Should Pastor's Be "Cared For?"
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SHOULD PASTORS BE ‘CARED FOR?’
Warning: Not For The Timid
The following quote in regards to 1 Timothy 5:17, is just another example of the evil, manipulative practices that are abounding in many local institutional churches.
“…..In other words Timothy, you are to BIND THE CONSCIENCES
of God’s people to care for their pastors…..”
Pastor Albert N. Martin, in reference to 1 Timothy 5:17
The following material is from a variety of contributors. It is to be presented in the clearest possible terms, without mincing words, just like the Apostle Paul would have done if he were alive and witnessing what’s happening in the churches today. He would hit the nail right on the head.
What we will do in this article, as we do in all of our articles, is to put the Word of God ahead of all man-made teachings and creeds which leave off the "every word" part of Christ's statement to the adversary in Matthew 4:4, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
If the Word shatters cherished beliefs, then we are willing to be shattered, no matter how painful it is. Isn’t God's Truth more important than personal belief, and loyalty to that Truth more important than loyalty to traditions, the commandments of men, or our local church?
When we are willing to drop all our pre-conceived ideas and ask the Lord for His wisdom and only His wisdom, then we will be on the right path to learning what is truth and what is error. When we become willing to believe what God will teach us, regardless of what anyone says, then we will be on the right path to learning truth.
It is a shameful tragedy that many men will exert such anti-biblical rule and control over the saints of God and brazenly assert that binding your consciences to care for your pastors is in harmony, even the requirement, of our Lord Jesus Christ. What is needful is for God's people to realize that what IS in harmony, and what IS a requirement of our Lord Jesus Christ is to expose and stand in opposition to this outrageous claim by those who "lord it over" those in the church.
The church has become, as Jesus foretold, a field of wheat and tares; a field of genuine believers and counterfeits. These are indeed perilous times we live in. The devil’s favorite place to trap people and bring them into bondage is not your local tavern or drug dealer, nor is it with religions like Hinduism, Islam, etc. No, the devil’s favorite place to render powerless God’s people is a pulpit in a church that advertises itself as a “God glorifying” and “Christ-centered” church.
We need to very carefully examine ourselves and ask where our loyalties rest. Have we believed and practiced something just because our church or pastor said it was biblical and true?
Can't we see how dangerous this is?
“Now the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually examined. But he that is spiritual examines all things, and he himself is examined of no man.” 1 Corinthians 2:14-15
The importance of this verse in arriving at truth and understanding God’s Word cannot be overestimated. As you read this article, hopefully, there will be some of you who will gain a little knowledge and understanding as to how men have corrupted and disfigured the church; turning it into institutional slave camps, which was not founded by Jesus Christ, but by men who love to feed upon and control other human beings.
Remember though, as you read and study, pray for the ability to see and hear the deep truths presented throughout. Without God's Spirit, all the time in the world will not bring one to the knowledge of the Truth. The Spirit of God is not something that I, or any man, can give to you.
The Truth is available, but only in the One who said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life". When you make it your goal to follow Him and His leading first, being determined to believe whatever He will show you, regardless of the cost, or the scorn and ridicule it may bring from others, then and only then can you be sure you are in the true faith.
May you find that true faith and the courage to do what God would have you to do, because doing it will bring you the peace, joy, and freedom that Jesus died to provide.
Last Sunday, as the announcement was made: “Let us continue to worship God in the giving of our tithes and offerings,” (or words to that effect) many of you gave your money away to the church to help support the income of some of your church leaders because you were told that this is what the Scriptures command. Dear friends, you were a victim of extortion. This is the dictionary definition of extortion: Illegal use of one's official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage.
What do the Scriptures say about extortioners? If you believe the Scriptures, then you also believe that anyone who extorts shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:10: “…Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV).
Those church leaders who took your money are extortioners, plain and simple. They have twisted the Scriptures, and then emptied your pockets.
You have probably been extorted like this week in and week out, maybe for decades! Perhaps those questionings in your heart that you’ve always had regarding passing the plate around for your “tithes and offerings” were right! Yes, you were a victim of deception. Deception: to obtain from another by coercion or intimidation.
Incidentally, this weekly exploitation known as “the offering,” used mostly to support the incomes of the professional church leaders, isn’t even authorized in the New Testament, but rather it is plainly condemned. No where in the Scriptures will you find even a hint that “the offering” is to be part of some “church worship service” or that a large part of this money should now go to the “pastor” or “elders” or “teaching elders.”
Christians didn’t even have “church worship services” let alone “church buildings!” The extortioners who engage in this deception are twisting the Scriptures for the purpose of wringing ever-increasing profits from unsuspecting dupes.
As the Apostle Paul said: “…For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and by fair and flattering words, they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded…” (Romans 16:18) RSV
Professor of New Testament at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, Carl B. Hoch, Jr., says:
In New Testament days, leaders were normally not paid. That is, money was given more as a gift than as an income or a salary. Leaders like Paul could receive money, but Paul chose not to receive any from the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9:8-12). He wanted to serve without depending on any church for financial support. Churches had a responsibility to "reward the ox" (1 Timothy 5:17-18) and to share with those who taught (Galatians 6:6). But money was never to be the driving force of ministry (1 Peter 5:2). Unfortunately, churches today will not call a man until they feel they can support him, and some men will not seriously consider a call if the financial package is "inadequate" (All Things New -Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1995- p.240).
Acts 20:33-35 the Apostle Paul says, “….I have desired the silver, or gold, or clothing of no one. But you yourselves know, that these hands ministered to my needs, and to those who were with me. I showed you all things, that working in this way we ought to help those being weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, it is more blessed to give that to receive.” (Inter.Grk/Eng. NT)
Commenting on this passage, the New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce writes:
Returning once more to the example which he had set them, he reminds them finally that those who take care of the people of God must do so without thought of material reward. As Samuel called all Israel to witness when he was about to lay down his office as judge (1 Samuel 12:3), so Paul calls the Ephesian elders to witness that all the time he spent with them he coveted nothing that was not his; on the contrary, he did not even avail himself of his right to be maintained by those whose spiritual welfare he cared, but earned his living--and that of his colleagues--by his own labors: "these hands," he said (inevitably with the attendant gesticulation), "ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me" (v.34). Let those to whom he was speaking likewise labor and thus support not only themselves but others as well--the sick in particular (The New International Commentary on the New Testament: Acts - Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1986 - p.418).
