chose not to expect support from a missionary church at Corinth, but that says nothing about whether or not a pastor should be supported by an established church, where mature believers know they should give and contribute to those who minister to them.

He very clearly says he has rights which others are legitimately using which he chose not to use. To be paid for his labour in the Word was one of them.

Furthermore, if a pastor has written books, certainly he could receive royalties. If he has written many useful books which have been sold widely, perhaps the royalties will be high. He laboured to provide help to others, and it is only right that they pay for what they have received. If a pastor can afford to be generous, he should be.

I Timothy 5 certainly does speak to this. I believe "double honour" is not referring to double salary, however. An elder should be provided with what his family needs. If he works full-time as an elder, he should have a full-time salary. But it should not be a bare minimum, either. As a measure of respect / honour, his pay should be enough to show the Lord's work is valued.

I view the "honour", then, as that which is above basic living costs and shows respect. "Double honour," then, means extra respect for labour in the Word.

Many factors could help set the "right" salary for a pastor. Hard to see it ever hitting a million dollars, but an income from royalties / investments / whatever could push his income to that level. If so, he'll need to be very generous and wise or he will fall afoul of the very concerns Paul expressed in I Corinthians 9. Also, he may find many people in his church (who may struggle financially) will be discouraged.

The "celebrity preacher" culture has been very detrimental in many ways, and the kind of thing you are writing about is one of them. But part of the damage is that people can end up looking askance at their own pastor's salary, which in most churches and most cases is probably either completely appropriate or too low.

lyn said...

Jon,

Thank you for your comment. I agree with much of what you say. As for the salaries of a pastor, I suppose the bigger the church, the bigger the salary. However, I cannot see men like MacArthur making close to a million a year, and still seeking donations. I get them in the mail frequently from him and Sproul. I am not a member of his church, why should I be asked to give? All these ministries are constantly seeking donations, then I read where MacArthur pays a hefty sum to his son-in-law for work he does for the ministry. It just seems all such excess to me, not to mention some of the questionable teachings of MacArthur that have recently come to light. I don't see how his income is any different than that of Benny Hinn. I understand Hinn is a charlatan, but some of what MacArthur teaches is equally suspect.

Concerning the books written by celebrity pastors such as MacArthur, Lawson, Sproul, etc. I no longer read anything from any modern day writer because I simply do not trust them. When I see MacArthur teaching you can be saved even if you take the mark, I know it's time to separate from his teachings/writings. Lawson exalts mortal men, like Calvin, Luther, etc. in many of his books. Why? These men had some horrendous views!


My own Pastor is like you, he struggles a bit. I have no problem supporting him for his labor and care of the flock. I can see his genuine love for God's people, his humility, and his labor. That is worth supporting.