In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, the Apostle Paul says some revealing statements. I will quote it here in its entirety in order that you can see it for yourself.
1 You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure.
2 We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi,
as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell
you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.
3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives,
nor are we trying to trick you.
4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God
to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to
please men but God, who tests our hearts.
5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask
to cover up greed— God is our witness.
6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you
or anyone else.
7 As Apostles of Christ we could have been a BURDEN to you,
but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.
8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share
with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well,
because you had become so dear to us.
9 Surely you remember brothers, our toil and hardship;
we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to
anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous
and blameless we were among you who believed.
11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father
deals with his own children,
12 Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy
of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (NIV)
The Apostle Paul comes right out and says that if the church is paying someone to do the teaching and the preaching, that this is a burden to the church, not a help.
This, of course, runs contrary to what you’ve been told all your life by paid “pastors” and “elders” in the church. They tell you the exact opposite - of how much a church is hurt by not having a hireling like themselves.
They will convince all who will listen of how much they are needed by the church, of how much they help the church, and how essential they are to the well being of the church, and of how all of this is Scriptural and to the glory of God!
The Apostle Paul will say, "these men are a burden, not a benefit, to a church, weighing it down, stunting it’s growth, and making it harder to minister to the people." Or, as someone else has said,
"The pastor is not a necessity. He is a fungus growth
upon the church, the body of Christians, dwarfing its growth...
and until the church gets rid of him it will never prosper."
In verse nine of 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul points out that in addition to working DAYS, he also worked NIGHTS. And he is talking about REAL work - working with his hands building tents.
And as if that wasn’t enough, on top of working nights AND days HE ALSO PREACHED to the Thessalonians- month after month after month. He did all this so that the church there wouldn’t have to pay a cent as he ministered the word.
Now, contrast THAT behavior with the modern church today – with the “teaching elder” or “the pastor” with their nice hair cuts, and nice business suits. Even if he wanted to, there are some pastors that are not allowed to mow their own lawn! Too "degrading". Too "blue-collar". And too "humble".
From the book entitled, “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse,” in Chapter 11, the authors convey the folly of the “pastor” always trying to maintain his image:
“But, [the false leaders] do all their deeds to be noticed by men…” Matthew 23:5-6
"Your wife and children must address you in public as ‘pastor.’ This would serve to communicate reverence and respect for your position, which would be helpful in maintaining the proper image. Sitting on the platform appropriately is vital. Wear the right socks, never cross your legs in such a way as to show the people the soles of your shoes….
More advice: You’re working on your car on your day off, and you discover that a trip to the parts store is necessary. Always change your clothes before you go out in public. Never let the people see you in a context other than pastoral dignity. Image is everything.
And the voice: When you ascend the platform, remember – you are the voice of God. Sound like it! So we open our mouth and it sounds like we’re playing a part, an actor on a stage. Material for stand-up comics…..
Can you picture Jesus giving this kind of “training” to the disciples? ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, how you look is what really matters. Create thou a good impression. Forget what I said earlier to you concerning having only one coat. Bringest thou two in case thou mayest be seen in public by those who payeth their tithes in great measure. And never, never let them smell the fish!”
"Do we really believe that how we sit on the platform has the power to discredit the message and short-circuit the power of God?” (“The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”, Chap. 11 pg. 131-132)
You know what would be nice to see?
One day, it would be so nice to see a dirty, sweaty, smelly, haggard Apostle Paul walk into the “Sunday worship service” and go up to one of these self-righteous, smug, over-paid, egotistical pulpit-pounders engaging the audience in their “public performance”, and "publicly" expose them for who they are.
Also, notice this: The Apostle Paul does not equate "working" with preaching the gospel.
Did you get that? The Apostle Paul does not equate working with preaching the gospel.
The two activities are clearly and distinctly separate in Paul’s mind. You know what this does? This pulls the rug out from under those pompous windbags who are always telling you that their preaching is work. Not only that, but that its “hard work!” “Why”, they say, “it’s one of the hardest working jobs that anybody can have!”, and so he is therefore entitled to be paid for his “working”.
In 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-15, the Apostle Paul says the same thing, except with even more emphasis.
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in
accord with the tradition that you received from us.
For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle
when we were with you, we did not eat any one's bread without paying,
but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not BURDEN
any of you.
It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our CONDUCT
an EXAMPLE TO IMITATE.
For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one
will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in
idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.
Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ
to do their WORK in quietness and to earn their OWN living.
Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.
If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man,
and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look
on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (RSV)
Again, the key word here is "burden".
The Apostle Paul has clearly labeled the “paid pastors” or the “teaching elders”, in other words, the paid professional clergy, not a benefit, but rather a burden; not a help, but rather a hindrance.
Imagine 25 pound weights tied to your legs in a race. That’s a paid “pastor” to a church. Whatever you think the benefit that might arise from having him minister the word to your church every Sunday is,
according to the Apostle Paul, far outweighed by the BURDEN HE PLACES UPON THE CHURCH by doing so.
This is what the Scriptures say; not what I’ve said.
Once again, Paul hits the nail right on the head. In this section, he condemns their acting like "busybodies." They think that it’s their job to busy themselves sticking their noses into the business of others. And why not. Aren't they always propping themselves up with the false notion that they are “God’s duly-authorized overseers?”
They act like self-appointed "moral police", busying themselves with the private affairs of others. The root definition of "busybodies" sheds even more light on this:
“To bustle about uselessly, to busy one’s self about trifling, needless, useless matters. Used apparently of a person OFFICIOUSLY inquisitive about others’ affairs.” (Thayer’s Dictionary)
Remember, the Apostle Paul worked not just one, but TWO jobs, while on top of that continuing to teach and preach, never once complaining or taking even a nickel from them for this.
In light of this, I tend to laugh at some church leaders publicly complaining they don’t have enough time for this or money for that. Let them try to get some sympathy from the Apostle Paul! Paul suffered all these troubles for just one purpose and one purpose only: to leave an example to imitate.
He even clearly labels it: " but to give you in our CONDUCT an EXAMPLE TO IMITATE."
Paul goes out of his way to make it clear that there are NO exceptions to this rule; that it applies to "anyone" which certainly means all pastor’s and elders as well. But what do modern church leaders do today in response to that?
Not one rotten thing! They totally ignore applying Paul’s example to themselves. Why?
Because they have a vested interest in NOT applying it to themselves. As one noted author has said,
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something
when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
So they will look at clear passages like this, and pretend to not understand how it could possible apply to them. They make themselves completely blind to this whole section of the New Testament, as if it doesn’t exist.
And if they do happen to speak on these texts, they are very careful to apply it to the people sitting in the pews and not to themselves. Many times, I have actually witnessed this from a pew, listening to the pastor dance around this section, careful to avoid any areas that might expose himself. Such verbal tap dancing seems to be a skill of both the professional clergy and politicians.
The “pastor” will shout loudly and thunder loudly and point to Paul’s right to be supported, while ignoring Paul’s example of not being supported. They play "pick n’ choose" with the Scriptures, speaking on what they like, ignoring what they don’t like.
Of course, those in positions of church leadership are going to say that none of this applies to them. That’s a given. They are special. It applies to you – dumbbells in the pew - not to him. Remember - he’s special. He’s been “duly authorized”. He’s “met the qualifications.”
Well, the Apostle Paul would disagree. Paul says that this applies to EVERYBODY: "if anyone will not work, neither let him eat." I think "anyone" would include "everyone" which includes your lazy, special, duly authorized church leader as well.
In fact, Paul himself was a teacher and preacher - and PAUL WORKED- real jobs, at that.
Again, This passage proves that Paul did NOT equate preaching with working. And since this applied to Paul, and Paul was a preacher, then it certainly applies to YOUR preacher as well - even more so. They are to work REAL jobs to support themselves, do their preaching for free, and not take even a nickel from the churches they preach at. As Paul says, "if anyone does not obey our instructions in this letter… do not associate with him." (v. 14). That "anyone" includes "everyone" which includes the “pastor.”
Has the so-called "ministry" earned a reputation for honest labor, lack of idleness? Paul rightfully refused to equate preaching with working. Those who minister the word in churches today should find honest, honorable employment- i.e. a real job, and not be free-loading off of a church, for which they have no right to do so anyway. Paul not only commanded this of Christians, but even set examples several times, to back up his words with deeds.
It is high time that some in church leadership start following Paul’s specific examples of working a real job, while teaching and preaching on the side. Don’t hold your breath though.
New Testament professor Simon J. Kistemaker at Reformed Theological Seminary said:
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).
Don’t we believe that the gospel is God’s free gift? How do you think the Lord sees the events of today where we have the paid professionals; the “pastors,” the “teaching elders” turning around and selling the gift so freely given them - a gift that cost the life of God’s Son to acquire? Some of these “church leaders” have taken what was freely given them, slapped a price tag on it, and sell it week after week…….. for a pay check!
The Apostle Peter condemned one who tried to buy it (Acts 8:18-24); how much more those who sell it week after week!
Of course, there might be some die-hard “men worshipers” who are reading this and thinking to themselves "Oh no! Not our “pastor.”
Our “pastor” isn’t in it for the money!
Our “pastor” is so humble; he’s so godly; he just looooves the Lord!"
Let’s try this experiment: stop paying him. That’s right. Stop paying your “pastor.”
See how long he remains being unpaid like the Apostle Paul!!
See how much he "looooooves the Lord" when he isn’t getting paid to "love the Lord!"
Tell him he can still minister the word week after week, but also, he will have to get a real job like the Apostle Paul did.
I guarantee you, him, along with 99% of all other so-called “pastors” will be out of there, searching for a new pulpit to fill. "Looooves the Lord?" Yeah, right. It’s that weekly paycheck that he loves, and if the church won't pay him, he’ll pack his bags and sell himself off to some other church that will! Guaranteed !!!
Rest assured, most of the so-called “men in the ministry” today live according to this principle:
"NO PAY, NO PLAY."
1 Timothy 6:5-10
"......and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, IMAGINING THAT GODLINESS IS A MEANS OF GAIN. There is great gain in godliness with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs..." (RSV)
The Apostle Paul, once again in plain language, condemns those who have turned “the ministry of the word” into a full-time paid job.
He condemns those that have made a living out of it. He condemns those that have turned the gospel into "a means of GAIN". In short, he condemns EVERY SINGLE PAID PREACHER THAT EXISTS TODAY.
Why haven’t you heard this before? Why hasn’t this teaching of the Apostle Paul been “broadcast” widely and proclaimed from pulpits across this land? Why is it that the “church leadership” has consistently avoided teaching and preaching on verses like these?
Well, to even ask such questions is to answer such questions. The reason why the “leadership” keeps quiet on this issue is because they themselves are the target of Paul’s wrath.
They are the ones guilty of having turned “the ministry of the word,” i.e. preaching, into a full-time job.
For them to preach this from their pulpits would be the end of their livelihood.
They have been forced to choose between God, and mammon – and guess what? They’ve chosen mammon. They have been faced with the choice of picking what they love more - their salaries, or the truth; and truth has lost out.
The very people who are in the best position to inform their congregations of the truth of this matter, turn out to be the same people who have a “vested interest” in keeping quiet.
Indeed, the wolves have been placed in charge of the hen house, and are doing their best to keep the hens ignorant of the slaughter of truth going on.
There are many, many in “church leadership” today that have turned religion into a "means of gain".
Remember. A “pastor” is a professional religionist - one who gets paid to teach; to preach; to minister the word. And, as we’ve seen, is clearly and distinctly condemned by Paul.
Anybody who can read the verses of Scripture above, and go away with any other conclusion is either:
#1) a lazy Christian who refuses to think for themselves or
#2) a “pastor/elder” with a vested interest to protect.
It’s just like the tobacco lawyers from a few years back - trying to blind others to the dangers of cigarettes;
so also these church leaders have blinded their congregations to verses like the above. The day they start to deal honestly with verses like the above, will be the day they quit their jobs.
So again, don’t hold your breath here either.
2 Corinthians 2:17
For we are not like so many, peddlers of God's word; but as men of sincerity,
as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (RSV)
For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity,
but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. (NASB)
For we are not as the many, hawking the word of God… (Grk/Eng. NT)
For we are not as the majority.... (CLT)
ANY church leader, pastor, elder, preacher, - regardless of how popular he is, how handsome he is, of how good an orator he is, and regardless of "how many decades" he has been in the ministry,- ANY preacher that makes his living from a church is nothing but a crook.
And be not deceived, there ARE many that have been at it for decades!
Nothing could be more obvious as the Apostle Paul himself condemning those who "make a living" out of preaching the gospel. And was that the majority, or minority of preachers, who are, contrary to plain Bible teaching, making their living from peddling the gospel?
The Apostle Paul said that it was the MAJORITY. And guess what? It’s the same in our day too!
99% of all the professional clergymen have managed to turn their religion into their livelihood, in clear and direct violation of this verse. Yet these same people have the audacity to stand in their pulpits and condemn others for ignoring the same book they themselves ignore.
Is the word “hypocrites” appropriate here?
And the gutless and spineless church members in the pews keep putting up with it, gladly submitting to being sheared of their money!
“For there are indeed many unruly men, empty talkers and mind-deluders,
especially those of the circumcision, whose mouth you must stop, who
overturn whole houses, teaching things which they ought not for the sake of ill gain.
One of them, a prophet of their own said: Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." (Grk/Eng. NT)
For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially
those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting
whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain.
One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." (NASB)
We should note that it was the "gain” (“sordid gain,” “ill gain”) these men were making, that is, the profit, the fact that they were profiting off the death of Jesus, and not the money itself, nor the teaching, which was “sordid” or “ill.” Their teaching was of course "something that should not be taught," but the money was just common everyday money. It is the profiting off the death of Christ that is being objected to. Even if they were teaching things that were 100% true, they would still be in the wrong for "doing a Judas", i.e. profiting off the death of Jesus.
Notice that Paul also calls these men "lazy gluttons". Maybe the fact that they were "lazy gluttons" has a lot to do with the profession they picked. There are many “ministers” around, contrary to their constant objections, that are in reality some of the laziest people out there. It is certainly the “dream-job” for a "lazy glutton" to have.
Another occupational trait Paul brings up is the fact that many “paid professional ministers” are full of hot air. They can just go on and on “spinning a yarn”. It does seem to make sense that an empty talker; a deceiver; a mind-deluder could really profit in this profession.
1 Thessalonians 4: 11,12
"...to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands,
as we charged you so that you may command the respect of outsiders,
and be dependent on nobody."
1 Corinthians 4:11-12
"...To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad
and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands."
Acts 28:30, 31
"...And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed
all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about
the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered."
2 Corinthians 11:6-15
"...Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not in knowledge; in every way
we have made this plain to you in all things.
Did I commit a sin in abasing myself so that you might be exalted,
because I preached God's gospel without cost to you?
I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.
And when I was with you and was in want, I did not burden any one,
for my needs were supplied by the brethren who came from Macedonia.
So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced
in the regions of Achaia. And why? Because I do not love you?
God knows I do! And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine
the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission
they work on the same terms as we do.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising
themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan
disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants
also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness."
Here, the Apostle Paul implies that it is mostly the "ministers of Satan" who are getting paid to preach the gospel.
Paul also is explaining to the Corinthians the reason as to why he refused to accept any money from them for preaching. Remember, this was so disconcerting to the Corinthians that they thought the Apostle Paul was a phony!
“Ministering the word for free?” Even they were scratching their heads. Some of the Corinthians were reasoning that the Apostle Paul must not be a real Apostle, or at least not on the same level as the other Apostles.
Paul explains the reason he refused their money (not to be a burden to them), and also says he’ll continue to refuse their money, more or less daring their (false) Apostles (the "ministers of Satan") to follow suit.
He knows they won’t - just like the professional paid pastors today also won’t. They will all refuse to "put their money where their mouth is" and instead will continue to pocket money that doesn’t belong to them.
2 Corinthians 12:12-18
"...The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience,
with signs and wonders and mighty works. For in what were you less favored
than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you?
Forgive me this wrong!
Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden,
FOR I SEEK NOT WHAT IS YOURS BUT YOU; for children ought not to lay
up for their parents, but parents for their children.
I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you the more,
am I to be loved the less? But granting that I myself did not burden you,
I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by guile. Did I take advantage
of you through any of those whom I sent to you? I urged Titus to go, and sent
the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the
same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?"
Here again, Paul is explaining his actions to the Corinthians. He also lays down a principle that destroys the modern day paid professional clergy system.
The Apostle Paul says that he does not seek what is theirs (i.e. their money), but rather seeks them. He then backs it up with an analogy, showing that if anyone is to be paid, the people in charge of a congregation ought to be paying the congregation!
Children, he says, are not the ones who are to "save up" for the parents. Let’s see some pastor’s in the pulpit try that shoe on for a change!
The truth of the matter is that today’s “pastors”, “elders”, “preachers” fear to tread the path laid down by the Apostle Paul. They say (with words) they will pay any price for Jesus, but with their deeds, they do the opposite. In fact, they won't even get a job for Jesus!
Galatians 6:6 "Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches."
This is another Scripture that the word twisters get a kick out of. Here they claim the word "share" means to pay a salary, a fixed compensation paid regularly for services rendered. How about that?
R.C.H. Lenski writes:
"This is just about the opposite of the common view (salaried teachers). In addition to the context and the meaning of the words themselves one must note that when Paul writes about the one instructing, the Galatians would at once think of their first and greatest instructor together with his assistant who had twice been in their midst. Could Paul tell the Galatians in this letter that they owed material contributions to him and to his helpers? Could he do such a thing with no further word of explanation? Paul never took money for his work. When he speaks of this subject in 1 Corinthians 9 he does so with the fullest and clearest explanation. See the same thought in 2 Corinthians 11:7-12, which should be read in its connection with 1 Corinthians 9. We ought also not to forget the Judaizers who also came as teachers, on whose greediness 2 Corinthians 11:20 enlightens us. When such greedy fellows were working in Galatia, Paul could scarcely write the Galatians to share "in all things" (material) with their teachers. Aside from the implication involving himself, such an admonition would reflect on the true teachers in Galatia and suggest that they were also men who were to be paid... Pay for these teachers? There is no reason for mentioning it in this epistle. The efforts to have what Paul now says support the idea that teachers are to be duly rewarded show that this conception is untenable. Paul and his assistants took no such reward. Sowing for the flesh and sowing for the spirit deal with a subject that is far greater, namely with the desire for all good spiritual things in which the Galatians should seek to share" (Commentary on Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians - Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961 - pp. 303-304).
2 Timothy 2:6 “It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.”
The Apostle Paul is not talking about "paying your pastor" but of eternal life. Read the context!
1 Timothy 5:16-18
"...If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her assist them;
let the church not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are real widows.
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor,
especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; for the scripture says,
"You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain," and, "
The laborer deserves his wages."
From the context, you will notice that the main emphasis of the Apostle Paul here is to not burden the church down with unnecessary financial obligations.
With such an emphasis, it is surprising that some “church leaders” (like the one quoted at the beginning of this article) point to this verse as a "proof text" to justify themselves bumming off the church. This only shows their utter desperation and blindness. They’ve totally missed the point of the passage!
In fact, Paul is being so fussy with even poor old destitute widows being supported by the church, it would be strange in the same breath for Paul to be opening the flood-gates wide enough for able-bodied “church leaders” as well. And, in case the clergy hasn’t noticed, Paul isn’t even talking about them here - they are not even under discussion. Paul is talking about widows, and elders. He is not talking about anyone else.
Some Greek lexicons define "honor", in this passage alone, as meaning money. What would you expect? The “hired professionals” who wrote the lexicons, as we all know, have a vested interest in preserving their jobs.
But there is no excuse for their inconsistent translation of the word honor in other passages.
If "honor" really means money, as they claim, let’s be consistent and "translate" it as such in the other passages where it’s used, to show these men that "honor" means "honor", and not money. You will see that these verses, using their logic, make no sense at all. Likewise, neither does rendering "honor" into money, in 1 Timothy 5:17.
Romans 2:10 "(honor) money, and peace, to every man..."
Romans 13:7 "...fear to whom fear; (honor) money to whom (honor) money..."
Mark 7:6 "This people (honors) monies me with their lips..."
Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage is (honorable) moneyable in all, and the bed undefiled..."
The Scriptures say that elders should, when deserving, be honored twice as much. But certain theologians say that "honor" means "honor" in all passages EXCEPT in 1TImothy 5:17, where the word magically turns into money, which ends up in their pockets.
Which do you believe?
And, in reality, what do the “pastors and preachers” really believe about this verse? If they really believed that “elders” should be getting paid, then “elders” would be getting paid. Do they get paid? Many “elders” that I know don’t. Therefore, by their actions, by their refusing to pay the church elders, “pastors and preachers” agree with me on this verse. Their actions speak louder than their words - as usual.
Again, here’s Lenski’s comments on this matter:
"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).
Atkerson and Svendsen write:
"The word "honor" in this verse 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: A Theological Workbook – Revised - Atlanta, GA: New Testament Restoration Foundation, 1995 - p.42).
Russell Kelly writes:
Verses 17 and 18 have been quoted by many commentaries as texts in God’s Word that discuss pay for gospel ministers. However, this author strongly disagrees with such conclusion for the following reasons:
(1)…..The context of "double honor" in 5:17 is that of rebuking wrongdoers in the church, and not "salary." Verses 1-16 and 19-20 are clearly discussions of discipline. Immediate context must be the primary determining factor…..
(2) If "wages," or "salary," were the intended meaning for "honor" in verse 17, then the inspired writer would have certainly used a better word than "honor," timees…..
(3) The Greek word for "honor," as used in verse 17 and in the rest of the New Testament, does NOT mean "salary" or "wage." As just mentioned, the noun in 5:17 is timees (Strong’s 5092). It occurs 38 times in the KJV New Testament: 28 times as "honor," 8 times as "price," once as "sum," and once as "precious," but NEVER as "wage."
When used as "price," it does not mean "wage" or "salary," but "value."
Timees is the "price of blood" (Matt. 21:6, 9), the "prices of things sold" (Acts 4:34), the "price of land" (Acts 5:2-3), the "price of Sarah’s sepulcher" (Acts 7:16), and the "price of books" (Acts 19:19). Redeemed believers are "bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23). In NONE of the occurrences is timees "pay" for work performed. Timees is the "price," "worth," or "value" of a person or thing bought or sold.
The verb form of "honor" (Strong’s 5091) occurs 21 times in the New Testament. With the lone exception of Matthew 27:9, when Judas received the "price" (noun) of Jesus according to the way Israel "valued" (verb), the word merely means "honor" or "respect." Of the 59 total occurrences of this word in the KJV New Testament, it is never translated as "wage" or "salary." Therefore, it is inaccurate to teach that it must be interpreted as "salary" or "wage" in First Timothy 5:17.
(4) ….Concerning the immediate context, the Greek word for "honor" is not used elsewhere in Timothy to mean "pay" or "wage." Timothy’s Greek name is a combination of "honor" and "God." God and Paul saw Timothy as very honorable and valuable to God. In his pastoral letter to Timothy, Paul used the noun, timees, four (4) times. "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever" (1:17). "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed" (6:1). "Who only has immortality dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting" (6:16). The verb form is used once in 5:3, "Honor widows."
(5)….. if the writer of First Timothy had wanted to clearly express the meaning of "wage," or "salary," there are much better words he could have used. The Greek word for "labor" in 5:17 is the verb kopiao (Strong’s 2872) but it does not implicitly mean "labor for a living." The word merely means "grow tired, become weary." Ergazomai (Strong’s 2038, 2039, 2040) is the common verb for "work to acquire" and occurs 41 times in the New Testament. Without a modifier, such as "hired," even its noun form for laborer, ergates, does not necessarily mean one who is paid. Again, misthos (Strong’s 3408) is the more common word for "reward, wages, hire" and would have been the preferable word to use in 5:17, if "salary" were intended.
(6) Why would Paul tell the church to give Timothy a double salary when he himself refused any at all (1 Cor. 9:12, 15; Acts 20:33-35)? Was not his companion, Timothy, included in the injunction, "I have shown you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)?
(7) Why were the two examples of 5:18 given? We must remember that the context in Timothy relates to discipline, while the context of First Corinthians 9 relates to being worthy of the honor of receiving some sustenance (which he refused). In 5:18 the ox is being honored while it is treading the grain. The emphasis here is on the fact THAT it is being honored, and not HOW! The quotes are included to remind the church of the HONOR of the elder about to be disciplined.
Also, although Paul concluded in First Corinthians 9:12 and 9:15 that he and others had certain legitimate "rights" of compensation for their work in the ministry, he did not say that he meant double salaries for all. That would have been the very last thing Paul would have said about wages! Remember that, although in Second Corinthians 11:8 Paul admitted to receiving "wages" (opsonion; Strong’s 3800), this Greek word merely means "a soldier’s ration," or daily bare necessities of life, while continuing his trade as a tentmaker.
The real emphasis of 5:18 is on the "double worthiness" of the ox. While it was normally unmuzzled while not working; it was double-worthy of not being muzzled while working. Thus the ox "plowed in hope" that its needs would be met. If Paul had wanted to teach tithing at this point, he would have quoted Numbers 18:20-26 and compared Christian workers to the Levitical system instead of referring to a grinding ox.
(8) "The laborer (ergatees) is worthy (axios) of his reward (misthos)," again, in its context, refers to double honor, and not double pay. Think this through. Why would a discussion of honorable discipline (vv. 1-16 and 19-20) be interrupted by a reminder of how much salary a minister should get (vv. 17-18)? Such an idea is absurd! It is true that, even the word "wage" is not the only definition which can be assigned to misthos in verse 18 (Strong’s 3048)! Of the 29 occurrences, only 5 could possibly be "wages," or "salary," while the remainder simply mean "reward." In fact, Paul used misthos twice in First Cor. 9:17-18 as "reward" in his refusal of a wage! Misthos is the believer’s "reward" in heaven and the "reward" which Christ brings with him.
In the context of First Timothy 5:17-18, the ministering elder’s "reward" is the "double-honor," or double-cautious discipline due him! The minister is first worthy of single honor while being disciplined because he is a elder Christian, and he is worthy of double honor while being disciplined because he is a laborer in the church.
(9) If Paul had meant "double-pay" in First Timothy 5:17, then why did he quote references to paupers who owned or accumulated nothing? How can one refer to penniless paupers to prove that one should receive double salary?
(10) 1 Tim. 6:1 "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine will not be blasphemed." If "worthy of double honor" in 5:17 means "worthy of double pay," then what does "worthy of all honor" mean only nine verses later in 6:1? Certainly Paul is not saying that a Christian slave should give his master ALL the money he accumulates! Thus the context and word usage in First Timothy does not support the translation of "double pay."
(11) 1 Tim. 6:5 ". . . [those who are] destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness--from such withdraw yourself." Timothy is told to "withdraw" from those who think that religion, or godliness, is a means of gaining wealth (6:3-5). This is a strange command to follow-up "worthy of double salary" with!
(12) 1 Tim. 6:6 -8 "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content." Paul told ministers to be content with bare necessities. This also is inconsistent with the "double pay" interpretation of 5:17. Their "great gain" is not double salary, but "godliness which brings contentment."
(13) 1 Tim. 6:9-11 "But they that want to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money [covetousness] is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." Paul warned Timothy against accumulating wealth. Yet today many ministers of wealthy churches are themselves very wealthy.
(14) 1 Tim. 6:12, 14 "Fight the good fight of faith . . . That you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ." Paul encouraged Timothy to "fight the good fight of faith" and be "un-rebuke-able". From the context, this "fighting" at least includes the warning, "don’t get caught up in money matters and a desire for wealth." Unfortunately, all too often, ministers need to be rebuked about money matters.
(15) Tithing (ed. ‘or caring for your pastor’) is not even implied in these passages. The author did not tell the church that the pastor is due full-time support through tithing. As in First Corinthians 9:14, another "golden opportunity" to teach tithing has been totally ignored.
In conclusion, Paul would not expect his best pupil, Timothy, to follow lower standards than himself. As a Pharisee, lawyer, and teacher of the law, Paul had been taught to refuse payment to instruct others in the honored Mosaic Law. Yet teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ was a much greater honor than that of teaching the law. Since Timothy accompanied Paul from a very young age, it is very likely that Paul became a surrogate father to Timothy and taught him the highly-important trade of tent-making.
First Timothy 5:17and 18 do not teach that a minister should receive double salary for his services. Since Timothy was among "them that were with me" in Acts 20:31-35, he witnessed firsthand how Paul worked night and day for three years at tent-making while not asking the church at Ephesus for money or food. Paul concluded his farewell sermon by telling his co-workers, including Timothy, to follow his example and work in order to help the needy in the church (Acts 20:35).
It is impossible to conclude that Paul is now asking the church to pay Timothy a double salary! Claiming that Paul wanted Timothy and church leaders to receive "double-salary" contradicts his convictions about preaching the gospel. In First Corinthians 9:12 he refused a "right" to receive compensation "unless we should hinder the gospel of Christ." In 9:15 he stated that, not only had he not accepted support, he did not intend to start accepting it; as a matter of fact, he would "rather die" than have anybody deny him of boasting that he preached for free. Why would Paul expect Timothy to do otherwise, and not follow his own example? (http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id35.html)
This should be enough to clear up the false teachings of people like Albert N. Martin (and many, many more like him) who is quoted at the beginning of this article concerning 1st Timothy 5:17-19. So-called "ministers of the gospel," who have probably never really worked a day in their lives; who have bummed off the church for decades, siphoning money week after week from unsuspecting sheep for nothing else but to gain their own ends, are being exposed for what and who they truly are and will continue to be exposed.
“But Peter said, (to the beggar) "I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."
This is an amazing verse. Here we have the Apostle Peter - a leader of the church in Jerusalem. By the time Peter was confronted by this beggar, the church had grown to over 3000 members (Acts 2:41).
It would be very unlikely for a modern day “pastor/preacher” of such a large congregation to have no money, to be flat broke. Yet this is one of the things that separates the “pastors”, “elders”, “preachers”, in other words, the “professional ministry” of today from their forefathers.
A pastor of such a church in our day would certainly have a pocket full of money.
He would also probably have a new car, possibly a nice pension plan, health insurance, a nice mortgage-free house in a nice neighborhood - where such beggars as Peter ran into are not even allowed.
The Apostle was flat broke because he was not siphoning off church money into his own pockets.
The church supported those that were truly in need (Acts 4:35, 6:1), and not those who put themselves in need by refusing to get a real job, such as a “pastor.”
"...The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and THE POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM." (KJV)
When it lists these miracles, did you notice what was saved for last?
It appears that the greatest miracle of all these miracles is that the poor will have the gospel preached to them! “This even out-ranks resurrections!”
Incidentally, the poor that are mentioned here are not the American poor; you know, the "poor" that have a house, a car, indoor plumbing, electricity, TV, heat. No, we are talking 1st century poor - no house, no food, no welfare, and zero money. Starvation is a daily possibility. And the miracle in that someone would preach the gospel to these people is the realization that someone would minister the word for free, with no chance whatsoever of making any money out of it!
Even in our day, someone preaching without getting paid is such a rarity as to count as a true miracle.
Even the most pathetic of churches seem to always burden themselves with a full-time “pastor/elder,” regardless of the financial load it places upon the church. Oh no, can’t live without that! We can’t have “the pastor” go out and get a real job like the "laity" of his church!
He can’t stoop to their level - or to the level of the Apostle Paul, who supported himself with a real job.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (RSV)
“Be on your guard against false religious teachers, who come to you dressed up as sheep but are really greedy wolves."
“But beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inside they are plundering wolves.” (Grk/Eng. NT)
Note the terms throughout the Scriptures: “ravenous wolves”, “greedy wolves”, “plundering wolves”, “burdensome wolves.” Do you see a common theme here?
Jesus and Paul both warn against a professional clergy.
Note that Jesus compared these false teachers - as did the Apostle Paul - to wolves. He did this because wolves, like the clergy, make their living by feeding off flocks of sheep - except the wolf has more honor than to hide its true mission under a religious cloak.
"...These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the
Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers,
cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.
Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey,
nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food."
Jesus commanded His disciples not to sell what they had gotten for free.
"Freely you received, freely give." Yet in direct violation of this, many a “clergyman” today have made a full-time business of selling the gospel message.
For "x" amount of gold or silver every week, your church can buy a clergyman who will sell you what Jesus gave freely.
This is such a blatant hijacking of Jesus’ intent, Christian’s should be out rioting in the streets - yet nothing happens. They continue to get sheared at every opportunity.
In some translations, the word “support” is used in verse 10. The word translated "support" means (just as in the verse quoted above) in the Greek, "food, nourishment.”
But somehow, just like in other instances,
these words magically turn into meaning “money” for some reason.
The same word in the Greek is used in Acts 2:46; 9:19; 14:17; 27:33,34,36,38.
All it means is food. Nothing more, nothing less. Not money, houses, medical care, late model cars, retirement funds, etc.
You might get fat from such support, but you’d never get rich. In fact, remember what Peter said? He said that he had no money at all (Acts 3:6).
Most probably, the Apostles in the early church, when being supported by the church (i.e. food, and a place to sleep), received their food the same way the widows did. (Acts 6:1)
2 Peter 2:1-3
“….And by covetousness, with well turned words, they will use you for gain, for whom judgment of old does not linger, and their destruction does not slumber…” (Grk/Eng NT)
2 Peter 2:14,15
“…They have hearts trained in greed; accursed children. Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam…" (RSV)
“…For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain..." (NRSV)
“….He said to them, "It is written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a robbers den."
2 Corinthians 11:20
“…For you bear it if a man makes slaves of you, or preys upon you, or devours your substance, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face...”
“…..The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough...
The shepherds also have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way,
each to his own gain, one and all.”
"For from the least to the greatest of them, every one is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, every one deals falsely."
Ezekiel 34:1- 4
"...Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?
You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep.
The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the crippled you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them."
“…The heads give judgment for a reward, its priests teach for hire, its prophets divine for money;
yet they lean upon the LORD and say, "Is not the LORD in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us."
(Jethro's advice to Moses) "...And you, you shall look out men of ability out of all the people, who fear God, men of truth, haters of unjust gain....."
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or ANYTHING that belongs to your neighbor.”
Does your “pastor/elder” or “church leader” covet, i.e. desire to have for his own, your money?
What about your “tithes and offerings?” Does your “pastor/elder” or “church leader” covet (desire) these? Does he try to make you believe that your love for God and His “church” is measured in the dollars and cents you give to your pastor and/or church? The Apostle Paul, unlike the preachers of today, did not desire your money—Acts 20:33.
Some have asked about the passage in 1 Corinthians Chapter 9.
“....Doesn’t this support the idea of pastoral support or paying your minister?....”
If you read the passage very carefully, ABSOLUTELY NOT !! 1st Corinthians Chapter 9 does not contradict the Apostle Paul’s example of "not being a burden" ( 1 Thess. 2); of not desiring silver or gold (Acts 20); of working days and nights at real jobs (1 Thess.2; 2 Thess. 3); warnings of peddling the Word of God; signs of unruly, rebellious men; Peter’s example; the true meaning of 1 Tim. 5 and Gal. 6; Jesus’ warnings and practices and policies; etc., etc., etc.
Many people read the scriptures (1 Corinthians 9 for example) with their already pre-conceived notions already imbedded in their hearts and minds……. pre-conceived notions that are very, very difficult to break, apart from the help of Gods’ Spirit.
The typical notion to 1 Corinthians 9 goes something like this:
“…So if a congregation wants to pay a pastor a salary, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. They have the right to do so….” “….a common sense rule would be to support the pastor in a comparable way and to a comparable degree experienced by the rest of the congregation….”
“….Whether or not this means a salary is besides the point…”
WHAT! THIS IS THE POINT!!!!!
This individual is expressing a feeling that is all too common in the rank and file of the church. That is:
"S-U-P-P-O-R-T” equals M-O-N-E-Y.
IT DOES NOT!!!!
He is expressing the common feeling that it’s ok to pay your preacher or pastor, but don’t pay him too much.... (“…pay him in a comparable way to the rest of the congregation…”)
Do you know what this sounds like? It sounds like this: It's ok for someone to extort his neighbor out of $50.00, but not $50,000.
Which reminds me of the old story which perhaps many of you have already heard of: This one fellow was at a dinner party. He turned to the woman next to him and discussed prostitution. He asked her if she would go to bed with him for a million dollars, and she said of course. He then asked if she would do it for $5. She got ticked-off and said "What do you think I am!!!" To which he replied, "We've already established WHAT you are. Now we're just quibbling over the price."
WHAT a pastor or preacher is who gets paid for preaching is a spiritual whore. YOU are just quibbling over the price.
A PAID PASTOR OR PREACHER IS WRONG. PERIOD!
Personal thoughts and feelings do NOT have much weight. Maybe if the pastor/preacher had a J-O-B like everyone else, then he'd HAVE some income!
The Apostle Paul was very specific about leaving an example that preachers should work secular jobs to support themselves, and that ANY one in the church that REFUSED to work a secular job should be left to starve to death:
"…if ANY will not work, neither let him eat…"
The Apostle is at times VERY specific about this, to the point of being condescending, but perhaps for some, not "condescending" enough.
Most people that I know when they quote 1 Corinthians Chapter 9 leave off verses 1 & 2 as well as verses 15-18.
Verse 1: Am I not an A-P-O-S-T-L-E? Am I not free? Have I not seen our Lord Jesus Christ? Are you not my work in the Lord?
Verse 2: If I am not an A-P-O-S-T-L-E to others, yet am I indeed to you; for you are the seal of my A-P-O-S-T-L-E-S-H-I-P in the Lord.
The Apostles were a very unique group of people. Read the article, “Authority in Church Government.”
Yes, the Apostles were unique. At that time, everyone knew that; even up to “the early church” years. The church at Corinth wasn’t sure of Paul’s “qualifications.” The Apostle Paul had a hard time convincing the Corinthian church that he was enough of an Apostle to be worthy of the right of Apostolic support, even though he had no intention at all of using that said “right.”
So why the concern of proving his right to Apostolic support? Because if Paul could prove his “right” to support, he also proves at the same time his Apostleship. This is the only way this chapter makes any sense and once understood, it becomes very clear at what the Apostle Paul is trying to do.
Some of the people at Corinth thought Paul was NOT accepting support because there was something “wrong” with Paul’s Apostleship. Paul defends himself by showing that he is just as qualified to these rights as the rest of the Apostles (proving his Apostleship) but decided not to make use of his said rights.
Paul is defending his Apostleship. The Lord Himself has commissioned, directed, and sent out the Apostles – who are all dead now.
So-called pastors and preachers today have NO BUSINESS turning preaching into a livelihood and business. That’s how verse 14 makes sense too: “So also the Lord directed those preaching the gospel to live from the gospel.”
The Lord directed for the support of the “preachers” which HE sent out.
(And remember, the support was NOT MONEY, but food, drink, and a place to stay). Matthew 10 has the account.
And again, remember, in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul is making a defense of his “Apostleship” not his “preachership.”
This whole context shows that it takes more than just being a so-called “pastor” or even a “preacher” in order to qualify for “support.” (And remember the support – not money, but food, drink, and a roof). You must be a preacher sent by God Himself,… an Apostle.
Notice also verses 15 – 18; verses that are most often left out when quoting this passage:
V15: “But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things that it may 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.
V16: “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.
V17: For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
V18: 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.
The “reward” Paul talks about is to offer the gospel free of charge.
Paul’s reward was not MONEY. In fact, Paul makes it clear that he would rather die than take money from them for preaching. So-called pastors and preachers are always avoiding this fact in their desire to find anything to justify their paychecks. To claim as they do, that the only requirement to get paid is to be a pastor and preach, is to make total nonsense out of this entire chapter.
That’s why as I said earlier, this chapter makes no sense at all if one fails to see that the Apostle Paul did not want to be a burden to the church, which shows that he was proving his “right” to support in order to prove his Apostleship to the Corinthians, and NOT in order to get their MONEY.
Well, we come around full circle to where we began. We asked the question, "Should pastor's be 'cared for'?" And to answer that question, we took a Scriptural look at another unbiblical cherished doctrine of man. We quoted one pastor's interpretation of
1 Timothy 5:17:
“…..In other words Timothy, you are to bind the consciences
of God’s people to care for their pastor’s…..” (Albert N. Martin)
We saw that this is nothing more than a castle in the sand; another feebled attempt by church leaders to bring their congregations into submission - bent, broken, and their consciences bound in chains to the ridiculous unbiblical pronouncements of men.
Some of these so-called "church leaders" have granted to themselves more status, more power, more authority than any of the Apostles ever dreamed of! The leaders of these groups will take all that you have, even your very soul itself if they can, and enlist your services to build up their works. It is all lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life and, be not deceived, God is nowhere to be found; supposed fellowship, love, and preaching notwithstanding.
As we have clearly seen, this text (and others like it) state absolutely nothing about Christians giving their money away to support a "pastor's livelihood", along with his church!
If anything at all, it is a heresy, used by the Church, independent cults, and charlatans of every description, as a club to beat and threaten church members into surrendering their salaries into the "offering plate"
in obedience to some PHANTOM LAW of God!
The audacity of some of these men is almost sickening!
And they get away with it! Some have gotten away with it for decades! "Hey, its worked this long; might as well continue. Right?"
This whole unbiblical charade of handing your money over to the "church" in order to "support your pastor's livelihood" continues to be a recipe of disaster and destruction, leaving Christ's sheep corralled, mistreated and fleeced by thieves and robbers for many, many centuries.
When are we going to wake up and realize that the evil one and his ministers of righteousness has tricked us into squandering our time, our energies, and our resources for an institutional, worldly system that is unknown and opposed to the New Testament.
As mentioned earlier, these are indeed perilous times we live in. Many professing Christians are nothing more than mere followers of men and will always be so, unless the Lord Himself intervenes on their behalf. Those calling themselves “Christians” hardly know good from evil anymore, neither truth from error, or light from darkness, or God from Satan, or true men of God from deceivers coming in the Name of Jesus Christ. Many don’t even know what Christ’s Body is, or where or who it is.
In a world full of counterfeits, and in a time when Jesus said true faith would be scarce, it simply won't do to just believe what someone else had said, regardless of how sincere they are.
It is almost frightening to see how few professing Christians truly believe and understand God’s Scriptures, and how fewer yet, follow them!
God has a word for His people:
"...For what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what communion has light with darkness? Wherefore Come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord; And I will receive you, And will be to you a Father, And you shall be to me sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
See also on this site: 1) Tithing: The Great Christian Deception
2) The Naked Truth
3) The Christian Church: Distorted and Deformed
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Should Pastor's Be "Cared For?"